Parishes: East Kennett

A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 12, Ramsbury and Selkley Hundreds; the Borough of Marlborough. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1983.

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'Parishes: East Kennett', in A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 12, Ramsbury and Selkley Hundreds; the Borough of Marlborough, (London, 1983) pp. 119-125. British History Online [accessed 29 February 2024]

In this section


East Kennett, 319 ha. (788 a.), lies 7 km. west of Marlborough, separated from West Kennett in Avebury to the north by the river Kennet from which both take their names. (fn. 1) The name Kennett appears in records from the 10th century (fn. 2) and may have been applied to several settlements in the river valley. In Domesday Book it was used of holdings which were later in East and West Kennett. (fn. 3) The lands of Kennett then probably lay north and south of the river and west of the Ridge Way which still forms the eastern boundary of Avebury and of much of East Kennett. East Kennett was so called in the mid 12th century. In 1291 it was a separate parish (fn. 4) and its independence may have owed much to the early foundation of a church there. (fn. 5)

The separation from West Kennett and Avebury perhaps accounts for the irregular shape of the parish which extends 3 km. south from the river and 1 km. from east to west at its widest point a little south of East Kennett long barrow. The eastern boundary runs slightly east of the Ridge Way for 1.5 km. and rejoins it north of the junction with Wansdyke in the south-east corner of the parish. The southern and western boundaries are not determined by major physical features but are marked by mounds across the crest of Furze Hill, northwards over Thorn Hill, and north-west and north from there to the river opposite West Kennett village.

Chalk outcrops over the whole parish. In the river valley, 500 m. at its widest, is a narrow strip of alluvium, and deposits of gravel extend southwards in two dry valleys, one on the east side and one on the west side of the parish. (fn. 6) That on the east side, Langdean Bottom, runs almost the length of the parish between Thorn Hill and Lurkeley Hill, both over 213 m. Only near the river is the land under 152 m., and at the southern end of the parish Furze Hill rises to 229 m. Field systems near the parish boundary 1 km. southwest of the village and on Thorn Hill date from the Iron Age and Romano-British period. (fn. 7) The downs were later used for pasture and the arable lands lay in the north and in Langdean Bottom.

Two notable signs of prehistoric activity survive in the parish. A Neolithic long barrow 1 km. south of the village is a large and fine example of its kind. Sarsens, arranged in a circle approximately 10m. in diameter, in Langdean Bottom are thought to have formed the retaining kerb of a round barrow or a circular house site of the Bronze Age. Langdean Bottom has yielded a number of Bronze-Age finds and there are barrows on Harestone Down, mostly in Stanton St. Bernard, and west of the village. (fn. 8) The crossing of the river Kennet by the Ridge Way in the north-east corner of the parish may have been the site of the Danish defeat at the battle of 'Cynete' in 1006. (fn. 9)

The Ridge Way runs south from the bridge over the Kennet to join the road from West Kennett to Boreham Wood in West Overton for 500 m., and then continues to the south-east corner of the parish as a track. From it, other tracks lead southwest towards Thorn Hill and Langdean stone circle. The London-Bath road runs 500 m. north of the village. The lane leading from that road through East Kennett to Boreham Wood was turnpiked in 1840. (fn. 10) It was joined in the village by a road from West Overton. Earlier the principal road from West Kennett had crossed the river immediately south of that village and turned east towards East Kennett 500 m. inside the parish boundary. (fn. 11) A track still ran that way in 1978 and from it a path led along the boundary to All Cannings Down. A parallel track across the downs recorded in 1922 (fn. 12) was not visible in 1978.

In the 14th century East Kennett was a small but moderately wealthy community. It was assessed for taxation at 40s. in 1334 but in 1377 there were only 30 poll-tax payers, one of the lower figures for Selkley. In 1428 there were fewer than ten households, (fn. 13) but the assessment of £2 10s. 4d. in 1545 was close to the average for the hundred. (fn. 14) In 1801 there were 102 inhabitants. The number had fallen to 85 by 1811 but had recovered to 103 by 1831. The population did not rise above 90 during the rest of the 19th century and by 1921 had declined to 44. (fn. 15) In 1961 it stood at 66 but by 1971 the number of households had fallen from 30 to 15 and there were only 45 residents. (fn. 16)

The village of East Kennett is in the northeast of the parish, where the valley gravel is widest. Most of the buildings lie on the south side of the road from West Kennett to Boreham Wood and along a lane leading south-west from the manor house, the only substantial building between the road and the river. The church and Manor Farm House, which face each other across the lane, perhaps mark the earlier centre of the village. A number of cottages in the lane appear to incorporate part of the structure of sarsenwalled buildings, probably of the 17th century, but almost all were altered in the later 18th century and the 19th. North and south of the junction of the road and the lane stand the old vicarage house and the school. A few houses, mainly of the 19th and 20th centuries, have been built along the road. Most are south-east of the manor house and several, including some older buildings, lie across the parish boundary in West Overton.

Manor and Other Estates.

Land in Overton and Kennett granted to Wulfswyth by King Athelstan in 939 and to Alfeld by King Edgar in 972 may have included areas within the eastern boundary of the parish and near the church. The grants refer chiefly to Overton, however, and any small portion in East Kennett cannot be identified with a later estate. (fn. 17)

Lands in Kennett which later formed the manor of EAST KENNETT were held in 1066 by Leueclai and in 1086 by Waleran the huntsman. (fn. 18) The overlordship descended with the manor of Hamptworth to Walter Walerand (d. 1200–1) and to the heirs of two of Walter's daughters, Aubrey de Botreaux (d. 1270) and Isabel de Neville. (fn. 19) Aubrey's portion passed to the heirs of her marriage to John of Ingham. After the death of her great-grandson Oliver Ingham, Lord Ingham, in 1344, the fees which he held were divided between his daughter Joan, wife of Roger Lestrange, Lord Strange (d. 1349), and his granddaughter Mary Curzon. (fn. 20) Mary died in 1349 and her portion reverted to Joan. Joan later married Miles de Stapleton and on his death in 1365 the overlordship passed to their son Miles. (fn. 21) It descended from father to son in the Stapleton family and was said to be held by a Miles Stapleton in 1428, although Joan's grandson Miles had been succeeded by his son Brian in 1420. (fn. 22) The other portion of the overlordship was inherited by Isabel de Neville's daughter Joan (d. 1263), wife of Jordan de St. Martin. Joan was succeeded by her son William and grandson Reynold de St. Martin (d. 1315), (fn. 23) but his portion of the overlordship was not mentioned after 1300. (fn. 24)

In 1297 John Tregoze was intermediate tenant of the whole estate of East Kennett and his estates were divided after his death in 1300. The fee in East Kennett allotted to John la Warr, son of Tregoze's daughter Clarice, (fn. 25) was, however, not afterwards mentioned.

In 1086 Richard held the land in Kennett of Waleran the huntsman. (fn. 26) William de Ringeburn held the estate in 1242–3 (fn. 27) and his son Robert sued for possession in 1297. (fn. 28) Geoffrey Weston held it in 1316 and 1344 (fn. 29) and in 1376 his holding was granted to Ellis Spelly, a prominent Bristol merchant. In the following year the grant was confirmed by William Weston, perhaps Geoffrey's son. (fn. 30) In 1390, about the time of Spelly's death, a licence was obtained for the alienation of the estate to the priory of St. Margaret near Marlborough. (fn. 31) The priory retained the manor until the Dissolution.

The possessions of St. Margaret's, including East Kennett, were settled on Anne of Cleves in 1539 and on Catherine Howard in 1541. (fn. 32) In 1543 the manor was granted to Henry Jones for life. (fn. 33) A fourth royal grant was made in 1553 to William Herbert, earl of Pembroke. (fn. 34) Pembroke sold the manor in 1563 to Richard Franklin (d. 1597) who was succeeded by his son Richard (d. 1634) and grandson William Franklin. (fn. 35) William Norden (d. 1638) purchased the manor in 1637 and his sons Richard (d. 1641) and John inherited in turn. (fn. 36) John Norden and his wife Elizabeth conveyed the manor to Michael Ernle in 1657. (fn. 37) In 1667 it was held by Mary, relict of Sir Edward Baynton, and passed in that year to her son Robert Baynton who sold it in 1676 to Charles Tooker. (fn. 38) In 1700 Tooker was succeeded by his son Charles (d. 1716) (fn. 39) who devised the manor to his kinsman John Saunders. (fn. 40) It passed in turn to Saunders's son John and daughter Jane. (fn. 41) In 1732 it was held by Jane, who married Sir John Guise, Bt. (d. c. 1769). (fn. 42) Their son William died in 1783; after litigation the manor passed to his sister Jane, wife of Shute Barrington, bishop of Salisbury. (fn. 43) In 1787 Barrington sold it to Benjamin Price who sold it to Joseph Mighell in 1789. (fn. 44) The manor was purchased from Mighell in 1803 by Richard Mathews, (fn. 45) after whose death in 1842 it passed in turn to his sons Richard (d. 1849) and John (d. 1879). (fn. 46) John devised East Kennett to his nephew Richard Fisher. (fn. 47) In 1911 Richard's son William held the manor (fn. 48) and in 1922 he sold it to M. J. Read. Read's son, Mr. J. M. Read, succeeded in 1972 (fn. 49) and in that year sold some 500 a. in East Kennett to Mrs. C. B. Cameron, owner of the manor house. (fn. 50)

East Kennett Manor is a square red-brick house of c. 1800 with a principal south front of five bays to which balancing wings in a similar style were added c. 1925. (fn. 51) The large service courtyard north of the house has barn, dovecot, and stables of the 18th and 19th centuries and is entered through reset gatepiers of the late 17th century.

In 1066 the abbess of St. Mary's, Winchester, was tenant in chief of 1½ hide, perhaps the estate in Kennett held by the abbey of Hugh Lasne in 1086. That estate had earlier been held by Honewin. (fn. 52) In 1242–3 the estate was held of the abbey by William de Ringeburn and it may have been absorbed into his manor of East Kennett. (fn. 53) If the estate remained independent it was probably that later held by the Berwick family. Reynold of Berwick and his wife Edith granted lands in Kennett to Walter of Berwick in 1250. (fn. 54) In 1300 John of Berwick conveyed holdings in East and West Kennett to trustees; he or his namesake received a grant for life of property in East Kennett in 1327. (fn. 55)

In addition to the manor there was a large freehold in the parish in the late 17th century, possibly derived from the Berwick estate. (fn. 56) John Weston held a capital messuage and 4 yardlands in 1658. In 1703 he conveyed lands in East Kennett and Overton to William Cooper, husband of his sister Anne. Part of John's estate was apparently inherited by another sister but the holding has not been traced. William Cooper's estate was divided between his sons Samuel and William. Samuel settled his portion on his son Samuel in 1723. In 1733 the younger Samuel also acquired the estate of his uncle William Cooper. The younger Samuel's lands passed to Robert Cooper who in 1760 devised the estate to his sister Rebecca Cox and nephew Thomas Lavington or to the survivor. (fn. 57) Lavington (d. c. 1815) was succeeded by his grandson Thomas Lavington (d. 1827). In 1832 the executors of the younger Thomas sold the estate, East Kennett farm, to Elijah Lawrence (fn. 58) who sold it to John Mathews in 1863. (fn. 59) The farm was thereafter held with the manor until 1972 when the lands were retained by Mr. J. M. Read as part of Manor farm. (fn. 60) The main range of Manor Farm House, which is of sarsen rubble with ovolo-moulded windows in ashlar, has the date 1630 over the doorway. It contains only two principal rooms on each floor. The kitchen wing, apparently of the late 18th century, probably replaced an older building. On the south side is another short wing of the 19th century.

A gift of Henry of Kennett of 1 yardland in East Kennett to the hospital of St. John the Baptist in Marlborough was confirmed in 1215. (fn. 61) The land belonged to the hospital until its dissolution and with its other possessions was granted to the borough of Marlborough in 1550 to endow a grammar school. (fn. 62) The small estate was sold by the trustees of the school in 1920. (fn. 63)

In 1383 the priory of St. Margaret was licensed to appropriate East Kennett church (fn. 64) which it retained until the Dissolution. The rectory estate was held by the Crown until 1550 when it was granted to Sir William Herbert (created earl of Pembroke in 1551). (fn. 65) Pembroke apparently sold it with the manor to Richard Franklin (d. 1597). (fn. 66) Richard Franklin (d. 1634) devised it to his daughters Joyce and Cecily, who conveyed it to Richard Brownjohn in 1637. (fn. 67) The rectory estate had been reunited with the manor by 1676 and thereafter descended with it. (fn. 68) By 1838 most of the tithes had been merged in the lands of the manor; the remainder were valued at £58 10s. and commuted. (fn. 69)

Economic History.

The field systems on and north-west of Thorn Hill indicate that cultivation took place in the parish in prehistoric times. (fn. 70) The two estates in East Kennett in 1086 were each of 1¾ hide and worth a total of 40s. Richard's was valued at 20s. in both 1066 and 1086, but the abbess of Winchester's had by 1086 doubled its value of 10s. in 1066. They had demesne each for 1 ploughteam, with a serf on Richard's demesne, and 4 a. and 6 a. of pasture respectively; each had 1 a. of meadow and 2 bordars. (fn. 71)

Although the Domesday survey made no mention of wood, the small area of the parish east of the Ridge Way lay within the forest of Savernake in the late 13th century. By 1300 it had been disafforested. (fn. 72) In that year the demesne of the manor was worth 31s. 6d. There were four free tenants, who held 5½ yardlands between them, and two cottars. (fn. 73) In 1376 there were five customary tenants and three small parcels of the manor were held on life tenancies. (fn. 74)

Meadow, arable, and pasture were used in common in the mid 16th century. Small closes of meadow and arable were attached to certain tenements and to the demesne farm of East Kennett manor, and one copyholder was licensed to keep sheep on his own tenement rather than on the common pasture. (fn. 75) Some arable land was inclosed by the lord of the manor in the late 17th century or early 18th. An agreement for inclosure was drawn up in 1713 between the owners of the manor farm and East Kennett farm and nine others, probably their tenants. The Great West and Little West fields were to be divided. Claimants then unsatisfied were to be allotted lands in a third field between the road to West Kennett and a track leading west from the village. A division was also to be made of Longbridge mead, between East and West Kennett, and of Lords meads and the adjacent down. Had the agreement taken effect, part of the arable lands and much of the downland pasture would still have been worked in common. An endorsement on the agreement shows that the articles were not executed, for what reason is not known. (fn. 76) There is no record of any other formal agreement to end common husbandry but certain small holdings were inclosed in the early 18th century. (fn. 77) Pasture was still in common in 1832 (fn. 78) but in 1838 all farms were worked in severalty. (fn. 79)

At his death in 1496 John Wroughton held the manor of St. Margaret's priory as lessee. (fn. 80) His son Sir Christopher (d. 1515) and Sir Christopher's grandson Sir William Wroughton may have succeeded him in the tenancy. (fn. 81) Several lessees and sub-lessees held the demesne of the Wroughtons between 1520 and 1539. (fn. 82) Richard Weston held the lease in 1530 and Robert Weston in 1676 but no other family seems to have had a recurring interest. (fn. 83) In the late 18th century and the early 19th the owners probably occupied the demesne themselves; (fn. 84) in 1789 Joseph Mighell, the owner, is said to have introduced into the county the Southdown sheep and their Leicestershire crosses, popular breeds in the early 19th century. (fn. 85) In the mid 16th century there were 120 a. of arable and 7 a. of meadow in demesne, with pasture in common for 400 sheep. (fn. 86) During the 17th century several copyholds and freeholds were absorbed into the demesne and in 1787 the manor consisted of a single farm which measured c. 508 a. of which 232 a. were pasture on the downs. (fn. 87)

There were four customary tenants of the manor in 1539. Together they held 2 yardlands and 4 a. and they paid between 4s. and 25s. rent each. (fn. 88) In the 1550s there were two free tenants and four copyholders. The copyholders held a total of 4½ yardlands and pasture for 270 sheep and paid rents of between 6s. 8d. and 25s. The two larger copyholds were of 48 a. and 50 a. with rights for 120 and 90 sheep respectively. (fn. 89)

In 1658 there were four tenants on the estate later called East Kennett farm. Their lands had been merged into a single holding by 1832. (fn. 90)

In 1838 the parish was half arable and half grassland. Most of the pasture was on the downs and there were 69 a. of meadow beside the Kennet. The manor farm measured c. 580 a., of which 280 a. were arable, and the farm later called East Kennett farm 163 a. including 91 a. of arable and 65 a. of pasture. There were three holdings of less than 30 a., including one of 24 a. belonging to the trustees of Marlborough grammar school. (fn. 91) In the 1870s William Hewitt was tenant of both the manor farm and East Kennett farm. (fn. 92) The two farms together measured c. 777 a. in 1920. (fn. 93) They were worked as East Kennett Manor farm from 1922 until 1972. Sheep farming predominated on the combined holding in the early 20th century. Dairying was introduced by M. J. Read and for a time two herds were kept. There were 200 cows on Manor farm in 1979. (fn. 94)

In the early 20th century a considerable income was said to be derived from the sale of flints underlying the East Kennett estate. (fn. 95) There were large deposits of valuable sarsen stones in Langdean Bottom and on Furze Hill, Thorn Hill, and Harestone Down. In the 1920s and 1930s the stones were worked by the Free family, local masons. They ceased work in 1939, by which time most of the usable stones in East Kennett had been cut. (fn. 96)

There were mills on the estate of the Berwick family in 1300 and 1327, (fn. 97) one of which may have been at East Kennett. A water mill was among the possessions of Richard Franklin in 1634. (fn. 98) It probably stood in Mill mead, west of the bridge carrying the new road to West Kennett across the river. (fn. 99)

Local Government.

There is no record of manorial government in East Kennett, which in 1835 formed part of Marlborough poor-law union. (fn. 100) Expenditure on the poor was £30 12s. in 1776, an average of £64 a year from 1783 to 1785. (fn. 101)


A 'churchstead' referred to in King Edgar's charter of 972 may have been in East Kennett. It has, however, been suggested that the charter referred to a church in Overton. (fn. 102) Architectural evidence indicates that there was a church at East Kennett in the 12th century. (fn. 103) The church was appropriated by St. Margaret's priory near Marlborough in 1383. (fn. 104) Thereafter the living was a donative curacy until the late 19th century when it became known as a vicarage. (fn. 105) In 1923 the united benefice of Avebury with East Kennett was formed (fn. 106) and in 1929 the living of East Kennett was transferred to the benefice of Overton and Fyfield with East Kennett. (fn. 107) In 1975 East Kennett was included in the benefice of Upper Kennet, served by a team ministry. (fn. 108)

In 1306 William of Bruges and his wife Alice claimed the right of presentation to the rectory but their claim was not accepted and in the same year a candidate presented by St. Margaret's priory was instituted. (fn. 109) Rectors were presented by the priory until 1383. (fn. 110) The valuation of the living at £4 6s. 8d. in 1291 was the lowest for a rectory in Avebury deanery. (fn. 111) In 1341 almost a quarter of the rector's income was derived from oblations, although he received the great and small tithes. The glebe consisted of 1½ yardland with a yearly value of 2 marks. (fn. 112)

From 1383 until at least 1445 St. Margaret's priory presented curates for admission by the bishop. (fn. 113) After the Dissolution the donation of the living descended with the rectory estate until 1923 when William Fisher transferred the patronage to the bishop of Salisbury. (fn. 114) The bishop had the right of collation of the united benefice at every third turn (fn. 115) until 1929 when the living came entirely within his gift. (fn. 116)

At the Dissolution the curate's annual stipend was set at £6 or £6 13s. 4d. to be paid by the owner of the rectory estate. (fn. 117) The stipend was later augmented by owners of the estate and lords of the manor. In 1647 Richard Brownjohn agreed to increase the minister's yearly income by £20 as part of his composition with parliament. (fn. 118) In accordance with the will of his mother Ann Tooker, dated 1706, the younger Charles Tooker increased the stipend from £40 to £55. (fn. 119) An endowment of £50 was confirmed by Bishop Barrington when he sold the manor in 1787. (fn. 120) The income of the curacy was still only £57 in 1831 when few livings in the diocese had an annual value of less than £100. (fn. 121) John Mathews added a further £50 to the stipend c. 1863, on condition that the curate kept permanent residence and took two full services on Sundays. (fn. 122) In the early 20th century the difficulty of filling so impoverished a living was given as a reason for the union with Avebury. (fn. 123)

In 1539 the curate had the use of a room and a garden, part of the rectorial glebe. (fn. 124) There was a glebe house in 1831. (fn. 125) It was described as a cottage in 1863 but was extensively improved during the 1860s. (fn. 126) There has been no resident incumbent at East Kennett since 1923.

For 70 years after 1383 incumbencies were numerous and often brief, presumably because of the poverty of the living. (fn. 127) A canon of St. Margaret's was presented in 1422 and at the Dissolution John Rodley was pensioned both as a former canon and as curate of East Kennett. (fn. 128) In 1556 a parishioner was prosecuted for detaining goods belonging to the church, probably vestments or ornaments removed during Edward VI's reign. (fn. 129) The living remained vacant between 1561 and 1565. (fn. 130) In 1584 the curate claimed to be an approved preacher but refused to wear the prescribed dress. (fn. 131) In 1662 it was reported that the lessee of the rectory estate had failed to provide a settled minister. (fn. 132) During the 19th century a number of curates held second appointments, often as chaplains to Marlborough prison or poor-law union. (fn. 133) Two services were held on Sundays in 1851. The average congregation was 30 in the morning and 50 in the afternoon. (fn. 134) In 1864 there were sermons at both services and the curate, W. C. Badger, intended to replace quarterly with monthly celebrations of communion and to hold additional celebrations at festivals. (fn. 135) While at East Kennett, Badger entered into controversy with Bishop Hamilton whose tractarian views he found unacceptable. (fn. 136)

CHRIST CHURCH stands on the site of an earlier church which contained 12th- and 13thcentury stonework, walled in during renovations in the 15th century. (fn. 137) In the late 16th century and the 17th there were frequent reports of the decay of the church fabric through the negligence of the owner of the rectory estate. (fn. 138) In 1807 there was a nave and south porch, with a wooden bell turret at the west end. (fn. 139) The church was rebuilt in 1863 by Gane & Co. of Trowbridge. (fn. 140) The new building of chequered ashlar and knapped flint, in Early English style, has a chancel, a nave with north tower, and a south porch. The most notable surviving features from the old church are monuments of the Tooker and Mathews families. In his will proved 1879 John Mathews left the income from £300 for the upkeep of the church and churchyard. Maintenance of the church was the responsibility of the owner of the rectory estate and he received the profits of the endowment. Between 1881 and 1905 £105 16s. was spent on the fabric and fittings. (fn. 141)

A bell given in 1704 hung in the old church. In the later 19th century five new bells were donated. (fn. 142) A cup, paten, and flagon were given in 1864. (fn. 143) The registers are complete from 1655. (fn. 144)


In 1676 there were three nonconformists in the parish. (fn. 145) The curate reported two Baptist chapels in 1864 (fn. 146) but no other reference to either has been found. One was possibly the building east of the village in West Overton later used as a reading room. (fn. 147)


Although in 1818 the poor were said to desire the means of education, (fn. 148) there is no evidence of a day school in the parish before a schoolhouse was built in 1857. Average attendance was between 20 and 25 in 1859. (fn. 149) There was accommodation for 30 children in 1872 but only fifteen places were needed by the parish. (fn. 150) In 1878 Maria Mathews gave £2,300 for the school, then known as Miss Mathews's school. (fn. 151) Part of the endowment was used in 1895 to replace the schoolroom with a new building with accommodation for 40. (fn. 152) Attendance had risen to 38 by 1919 but it declined after 1924 when the older children were transferred to schools in Avebury and West Overton. Most of the pupils at East Kennett school then came from West Overton and West Kennett. (fn. 153) In 1978 there were 54 children on roll, many of whom came from outside the parish. (fn. 154)

As it was difficult to use Maria Mathews's endowment in so small a parish, the purposes of the charity were extended by Schemes of 1910 and 1926. From 1910 the proceeds were also used to provide further training for girls taught at the school and from 1926 yearly payments were made towards the maintenance of the schools at East Kennett and West Overton. The fund was also used to help children from East Kennett receiving further education and to improve local recreational facilities. The uses of the endowment were similar in 1962 when the annual income was £81. (fn. 155)

Charities for the Poor.

By will proved 1878 Mary Jane Lanfear left £600 to apprentice one boy each year from East Kennett or Rams- bury. The beneficiary was to come from East Kennett every third year. In the later 19th century the charity was not used regularly because there were insufficient candidates. (fn. 156) By a Scheme of 1924 a separate trust was established for East Kennett with a third of the endowment to provide apprenticeships or other forms of training. In 1963 the annual income from the charity was £6 10s. (fn. 157) The fund was rarely used in the 1970s. (fn. 158)

In his will proved 1879 John Mathews left the income from £300 to buy clothing, food, and fuel for the poor of the parish at Christmas. In 1904 £7 10s. was spent on coal for sixteen people. (fn. 159) In 1979 £13 was used to supply fuel to four beneficiaries. (fn. 160)

A dispensary and a room for the use of parishioners of East Kennett and West Overton were built in East Kennett in the 1880s with money bequeathed by Sarah or Maria Mathews. A minimum of £1,000 was to be spent on the building. The trust was wound up in 1917 and the building has been sold for conversion to a private house. (fn. 161)


  • 1. This article was written in 1978. Maps used include O.S. Maps 1/50,000, sheet 173 (1974 edn.); 1/25,000, 41/16 (1949 edn.); 6", Wilts. XXVIII (1889 and later edns.), XXXV (1889 and later edns.).
  • 2. Finberg, Early Wessex Chart. p. 98; Arch. Jnl. lxxvi. 245–6.
  • 3. V.C.H. Wilts. ii, pp. 151, 156.
  • 4. Abbrev. Plac. (Rec. Com.), 164–5; Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 189.
  • 5. Below, church.
  • 6. Geol. Surv. Map 1", drift, sheet 266 (1964 edn.).
  • 7. V.C.H. Wilts. i (1), 272.
  • 8. Ibid. 67, 140, 172–3, 229, 243; i (2), 305, 382.
  • 9. W.A.M. xlii. 96; liii. 411.
  • 10. V.C.H. Wilts. iv. 271.
  • 11. Andrews and Dury, Map (W.R.S. viii), pl. 11.
  • 12. O.S. Map 6", Wilts. XXXV. NW. (1926 edn.).
  • 13. V.C.H. Wilts. iv. 301, 310, 314.
  • 14. Taxation Lists (W.R.S. x), 22.
  • 15. V.C.H. Wilts. iv. 351.
  • 16. Census, 1961, 1971.
  • 17. Arch. Jnl. lxxvi. 242, 245–6; Finberg, Early Wessex Chart. p. 98; V.C.H. Wilts. ii, p. 85; xi. 188–9.
  • 18. V.C.H. Wilts. ii, p. 151.
  • 19. Ibid. p. 111; xi. 59; W.A.M. xxii. 253; V.C.H. Hants, iv. 521.
  • 20. Cal. Inq. p.m. viii, pp. 376–7; Complete Peerage, vii. 60–1; xii (1), 354.
  • 21. W.A.M. xxii. 255; Cal. Inq. p.m. xv, p. 20; Complete Peerage, vii. 63–4.
  • 22. W.A.M. xxii. 255; Feud. Aids, v. 269.
  • 23. Hoare, Mod. Wilts. Alderbury, 21; V.C.H. Hants, iv. 521.
  • 24. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1242–1326 (Index Libr.), 254–5.
  • 25. Cal. Close, 1296–1302, 55, 476–7.
  • 26. V.C.H. Wilts. ii, p. 151.
  • 27. Bk. of Fees, ii. 748–9.
  • 28. Cal. Close, 1296–1302, 55.
  • 29. W.A.M. xii. 18; Cal. Close, 1343–6, 272; Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1327–77 (Index Libr.), 160.
  • 30. Feet of F. 1327–77 (W.R.S. xxix), p. 147; Cal. Close, 1374–7, 520.
  • 31. Cal. Pat. 1388–92, 328; Cal. Close, 1389–92, 561.
  • 32. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xiv (2), p. 154; xvi, p. 716.
  • 33. Ibid. xviii (1), p. 550.
  • 34. Cal. Pat. 1547–53, 178–9.
  • 35. P.R.O., CP 25(2)/239/3 Eliz. I East.; ibid. C 2/Jas. I/F 3/53; Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1625–49 (Index Libr.), 190–1.
  • 36. P.R.O., CP 25(2)/510/12 Chas. I East.; Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1625–49 (Index Libr.), 318, 322.
  • 37. P.R.O., CP 25(2)/609/1657 Trin.
  • 38. W.R.O. 248/161; 371/2; W.N. & Q. iii. 242.
  • 39. Glos. R.O., D 326/T 176; dates of d. are from mons. in church.
  • 40. W.R.O. 1366/3.
  • 41. Ibid. 1366/7.
  • 42. Ibid. 1366/4; Burke, Ext. & Dorm. Baronetcies (1844), 230.
  • 43. Glos. R.O., D 326/L 19.
  • 44. W.R.O. 1366/5.
  • 45. Ibid. 1366/6.
  • 46. Mon. in church; P.R.O., PROB 11/2096, f. 251v.
  • 47. Princ. Regy. Fam. Div., will pr. 1879.
  • 48. Endowed Char. Wilts. (N. Div.), 583; Kelly's Dir. Wilts. (1911).
  • 49. Inf. from Mr. J. M. Read, E. Kennett.
  • 50. Inf. from Mrs. C. B. Cameron, E. Kennett Manor.
  • 51. Cf. sale cat. (1924) penes Mrs. Cameron.
  • 52. V.C.H. Wilts. ii, p. 156.
  • 53. Bk. of Fees, ii. 748–9.
  • 54. P.R.O., CP 25(1)/251/17, no. 3.
  • 55. Feet of F. 1272–1327 (W.R.S. i), p. 45; 1327–77 (W.R.S. xxix), p. 15.
  • 56. The estate formerly belonging to the Berwicks may have been that of 5 messuages and 200 a. which Edm. Ernle was said to hold of Amesbury priory at his d. in 1485: Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, i, p. 88.
  • 57. W.R.O. 1366/10a, abstr. of title of Thos. Lavington.
  • 58. Ibid.; W.A.S. Libr., sale cat. vi, no. 32.
  • 59. W.R.O. 1366/10b.
  • 60. Inf. from Mr. Read.
  • 61. Rot. Chart. (Rec. Com.), 205; V.C.H. Wilts. iii. 341.
  • 62. Cal. Pat. 1549–51, 226.
  • 63. Endowed Char. Wilts. (N. Div.), 721; inf. from Miss G. M. Marston, Headmistress, St. John's Sch., Marlborough.
  • 64. Cal. Pat. 1381–5, 339.
  • 65. P.R.O., E 318/Box 30/1687.
  • 66. W.R.O., bishop, detecta bk. 1585.
  • 67. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1625–49 (Index Libr.), 190–1; P.R.O., CP 25(2)/510/12 Chas. I East.
  • 68. W.R.O. 371/2.
  • 69. Ibid. tithe award.
  • 70. V.C.H. Wilts. i (1), 272, 275.
  • 71. Ibid. ii, pp. 151, 156, 200.
  • 72. Ibid. iv. 419, 451; W.A.M. xl. 399.
  • 73. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1242–1326 (Index Libr.), 254–5.
  • 74. Feet of F. 1327–77 (W.R.S. xxix), pp. 147–8.
  • 75. Wilton Ho. Mun., survey, 1550s.
  • 76. Glos. R.O., D 326/T 176.
  • 77. W.R.O. 488/11.
  • 78. W.A.S. Libr., sale cat. vi, no. 32.
  • 79. W.R.O., tithe award.
  • 80. Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, i, p. 505.
  • 81. P.R.O., C 142/30, no. 27; C 142/124, no. 192.
  • 82. Ibid. REQ 2/8/321; ibid. C 1/1267/37; ibid. SC 6/Hen. VIII/3985, rot. 65.
  • 83. Ibid. REQ 2/8/321; W.R.O. 371/2.
  • 84. W.R.O., land tax; tithe award.
  • 85. V.C.H. Wilts. iv. 71.
  • 86. Wilton Ho. Mun., survey, 1550s.
  • 87. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1625–49 (Index Libr.), 190–1; W.R.O. 371/2; 1366/2; 1366/5.
  • 88. P.R.O., SC 6/Hen. VIII/3985, rot. 65.
  • 89. Wilton Ho. Mun., survey, 1550s.
  • 90. W.R.O. 1366/10A, abstr. of title of Thos. Lavington.
  • 91. Ibid. tithe award.
  • 92. Kelly's Dir. Wilts. (1875 and later edns.).
  • 93. W.A.S. Libr., sale cat. xvi, no. 6.
  • 94. Inf. from Mr. J. M. Read, E. Kennett.
  • 95. W.A.S. Libr., sale cat. xvi, no. 6.
  • 96. Ibid.; W.A.M. lxiii. 85, 89.
  • 97. Feet of F. 1272–1327 (W.R.S. i), p. 45; 1327–77 (W.R.S. xxix), p. 15.
  • 98. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1625–49 (Index Libr.), 190–1.
  • 99. W.R.O., titheaward.
  • 100. Poor Law Com. 2nd Rep. 559.
  • 101. Poor Law Abstract, 1804, 568–9.
  • 102. Arch. Jnl. lxxvi. 245; Rep. Marlborough Coll. Natural Hist. Soc. lxxxvii. 118.
  • 103. Wilts. Cuttings, xvi. 43.
  • 104. Cal. Pat. 1381–5, 339.
  • 105. W.A.M. xxxiv. 262; Clergy List (1892).
  • 106. Lond. Gaz. 1 June 1923, pp. 3843–5.
  • 107. Ibid. 10 May 1929, pp. 3114–17.
  • 108. Ibid. 21 Mar. 1975, p. 3845.
  • 109. Reg. Ghent (Cant. & York Soc.), ii. 682.
  • 110. Phillipps, Wilts. Inst. i. 7, 15–16, 30, 33, 38, 46, 49, 57.
  • 111. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 189.
  • 112. Inq. Non. (Rec. Com.), 158.
  • 113. W.R.O., bishop, reg. Erghum, ff. 83v., 182–3; reg. Chaundler, f. 57; reg. Nevill, ff. 70, 76; reg. Aiscough, ff. i, ix.
  • 114. Lond. Gaz. 4 May 1923, pp. 3209–10.
  • 115. Ibid. 1 June 1923, pp. 3843–5.
  • 116. Ibid. 10 May 1929, pp. 3114–17.
  • 117. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xiv (1), p. 75; P.R.O., E 318/Box 30/1687.
  • 118. Cal. Cttee. for Compounding, ii. 1553.
  • 119. W.R.O. 1366/7.
  • 120. Tablet in church.
  • 121. Rep. Com. Eccl. Revenues, 838–9.
  • 122. Wilts. Tracts, xcii, no. 6.
  • 123. Wilts. Cuttings, xiv. 249.
  • 124. P.R.O., SC 6/Hen. VIII/3985, rot. 65.
  • 125. Rep. Com. Eccl. Revenues, 838–9.
  • 126. Wilts. Tracts, xcii, no. 6.
  • 127. Phillipps, Wilts. Inst. i. 71, 113, 116, 127–9.
  • 128. Ibid. 113; L. & P. Hen. VIII, xiv (1), p. 75.
  • 129. W.R.O., bishop, detecta bk.
  • 130. V.C.H. Wilts. iii. 33 n.
  • 131. W.R.O., bishop, detecta bk.
  • 132. Ibid. bishop, chwdns.' pres.
  • 133. Ibid. bishop, vis. queries, 1864; Rep. Com. Eccl. Revenues, 838–9; Wilts. Cuttings, xvi. 49; Kelly's Dir. Wilts. (1872).
  • 134. P.R.O., HO 129/255/1/19/40.
  • 135. W.R.O., bishop, vis. queries.
  • 136. Wilts. Tracts, xcii, no. 6.
  • 137. Wilts. Cuttings, xvi. 43.
  • 138. W.R.O., bishop, detecta bks. 1550–3, 1584, 1585; bishop, chwdns.' pres. 1662.
  • 139. J. Buckler, watercolour in W.A.S. Libr., vol. iv. 43.
  • 140. W.R.O., bishop, pet. for faculties, bdle. 12, no. 7; see plate facing p. 161.
  • 141. Endowed Char. Wilts. (N. Div.), 584–5.
  • 142. Walters, Wilts. Bells, 110–11.
  • 143. Nightingale, Wilts. Plate, 149.
  • 144. W.R.O. 1404/1–3. There are transcripts for 1606–9 and 1619–23: ibid. bishop.
  • 145. W.N. & Q. iii. 536.
  • 146. W.R.O., bishop, vis. queries.
  • 147. O.S. Map 6", Wilts. XXVII (1889 edn.).
  • 148. Educ. of Poor Digest, 1030.
  • 149. Acct. of Wilts. Schs. 28.
  • 150. P.R.O., ED 21/18407.
  • 151. Endowed Char. Wilts. (N. Div.), 581.
  • 152. P.R.O., ED 21/18407.
  • 153. Ibid. ED 21/42221; Bd. of Educ., List 21 (H.M.S.O.).
  • 154. Inf. from the Head Teacher.
  • 155. Char. Com. file; P.R.O., ED 49/8182.
  • 156. Endowed Char. Wilts. (N. Div.), 585, 852–4.
  • 157. Char. Com. file.
  • 158. Inf. from the vicar, the Revd. P. J. Harrison, Overton Vicarage.
  • 159. Endowed Char. Wilts. (N. Div.), 583–4.
  • 160. Inf. from Mr. Harrison.
  • 161. Ibid.; Endowed Char. Wilts. (N. Div.), 581.