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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THE BOROUGH OF MARLBOROUGH
The borough, (fn. 1) first referred to in 1086 when it paid a third of its revenues to the Crown, (fn. 2) was founded on a royal estate which extended from the Kennet north and south over downland. In the 11th century both borough and estate were called Marlborough ('barrow of Maerla'), perhaps from the prehistoric earthwork which formed the motte of Marlborough Castle. (fn. 3) The church recorded at Marlborough in 1086 may have been Preshute church. Preshute parish extended over the rest of the royal estate including Marlborough Castle, and largely (until the 16th century, entirely) enclosed the borough. (fn. 4) Marlborough College was opened in 1843 in a house, later an inn, built in Preshute on the castle site from 1688. (fn. 5)
The borough lay on a south-west and northeast axis. (fn. 6) In the 19th century and earlier it was bounded south-east by the Kennet, south-west by Marlborough Castle, and north-west partly by Back Lane, which followed the line of part of the town ditch mentioned in the 16th century, (fn. 7) and Cross, earlier Dark, Lane. On the northeast Marlborough was until the 16th century separated from Preshute by a boundary perhaps marked by Blowhorn Street and Stonebridge Lane where, on the west side of the lane near the junction with the road called St. Martin's, the borough bank is visible. (fn. 8) East of that boundary 'new land' belonged to Marlborough before 1252. (fn. 9) It remained in Preshute parish as the chapelry of St. Martin until c. 1548 (fn. 10) when its transfer to Marlborough extended the borough to the river Og. Marlborough Common, given by King John to the borough for pasture, (fn. 11) and Port field, acquired by the burgesses in the Middle Ages as arable land, remained in Preshute (fn. 12) until 1934, (fn. 13) but both are treated as part of Marlborough in this article.
The borough comprised 198 a. (80 ha.), divided on the line of Kingsbury Street between St. Mary's parish, 117 a. (47 ha.), on the east and St. Peter's, 81 a. (33 ha.), on the west. (fn. 14) Land around Preshute church, other land south-west and the St. Margaret's district south-east of Marlborough, and the western edge of Marlborough Common, were added to the borough in 1901 as the civil parish of Preshute Within, 400 a. (162 ha.). (fn. 15) In 1925 Preshute Within merged with the civil parishes of St. Mary and St. Peter to form the civil parish of Marlborough. The addition of 46 a. (19 ha.) from Mildenhall, 32 a. (13 ha.) from North Savernake (both pieces being part of the areas transferred to those parishes from Preshute in 1901), and a further 824 a. (333 ha.) from Preshute in 1934 (fn. 16) gave Marlborough an area of 605 ha. (1,496 a.). (fn. 17)
Settlement in the borough has been on the clay-with-flints deposits north of High Street and St. Martin's, at c. 150 m., and, at c. 137 m., on the gravel and alluvium of the Kennet and Og south of those streets. The line marked by High Street and St. Martin's is that of the only chalk outcrop in the borough. (fn. 18)
A Romano-British burial and pottery near Tin Pit and coins found elsewhere in Marlborough attest Roman activity. (fn. 19) The Old Bowling Green at the north-west end of Kingsbury Street is an embanked rectangular enclosure of medieval or later date. (fn. 20)
The London-Bath road ran through Marlborough but from c. 1706 until c. 1752 it was diverted south of the borough, and re-entered it across Castle Bridge, mentioned in the 16th century and earlier. (fn. 21) In 1726 the section from Speenhamland (Berks.) to Marlborough and in 1743 the section from Marlborough to Beckhampton in Avebury were turnpiked. (fn. 22) The road began to decline as a coach route in 1840 when the G.W.R. opened a railway line from London to Swindon. (fn. 23) Although much traffic was diverted to the London and south Wales motorway opened 12 km. north of Marlborough in 1971, (fn. 24) the road was still a main east-west route in 1982. Castle Bridge, renamed Cow Bridge in the 19th century, (fn. 25) but also called the Pewsey Road bridge and Duck's Bridge in the 20th, (fn. 26) was rebuilt as a concrete beam bridge to designs by F. S. Cutler in 1925. (fn. 27) A road which ran north from Marlborough to join the Roman road from Mildenhall to Cirencester possibly followed the line of Barn Street, the Green, and Herd Street from London Road. The Kennet was forded where it left Marlborough: (fn. 28) a bridge, called Culbridge c. 1300 and Cow Bridge in the 16th century and 1752, had been built there by 1300. (fn. 29) In 1773 the main road from Swindon ran by way of the Old Eagle in Ogbourne St. Andrew and through the borough as Kingsbury Street and the Parade to join the Andover and Salisbury road at the south end of Barn Street. (fn. 30) The road was turnpiked in 1762. (fn. 31) The Parade was replaced as the main thoroughfare in 1800 by New Road, so called in 1838 and earlier. (fn. 32) Another road from Swindon through Ogbourne St. George, which entered Marlborough as Port Hill, was turnpiked in 1819 (fn. 33) and became the main road to Swindon. Cow Bridge, the name of which was transferred to Castle Bridge in the 19th century, (fn. 34) was resited when the Salisbury road in Preshute was diverted eastwards in 1821 (fn. 35) and was called London Road bridge in 1982. A road from Hungerford (Berks.) through the Kennet valley by Ramsbury and Mildenhall entered Marlborough along St. Martin's. In 1675 that road was used by some travellers and coaches rather than the LondonBath road. (fn. 36) Among the smaller bridges which linked Marlborough with Preshute was New Bridge, so called in the 16th century and 1825 but called Stonebridges in 1826, (fn. 37) at the south end of Stonebridge (formerly Newbridge) Lane. (fn. 38) The railways which served Marlborough from 1864 and 1881 to 1964 lay outside the borough. (fn. 39)
Marlborough was the fifth most highly taxed borough in the county in 1334. (fn. 40) Its 462 poll-tax payers constituted the fifth largest fiscal unit in Wiltshire in 1377. (fn. 41) Surnames of the members of small Irish and French communities at Marlborough in 1440 indicate their activity in the tanning, gloving, and cloth industries. (fn. 42) In 1545 and 1576 there were 47 and 70 people assessed for taxation. (fn. 43) From then until the end of the 17th century, when it lost ground to Devizes, Marlborough may have maintained a position in the county second only to Salisbury. (fn. 44) In 1801 Marlborough had 2,367 inhabitants, (fn. 45) and was clearly more populous than Westbury, probably Calne, and possibly Chippenham. (fn. 46) That number was nearly evenly apportioned between the two Marlborough parishes. The population grew until 1871 when of the 3,660 inhabitants 2,004 lived in St. Mary's and 1,656, including 229 Marlborough College pupils, in St. Peter's. (fn. 47) Numbers declined to 3,046 in 1901. The addition of Preshute Within to the borough increased Marlborough's population, which had reached 4,401 by 1911: 1,289 lived in Preshute Within, 1,677 in St. Mary's parish, and 1,435 in St. Peter's. The population declined from 1911 to 1931 when the particularly low total of 3,492 was attributed to the temporary absence of Marlborough College pupils. (fn. 48) The addition of more land from Preshute and Mildenhall in 1934 increased the population. In 1951 the enlarged borough had 4,557 inhabitants, 6,108 in 1971. (fn. 49) Numbers had declined to 5,771 by 1981 when Marlborough was the eleventh largest town in Wiltshire. (fn. 50)
General eyres were held at Marlborough in the 13th century, (fn. 51) and in 1280 the transfer of the county court thither from Wilton was considered. (fn. 52) Forest eyres were often held at Marlborough in the 14th and 15th centuries. (fn. 53) County quarter sessions were held there in 1383 or earlier, in 1660 and later at Michaelmas, (fn. 54) until abolished by Act of 1971. (fn. 55)
The town supported the parliamentary cause during the Civil War. It was captured on 5 December 1642 by royalist forces from Oxford and houses and property were destroyed. (fn. 56) Charles I in 1644 quartered his troops on the downs north of the town. (fn. 57) Marlborough was reoccupied by parliamentary forces in 1645. (fn. 58)
Marlborough gave its name to a suffragan see established in 1534. (fn. 59) A bishop suffragan of Marlborough was appointed in 1537 to assist the bishop of Salisbury, (fn. 60) but the title afterwards lapsed. It was revived in 1888 when a bishop suffragan of Marlborough was appointed to assist the bishop of London but lapsed in 1919. (fn. 61)
Walter Map, who stayed at Marlborough Castle with Henry II in 1182, commenting on Marlborough's lack of sophistication, told a story that whoever drank from a particular spring there would thereafter speak bad, or 'Marlborough', French. (fn. 62) The same rusticity perhaps produced 'Marlborough-handed' as a local adjective meaning left-handed or clumsy. (fn. 63)
Cardinal Wolsey was ordained priest in St. Peter's church in 1498. (fn. 64) Henry Sacheverell was born at Marlborough in 1674, (fn. 65) the son of Joshua Sacheverell, rector of St. Peter's church. (fn. 66) The writer and dramatist John Hughes (d. 1720) was born in 1677 in Marlborough where his grandfather William Hughes, who had been ejected from St. Mary's vicarage in 1662, remained as a dissenting minister and schoolmaster. (fn. 67) Sir Michael Foster (d. 1763), born in the town in 1689 and educated at the grammar school, became a judge of King's Bench. (fn. 68) Walter Harte (d. 1774), a writer on miscellaneous subjects, may have been born in Marlborough and certainly attended the grammar school. Three of the Merriman family, all born in Marlborough, became medical men of note in London, Samuel (17311818) and his nephews Samuel (1771 1852) and John (17741839). (fn. 69) Thomas Hancock (d. 1865), founder of the British indiarubber industry, and his brother Walter (d. 1852), pioneer of steam locomotives, were born in Marlborough. (fn. 70)
The town lies where two main routes cross, the London-Bath road forming High Street and at one time St. Martin's, and the SalisburySwindon road formerly taking two possible routes, one along the Parade and Kingsbury Street, the other along Barn Street and Herd Street. The crossing of the Kennet by the Salisbury-Swindon road was shared by an alternative route from London which by the late 17th century had taken some, and by the 18th all, of the traffic from St. Martin's. (fn. 71) It is unknown whether the rectilinear settlement marked by Kingsbury Street and Herd Street is earlier or later than the linear settlement along High Street. High Street, mentioned in 1289, (fn. 72) follows the line of the chalk outcrop, has a breadth of 32 m., (fn. 73) and is flanked by characteristically long and narrow burgage tenements, (fn. 74) features which suggest that it represents the borough established by 1086. (fn. 75) From the 15th century it contained many inns. (fn. 76) It may once have run the full 900 m. between the Green, where its line crosses that of Herd Street and Barn Street, and the castle, but within that length a church had been built by 1223 (fn. 77) at each end on the line of the middle of the street; each church lies within a churchyard, and St. Mary's churchyard, at the east end, is enclosed by houses. The Green was mentioned in 1289, when the 'new land' north-east of it had been built on, formed a ward of the borough, and was crossed by the highway later called St. Martin's. (fn. 78) Land in Barn Street was leased for building in the later 14th century, (fn. 79) and Herd Street was mentioned in the earlier 15th. (fn. 80) North of St. Mary's church Silverless Street, called Silver Street in 1536 (fn. 81) and 1540, (fn. 82) Silverless Street in 1582, (fn. 83) may have been inhabited by the Jews who lived in Marlborough in the 13th century. (fn. 84) North-east of the Green, Blowhorn (or Pylat) Street, Coldharbour (or St. Martin's) Lane, and Bay (or Tin) Pit, were mentioned in the 16th century. Kingsbury Street north-west of St. Mary's church was mentioned in the 15th century. (fn. 85) Its south-eastern continuation was called the Marsh in the 15th century, by which time it may have been built on, (fn. 86) and c. 1900, (fn. 87) the Parade in 1982. The lanes and passages between the burgage plots on the south side of High Street included Figgins Lane, called Dame Isabel's Lane in 1320 (fn. 88) and Dame Isabel's or Lovell's Lane in 1652. (fn. 89) To the north Hyde Lane was named after the Hyde family who lived there in the 18th century: (fn. 90) it was called Blind Lane in the 15th (fn. 91) and 18th centuries, (fn. 92) Sun Lane briefly from c. 1900. (fn. 93) Hermitage Lane was mentioned in the 1560s. (fn. 94) The bridewell built on the east side of it in 1709 gave its name to Bridewell Street, (fn. 95) that part of the Bath road west of St. Peter's church.
There were four or more town crosses in the 16th century and six in the 17th. The high or market cross, which c. 1570 stood at the east end of High Street, (fn. 96) was rebuilt or much repaired in 15723. (fn. 97) It contained the market house. (fn. 98) A new town hall and market house were erected on its site c. 1630 and rebuilt in the mid 17th century, the late 18th, and early 20th. (fn. 99) The corn cross, frequently repaired in the 16th century and earlier 17th, (fn. 100) was in High Street, (fn. 101) near the Castle and Ball inn outside which the corn market may have been held. (fn. 102) St. Martin's cross may have stood c. 1565 at the junction of St. Martin's, Coldharbour Lane, and Stonebridge Lane. (fn. 103) St. Helen's cross, mentioned in 1584 and 1616, (fn. 104) may have stood at the entrance to St. Martin's north of the Green. (fn. 105) More cross, mentioned in 1625, may have stood east of Bridewell Street; (fn. 106) the site of St. Denis's cross, named in 1617, (fn. 107) is unknown.
Surviving buildings suggest that in the 17th century most of High Street, the south end of Kingsbury Street, Silverless Street, and the north and west sides of the Green were continuously built up with two-storeyed timberframed and plastered houses of which some had attics. The area north of High Street called the Hermitage (fn. 108) had on it successive houses of that name. One of them, on the west side of Hyde Lane, was built in 1628 by John Lawrence, whose initials and the date appear on the north gable. (fn. 109) John Hyde, who became owner in 1740, (fn. 110) may have extended the house westwards and refitted it. Further alterations were made by Thomas Brudenell-Bruce, earl of Ailesbury, who bought it c. 1812. (fn. 111) It was a boarding house of Marlborough College in 1982.
The destruction caused on 28 April 1653 by a fire which began in a tannery at the western end of the south side of High Street (fn. 112) has been described as nearly total, (fn. 113) but may have been much less. Jettied houses of the mid 16th century in High Street and other jettied houses at nos. 9 and 43 Kingsbury Street, (fn. 114) nos. 67 and 1315 Silverless Street, and nos. 23 the Green survived it, and more pre-1653 houses may have been obscured by later alterations. On the north side of High Street no. 136 (the White Horse bookshop) has moulded ceiling beams of the later 16th or earlier 17th century, and in no. 138 (Cavendish House) similar beams and a principal chimney stack and fireplace of c. 1600 survive. Following the fire of 1653 a national collection was taken to enable the inhabitants to rebuild, (fn. 115) but claims to compensation from it were met only after delay. (fn. 116) The fact that John Evelyn could describe Marlborough as 'new built' in June 1654 (fn. 117) suggests that recovery was by repair rather than by reconstruction. Samuel Pepys, who in 1668 stayed at the White Hart, considered Marlborough to be 'a pretty fair town for a street or two' and remarked upon the walk afforded by the penthouses in High Street. (fn. 118) Short stretches, apparently of 19th-century construction, survived in 1982 at the east end of both sides. (fn. 119) The continued use of timber and thatch caused other, less severe, fires in 1679 and 1690. (fn. 120) The ineffective bylaw of 1622 under which a penalty of 5 might be imposed on those who built thatched houses with inadequate foundations or chimney stacks (fn. 121) was reinforced in 1690 by a private Act which forbade the thatching of roofs. (fn. 122)
From the mid 18th century much of High Street was either rebuilt in brick or refronted with patterned or mathematical tiles. Characteristic of the buildings of the period were the initialled and dated lead rainwater heads, such as that of 1748 at no. 98 High Street, and the use of red brick with dark headers. The upper floors of most houses at the eastern end of the north side of High Street were given canted bays, often of two storeys, in the earlier 19th century. (fn. 123)
In the late 18th century groups and terraces of houses, usually of red brick with slated roofs, were built along St. Martin's, Kingsbury Street, Barn Street, and elsewhere, possibly on new sites. (fn. 124) Of those houses, only Kingsbury Hill House in Kingsbury Street is large: it is dated 1774. Yards surviving from earlier inns on either, but mostly on the south, side of High Street, from which they were entered by passages, were closely built up with cottages in the later 18th century. Those, and other poor houses in the town, were removed between 1925 and 1933, (fn. 125) and replaced by council houses in the Lainey's Close and St. Margaret's areas. (fn. 126) Marlborough College expanded west of High Street in the 19th century and the 20th, and most building, both council and private, has taken place in the roads running north and south of St. Martin's and in the St. Margaret's area transferred to the borough in 1901. The only substantial buildings between High Street and London Road bridge are in the Parade. Katharine House, formerly a rope factory, is of the 16th century, Wye House, built c. 1800 at the south end of Barn Street, was the home of the architect C. E. Ponting from 1905, (fn. 127) and St. Peter's Junior School, formerly the grammar school, is a red-brick building of 1905.
Social and Cultural Activities. Race meetings were held intermittently on Barton Down in Preshute in the 18th century and in the 19th. The 18th-century meetings, which usually lasted two days, were social events accompanied by backsword-playing, balls, plays, public dinners, and assemblies. Assemblies held at the town hall in 1771 were attended by local nobility and gentry. Race meetings ceased c. 1773, were revived c. 1840, but had finally ceased by 1874. The course ran parallel to the MarlboroughRockley road on Marlborough Common. A grandstand was erected in 1846 and demolished in 1876. (fn. 128)
Cricket was played at Marlborough in 1774 when Marlborough tradesmen played against Devizes tradesmen on neutral ground. A game between townsmen was played on Marlborough Common in 1787. (fn. 129) A pitch was made there c. 1881. (fn. 130) In the late 19th century Wiltshire County Cricket Club occasionally played matches at Marlborough. (fn. 131) Marlborough Town Football Club, formed in 1871, at first played on Marlborough Common (fn. 132) but by 1937 had acquired a ground north of Elcot Lane which was still used in 1982. Marlborough Golf Club, founded in 1888, had a course on the common west of Port Hill. (fn. 133) Play ceased there during the Second World War. The course was afterwards remade, and until 1970, when it regained its independence, the club was run by the borough council. (fn. 134) Marlborough Bowling Club, founded c. 1930, (fn. 135) had a green south of Orchard Road. A new green at the recreation ground in Salisbury Road had been laid out by 1970. (fn. 136) Other groups, such as gymnastic and athletic clubs in the later 19th century, (fn. 137) and hockey, rifle, tennis, and badminton clubs in the 20th, (fn. 138) have also existed.
The guild of Palmers at Ludlow (Salop.) had members at Marlborough, one of whom devised property in Kingsbury Street to it, in the later 15th century and earlier 16th. (fn. 139)
A masonic lodge which met in 1768 at the Castle inn had been dissolved by 1777. A Wiltshire Militia lodge met from 1803 to 1805, became permanent when the regimental headquarters of the Wiltshire Militia were established at Marlborough in 1818, and took the name Lodge of Loyalty. It was dissolved in 1834. Marlborough Lodge of Unity, renamed Lodge of Loyalty, was formed in 1875 and since 1911 or earlier has met at the Masonic Hall, Oxford Street. The Methuen Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, formed in 1883, the St. Peter and St. Paul Preceptory of Masonic Knights Templar, formed in 1962, and the Lodge of Good Fellowship, formed in 1971, also met there in 1982. (fn. 140)
The Independent Order of Good Templars had established the Hope of Marlborough Lodge by 1879. In that year the Ancient Order of Foresters met monthly, and the Independent Order of Oddfellows fortnightly, at the Royal Oak. (fn. 141) There were five friendly societies, including Foresters, Oddfellows, and Rechabites, in Marlborough in 1937. (fn. 142) The Savernake Forest and Sir William Dickson lodges of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes met at Marlborough in 1978. (fn. 143)
There was a coffee house in the town in 1771. (fn. 144) The Marlborough Club, whose members were Tory gentlemen from Marlborough and the surrounding area, was established in 1774. It met at the Castle inn until 1842 and at the Ailesbury Arms until 1846 when it was wound up. (fn. 145) The Marlborough Reading and Mutual Improvement Society was formed in 1844. (fn. 146) It had 90 'middle class' members and a library of 800 volumes in 1849. (fn. 147) The society opened a reading room in High Street in 1854, (fn. 148) still flourished in 1903, (fn. 149) but had been wound up by 1907. (fn. 150)
A working men's hall was opened in High Street in 1866 with a reading room, smoking room, and classroom which was used each evening. (fn. 151) The hall was still used in 1903. (fn. 152) Marlborough and District Unionist Association had been formed by 1907. (fn. 153) Since 1923 (fn. 154) Marlborough and District Conservative Club has had premises in High Street.
Marlborough Choral Society, founded in 1877, had c. 80 members in 1879 (fn. 155) and still met in 1937 (fn. 156) and 1982. A silver band flourished in the town in the late 19th century and earlier 20th. (fn. 157) An amateur dramatic and operatic society was founded in 1923. (fn. 158) The corn exchange was converted c. 1914 to a cinema, (fn. 159) which closed in 1970. (fn. 160)
Apart from Salisbury, Marlborough was the only Wiltshire town in which a newspaper was published in the later 18th century. The Marlborough Journal was printed weekly at no. 132 High Street, by J. Smith and E. Harold in 1771, by Harold alone in 1773, but ceased publication in 1774. (fn. 161) The Marlborough Times, the title of which has been extended and changed frequently, was founded in 1859 by Charles Perkins. It was printed weekly at Waterloo House in High Street. (fn. 162) Its Tory attitudes reflected those of the marquesses of Ailesbury, lords of the borough, until 1885 when the newspaper became politically neutral. (fn. 163) Publication was continued after Perkins's death in 1899 by his son H. G. Perkins. (fn. 164) The newspaper was bought from E. H. Perkins & Son Ltd. in 1962 by Woodrow Wyatt Ltd. Its printing works and offices were moved from Waterloo House, which had been demolished by 1977, to Banbury (Oxon.). In 1966 the newspaper was bought by Cirencester Newspaper Co. Ltd., publishers in 1982, and printed at Dursley (Glos.). (fn. 165) The Marlborough and Hungerford Express, begun by William Cane in 1860, expressed Liberal views. It was printed weekly at no. 100 High Street until 1863 when it ceased publication. (fn. 166) From 1902 to 1928 Wiltshire Opinion, later Wiltshire Opinion Special, and from 1910 to 1914 the Andover Times and Wilts., Berks., and Hants County Paper were published at Marlborough. The Wiltshire Echo was published in Marlborough from 1964 to 1966, afterwards in Trowbridge and Swindon. (fn. 167)
Marlborough was in the king's hands in 1086. (fn. 168) Except during the period 1189 93 when John, count of Mortain, held it with Marlborough Castle, the BOROUGH belonged to successive kings until 1273. Their authority over it was delegated to the constables who were appointed to keep the castle. (fn. 169) The borough was assigned in 1273 for life to Queen Eleanor (d. 1291), in 1299 to Queen Margaret, in 1318 to Queen Isabel, who was deprived of it in the period 13247, and in 1330 to Queen Philippa, on whose death in 1369 it reverted to the Crown. (fn. 170) In 1403 the reversion of the lordship on the death of Henry IV was granted to Humphrey, duke of Gloucester; from 1415 or earlier until 1621 the lordship descended with the site of Marlborough Castle, from 1621 to 1779 with Barton manor in Preshute, and from 1779 to 192930 with both. (fn. 171) In 192930 George, marquess of Ailesbury, sold the lordship of the borough to Marlborough borough council. (fn. 172)
The site in the Marsh given by Levenoth son of Levenoth for the hospital of St. John the Baptist, and other land in Marlborough given by John son of Elfric and by Walter Pinnock, were confirmed to the hospital by King John in 1215. (fn. 173) In 1550 the mayor and burgesses of Marlborough, who had presented masters of the hospital from 1315 or earlier, received royal permission to convert the house to a free grammar school. The school was endowed with the lands of the hospital and with those of the Jesus services in the churches of St. Mary and St. Peter. (fn. 174) Most of the hospital's lands may have been alienated before 1637. Small properties in the town were sold in 1799 and 1867. (fn. 175) In 1883 the endowments included 11 a. in Marlborough. (fn. 176) The largest remaining town properties, St. John's close south-west of Marlborough Common and a close in St. Martin's, were sold in 1907 and in 1924 respectively. (fn. 177)
In 1316 William Ramshill and John Goodhind received royal permission to convey land in Marlborough to the Carmelites, who built a priory on it. (fn. 178) Ramshill and Goodhind conveyed more land in 1321 and in 1328 Adam Long gave a messuage in Marlborough to the friars. (fn. 179) The priory was dissolved in 1538. Its property, which comprised church, cloister, chapter house, dormitory, prior's lodging, kitchen, and land, (fn. 180) was conveyed by the Crown to Robert Were or Brown in 1543. (fn. 181) Robert, M.P. for Marlborough in 1553 and many times mayor of the borough, (fn. 182) died in 1570 and was succeeded by his wife Agnes. On Agnes's death the property passed to their son Richard Were or Brown (d. 1577), to successive sons Thomas Were or Brown (d. 1599), Thomas Were or Brown (d. 1608), and Thomas Brown (d. 1625), and then to the last Thomas's brother Robert Brown. (fn. 183) By the early 17th century the estate had been augmented by numerous town properties. (fn. 184) In 1652 a Robert Brown, perhaps the Robert who succeeded in 1625, settled it on his son Robert who in 1658 sold it to Isaac Burgess. (fn. 185) In 1676 the estate belonged to another Isaac Burgess and his wife Cecily, (fn. 186) and in 1701 to Cecily and her second husband William Master. Isaac's and Cecily's heirs were their daughters Cecily, wife of James Worthington, and Anne who married Thomas Fletcher. (fn. 187) Cecily Worthington was dead by 1708 when the Fletchers owned the estate. (fn. 188)
Parts of that estate, including, after 1701, the house called the Friars in 1596 and in the early 18th century the Priory, were sold and later became part of the Savernake estate of the earls and marquesses of Ailesbury. (fn. 189) What remained Anne Fletcher's in 1751 included inns in High Street then called the Swan, the Antelope (later the Castle and Ball), the Bull, and the Half Moon. (fn. 190) They were sold in 1773 by the executors of her daughter Anne Fletcher to Thomas, Lord Bruce, (fn. 191) and added to the Savernake estate. The Savernake estate sold parts of what had once belonged to the Fletchers, such as the Castle and Ball in 1872, (fn. 192) but leased Priory House to the governors of Marlborough College in 1850. (fn. 193) It was a college boarding house from 1861 to 1967. (fn. 194) A housemaster, W. Mansell, bought it from the Savernake estate in 1876 and sold it in 1899 to another, J. P. Cummins. T. C. G. Sandford bought Priory House from Cummins in 1917 and in 1923 sold it to Marlborough College, (fn. 195) from which it was bought in 1971 by the borough council with help from Mrs. J. Clay. (fn. 196) In 1981 the house contained a day centre and flatlets for the elderly and the gardens were a public park.
The remains of the priory buildings were replaced in 1823 by Priory House built in Gothic style of flint and sarsen. (fn. 197) A west block, which matched the style of the house of 1823, was built to designs by Ernest Newton in 1926. (fn. 198)
Arnold Fathers gave 1 burgage to Bradenstoke priory c. 1245 and also in the 13th century Eustace, parson of 'Wootton', gave to the priory three shops and a store abutting the market place beside St. Mary's churchyard. (fn. 199) In 1272 Thomas Green gave the priory 1 burgage and a messuage. (fn. 200) The properties, which included market stalls, were in High Street, the Green, Barn Street, and the Marsh. (fn. 201) They passed to the Crown at the Dissolution and were sold to Geoffrey Daniell in 1544. (fn. 202)
Maiden Bradley priory acquired, all in Marlborough, a burgage from John Whatley c. 1260, a tenement from John, canon of Wells (Som.), in 1274, 6d. rent from a tenement held by Maud Ballemund in the later 13th century, and, at an unknown date, a tenement from Thomas Romsey. (fn. 203) The properties, one or more of which was in High Street, passed to the Crown at the Dissolution and were sold to Geoffrey Daniell in 1544. (fn. 204)
In the earlier 12th century the Empress Maud gave to Reading abbey the property in Marlborough of Herbert son of Fulk, who had become a monk there. The abbey leased the messuage in 1192 on condition that monks from Reading might lodge there when visiting Marlborough. (fn. 205) Stanley abbey was given a burgage in the town c. 1266 and, at an unknown date, a house. (fn. 206) Bicester priory (Oxon.) had property in Marlborough in 1291. (fn. 207) None of the three houses accounted for property in Marlborough in 1535. (fn. 208)
A pasture held by the burgesses of Marlborough in 1194 or earlier for 10s. paid yearly to the lord of the borough may have been east of Marlborough Castle. (fn. 209) In King John's reign the burgesses gave up that pasture in exchange for one which may be identified with Marlborough Common, sometimes called the Thorns, c. 80 a., which apart from its south-west corner was in Preshute. The burgesses paid 10s. rent for it to the lord of the borough in 1275 and in 1768. (fn. 210) Tenants of Barton farm in Preshute also had pasture rights there in 1638. (fn. 211) A small rabbit warren on the common was part of Barton farm in the later 16th century and the earlier 17th. (fn. 212) Bylaws of 1577 regulated use of the common. A burgess might keep not more than two cows or bullocks on it and was to pay 8d. yearly for each animal to the mayor, a day's board to the herdsman who drove the animals to pasture each morning and brought them back in the evening, and 1d. yearly for destruction of vermin. (fn. 213) A bull, provided until 1836 by the mayor and afterwards by the borough fund, could be hired for 8d. It ceased to be kept in 1904. (fn. 214) Wandering animals were taken by the herdsman, or hayward as he was apparently called in 1777, to the borough pound which was moved in 1846 from Kingsbury Street to the common. (fn. 215) Pasturage fees and the herdsman's wages were increased in the later 19th century and earlier 20th. (fn. 216) Rights of pasturage were apparently extended to all inhabitants of Marlborough from 1836. (fn. 217) In 1908 and later the inhabitants could pasture as many cows as they wished for 1s. a week for each cow. Yearly income from pasturage of cows declined in the earlier 20th century and in 1919 averaged only 30. That decline led the corporation to allow sheep fairs, agricultural shows, military manoeuvres, and organized games to be held on the common although no regular use, except for race meetings in the 19th century and golf in the 20th, has been allowed. (fn. 218) Furze planted on the common in the later 17th century was grubbed up in 1831. (fn. 219) Marlborough Common was levelled and reseeded in 1958. (fn. 220) It was open in 1982 when it was used chiefly for grazing and recreation.
Arable land in Preshute east of Marlborough Common and called Port field, c. 80 a. or more, was acquired between 1216 and 1272 by the mayor and burgesses who paid 6 4s. rent yearly for it to the lord of the borough. (fn. 221) It was apportioned among the burgesses in plots of 1 a. or 2 a. (fn. 222) Its use, like that of the common, was regulated in 1577. The hedges and ditches adjoining the plots which the burgesses were enjoined to maintain in that year may indicate inclosure. For each acre held, the burgesses paid 1d. yearly for the destruction of vermin. (fn. 223) All the inhabitants of Marlborough could pasture cattle on the linchets of Port field after harvest, a right they may still have enjoyed in the earlier 19th century. (fn. 224) The tenant of Barton farm in Preshute had similar rights in 1574 (fn. 225) and 1638. (fn. 226) Inclosures existed in 1627. In that year burgesses, who held for life, were forbidden to hold more than 2 a. each, for which they were to pay 1s. 4d. yearly and do suit at the mayor's courts. (fn. 227) They paid small entry fines, and in 1759 were allowed to hold a maximum of 6 a. each. (fn. 228) Any land not held by burgesses was sublet. In 1808 Port field comprised a south field, 36 a., and a north field, 54 a., containing 13 and 38 allotments respectively. By subletting, however, three holdings in the south and four in the north field had been created. (fn. 229) Port field was inclosed c. 1823 (fn. 230) and in 1847 had in it allotments of 21 a. and 8 a. and fifteen smaller plots totalling 60 a. (fn. 231) In 1930 Marlborough borough council bought the freehold of Port field from George, marquess of Ailesbury. (fn. 232) Council houses were built on part of it from the 1960s. The remainder was let as allotments and pasture land in 1982. (fn. 233)
Trade and Industry.
The position of Marlborough on a favoured royal estate and a main east-west route made the town a likely commercial centre in the 12th century and earlier. Although no burgess was mentioned in 1086, Marlborough had a mint in the later 11th century and was sufficiently developed commercially for the burgesses to pay 5 to the king to have a merchant guild in 1163. (fn. 234) That privilege was confirmed to the burgesses in 1204 when others, mostly modelled on those of Winchester and including a general grant of freedom from toll, were extended to them. (fn. 235) That the privileges were limited to members of the merchant guild, which comprised all the burgesses, is clear because in 1239, under the grant of 1204, only they were free of payment of tolls at Southampton. (fn. 236) In 1408 Henry IV granted to the burgesses quittance of murage, quayage, coverage, and chiminage on goods and merchandise. (fn. 237)
Henry III may have encouraged Jews to settle in the town in 1234 or earlier, (fn. 238) and in 1241 five Jewish families lived in Marlborough, possibly under the protection and jurisdiction of the constable of the castle. (fn. 239) A chirograph chest, in which records of the Jews' financial dealings were kept, was mentioned in 1268 and the chirographers who compiled the records in 1272. (fn. 240) The community was ordered to move to Devizes in 1275 (fn. 241) but there were still Jews at Marlborough in 1277 and a chirograph chest in 1279. (fn. 242) They had all apparently left when in 1281 their property was granted to Christians. (fn. 243)
A thriving merchant class, in which John Goodhind, mentioned in the period 131143, was apparently pre-eminent, was evident in Marlborough c. 1300 or earlier. (fn. 244) It included Irishmen and men from northern France in the earlier 15th century. (fn. 245) Much of Marlborough's trade was by way of Bristol and Southampton in the Middle Ages when the town was a market centre for the surrounding countryside. In 1365 wine, iron, and steel were carted to Marlborough from Southampton. (fn. 246) In 143940 wine, garlic, and grindstones were conveyed to Marlborough and Marlborough merchants distributed woad and fish from Southampton to Salisbury and Broughton Gifford. (fn. 247) Seventeen journeys were made from Southampton to cart wine and herrings to Marlborough in 14434. (fn. 248)
Burel, coarse woollen cloth, was made in Marlborough in the 12th century or earlier. The weavers and fullers who made it were allowed to work only for the burgesses and could not become freemen unless they gave up their crafts. Fulling in nearby mills, including one at Elcot in Preshute used for fulling in 1215 or earlier and for the production of cloth until c. 1800, was presumably connected with the industry in the 13th century and later. (fn. 249) It is likely that most of the cloth was sold locally for the poor's use although in 1391 Thomas Tanner, a Marlborough merchant, exported ten cloths to Ireland. (fn. 250) Clothmaking was apparently in decline in 1379, when there were only 2 shearmen, 1 tucker, 1 dyer, and 5 weavers in Marlborough, but had recovered by the later 15th century when kerseys may have been made there. (fn. 251) Finishing processes may then have been more important than manufacture, although a 'woolman' was mentioned c. 1500. (fn. 252) Some of the woad brought from Southampton to Marlborough in the 15th century may have been for use in Marlborough and c. 1460 a dyer from Newbury (Berks.) took a lease of a house in Marlborough which was altered to incorporate a furnace and vats. (fn. 253) A weaver, a woollen draper, and a mercer were mentioned in 1674, and a clothier in 1679. (fn. 254) Then, as in the Middle Ages, the workers were poor and c. 1698 included those in the workhouse. (fn. 255) There was a weaver of broad cloths in the town in 1711, a drugget maker in 1717, and in 1797 a feltmonger, a clothier, and a worsted maker. (fn. 256) A woolhouse mentioned in 1744 was possibly no longer used as such in 1771. (fn. 257) In 1791 a shed to contain looms was erected at St. Mary's workhouse and in the 1790s a new clothing mill, intended to provide work for the industrious poor, was built to adjoin Elcot mill. (fn. 258) The venture may have had little success: in 1799 both the clothing mill and the grist mill were leased to a Marlborough baker. (fn. 259) Wool stapling was still carried on at Marlborough in 1753 and 1865. (fn. 260) Manufacture of fustians may have partly replaced that of woollens by 1800. The spinning of cotton, supplied during the first few months by a Mr. Crook and thereafter until 1773 or later by a Mr. Sheppard, was begun in St. Peter's workhouse in 1751. From 1760 to 1767 John Crook of Marlborough sent cotton to be spun in the Bristol workhouse. (fn. 261) Hand spinning of cotton continued at Marlborough until the mid 19th century. (fn. 262) An attempt in the early 1790s to establish a silk manufactory, to be financed by public subscription, was apparently unsuccessful. (fn. 263)
Sheepskins, wood from Savernake forest, and water from the Kennet provided the means for tanning which flourished in the town in the 14th century. In 1379 there were ten tanners. They included the mayor, who may have traded with Northampton. (fn. 264) There were tanners in Marlborough in the earlier 17th century. (fn. 265) A decline which the industry later suffered may have been a result of the outbreak of the fire of 1653 in a tannery. (fn. 266) The trades associated with tanning at Marlborough since the Middle Ages continued. Gloves were made there in the 17th century (fn. 267) as they had been in the 15th. (fn. 268) In 1797 there were a fellmonger, a currier, and a leather cutter in the town: their trades were still carried on in the 19th century. (fn. 269) The firm of George May & Sons, in business at the Green as curriers and leather cutters in 1830 or earlier, still traded there as Charles B. May in 1907. (fn. 270) In 1830 or earlier there was a tannery in Black Swan Yard, and in the 1850s there was one in Angel Yard. (fn. 271) In 1865 tanning was again one of the principal industries in Marlborough. (fn. 272) Wingrove & Edge Ltd. established a sheepskin tannery in Angel Yard in 1937. The production of hide leather there began in 1950. The firm merged in 1963 with Whitmore's Ltd. of Edenbridge (Kent), afterwards the Whitmore Bacon Organization, which supplied wet chrome-tanned hides to Marlborough for the production of leathers of different grains and suede leathers. From 1967 no sheepskin was treated and most leather produced, of which a fifth was suede, was sold to shoe manufacturers and makers of sports equipment. (fn. 273) Some fifty people were employed in 1982. (fn. 274)
Rope making was carried on in Marlborough in 1660 or earlier. (fn. 275) There was a hemp dresser in the town in 1716, a sack maker in 1719, and a rope maker in 1738. (fn. 276) Sail cloth was made there in 1749. (fn. 277) Two Henry Shepherds manufactured sacking in 1797, when there were also two ropers in the town, and William Shepherd did so in 1830 in Kingsbury Street and in 1844 in High Street. (fn. 278) In St. Mary's parish John Palmer had, in 1844 or earlier, a factory in which in 1862 about twenty people were employed to make rope. (fn. 279) In 1865 and until 1965 James Morrison & Co. of High Street made hempen cloth, rope, and twine in a factory, in the Parade, where eleven people were employed in 1960. (fn. 280)
Pin making, sufficiently well established in Marlborough for the pin makers to have their own building in 1576, flourished in the 17th century and in the early 18th, as did the associated trade of wire drawing. (fn. 281) Clay pipes were made in the town in the earlier 17th century. The manufacture was at its height c. 1700 but had declined by c. 1750 when there was only one pipe maker. (fn. 282) Bone lace was made in the 17th century. (fn. 283) There were then, and in the 18th century, numerous clock makers, including George Hewett who was at work in the period 176997. In 1865 there was only one. (fn. 284)
Among the trades usual in a market town that of cheese factor may have gained wider importance in the 17th century when the 'Marlborough' cheeses of the surrounding area, made thin for quick drying, became popular in London, and London cheesemongers may have kept their own factors in the town. Despite waning demand in London c. 1680, Marlborough remained a centre for the sale of cheese and was still such in 1907. (fn. 285) There were seven cheese factors in the town in 1797 and in 1844. (fn. 286)
Marlborough's prosperity derived not only from its industries and markets but also from the many inns for travellers to and from the west of England. (fn. 287) Chief among them from 1456 or earlier to c. 1730 was the Hart, or Old Hart, on the north side of High Street. (fn. 288) The coach trade expanded in the early 18th century with the development of Bath, and to a lesser extent of Marlborough itself, as resorts. The principal inns which catered for it were, on the south side of High Street, the Angel, the Black Swan, and the Duke's Arms, in 1843 or earlier called the Ailesbury Arms, and, on the north side, the Antelope, an inn in 1745 and called in 1764 and 1982 the Castle and Ball. An inn called the Castle was opened in 1751 in Marlborough House in Preshute. (fn. 289) In 1797 coaches ran daily from the Duke's Arms and the Black Swan to London and Bath, three each way from the Castle daily, and one each way from the Castle and Ball on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Nightly mail coaches ran to London and daily ones to Exeter. Daily post coaches ran to London and Bristol. There was still a daily service in 1833 from the principal inns to London, Bath, Bristol, Cheltenham, Frome (Som.), and Reading. The G.W.R. line from London to Bristol was opened in 18401, however, and in 1844 only three coaches a day ran to London and one to Bath and Bristol. Coaches occasionally ran to Southampton. Of the two coach makers in High Street in 1797 one, Thomas Forty, was still in business in 1830. There were then two other coach makers in High Street, of whom one, Joseph Eden, still traded as Eden & Son in 1865. (fn. 290)
The town's emergence as a resort, encouraged by the lords of the borough resident nearby, with race meetings during which various entertainments were held, (fn. 291) may have contributed indirectly to its commercial and industrial decline. It was described in 1764 as having few manufactures and in 18312, some eight years before the opening of the G.W.R. line, as 'a respectable country place' with no trade. (fn. 292)
There was a private bank, Thomas Hancock & Co., in business at Marlborough in 1797 or earlier. (fn. 293) Other early bankers were King, Gosling, & Tanner in High Street and Ward, Brown, Merriman, & Halcomb in Silverless Street in 1830. (fn. 294) The Silverless Street bank, as Ward & Co., was still in business in 1865. (fn. 295) The North Wilts. Banking Co. had a branch in High Street from 1844 or earlier to 1865 or later and the Wilts. and Dorset Banking Co. Ltd. had a branch there from 1844 or earlier until between 1907 and 1923. The branch of the Capital & Counties Bank in High Street in 1907 had been acquired by Lloyds Bank Ltd. by 1923. (fn. 296)
In 1833 Stephen Brown had a brewery in High Street which by 1843 had passed to Dixon & Co. (fn. 297) There were breweries in the Marsh and Kingsbury Street in 1838. (fn. 298) Brewing was one of the chief trades of Marlborough in 1865 when S. B. & H. P. Dixon and Reed & Co. each had a brewery in High Street. (fn. 299) In 1899 Reed & Co.'s brewery was called the Anchor brewery and was owned then and in 1903 by G. & T. Spencer's Brewery Ltd. (fn. 300) Dixon's brewery at no. 109 High Street had been leased to A. M. Adams by 1897 and in 1917, when it was called the Marlborough brewery, belonged to Usher's Wiltshire Brewery Ltd. (fn. 301) No brewing took place in the town in 1923. (fn. 302)
Agricultural machinery was made in High Street in 1844. (fn. 303) In 1870 T. Pope started an agricultural engineering business which in the earlier 19th century was at Chantry Works, no. 99 High Street, and was continued by J. A. Pope. In 1946 Thomas Pope sold the business, which was then carried on in High Street and in works at Granham Hill, to T. H. White Ltd. of Devizes. Its name was changed from T. Pope Ltd. to T. H. White, Marlborough, Ltd. The High Street premises, then a retail shop, were closed in 1966 but engineering continued at Granham Hill. (fn. 304) A. E. Farr Ltd., civil engineers, came to Marlborough in 1939 and occupied Wye House as an office until 1941. (fn. 305)
Although some employment was provided by Marlborough College, the local schools and hospitals, Wingrove & Edge Ltd., and a few small engineering and light industrial factories in London Road and Elcot Lane, (fn. 306) most people worked outside the town in 1982.
Markets and Fairs.
In 1204 King John granted Wednesday and Saturday markets to the burgesses of Marlborough. (fn. 307) The prosperity of the markets may have been increased in 1240 when, in an exchange with the king, the bishop of Salisbury gave up his right to a weekly market at Ramsbury. (fn. 308) By 1255, however, tenants of the bishop, of the dean and chapter of Salisbury, and of several other lords had ceased to pay tolls at Marlborough markets, a loss reckoned at 10. A weekly market which had been held at Swindon from c. 1260 was considered in 1275 to have damaged that at Marlborough by 2 a year. (fn. 309) The burgesses exercised the same rights, including freedom from pavage, pontage, passage, pedage, peage, pesage, stallage, and lastage, as the burgesses of Oxford and Winchester enjoyed in their markets. (fn. 310) When the borough was incorporated in 1576 those rights were confirmed, the mayor became ex officio clerk of the market, and the mayor and burgesses were empowered to regulate the markets by passing bylaws, which they did in 1577. (fn. 311) In 1625, in return for the lord of the borough's confirmation of their right to take the market tolls, the burgesses agreed to pay pickage and stallage to him. (fn. 312) From 1626 the lords of the borough leased the profits of pickage and stallage to the burgesses. (fn. 313) The burgesses leased the market tolls. (fn. 314) When Marlborough corporation was dissolved in 1835 the right to take the tolls seems to have passed from the burgesses (fn. 315) to the lord of the borough, who afterwards leased them. (fn. 316) The borough council bought them from George, marquess of Ailesbury, in 192930. (fn. 317) In 1836 a committee to regulate market affairs was appointed by the borough council. (fn. 318)
The market place, in High Street in 1289 or earlier, was at the east end of the street between the high or market cross, called the cross house in the later 16th century, and the corn cross near the Castle and Ball inn. The high cross, which was probably a timber building on piers set in a stone base, contained the market house. (fn. 319) In the early 17th century the cheese and butter market was held under it and later under the town hall which occupied the site from c. 1630. (fn. 320) Fish and salt beef were also sold there in the early 19th century. (fn. 321) After the town hall replaced the high cross the wool market was held in it. (fn. 322) The bakers also had their stalls in it until 1634 when, apparently because of lack of space, they were expelled. (fn. 323) A Wednesday market place, where there was another market house, was mentioned in 1625 and may also have been in High Street. (fn. 324) Always apparently less important, the Wednesday market occasionally lapsed. None was held in the later 17th century, when the Saturday market was an important cheese market attended by factors of London cheesemongers, in 1797, or in the later 19th century and earlier 20th. (fn. 325) Meat was sold in shambles in High Street called Butcher or Close Row in the later 16th century or earlier and in the 17th. (fn. 326) In the early 19th century, however, white meat and bacon could also be sold under the town hall. (fn. 327) The shambles, rebuilt c. 1573 and c. 1654, were shaded by trees in 1750 or earlier. They were demolished, and the trees felled, in 1812. (fn. 328) From 1838 meat was sold at the east end of the south side of High Street. (fn. 329) In the earlier 19th century the market for eggs, poultry, and fruit was at the east end of the penthouse on the north side of High Street. It was moved in 1838 to a building on the south side which also housed the National schools. Toys, confectionery, and fruit were sold in front of the town hall c. 1800 and at the north-east corner of High Street in 1838 and later. After 1838 farm implements, cattle, and horses were sold at the east end of High Street and pigs and sheep outside the National schools. (fn. 330) The corn market was held outside the Castle and Ball round the corn rails, the site of the corn cross, until 1864 when George, marquess of Ailesbury, built a corn exchange on the site of the National schools. Business had ceased there before 1900. The corn rails were removed in 1929. (fn. 331) In 1981 small general markets were held at the east end of High Street on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
A weighing beam, which by Act of 1429 the borough had to maintain and which in 1576 was housed in the high cross, and scales were held by the bailiffs of Marlborough. (fn. 332) The beam like the market house was leased. (fn. 333) The weighbridge and the house containing it, which stood on the south side of High Street opposite the Castle and Ball, were rebuilt in 18534 and removed in 1925. (fn. 334)
In 1204 the king granted to the burgesses of Marlborough an eight-day fair to begin on the eve of the Assumption (14 August). (fn. 335) It was presumably held in St. Mary's parish, possibly on the Green. After 1752 the fair was held on 22 August and in 1929, when it was described as agricultural, on 23 August. (fn. 336) In 1931 and until the 1960s Marlborough fair, sheep fair, or great sheep fair, was held on Marlborough Common on 22 August. (fn. 337)
Henry III in 1229 granted that a four-day fair to begin on the eve of St. Martin (10 November) might be held on the 'new land' of Marlborough. (fn. 338) It was held on the Green in the later 18th century. (fn. 339) From 1752 the fair was held on 22 November and in 1888 and in 1929, when it was held on Marlborough Common for agricultural purposes, on 23 November. (fn. 340) It was still held in 1938, (fn. 341) but lapsed in the 1960s. (fn. 342)
In 1246 Henry III granted that a four-day fair, to begin on the eve of St. Peter and St. Paul (28 June), might be held around St. Peter's churchyard. (fn. 343) In the same year the king suppressed a wake held at the same time in Little Wittenham (Berks., later Oxon.) because it detracted from St. Peter's fair. (fn. 344) It was chiefly a horse fair in the early 18th century. (fn. 345) From 1752 it was held on 10 July, (fn. 346) in 1809 and 1865 on 11 July. (fn. 347) It was held in 1875 but had lapsed by 1879. (fn. 348)
Hiring or mop fairs were held in the early 19th century. In 1888 and in 1982, when they were for pleasure, Little Mop and Big Mop fairs were held in High Street on the Saturday before and the Saturday after old Michaelmas day (10 October). (fn. 349)
Borough Government. Before 1204 Marlborough was presumably governed by the king through the keeper of the castle. A guild merchant received royal approval in 1163 and confirmation in 1204. (fn. 350) King John also in 1204 granted liberties to the burgesses modelled on those of Winchester and, to a lesser extent, on those of Oxford. The privileges consisted of exemption from suit of shire and hundred and from attendance at forest courts except to answer for breaches of forest law, of the right to hold their houses in chief, and of soc and sac, toll and team, infangthief and outfangthief, trial of pleas by the law of Winchester and not by combat, cessation of customs unjustly levied in war, the recovery of debts by their own bailiff, immunity from distraint except for debtors and their pledges, freedom from pleading in pleas of land outside the borough, and, within it, trial of those pleas by the law of Winchester. (fn. 351) The burgesses were not exempt from Crown pleas, however, and attended eyres. (fn. 352) The right to hold a borough court and view of frankpledge was implicit in the grant. (fn. 353) From 1224 the burgesses farmed the borough for 50 yearly. (fn. 354)
The charter of 1204, frequently inspected and confirmed, (fn. 355) formed the basis of borough government until 1576. In that year Marlborough was incorporated by charter as the free borough of the mayor and burgesses. The burgesses were confirmed in the privileges granted to them in 1204. They were allowed to pass bylaws, a right which they first exercised in 1577. They were allowed to have a commission of the peace, comprising three justices of the peace, and a gaol. The justices were required, however, to send those indicted at borough quarter sessions for treason, murder, or felony to the county gaol. The power of the mayor was greatly extended: thenceforth he was ex officio escheator, coroner, clerk of the market, and, with powers more limited than those of the county justices, a justice of the peace empowered to act with the two burgesses who had preceded him as mayor and whom he nominated fellow justices. (fn. 356) The charter of 1576, under which the borough was governed until 1835, was twice abrogated. In 1642 it was withdrawn by Marlborough's royalist captors. A new charter, granted by Cromwell in 1657, increased the corporation's officers to mayor, recorder, town clerk, 8 aldermen, 5 justices of the peace, 7 'assistants', 2 high constables, 5 constables, 2 bailiffs, and 2 serjeants at mace, but was annulled at the Restoration when the charter of 1576 was confirmed. (fn. 357) That charter was again withdrawn at the end of Charles II's reign and was replaced in 1688 by another which allowed the Crown to pack the corporation, consisting of a mayor, 13 aldermen, 24 burgesses or common councillors, and a common clerk, with royal nominees. It was annulled shortly afterwards by proclamation. (fn. 358)
Wards existed within the borough in 1268. (fn. 359) New land ward, although it remained part of Elcot tithing, was a ward in 1289 (fn. 360) but was later merged with Green ward. In 1547, and until 1835 when they were abolished, there were five wards, Bailey, High or High Street, Kingsbury, Green, and Marsh. (fn. 361) The alderman, later constable, of each ward had to summon its inhabitants to borough courts, at which he presented nuisances and breaches of the peace and of bylaws. He also saw that watch was kept and precautions against fire taken. (fn. 362) With his fellow constables he kept the peace at fairs in the later 18th century and earlier 19th. (fn. 363)
Few records survive to show how the borough was governed in the Middle Ages. (fn. 364) The governing body was the guild merchant and comprised all the burgesses, who had a common seal in the 13th century. The burgesses may have been entrepreneurs rather than artificers and the guild oligarchical. (fn. 365) By the 16th century new burgesses were elected at the morrow, or morning, speech courts held in early autumn and on admittance made money payments to the mayor rather than the supposedly traditional gifts, depicted on the borough arms, of a bull, capon, and hounds. (fn. 366) By 1514 the guild had been replaced as the governing body by a small number of burgesses chosen from it to form a common council. Councillors were chosen by the mayor and existing council at the morrow speech courts at which all borough officials were elected. (fn. 367) A bylaw of 1577 confirmed that method. From 1577 to 1835 the common council made bylaws with the agreement of the other burgesses, approved leases of borough lands, and each year nominated three men from whom all the burgesses elected a mayor. A bylaw of 1622 empowered the councillors to elect borough constables and chamberlains. In 1833, however, the mayor appointed the constables. From 1633 until 1835 the mayor and common council approved, and from 1652 nominated, new burgesses. (fn. 368) The number of burgesses declined from 6080, of whom a third were common councillors, in the 16th century, (fn. 369) to 32, of whom a quarter were councillors, in 1713. (fn. 370) Besides the mayor and justices, there were 11 burgesses, 8 of whom were councillors and 3 'undignified' in 1772, and in 1809 there were 6 burgesses, all councillors. (fn. 371)
There seems to have been no serious conflict over the exercise of the liberties granted in 1204 between the burgesses and the grantees of the borough whose lordship was considered to include return of writs, gallows, and other liberties in the 13th century and later. (fn. 372) In 1625 William, earl of Hertford, in return for their acknowledging him as lord of the borough and permitting him to nominate one of the borough bailiffs from among the burgesses each year, confirmed the burgesses' economic privileges and right to exercise leet jurisdiction in the borough. (fn. 373) In the period 16761734 the new lords of Marlborough, the Bruces, displaced the Whig interest of the old lords, the Seymours, in parliamentary elections at Marlborough by ensuring that burgesses, to whom voting was restricted, returned Tory candidates. Success was achieved by admitting to the corporation only men acceptable to the Bruces and by reducing it after 1734 to a small oligarchy. (fn. 374) In that way the corporation became subservient to the lord of the borough. By the later 18th century most corporation members were common councillors, with whom, in the first instance, the making of decisions rested. In the later 18th century, early 19th, and still in 1833, the Ailesburys' steward was the corporation's leading member and ensured that only men acceptable to Lord Ailesbury were nominated as burgesses. (fn. 375)
Although the king's court, the later town court or court of civil pleas, to which the 1204 charter entitled the burgesses and which the new borough council was allowed to retain in 1835, (fn. 376) was mentioned in 1473, (fn. 377) no record of it survives before 1641 or after 1847. It was a court of record usually held weekly but sometimes less frequently: in the 19th century it was held every three weeks in the town hall on Wednesdays. There, before the mayor as chairman, civil pleas such as those of debt, and claims for damages, were heard and determined. Pleas more properly the concern of the borough quarter sessions, such as trespass on the case, trespass and assault, assault and battery, entry, and entry and assault were also dealt with, presumably because they involved claims for damages. The town clerk acted as registrar, and the serjeants at mace as bailiffs of the court serving process. (fn. 378) Although most of its functions passed to the county court established by Act of 1846 the king's court was not formally abolished until 1974. (fn. 379)
The right to be exempt from the sheriff's tourn and to take other liberties was implied in the charter of 1204. (fn. 380) The mayor's court, first recorded in 1501, seems in the earlier 16th century to have fulfilled some of the functions of a court leet. It was attended by all the inhabitants and held, usually every three weeks, on Fridays, and at it the ward aldermen presented minor breaches of the peace. The administrative business of the borough was conducted from 1501 and earlier at courts of morrow speech which were held, generally each quarter, on Fridays. There bylaws were passed, leases of borough property were enrolled, and transfers of such property were proclaimed. At the autumn court the mayor and borough officials were elected and the common council chosen. (fn. 381) The mayor's and the morrow speech courts were held together once in 1537. (fn. 382) They were separate in 15534 (fn. 383) but had merged by 1614 under the title of the court of morrow speech with the mayor's court (fn. 384) and were held, under various similar titles, every three weeks on a Friday until the earlier 19th century. (fn. 385)
Pie powder courts, records of which are extant only for the earlier 16th century, were held on Wednesdays and Saturdays to deal with market offences such as debts and infringements of the assize of bread. (fn. 386) Biannual views of frankpledge, of which no record survives before 1514 or after 1554, were also held. Presentments of matters such as the fouling of gutters and thoroughfares, buildings in need of repair, and malicious wounding were made to a jury by the ward aldermen. (fn. 387) The view was, perhaps exceptionally, held with a court of pie powder in 1514. (fn. 388)
Although the newly incorporated borough was granted a commission of the peace in 1576, (fn. 389) no record of a distinct borough court of quarter sessions survives before the 18th century. In the later 17th century and early 18th justice business, such as larceny, the removal of paupers from the town, trespass, assault, and ejectment, was dealt with at the king's court and at the court of the mayor with the morrow speech court. Quarter sessions business was distinguished in the first court in 1705 and in the second court in 1715, and a separate borough court of quarter sessions may date from that period. (fn. 390) In the 18th century, too, the sessions held at Easter and Michaelmas drew to themselves the leet business formerly done in the mayor's court and later in the court of the mayor with the court of morrow speech and matters dealt with in the 16th-century views of frankpledge and courts of pie powder. In 1772, and probably earlier, the title of the Easter and Michaelmas sessions was general quarter sessions of the peace, leet, and law day. The two strands of jurisdiction exercised at them are illustrated by the attendance of and presentments by the overseers of the two Marlborough parishes, who were appointed by the justices on the churchwardens' nominations, and the ward constables or their deputies who were appointed at the Michaelmas sessions. From the 18th century cases including bastardy, grand and petty larceny, and assault were presented to the three borough justices by a grand jury. (fn. 391) Felonies were tried, without authority, until 1824, (fn. 392) and in the later 16th century and earlier 17th the corporation had a gibbet west of Kingsbury Street on the site of Gallows Close. (fn. 393)
From 1576 the mayor was ex officio clerk of the market. (fn. 394) No record of a market court survives before 1785. In that year, and until 1836, minutes of the mayor's court otherwise called the court of the clerk of the market show the mayor, as clerk of the market and a justice, sitting every six weeks with another borough justice to regulate market affairs, and to receive presentments by a jury sworn each autumn of matters such as the sale of butter in short measure and the use of short weights. (fn. 395)
In the 16th century and later the income of the borough derived from rents and entry fines of Port field, payments for pasturage on Marlborough Common, rents from houses and inns in Marlborough, some of them former chantry property bought from the Crown in 1550, the profits of a weighing engine, and tolls which were leased in 1626 and later. The total income of 633 in 1832 included 484 from the properties, 99 from the land, 20 from the tolls, and 30 from the weighing engine. (fn. 396) Marlborough was exempt from the county rate, (fn. 397) and from 1775 borough rates were imposed on the two Marlborough parishes at borough quarter sessions by the borough justices. Although the jurisdiction of the borough justices was assumed by the county justices in 1835, the borough continued to be exempt from the county rate but apparently contributed from the borough fund to the costs of committing prisoners from Marlborough to the county gaols, and, on the orders of the county justices and of the justices of assize, paid the expenses of prosecutions of offences committed in the borough. In 1848, however, the borough was judged liable to contribute to the county rate. (fn. 398)
Borough bailiffs were in office in 1223. (fn. 399) They were in charge of the borough weights (fn. 400) and acted as officers of the borough courts. A coroner, an officer the burgesses claimed to have had from 1204, was in office in 1249 and there were two in 1289 and later. (fn. 401) There were ward aldermen in 1268, (fn. 402) a mayor in 1273, (fn. 403) and two underbailiffs and a constable in 1462. (fn. 404) All the officers were elected in early autumn at the morrow speech court, later the courts of morrow speech with the mayor's court, (fn. 405) but coroners, although the office was elective, seem to have served for longer periods. (fn. 406) Borough officials, except the ward aldermen called constables from 1649, continued to be elected at those courts in the earlier 19th century. (fn. 407) In the later 18th century the ward constables, who then appeared at borough quarter sessions by deputy, were elected at the Michaelmas sessions, leet, and law days. (fn. 408) Two chamberlains in 1572 and one in 1593 and 1833, apparently appointed by the corporation rather than elected, were in charge of borough finances. (fn. 409) A borough treasurer, perhaps the chamberlain, was mentioned in 1824. (fn. 410) A town clerk, who also acted as recorder and clerk of the peace, was in office in 1579. (fn. 411) The two constables mentioned in 1641 were called high constables in the later 17th century to distinguish them from the ward constables. The two serjeants at mace mentioned from the 16th century may have performed functions similar to those of the medieval underbailiffs. (fn. 412) A beadle was mentioned in 1833. (fn. 413)
A guildhall, which may have stood on the north side of High Street at its east end, was mentioned in 1270. (fn. 414) The building or its successor was repaired in 1575 and 1583. (fn. 415) In the 17th century and earlier 19th the borough courts and quarter sessions were held there. (fn. 416) That building, apparently inadequate for county quarter sessions for which temporary buildings were provided, was replaced c. 1630 by a new guildhall or town hall, incorporating a market house, built at the east end of High Street on the site of the market or high cross. (fn. 417) That town hall, burned down in 1653, was rebuilt on the same site in 16545. (fn. 418) It was rebuilt by John Hammond in 17923, altered and repaired to provide better accommodation for county sessions in 1867, and rebuilt again in 19012 to designs in a late 17th-century style by C. E. Ponting. (fn. 419)
The right of the burgesses to have a prison was implicit in the terms of the 1204 charter. One was mentioned in 1281, in 1561 when the mayor committed a felon to it, and in 1575 when it was repaired. (fn. 420) A gaol was expressly granted to the corporation in 1576. (fn. 421) It was beneath the guildhall in 1625. (fn. 422) Extra and temporary accommodation may have been provided for prisoners at county sessions in the earlier 17th century. (fn. 423) Prisons or blindhouses were incorporated in the town halls of c. 1630, 16545, and 17923. (fn. 424) In the late 19th century the prison accommodated prisoners awaiting trial at county quarter sessions; the lower part had gone out of use by 1867, but the upper part was used until the new town hall was built in 19012. (fn. 425) The doorway of the 18th-century blindhouse was built into the town hall of 19012, which incorporated cells. (fn. 426)
In 1575 or earlier the borough maintained an almshouse next to the grammar school. (fn. 427) A workhouse, which possibly stood west of Marlborough, was built by the corporation c. 1631. (fn. 428) That building was demolished c. 1709 and replaced by another on the west side of Hyde Lane. (fn. 429) In 1725 the corporation conveyed the almshouse to St. Mary's parish to house its paupers and the workhouse to St. Peter's for the same purpose. (fn. 430)
The borough contributed towards a bridewell in Preshute in 1624. (fn. 431) Another, built partly at the expense of the county and partly at that of the borough in 16301, (fn. 432) stood on the south side of the London-Bath road in Preshute, (fn. 433) possibly on the site of Marlborough College chapel. The corporation contributed to the cost of repairs and to the master's salary. In 1648 the county justices expressly allowed the borough justices to send people there. (fn. 434) The bridewell was rebuilt within the borough on the east side of Hermitage Lane in 1709. (fn. 435) In 1781 it was wrongly described as in Preshute. (fn. 436) That building was repaired and enlarged in 1723 (fn. 437) and rebuilt in 1787. (fn. 438) In 1825 and later it was used mainly for confining prisoners before trial. (fn. 439) Agricultural rioters were detained there in 1830. (fn. 440) There was no debtor, only criminals, in its 15 cells, 12 for men and 3 for women, in 1836. A chaplain was employed and a surgeon visited thrice weekly. The placing of chains on the doors 'to afford somewhat of the appearance of a prison' was suggested in 1842. (fn. 441) The number of prisoners confined there during 1843 was 312. (fn. 442) It ceased to be a prison in 1854 and from then until 1898 was a police station. (fn. 443) The building was afterwards acquired by Marlborough College, and a gymnasium, which incorporated windows from the bridewell, and a college boarding house were built on the site. (fn. 444)
In 1835 the oligarchical corporation which had been controlled by the earls and marquesses of Ailesbury was replaced by a town council styled the mayor and burgesses of the borough and town of Marlborough. Any male householder who had lived in Marlborough for three or more years and had occupied property upon which poor rates were levied, and who himself had not received parish relief, could be enrolled as a burgess. The council comprised a mayor, 4 aldermen, of whom 2 went out of office every third year, and 12 councillors of whom a third went out of office each year. The burgesses elected councillors each year. The councillors elected from their number a mayor each year and aldermen every third year. (fn. 445) The council was bound to hold quarterly meetings but usually met, on adjournments, every three weeks, possibly in imitation of the former three weeks court. The borough officers, appointed by the council, were a town clerk, 2 serjeants at mace and bailiffs, a beadle who was also town crier, billet master, and borough policeman, and a treasurer. Committees were appointed to oversee watching and market affairs (fn. 446) and to deal with business arising from the legislation of the later 19th century and earlier 20th. (fn. 447) The borough lost its coroner and its commission of the peace in 1835. (fn. 448) The county coroner acted in the borough from 1835 and continued to do so after the council in 1851 obtained a new commission of the peace which entitled it to restore the office of borough coroner. (fn. 449) In 1860 Marlborough became part of the North Wiltshire Coroner's District. (fn. 450) Borough sessions were held from 1851 until 1951 when, under the Justices of the Peace Act, 1949, Marlborough became the meeting place of a county petty sessional division. (fn. 451) Petty sessions were still held in the town hall in 1982. (fn. 452)
A sanitary inspector was appointed in 1855. The town council in 1859 agreed to adopt the Local Government Act of 1858 which enabled it to act as a sanitary authority. It did not, however, begin to function as a local board of health until 1866. The town clerk became clerk to the board, and a surveyor, a treasurer, a collector, and an inspector of nuisances were appointed. (fn. 453) Under the Public Health Act, 1872, the borough constituted itself an urban sanitary authority (fn. 454) and appointed a medical officer of health. That parttime officer was replaced in 1915 by a full-time one for Marlborough and the rural districts of Amesbury, Marlborough, Pewsey, and Ramsbury. The council acquired no. 1 the Green as offices in 1936. (fn. 455) It administered the municipal borough until 1974. In that year Marlborough ceased to be a borough, became a parish with town status, and was included in Kennet district. The borough council became the parish or town council and its nominated chairman the town mayor. (fn. 456)
Arms, Seals, and Insignia. The medieval borough arms were tricked in 1565 as azure, a castle triple-towered argent. That charge was incorporated in the elaborate coat confirmed to the borough in the same year and still used with minor variations in 1982; the coat was then tricked as per saltire gules and azure, in chief a bull passant argent armed or, in fesse two capons argent, in base three greyhounds courant in pale argent collared or, and on a chief or, upon a pale azure between two roses gules, a tower tripletowered argent. (fn. 457) A tower on a helm was adopted as a crest in 1714. (fn. 458) The helm was replaced by a mound, and two greyhounds adopted as supporters, in 1836. (fn. 459) The motto 'Ubi nunc sapientis ossa Merlini?', of which there is no record before 1854, alludes to the medieval tradition that Marlborough was the burying place of Merlin, and is adapted from a line of Boethius. (fn. 460) Those arms, with an amended legend, were transferred to the new town council in 1974. (fn. 461)
The matrix of the earliest common seal of the borough was cast in the 13th century. The first known impression is of 1354. It is round, 5.3 cm. in diameter, and shows a triple-towered castle embattled and masoned, with long round-headed windows and a round-headed doorway with a hinged door closed: legend, lombardic, [s]ig [il]l[um commune de m]arleberg[e]. (fn. 462) The queen granted the mayor and burgesses the use of a common seal in 1576, (fn. 463) but, if a new matrix was made, (fn. 464) it was a replica of the old because impressions did not change. (fn. 465) In 1714 a round silver matrix 5 cm. in diameter, bearing within a carved border the date 1714 and, flanked by ornamental mantling and surmounted by a tower on a helm, the arms confirmed in 1565, was given by Charles Bruce, Lord Bruce, whose arms appear on the handle: legend, humanistic, sigillum maioris & burgensium burgi & villae de marleberg. (fn. 466) Old and new seals were both used until 1727 when the destruction of the old one was ordered. (fn. 467) A brass matrix of the old seal was found at Stone (Staffs.) in the 1930s. (fn. 468) The matrix of 1714, on which the engraver omitted to represent the tower in chief on a pale, survives but was replaced in 1836 by another of silver, 5.3 cm. in diameter, bearing the borough arms, the date 1836, a mound surmounted by a tower as a crest, and two greyhounds as supporters: legend, humanistic, the seal of the mayor aldermen and burgesses of the borough of marlborough. The last word is on a scroll beneath the supporters. (fn. 469) In 1974 a new seal, bearing that date and the town arms, was adopted. (fn. 470)
The mayor's seal was made anew in 1590. (fn. 471) A new mayoral seal, a smaller version of the common seal of 1714, was given, probably in 1714, by Charles, Lord Bruce: legend, humanistic, sigillum maioris burgi de marleberg. (fn. 472) It survived in 1982.
The borough had maces in the 16th century. (fn. 473) Two maces, bought in 1601, were altered in London in 1607. (fn. 474) They were altered, or new ones made, in London by Tobias Coleman in 1652. The silver gilt maces, each 1.04 m. long, were converted from Commonwealth to royal maces in 1660. (fn. 475) A mayoral chain was bought by subscription authorized in 1896. (fn. 476) The town council also possessed a mayor's day chain, a mayoress's chain, and a deputy mayor's badge of office in 1982. (fn. 477)
Mayoral plate, perhaps that mentioned in 14923, (fn. 478) was sold c. 1550. (fn. 479) A pewter dining service, bought for the borough in 1615, (fn. 480) was destroyed in 1653. (fn. 481) A new set was bought in 1664 and added to in 1667, 1675, and 1676. (fn. 482) Four plates, engraved with a stylized tower, (fn. 483) survived in 1982. (fn. 484)
Parish Government. In the 18th century and presumably earlier, parish government was controlled by the borough. The parish surveyors and overseers, who until 1835 were nominated by the churchwardens and appointed by the borough justices at the Easter general quarter sessions, acted in matters concerning both roads and the poor in accordance with decisions taken and orders made at borough sessions, which they attended. (fn. 485) In 1716, for example, the St. Peter's overseers were ordered to contribute 2 weekly for the relief of the St. Mary's poor, (fn. 486) and rates imposed on St. Peter's parish were invariably double those levied in St. Mary's. Both parishes also contributed to the borough constables' bills and to other borough expenses. (fn. 487) After borough quarter sessions ceased in 1835, parish officers were elected at vestry meetings. (fn. 488)
St. Mary's may have had a workhouse near the churchyard in 1698. (fn. 489) In 1725 the borough conveyed its almshouse in the Parade to St. Mary's parish for a workhouse. (fn. 490) It was out of repair in 1788 and its inmates were neglected. (fn. 491) A proposal to have one workhouse for the two parishes was rejected in 1790 and St. Mary's workhouse was repaired and enlarged in that year. (fn. 492) It had 43 inmates in 1834 (fn. 493) and was closed when St. Mary's parish became part of Marlborough union in 1835. (fn. 494) The building had been sold by 1860. (fn. 495) Expenditure on the poor increased after the adverse report on conditions in the workhouse in 1788. (fn. 496) Poor rates rose from 216 levied in 1782 to 745 in 1800 but decreased to 537 in 1824. (fn. 497) They rose from 586 in 1830 to 661 in 1834. (fn. 498) A shed for looms was erected at the workhouse in 1791 and a contractor appointed to employ the inmates in clothmaking. In the same year St. Mary's vestry resolved to inoculate the poor and in 1796 to deny outdoor relief to any pauper who kept a dog. (fn. 499)
The borough workhouse in Hyde Lane was conveyed to St. Peter's parish in 1725. (fn. 500) The master agreed with the trustees and parish officers in 1728 to keep the workhouse inmates for 1s. 8d. each weekly, 'pudding and butter excepted'. (fn. 501) From 1751 to 1773 contractors were found to employ the inmates in cotton spinning. In 1757 there were 17 adults, 9 girls, and 5 boys so employed. (fn. 502) Major repairs to the workhouse were made in 1792. (fn. 503) When St. Peter's parish was included in Marlborough poor-law union in 1835 (fn. 504) the building was used as a union workhouse until a new one was built in 1837 on Marlborough Common in Preshute. (fn. 505) The workhouse in Hyde Lane was sold in that year. (fn. 506) Poor rates levied in St. Peter's in the period 174555 averaged 16 a month and in the years 175580 averaged 3638 monthly. In the later 18th century and earlier 19th there were usually four overseers. (fn. 507) As in St. Mary's parish, increased expenditure may have been encouraged by the report in 1788 on the dilapidated state of the workhouse and on its sick and dirty inmates. (fn. 508) Outdoor relief, however, remained low: 4 was spent in 17901, 6 in 1803. It seems that inoculation of the poor agreed upon in 1794 may have been resisted because in 1803 paupers who refused to be inoculated or to have their children inoculated were denied relief. (fn. 509) Rates totalled 548 in 1830, inexplicably only 396 in 1832, and 663 in 1834. (fn. 510) A paid assistant overseer was appointed in 1834. (fn. 511)
The borough was policed by constables, high constables from 1776 or earlier, who helped the mayor to keep the peace. In each ward a petty constable, formerly called ward alderman, arranged for the watch to be kept and for precautions against fire to be taken. In the 18th century and earlier 19th the petty constables also kept order at fairs. Offences committed in the wards were reported by the petty constables at the courts of the mayor or three weeks' court with the court of morrow speech and at the borough quarter sessions held at Easter and Michaelmas. (fn. 512) The constables were supported by special rates. (fn. 513) An association for the prosecution of felons was founded in 1774 and still flourished in 1834. (fn. 514) A public subscription was raised in 1805 to enable watch to be kept in the borough from 29 September to 25 March. Inhabitants subscribing 5s. or more could provide deputies but those subscribing less were to serve in person. A committee was to choose two men who were to be paid to watch each night and to appoint a third to supervise them. (fn. 515) In 1836 the new borough council established a watch committee and appointed the borough beadle as policeman. (fn. 516) Watchmen were discontinued in 1850 when the county police force provided two constables, partly maintained at the borough's expense. A police station was opened in St. Margaret's, then in Preshute. (fn. 517) The old bridewell became the police station in 1854. (fn. 518) The borough police became part of the county force in 1875. A new police station was built in George Lane in Preshute in 1898. (fn. 519)
In the early 18th century the petty constables were responsible for maintaining fire-fighting equipment and for taking precautions against fire. (fn. 520) Before 1747, however, the borough appointed a separate manager of its two fire engines. The manager's salary and the upkeep of the engines were paid for by subscription. (fn. 521) From 1836, however, both were paid for from the borough fund. (fn. 522) In 1848 the engines were housed behind the National schools south of High Street. (fn. 523) After fire destroyed part of High Street in 1879 the old engines were replaced, new equipment bought, and a paid fire brigade formed. A motor engine was bought in 1926 and housed in London Road. By the Act of 1947 control of the borough fire brigade, which had been part of a national fire service during the Second World War, passed to the county council. A new fire station was opened in the Parade in 1952. (fn. 524)
The town was being lighted at corporation expense by oil lamps in the 1690s, (fn. 525) a practice which probably continued until the 19th century. A private gas company, formed c. 1822, erected works on corporation land, (fn. 526) east of London Road and north of the Kennet. (fn. 527) Gas lighting had been installed in part of the town hall by 1829 (fn. 528) and in High Street by 1831. (fn. 529) In 1846 the supply was extended, partly at the expense of the borough fund and partly by donations, to the remainder of the town by Marlborough Gas Co. (fn. 530) By 1907 gas lighting had been extended to the area taken into the borough in 1901. (fn. 531) The works were acquired by Swindon United Gas Co. in 1935 and closed in 1945. Thereafter gas was supplied from Swindon. The Swindon Gas Co. merged in the South Western Gas Board in 1949. One of the town's gas holders ceased to be used in 1961 but the other stored North Sea gas in 1982. (fn. 532)
Unsuccessful administrative attempts to light the borough by electricity were made in 1904 and 1913. (fn. 533) Herbert Leaf's gift of electric lighting to Marlborough College in 1923 was made on the condition that the town should also benefit. In that year mains were laid and an electricity committee of the town council was formed: it oversaw the installation of electric light in the town hall in 1924 and in the remainder of the town in 1926. (fn. 534) The borough had acquired its own electricity station in Pewsey Road by 1937. (fn. 535) The town scheme was nationalized by the Act of 1947, (fn. 536) and was vested in the Southern Electricity Board in 1948. (fn. 537)
The borough maintained a pest house in 1608. (fn. 538) Various ad hoc measures, such as the provision of accommodation for, and the isolation and nursing of, the infected poor, and the burial of the dead, were taken by the corporation during outbreaks of plague in Marlborough during the 17th century. (fn. 539) A bylaw of 1636 provided for the appointment of three men, whose wages of 6d. a day were paid for by a tax on householders, to patrol the town daily during such outbreaks and to allow entry only to strangers who could prove that they came from uninfected areas. (fn. 540)
Marlborough had a branch of the health of towns association in 1847. (fn. 541) Although in 1848 tenants of corporation property were enjoined to attend to their cesspits, (fn. 542) little was done to improve water supply, sewage disposal, or the care of fever patients until a local board of health was established in 1866. (fn. 543) A pest house, called the Rest House in 1977, which stood alone in a lane running south from Poulton Hill, (fn. 544) was closed when an isolation hospital, mainly of cast iron, was built in Blowhorn Street in 1871. (fn. 545) The iron hospital was let (fn. 546) except when needed, as in 1874. (fn. 547) It was demolished c. 1928. (fn. 548) In 1891 the corporation undertook to provide a public water supply. Waterworks, which comprised an engine house, pumping machinery, and a reservoir, had been constructed on Postern Hill in Preshute and main supply pipes had been laid by 1896. Another reservoir was provided and additional machinery installed on Postern Hill in 1915. A tank for storing water built on Marlborough Common in 1941 (fn. 549) was demolished in 1970. (fn. 550) The main outlet for the town sewage was the Kennet in 1864. Attempts in 1894 to enlarge the borough were unsuccessful because its disposal system was inadequate. Although sewerage works were opened in Elcot Lane, then in Preshute, in 1900, (fn. 551) the system did not function fully until the 1920s. (fn. 552) Sewers were afterwards extended to remaining parts of Preshute transferred to Marlborough in 1934. (fn. 553)
A bylaw of 1577 required householders to clear their frontages on fair and market days and on Saturday nights. (fn. 554) Breaches of it were the concern of the views and courts leet until the earlier 19th century. (fn. 555) It was suggested in 1866 that a general rate be levied for watering the streets. (fn. 556) That was done in 1885 and earlier by the town's water cart. (fn. 557)
Houses in Marlborough were numbered c. 1874. (fn. 558) The town council built houses for letting in Chiminage Close in 1912 and 1923, in Lainey's Close in 1921, 1926, and 1928, and in Coldharbour Lane in 1921. (fn. 559) Council houses were also built at St. Margaret's from c. 1920 to c. 1950, (fn. 560) and on part of Port field from the 1960s. (fn. 561)
A swimming pool south of Kennet Place, built after the First World War by the town improvement committee, was taken over by the corporation in 1937 and still used in 1982. (fn. 562) A cemetery for the borough was opened in 1924 (fn. 563) on Marlborough Common in Preshute north-west of the burial ground provided for Preshute and the Marlborough parishes in 1855. (fn. 564)
A branch of the county library was opened in no. 1 the Green in 1936 or 1937. (fn. 565) It was moved in 1964 to the buildings in High Street vacated by St. Peter's school. (fn. 566) Marlborough, which stood on a main 17th-century postal route, had a postmaster, and presumably a post office, in 1610 or earlier. (fn. 567) A post office on the south side of High Street was burned down in 1879 (fn. 568) and replaced by another on the north. In 1909 a new post office was built at no. 101 High Street. (fn. 569)
Marlborough was represented at the parliament of 1275 (fn. 570) and returned two burgesses in 1295 and later. (fn. 571) The borough was frequently represented during the period 13921420, presumably because it was the most important town in northeast Wiltshire at the time. (fn. 572) In the 14th century, and perhaps earlier, the queen's bailiff in the county, who was her deputy at Marlborough, returned names of elected members. (fn. 573) After 1405 the burgesses sent the names of those elected to the county court to be returned in the county indenture. (fn. 574) Marlborough was generally accounted a Crown borough until c. 1500. (fn. 575) Most members were prominent townsmen who often held not only borough but county office. John Bird (d. 1445), a resident burgess who represented Marlborough in 1402, 141315, 1426, 1429, 1435, and 1437, also acted as county tax collector and escheator and, from 1405 and earlier to 1433 and later, as steward of Queen Joan's Wiltshire lands. (fn. 576)
The influence of the Seymour family gradually replaced that of the Crown during the earlier 16th century and became firmly established after the reversion of the borough lordship was granted to Edward Seymour, duke of Somerset, in 1547. (fn. 577) Most members were still resident townsmen such as Robert Were or Brown (d. 1570), M.P. in 1553, (fn. 578) and William Daniell (d. 1604), M.P. in 1558 and 1559. Daniell's patron was possibly William Herbert, earl of Pembroke, whose influence displaced that of the Seymours in the 1550s during the minority of Edward Seymour, later earl of Hertford. (fn. 579) The borough seems to have paid its members in the 16th century, (fn. 580) and in the earlier 17th when a member received 2 and incidental expenses for a parliament. (fn. 581)
The franchise in the 17th century and later was restricted to the burgesses. (fn. 582) Under a new system of representation imposed briefly during the Interregnum, Marlborough was allowed only one member and, with Devizes and Salisbury, was one of only three Wiltshire towns summoned to parliament in 1654. (fn. 583) In the 17th century and earlier 18th the polls, in which each burgess had two votes, were held in the town hall at special sessions of the morrow speech courts. (fn. 584)
After 1676 the Whig interest of the Seymours was challenged by the Tory interest of Thomas Bruce, from 1685 earl of Ailesbury. (fn. 585) The efforts of the rival parties to control the corporation resulted in attempts, in 1679 and later, to extend the franchise to all householders (fn. 586) and in the period 171114 led to the election of rival mayors, who in 1715 supported rival parliamentary candidates. (fn. 587) The electorate in 1705 was 'very mercenary and resolved to serve the highest bidder . . . being now grown as corrupt as any other borough'. (fn. 588) In 1712 Charles, duke of Somerset, offered 50 to any who would desert the Bruce interest. (fn. 589) The restriction of votes to the burgesses was confirmed in 1717 (fn. 590) and 1830. (fn. 591) The electorate numbered 77 in 1623. (fn. 592) The 40 burgesses recorded in 1704 had been reduced to 21 in 1734. (fn. 593) Bruce and Seymour interests shared the representation from 1722, when Algernon Seymour, earl of Hertford, was returned, until 1734, when the return of two Bruce candidates was secured. Thereafter Marlborough was a pocket borough of the Bruces. (fn. 594) Sir John Hynde Cotton, Bt., the Jacobite leader, was one of the borough members from 1741 until his death in 1752 and was succeeded by his son and namesake, who sat for the borough during the period 175261. (fn. 595) The constituency was managed for Thomas Bruce, Lord Bruce, from 1776 earl of Ailesbury, by his agent Charles Bill who was a member of the corporation and served as mayor. In 1771 the corporation agreed to nominate new burgesses only with Lord Bruce's consent. (fn. 596) An unsuccessful attempt to widen the franchise was made in the later 18th century and earlier 19th by the Marlborough independent and constitutional association. (fn. 597)
In 1832 Preshute parish was added to the parliamentary borough, (fn. 598) which in 1833 had 230 registered voters. At that time, however, the steward of Charles, marquess of Ailesbury, was a leading member of the corporation and Lord Ailesbury could still be sure that the members chosen were his nominees. (fn. 599) The borough lost one member in 1867 when the franchise was again widened. (fn. 600) Its allegiance was Tory (fn. 601) until 1885 when it lost its remaining member and was merged in the Devizes division of the county. (fn. 602)
The churches which William Beaufay, bishop of East Anglia (d. 1091), gave or devised to Osmund, bishop of Salisbury, possibly included those of St. Mary and St. Peter in Marlborough. Bishop Osmund endowed Salisbury cathedral chapter with the churches in 1091 and their histories were the same as that of Preshute church until 1223. (fn. 603) In that year the bishop of Salisbury detached both St. Mary's and St. Peter's from the prebend of Blewbury (Berks., later Oxon.) and Marlborough and included them within his peculiar jurisdiction. (fn. 604) In the 19th century St. Mary's served the borough east of Kingsbury Street and St. Peter's the borough west of it. (fn. 605)
In 1238 the bishop ordained a vicarage in St. Mary's church, which as architectural evidence shows existed in the 12th century, and assigned the advowson of it to the dean of Salisbury. (fn. 606) Thereafter the deans, or their proctors as in 1334 and 1376, presented vicars until the early 19th century. The bishop collated in 1563, presumably because the deanery was vacant, and for unknown reasons in 1583 and 1663. In 1608 John Sharpe presented under grant of a turn from, inexplicably, Salisbury chapter. (fn. 607) By Act of 1840 the advowson was transferred to the bishop. (fn. 608) In 1917 the bishop, also patron of St. Peter's church, presented the same man to both benefices which were held in plurality until united in 1924 as the rectory of Marlborough, St. Peter and St. Paul with St. Mary the Virgin. (fn. 609) The title was altered in 1952 to the united benefice of Marlborough, St. Mary the Virgin with St. Peter and St. Paul. The parishes were united in 1952 and St. Mary's became the parish church. (fn. 610) The united benefice was united with Preshute vicarage in 1976 and a team ministry established. (fn. 611)
In 1238 the revenues of St. Mary's, mainly tithes, were assigned to the vicars, who until 1252 paid 1 yearly to Salisbury chapter to maintain a candle in the cathedral choir. (fn. 612) The vicarage was worth 6 13s. 4d. in 1255 and 10 9s. 4d. in 1535. (fn. 613) The poverty of the living is suggested by several augmentations of it. Parishioners subscribed to augment the income of 13 6s. 8d. in 1674. (fn. 614) In 1733 the Revd. Benjamin D'Aranda and Leonard Twells, vicar 172237, gave, to augment the vicarage, 200 which was matched by 200 from Queen Anne's Bounty. (fn. 615) Edward Cressett (d. 1693) bequeathed 80 for the vicars but by 1783 the capital had been lost. (fn. 616) A bequest of 200 from Sarah Franklin and a parliamentary grant of 300 in 1811 and another parliamentary grant made in 1812 were used partly to buy 12 a. in Liddington, sold in 1919. (fn. 617) Charles Francis, rector of Collingbourne Ducis and of Mildenhall and four times mayor of Marlborough, by will proved 1821 gave 100 which produced 3 3s. 8d. in 1905 but by 1982 had merged with other endowments of the benefice. (fn. 618) From 1829 to 1831 the benefice had an average income of 100. (fn. 619) In 1839 350 by subscription and 100 from a Mrs. Pyncombe's trustees were given. (fn. 620) The tithes were valued at 25 15s. in 1843 and commuted. (fn. 621)
The vicar had a house on the Green in 1380. (fn. 622) A later vicarage house was apparently no. 8 the Green, (fn. 623) which is a 17th-century timber-framed building. It was uninhabitable in 1698 (fn. 624) and 1812, (fn. 625) and was sold c. 1838. (fn. 626) A new house at the junction of St. Martin's and Stonebridge Lane had been built by 1843. (fn. 627) From 1917 the incumbent lived in St. Peter's Rectory which became the Rectory of the united benefice in 1924. St. Mary's Vicarage was sold in 1927. (fn. 628)
Between 1252 and 1254 the inhabitants of the 'new land' east of Marlborough built a church dedicated to St. Martin and from 1254 gave the rector of Preshute 40s. a year to find a chaplain to serve it. (fn. 629) The church was either enlarged or repaired in 1270 when the king allowed the inhabitants to take six oaks from Savernake forest for work then in progress. (fn. 630) From 1330 the vicar of Preshute received the pension and paid the chaplain's stipend. (fn. 631) The church was later endowed with land and nine tenements. (fn. 632) In 1499, when it was worth 4 a year, the church was served, contrary to canon law, by a friar. (fn. 633) St. Martin's was called a parish in the earlier 16th century because it had its own church, was separated by Marlborough from its mother church, and was separately assessed for taxation. (fn. 634) It was transferred from Preshute to St. Mary's parish, Marlborough, c. 1548. (fn. 635) The church had ceased to be used as such by 1567; (fn. 636) it stood in Coldharbour Lane. (fn. 637)
In 1258 Eustace Blowe granted land in Marlborough to Idony of Mildenhall who was to pay 6s. to St. Mary's for masses of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (fn. 638) The chantry so founded was perhaps that which John Kingswood, a canon of St. Mary's priory, Studley (Warws.), was allowed to serve by papal dispensation in 1466. (fn. 639) Its endowments were perhaps the lands reputed in 1579 to have belonged to a chantry of St. Mary in Marlborough. (fn. 640) Thomas Poulton, bishop of Worcester, by will proved 1433 gave money for masses to be said for five years at the lady altar. (fn. 641)
By will proved 1502 Robert Hutchins or Forster gave 1 from his lands in Marlborough, one of the Ogbournes, Elcot, and Bourton (Berks., later Oxon.), which he devised to Henry Pengryve, for an obit in St. Mary's church. (fn. 642) Pengryve by will proved 1518 charged those lands with 9 yearly, of which 6 was for a priest to pray for him, Hutchins or Forster, and their friends, and 1 6s. 8d. was for his obit. (fn. 643) At its dissolution the chantry, worth 10 3s. 4d. yearly, was served by an old priest who had no other living. (fn. 644) By deed of 1503 an unknown donor conveyed property in Marlborough to endow a chantry in St. Mary's. Its property was worth 8 8s. 2d. in 1548. (fn. 645)
In 1527 William Serle endowed a Jesus service in St. Mary's with property in the Green ward and in Kingsbury Street, which, worth 1 5s. 4d. in 1548, was sold with other chantry property in Marlborough to the mayor and burgesses in 1550. (fn. 646) Rents from some of those properties were afterwards used to maintain St. Mary's church. Income from the Church Estate, then no. 5 the Green and a cottage in Herd Street, was so used in 1905. (fn. 647) The estate was sold at an unknown date and the capital invested. In 1982 the income of St. Mary's Church Estates charity was still used for church maintenance. (fn. 648)
The chantry priests apparently acted as assistant curates in the earlier 16th century. (fn. 649) Curates frequently assisted the vicars thereafter. (fn. 650) Thomas Miles, vicar 16439, was also vicar of Preshute 16479. (fn. 651) William Hughes (d. 1688), ejected from the vicarage in 1662, remained in Marlborough as a dissenting minister. (fn. 652) Leonard Twells, vicar 172237, wrote theological works. (fn. 653) In 1783 services with sermons, omitted when the Sacrament was administered, were held on Sunday mornings and afternoons. Other services were held on Monday and Wednesday mornings and on Saturday evenings. Holy Communion was celebrated on Christmas and Easter days, Whit and Trinity Sundays, and the first Sunday in the month. There were usually between 20 and 30 communicants but 60 at Easter. (fn. 654) In 1851 an average of 650 had attended morning services and 450 evening ones over the past year. Services held every third Sunday afternoon had congregations averaging 400 people. (fn. 655) Morning and evening services were held on Sundays and great festivals in 1864. Extra Lent and Advent services were held. Prayers, attended by about ten people, were said on Friday mornings and, attended by about fifty, on saints' days. Holy Communion was celebrated on the same days as it had been in 1783. Of the 250 communicants in the parish, an average of 60 received the Sacrament at great festivals and 40 at other times. (fn. 656)
By will proved 1678 William White, rector of Pusey and of Appleton (both Berks.), gave 5 yearly to the vicars on condition that they catechized at evening prayer. (fn. 657) The money was still received in 1905 and in 1982. (fn. 658) White also bequeathed his extensive library to the mayor and burgesses of Marlborough in trust for the vicars of St. Mary's. (fn. 659) A room to house it was incorporated in the west gallery of the church built c. 1707. The books, catalogued by Christopher Wordsworth, rector of St. Peter's, in 1903, were deposited in 1944 at Marlborough College where they remained in 1981. (fn. 660)
The church of ST. MARY, so dedicated by 1223, (fn. 661) is built of ashlar and rubble, with ashlar dressings, and comprises a chancel with north chapel, a nave with south aisle and south porch, and a west tower. (fn. 662) During the 15th century and early 16th the aisles of the 12th-century church were rebuilt and extended to six bays, of which the easternmost formed chapels flanking the chancel, and a crenellated west tower, in which the west door of the 12th-century church was reset, was built. Partial rebuilding after the fire of 1653 included the shortening of the chancel, (fn. 663) the erection of Tuscan columns supporting semicircular arches to replace the south arcade dividing nave and south aisle, the merging of the nave and the north aisle, and the heightening of the north wall of the church. West, south, and north galleries were put up in the early 18th century and four square three-light windows inserted in the north wall at clerestory level. The galleries were dismantled and the windows blocked in the 19th century. (fn. 664) In 1873 a new chancel was built to designs by G. E. Street and a 15th-century window reset as an east window. (fn. 665) The south porch was added and a new nave ceiling inserted in the 19th century. The church was thoroughly restored in the period 19557. (fn. 666) A Roman stone relief of the goddess Fortuna is set in the west nave wall. (fn. 667) A clock with chimes was in the church in the 18th century. It was replaced in 1888. (fn. 668)
Thomas Poulton, bishop of Worcester 1426 33, bequeathed a silver chalice and other plate. In 1553 the king's commissioners took 17 oz. of plate and left the same amount for the parish. St. Mary's in 1982 possessed two silver chalices hallmarked 1657 and 1846, two patens, one hallmarked 1690 and the other given in the later 19th century, a flagon hallmarked 1843, (fn. 669) and additional plate given in 1967. (fn. 670)
There were five bells in 1553 and in the earlier 20th century a ring of six: (i) 1699, Robert Cor, recast by Taylor, 1922; (ii) 1653, William and Thomas Purdue, recast by Taylor, 1922; (iii) 1769, Robert Wells; (iv) 1653, William and Thomas Purdue; (v) 1724, Robert Cor; (vi) 1669, William and Roger Purdue. (fn. 671) In 1969 new treble and second bells, cast from the discarded peal of St. Peter's, were added to make a peal of eight. (fn. 672)
Registrations of baptisms, marriages, and burials survive from 1602. Entries of baptisms are missing for the years 171620 and 17369, those of marriages for 171637, and those of burials for 171639. (fn. 673)
After 1223 the bishop collated to the rectory of St. Peter's until it was united in 1924 with the vicarage of St. Mary's. Exceptions occurred in 1246 and 1388 when the king presented sede vacante, in 1556 when Sir Edward Baynton presented by grant of a turn, and in 1579 when for an unknown reason the queen presented. (fn. 674) When the parishes of St. Mary's and St. Peter's were united in 1952 St. Peter's became a chapel of ease. (fn. 675) It was declared redundant in 1974. (fn. 676)
The rectory, the revenue of which came only from tithes and oblations, was valued at 5 in 1255. (fn. 677) The rector protested c. 1319 that parishioners attended the Carmelite chapel nearby and in 1320 the friars agreed to compensate the rector with 10s. yearly. (fn. 678) The rector still received the rent from the former priory lands in 1625. (fn. 679) The rectory was worth 12 in 1535. (fn. 680) Its poverty, like that of St. Mary's vicarage, was relieved by augmentations. Most of them were made by the benefactors who augmented St. Mary's. In 1655 30 was given. (fn. 681) Edward Cressett by will proved 1693 gave 80 to the rectors but the capital was afterwards lost. (fn. 682) In 1783 Cressett's kinswoman Anne Liddiard gave 80 to Queen Anne's Bounty to replace it, Thomas Meyler, rector 177486, and Mrs. A. Hammond gave 20, and a Mrs. Pyncombe's trustees gave 100, benefactions matched by 200 from bounty funds. (fn. 683) Those sums were used in 1786 to buy 9 a. at Badbury in Chiseldon, sold in 1971. (fn. 684) In 1811 Sarah Franklin's executors gave 200 and in the same year there was a parliamentary grant of 300. (fn. 685) By will proved 1821 Charles Francis gave 200, the income from which was 6 in 1905 and 1982. (fn. 686) From 1829 to 1831 the rectory had an average yearly income of 130. (fn. 687) The tithes were valued at 16 in 1843 and commuted. (fn. 688) The Ecclesiastical Commissioners augmented the living by 76 yearly in 1844. (fn. 689)
The Rectory was in High Street. It was apparently rebuilt c. 1653 in a similar style to other buildings in the street. (fn. 690) The house was considered uninhabitable c. 1830 (fn. 691) and was replaced in 18323 by another west of it built of grey stone to designs by Henry Harrison. (fn. 692) The incumbent of the united benefice lived there from 1924 until 1966. The house was then sold and replaced by the Rectory in Rawlingswell Lane where the rector lived in 1981. (fn. 693)
In 1446 Isabel Bird (d. 1476) was licensed to found and endow a chantry at St. Catherine's altar where a chaplain was to say masses for the soul of her husband John Bird (d. 1445), many times M.P. for Marlborough in the earlier 15th century, for Humphrey, duke of Gloucester, and for herself. (fn. 694) She endowed the chantry in 1449 with 6 tenements, 52 a. of land, and rents worth 4 in Marlborough and elsewhere. (fn. 695) In 1473 she appointed the rector of Huish as chaplain and granted the advowson to Thomas Beke and his wife Isabel. (fn. 696) The advowson was intended to pass with Huish manor but in 1479 and 1502, when the lordship of that manor was being disputed, the rectors of St. Peter's and the mayor of Marlborough presented, and the bishop collated in 1496, 1506, and 1512. (fn. 697) The chantry, which had property worth 8 in 1535, was dissolved in 1548. (fn. 698) In the earlier 20th century no. 99 High Street, in which the chaplain may have lived, still had features of the later 15th century and the earlier 16th, but many such features were destroyed c. 1923 (fn. 699) and a timber-framed room on the first floor was the only one to survive in 1981.
By will proved 1433 Thomas Poulton, bishop of Worcester, gave books on condition that a chaplain say masses for his soul in St. Peter's for three years and devised a tenement in Marlborough to enable his nephew, or if he failed to do so the rector of St. Peter's, to maintain them. (fn. 700) No more is known of the masses.
Masses in St. Peter's, which an unknown donor endowed with lands in Marlborough by deed of 1504, may have been Our Lady's service mentioned c. 1548. The lands, worth 8 3s. 9d., passed to the Crown in 1548. (fn. 701)
The Jesus service, the only living of an old priest in 1548, was endowed piecemeal in the period 151927. Its properties in Marlborough were sold in 1550 by the Crown to the mayor and burgesses of Marlborough, who may have assigned the profits of some to maintain St. Peter's church. (fn. 702) Some of the endowments were sold before 1834 when rents from the Sun, the Marlborough Arms, and former inns in High Street and from the Bell and a former inn in Kingsbury Street were so applied. More property was sold in 1868, 1885, (fn. 703) and 1909, the proceeds were invested, and in 1981 the income of 86 was used to meet the expenses of the united benefice of Marlborough. (fn. 704)
A hermit, John Benton, possibly lived in the parish in the period 151921. (fn. 705) In 1523 another was given land, probably north of High Street, on which he built a hermitage which became vested in the mayor of Marlborough. (fn. 706) Of the many rectors who held other preferments, Robert Neel, rector 138890, was also a canon of Chichester, Ralph Hethcote, collated in 1481, was a notary public by apostolic authority and in 1484 the king's orator at the Roman curia, and others were canons of Salisbury. (fn. 707) In the 15th century and the earlier 16th the chantry priests may have acted as assistant curates. (fn. 708) From 1726 to 1829, except in the period 17951808, the rectory was held in plurality with the vicarage of Preshute. (fn. 709) Erasmus Williams, rector from 1830 to 1858 and a baronet from 1843, the author of political works, held the rectory in plurality with Rushall. (fn. 710) Christopher Wordsworth, rector 18971911, a canon of Lincoln and master of St. Nicholas's hospital, Salisbury, wrote and edited historical and liturgical works. (fn. 711) Curates assisted him and his successors and in 1924 it was expressly stipulated that a curate should assist the incumbent of the united benefice. (fn. 712)
In 1783 services with sermons were held twice on Sundays. The morning sermon was omitted when the Sacrament, received by an average of 30 people, was administered on the last Sunday in the month. In addition Holy Communion was celebrated on Christmas and Easter days and on Whit Sunday when many more communicated. Morning prayers were said on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and holy days. The rector complained that the strong dissenting tradition in Marlborough hampered his ministry. (fn. 713) Congregations averaging 500600 people were reckoned in 1851 to have attended Sunday services over the past year. (fn. 714) Two Sunday services were held in 1864, and morning prayers said on Wednesdays, Fridays, and holy days were attended by 1220 people. Advent and Lent services attended by 100200 people were held. Two services were held on Good Friday and on certain festivals. Holy Communion was celebrated on the same occasions as in 1783. Of the 160 communicants between 80 and 109 received the Sacrament at great festivals and an average of 55 at other times. (fn. 715)
The church of ST. PETER AND ST. PAUL, so called from the later 16th century, was called St. Peter's in 1223 and intermittently until the later 19th century. (fn. 716) It is built of limestone ashlar and has a chancel, with north vestry and north and south chapels, and an aisled and crenellated nave with south porch and south-west tower. (fn. 717) The church had been built by 1223 within the width of High Street; because the street runs south-west and north-east (fn. 718) limiting the length of the church, the tower was built at the west end of the south aisle and the north aisle has its west wall at an oblique angle. (fn. 719) Little of that church remains except rubble walling in the north-west corner of the present nave. The church was rebuilt from the later 15th century to the earlier 16th, nave, aisles, and tower first, and then the vaulted chancel, with north and south chapels, and the two-storeyed porch. The tower pinnacles were replaced in 1701. (fn. 720) The church was restored and the chancel refitted during 18623 by T. H. Wyatt, who removed the west gallery inserted in 1627, built the north vestry, reroofed the nave and raised the pitch of the chancel roof, and replaced the earlier 16th-century five-light east window with one of three lights. (fn. 721)
The church had a clock in 1575 and 1746. (fn. 722) There was an organ in 1576. (fn. 723) Another installed in 1776 attracted Preshute parishioners to services in 1783. (fn. 724) A memorial brass commemorates Robert Were or Brown (d. 1570), M.P. for the borough in 1553 and many times mayor of Marlborough. There are many wall monuments of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The church, redundant in 1974, was given over for the use of the town in 1978. It was maintained by St. Peter's and St. Paul's Trust in 1980 when it housed an information centre and was used for exhibitions and concerts. (fn. 725)
In 1553 the king's commissioners took 6 oz. of plate and left a chalice of 12 oz. St. Peter's had a silver cup with cover, a silver offertory basin, and a silver salver in 1783, which were all presumably sold when a set of parcel-gilt plate hallmarked 1842 was acquired. (fn. 726) The plate was transferred to St. Mary's church in 1974. (fn. 727)
The peal of five bells in the church in 1553 was recast in Devizes in 1579. The 'great' bell was recast, possibly by John Wallis, in 1612. A bell, or bells, may have been recast in 1698. A sanctus bell was cast in 1741, probably by Abel Rudhall. In 1783 there was a peal of six bells, of which three or more were by Rudhall. A new ring of eight was cast by T. Mears of London in 1831. (fn. 728) It was taken down in 1968, some of the metal used to cast two bells for St. Mary's, and the rest sold. (fn. 729)
Registrations of baptisms, marriages, and burials survive from 1611 and are complete. (fn. 730)
There were two papists, one in St. Mary's parish and the other in St. Peter's, in 1585. (fn. 731) Two recusants lived in St. Mary's parish in 1706 and 1780. (fn. 732) The Hermitage in Hyde Lane, occupied by members of the recusant Hyde family from c. 1740 to c. 1794, was used as a local mass centre. (fn. 733) The Hydes' resident Benedictine chaplains, of whom the last, William Gregory Cowley, 17904, later became president-general of the English Benedictines, served it from 1753 or earlier until 1794 but acted as priests and confessors rather than as missioners. (fn. 734) Seven people were confirmed at the Hermitage in 1753 and fifteen heard mass there in 1767 and 1780. (fn. 735)
In 1937 the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales (Fransalians) opened a chapel, which was served by a resident priest, in a house in Elcot Lane. The house ceased to be used as a chapel in 1947 when a Nissen hut on the site of the George, George Lane, was erected and used as a mass centre until replaced by a new church, dedicated to St. Thomas More, opened in 1959. (fn. 736) That was served in 1979 by two Fransalian priests who lived in the Presbytery in George Lane. (fn. 737)
Thomas Bailey, ejected from Mildenhall rectory in 1660, may have propagated Fifth Monarchy views at Marlborough until his death in 1663. (fn. 738) In 1676 there were 250 dissenters in Marlborough, 150 in St. Mary's parish, and 100 in St. Peter's, the largest number in any Wiltshire town. (fn. 739) In 1678 burgesses were forbidden to hold office or to be members of the council if they attended conventicles. (fn. 740) Inhabitants of Marlborough were considered a 'seditious, schismatical people' in 1681. (fn. 741)
The founder of the Independent, or Presbyterian, church in Marlborough was William Hughes (d. 1688), who was ejected from the vicarage of St. Mary's in 1662. His conventicles met first in Savernake forest and afterwards in Marlborough. He apparently resorted to openair preaching whenever his indoor conventicles were suppressed. He was joined by Daniel Burgess (d. 1679), deprived of Collingbourne Ducis rectory in 1662. (fn. 742) Hughes's ministry was continued by Matthew Pemberton (d. 1691), William Gough, and Samuel Tomlyns (d. 1700). (fn. 743) The congregation built a meeting house in 1706 (fn. 744) but afterwards met in several buildings. (fn. 745) One may have been a chapel in Herd Street leased to unspecified dissenters from 1758 or earlier to 1792. (fn. 746) That was probably the chapel outside which Rowland Hill preached in 1771. (fn. 747) Another was a chapel, certified in 1727, built in Back Lane (fn. 748) on land belonging to Thomas Hancock (d. 1788). Hancock devised the chapel to his wife with 300 so that in her lifetime 10 might be paid yearly to a minister whom she was to appoint. (fn. 749) Cornelius Winter, minister 177888, reorganized that chapel on Congregational principles and established a school to train young men for the ministry. (fn. 750) In 1783 there were 30 'presbyterians' in St. Mary's parish and in St. Peter's 5 or 6 'presbyterian' families who attended a chapel, (fn. 751) perhaps that in Herd Street.
In 1802 Thomas Hancock's son closed the Back Lane chapel and the congregation had no permanent home until 1817 when a chapel was built in the Marsh. A resident minister was appointed in 1823 for the congregation of 53. (fn. 752) On Census Sunday in 1851 morning service was attended by 262, afternoon service by 129, and evening service by 178 people. (fn. 753) In the later 19th century a Sunday school and lecture room were added to the chapel and a manse was built beside it. (fn. 754) The United Reformed chapel was served from Swindon in the 1970s. In 1979 the minister of the New Road Methodist church was appointed to it and united evening services were held. In 1980 all services, held on Sundays alternately in each church, were shared with the Methodists. The manse was let as flats in 1981. The church then had 30 members. (fn. 755) A register of births and baptisms, 182337, is extant. (fn. 756)
The Friends who met at Marlborough after George Fox spoke there in 1656 suffered imprisonment and public humiliation in the town in the years 16568. (fn. 757) The meeting house was built in the burial ground at Manton Corner in Preshute given by William Hitchcock in 1658. (fn. 758) Fox, who revisited Marlborough in 1673 and 1677, and William Penn, who came to the town in 1687, both spoke at Hitchcock's house in Marlborough. (fn. 759) The meeting was chiefly composed of members of the Hitchcock, Lawrence, Freeman, and Crabb families in the later 17th century. (fn. 760) A few members emigrated to Pennsylvania. (fn. 761) In 1727 Quakers certified a meeting house in High Street where they may still have met in 1772. (fn. 762) The Marlborough particular meeting was part of Charlcote monthly meeting in 1677, of the Wiltshire quarterly meeting in 1678, of the Wiltshire monthly meeting in 1775, and of the Devizes preparative meeting in 1788. (fn. 763) In 1783, although there were 30 Friends in St. Mary's parish and 4 or 5 families of Friends in St. Peter's, the meeting was in decline and by 1800 had been dissolved. Its members joined either the Calne or Devizes meetings or met in each other's houses. (fn. 764) The burial ground at Manton Corner, which had been desecrated in 1663, was still used in 1809. (fn. 765) It was owned by the Society of Friends, but no longer used, in 1907. (fn. 766)
General Baptists led by Edward Delamaine of Marlborough may have been influenced by Thomas Bailey's preaching. Anabaptists were licensed to meet in Nathaniel Bailey's house in 1672 but the meeting soon lapsed. (fn. 767) A Strict Baptist cause was begun c. 1814 by a Mr. Simons of Bristol and continued by a Mr. Weldon in 1818. (fn. 768) In 1851 on Census Sunday 50 people, designated Particular Baptists, met in the morning, and 54 in the afternoon. (fn. 769) The group registered a room in the Marsh in 1859. (fn. 770) There was no resident pastor and the cause declined c. 1864. (fn. 771) It was revived and the room reregistered in 1868. (fn. 772) That room was replaced by a chapel called Zoar on the north side of St. Martin's in 1876. (fn. 773) The chapel closed briefly in 1896 and finally in 1921. (fn. 774)
John Wesley preached at Marlborough in 1745 and 1747. (fn. 775) George Pocock, one of Wesley's Bristol friends and the chief evangelist of northeast Wiltshire, certified a Methodist chapel in Oxford Street in 1811. (fn. 776) In 1851 on Census Sunday 225 people attended morning, 50 afternoon, and 180 evening service there. (fn. 777) The chapel was extended in 1872 and rebuilt, with an entrance in New Road, in 1910. (fn. 778) By will proved 1899 David Goddard bequeathed 500 to provide a manse for the superintendent minister of the Marlborough circuit. (fn. 779) A house in London Road bought in 1905 was replaced in 1970 by one in St. David's Way. The chapel had 98 members in 1981, when the superintendent minister also served the United Reformed church and held united services in each on alternate Sundays. (fn. 780)
Primitive Methodism was brought to Marlborough by William Sanger of Salisbury, who certified two houses in the town in 1820 and a chapel in St. Peter's parish in 1821. (fn. 781) In 1823 a minister certified a newly built Ebenezer chapel on the east side of Herd Street where in 1851 on Census Sunday 30 people attended morning, 40 afternoon, and 90 evening service. (fn. 782) The Ebenezer chapel was closed between 1923 and 1925. (fn. 783)
'Peculiar Calvinists' certified a room in Kingsbury Street in 1807. (fn. 784) The group may be identified with that which met at the Providence chapel in Kingsbury Street for which the transcript of a register of births and baptisms, 180537, survives. (fn. 785) On Census Sunday 1851 unspecified dissenters, 40 in the morning and 30 in the evening, met in a room in St. Mary's parish. (fn. 786)
Plymouth Brethren met in a room in Kingsbury Street in 1851, when on Census Sunday 26 people met there in the morning and 38 in the evening. (fn. 787) The sect still met in 1862. (fn. 788) It was perhaps that which registered a building at High Wall, New Road, in 1866 and met there until 1906. (fn. 789)
The Salvation Army opened fire in 1887 from a barracks in London Road and moved to New Road in 1903. New Road barracks closed in 1910. (fn. 790) Christadelphians had a hall in New Road in 1923 or earlier and met there until c. 1930. (fn. 791) In 1931 Closed Brethren registered premises in St. Margaret's where they still met in 1981. (fn. 792)
In 1550 a free grammar school was founded in, and endowed with the property of, St. John's hospital in the Marsh. Its history to 1957 and that of Marlborough College in Preshute are given elsewhere. (fn. 793) The history of the grammar school from 1957 is recounted below.
A charity school, established in 1709 or earlier, acquired permanent buildings to accommodate 44 children from both Marlborough parishes, possibly in 1712. (fn. 794) It was no longer held in the later 18th century. (fn. 795) St. Mary's parish contained eight charity day schools in 1808, and in 1811 a 'school of industry', where girls were taught to sew and to knit and, as a reward for good behaviour, to read, was opened in the town. (fn. 796)
Thomas, earl of Ailesbury, in 1812 built a school containing two rooms on the south side of High Street where 100 girls were taught to sew and 76 boys, most of whom were expected to become shepherds, to knit stockings. Evening classes were attended by 2030 boys. (fn. 797) In 1818 the school, which was conducted on National principles, was supported by voluntary contributions and attended by a total of 200 boys and girls from both parishes. (fn. 798) A master taught 67 boys and a mistress 95 girls in 1833. (fn. 799) Each parish provided its own schools from 1849. (fn. 800) By a Scheme of 1857 Marlborough's income from Thomas Ray's charity for clothiers (fn. 801) was shared by the schools of the two parishes. In 1913 the charity was renamed Thomas Ray's Exhibition Foundation. Thereafter the income was used for exhibitions which comprised money for maintenance allowances or tuition fees and were competed for by Marlborough children attending secondary schools and technical institutions. The charity income was less than 50 in 1975 and no money from the capital had been distributed since 1952. A Scheme of 1976 allowed its funds to be used generally for the education of those in Marlborough aged under 25 years and particularly to equip school or university leavers for a profession or trade. (fn. 802)
Schoolrooms for 64 boys taught by a master and for 60 girls taught by a mistress were opened in 1849, perhaps in the old schoolrooms, for children in St. Peter's parish. A school at the junction of High Street and Hyde Lane was in use in 1854. (fn. 803) It contained three rooms. In one of them 100 boys, of whom 43, including 30 from St. Mary's parish and 5 from Preshute, came from outside the parish, were taught by a master in 1858. In the second a mistress taught 7080 girls, of whom 13 came from outside the parish, and in the third another mistress taught 6070 infants. (fn. 804) An evening school was also held there from 1863 to 1886. (fn. 805) In 1873 the Department of Education allowed a maximum of 35 children from Preshute, probably from St. Margaret's where the school was closed in 1871 or earlier, to attend, but in 18734 more than 70 were attending and in 1874 their parents and Preshute parish were required to contribute to the upkeep of the school. Boys from the union workhouse on Marlborough Common attended in 1877. Children from Manton in Preshute were excluded in 1901 unless good reason for their attendance could be given. (fn. 806) An average of 240 children attended from 1906 until 1918. Numbers were falling, however, and the fact that more boys than girls and infants attended suggests an attempt to make St. Peter's the boys' school and St. Mary's the girls' school before elementary education in the town was formally reorganized in 1918. (fn. 807)
Before 1848 a school in the Green was built for children from St. Mary's parish. (fn. 808) It was apparently used only by boys after a school, for which land on the east side of Herd Street was conveyed in 1849, was opened for girls and infants. (fn. 809) A master taught 70 boys at the Green in 1858 and at the Herd Street school 60 girls and 60 infants were taught by a mistress. The schools were then attended by 12 children, including 6 from St. Peter's, from outside the parish. (fn. 810) The boys still occupied the school on the Green in 1865 but by 1867 had moved to a new building in Herd Street. (fn. 811) Average attendance at the schools, where there was a consistently high proportion of girls and infants to boys in the years 190918, did not fall below 273 between 1906 and 1918 and was probably often higher. (fn. 812)
In 1918 St. Peter's became the boys' school for the town and St. Mary's the girls' and infants' school. Average numbers attending both schools fell in the 1920s and 1930s. (fn. 813) The Herd Street schools were reserved for infants in 1962 when the older girls were moved into the former grammar school buildings in the Parade. The boys from St. Peter's joined them, and the school in High Street was closed, in 1963. The 321 children attending St. Peter's Junior School had twelve full-time teachers in 1982. The Herd Street infants' school was closed in 1974 and a new one, St. Mary's Infants' School, was opened in George Lane, where in 1981 there were seven teachers for the 174 children. (fn. 814)
Marlborough Grammar School was rehoused in 1962 in new buildings south of the town. (fn. 815) Marlborough Secondary Modern School, opened in 1946 to serve the town and upper Kennet valley in huts on Marlborough Common, (fn. 816) moved to new buildings in Chopping Knife Lane in 1966. (fn. 817) The schools were amalgamated as St. John's Comprehensive School in 1975. The former grammar school buildings were renamed the Stedman building and those of the secondary modern school the Savernake building. (fn. 818) In 1981 there were 73 full-time teachers and 9 part-time for the 1,317 pupils on the two sites. (fn. 819)
Early private education in the town was connected with dissent. William Hughes, who led the Independents in Marlborough, established a boarding school which flourished until his death in 1688. (fn. 820) Cornelius Winter, minister of a Marlborough Congregational chapel 177888, set up a school for dissenters and admitted nondissenting pupils. (fn. 821) Another dissenting minister, John Davis, founded Marlborough Academy in 1780. He was succeeded there in 1791 by William Gresley. The school, in Ivy House, no. 43 High Street, continued under Philip Wells, Richard Cundell, John Brown, and another until the mid 19th century. (fn. 822)
Numerous other small private schools for both boarders and day pupils, mostly girls, flourished in the later 18th century, the 19th, and the earlier 20th. (fn. 823) At a boarding school run from 1754 to 1777 successively by a Mrs. Sutton and a Mrs. Hilliker subjects taught to the girls included French, music, and dancing. (fn. 824) A girls' boarding school in High Street run by Mary Cousins and another in Kingsbury Street run by Mary Ann Anderson and later by Jemima Westall flourished in the 1830s and 1840s. (fn. 825) The school in High Street may perhaps have been the 'ladies' seminary' conducted by Mrs. M. A. Byfield in 1855 or earlier and in 1867. (fn. 826) There were two girls' schools in High Street in 1879 and in 1897 a preparatory school at no. 29 Kingsbury Street. (fn. 827) A school in High Street may have survived as Marlborough High School, so called in 1907 and perhaps the school at no. 35 High Street in 1923 and 1931. (fn. 828)
Kingsbury Hill House was opened c. 1943 by a Miss Thelwell, as a preparatory school for girls and small boys. It was bought in 1964 by Mr. W. I. Washbrook who enlarged its premises and its curriculum. In 1982 a total of 190 boys and girls between 3 and 16 years was taught in the school. (fn. 829)
Charities for the Poor. (fn. 830)
By will dated 1615 Thomas Ray gave the yearly income from houses in Salisbury for poor clothiers of Trowbridge, Chippenham, Westbury, and Marlborough yearly in turn. The funds were afterwards mismanaged. In 1652 new trustees for each town were appointed to administer the income of 14 a year. From 1817 to 1821 the income was 25 yearly. It was shared each year by the four towns from c. 1821 to 1832, as were rent arrears of 100 collected in 1831. From 1833 the income, 33 in 1833, was again distributed intact each year to the four towns in turn. (fn. 831) In 1834, when there was no clothier in Marlborough, and possibly earlier, the mayor was the only trustee and the income was used for other purposes. The income was given to the National schools in 1857. (fn. 832)
Bequests by William Seyman in 1539 of a charge of 6s. 8d. on his house in the 'new land' to clothe the poor and by Robert Were or Brown in 1570 of charges of 20s. for the poor and 5s. for the mayor, and devises of properties in the town, the income from them to be given to the poor, made by John Birdsey in 1550, Richard Dickinson in 1553, and Thomas Vale in 1557 to the mayor and burgesses comprised the endowment of an eleemosynary charity called the Good Friday rents. (fn. 833) The mayor and chamberlain distributed 13 in small sums to poor people in 1834, by which time some of the original rents had been replaced by others from borough properties. The rents produced 2 in 1905. By will dated 1795 Sarah Franklin gave 400 for widowed housekeepers in both parishes of the borough. Her bequest became effective in 1826, John Baverstock afterwards added 100 to it, and 500 was invested in 1830. The income of 5 was distributed with the Good Friday rents in 1905 when nineteen women received 10s. doles. Christopher Willoughby in 1678 gave 200 by deed to enable the mayor and burgesses to distribute 2 yearly. The money was still being given to the poor in 1905. Willoughby's charity was united with the Franklin and Baverstock charity and the Good Friday rents in 1915 as the Marlborough united charities. By will dated 1881 C. J. King gave the yearly income from 100 to Marlborough people in the union workhouse. It was distributed after 1929 in 10s. doles to unsuccessful applicants to the united charities. In 1982 those charities produced 13 from which grants were made to poor and elderly people.
Other charities of which the corporation was trustee were Leaf's and Burchell's. Herbert Leaf (d. 1936) (fn. 834) by will gave 15,000 to Marlborough corporation for the townspeople. Several grants, and loans to the council and other local bodies and societies on terms favourable to the borrower, were made from the income. In 1978 the income was 1,520, of which 625, including a grant of 500 made to St. Peter's and St. Paul's Trust, was spent. Until 1971 between 90 and 120 was distributed in sums of 1 each 25 March. From 1971 50 a year was put into a fund from which gifts were made at the mayor's discretion. The Florence and Walter John Burchell Charitable Trust was established by deed of 1972 to provide homes and financial help for the old people of Marlborough. In 1976 stock, land, and three houses in Manton produced an income of 1,281, of which 553 was spent on maintaining the houses.
In 1640 Anne Paine gave 300 to provide 5 yearly for both parishes of Marlborough. The 5 was divided and each parish added its share to the poor rate until c. 1827. St. Peter's afterwards distributed in cash directly to the poor and St. Mary's added its share to the church rate. By will dated 1824 Nathaniel Merriman gave 100, the income to buy bread for unrelieved paupers of both parishes. T. S. Gundry by will proved 1858 gave the income from 100 stock, to be spent each Christmas on bread or clothing for the poor of both parishes. William Hill by will proved 1871 gave the interest on two sums of 100 to buy bread for the poor of each parish. From 1882 food, bedding, clothes, or fuel were sometimes provided instead of bread. Elizabeth Malpuss by will proved 1884 gave the interest on two similar sums to buy food, clothing, or fuel, and each parish received 3 in 1905. Harward Keen by will proved 1884 gave the interest on 50 to the poor of each parish: each received under 1 in 1905.
The bequest of T. M. Hancock (d. 1803) of 200, the interest for St. Peter's poor each New Year's day, was disbursed in 1834 with the St. Peter's share of Paine's charity. J. Goldyer in 1808 gave half the income from 334 stock for bread for St. Peter's poor at Christmas. Bread was bought in 1834. By will dated 1817 Elizabeth Harris gave to the same poor the interest on 100 for bread which in 1833 was received only by the unrelieved.
The parochial charities of Marlborough were reorganized in the 1870s, St. Peter's in 1872, St. Mary's in 1878. The incumbents and churchwardens, already trustees of most of the charities, became, in St. Peter's, trustees of Goldyer's and Hancock's, and, in each parish, of their respective shares in Paine's and Merriman's. In 1905 the funds of the nine St. Peter's charities, 26, were spent on coal, clothing, and blankets for loan, and those of the six St. Mary's charities, 13, on pensions, food, and help for the sick. In 1980 the small yearly incomes, 17 from the St. Mary's charities and 27 from those of St. Peter's, were distributed in small money gifts at Christmas to people living in the areas of the former parishes.
By will proved 1916 C. L. Brooke gave 600 for old unrelieved people. Because it was not clear for which parish the bequest was intended, two-fifths were invested for St. Peter's and threefifths for St. Mary's. In 1980 at Christmas St. Peter's share, 8, and St. Mary's share, 12, were distributed to parishioners.
The Titcombe Benefaction, established by will of J. C. Titcombe proved 1934, comprised 100, the income for poor parishioners of St. Mary's, preferably old widows. In 1982 and earlier the income of 4 yearly was added to St. Mary's endowed charities. The income of the Emily Mary Lloyd Benevolent Fund, established by will of J. A. Lloyd proved 1935, was distributed among old women in St. Peter's parish. In 1980 the income of 12 was similarly distributed at Christmas.