A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 13, South-West Wiltshire: Chalke and Dunworth Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1987.
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BERWICK ST. LEONARD
Berwick St. Leonard (fn. 1) is a small parish 22 km. west of Salisbury. (fn. 2) In 1934 the transfer to Hindon of 230 a. in its south-west corner reduced it from 1,144 a. (463 ha.) to 370 ha. (fn. 3) Until then it was shaped like an hourglass, 3 km. from north to south, 1.5 km. wide at the north and south ends, with a waist of less than 1 km. a little south of the London—Exeter road. In 1986 the parish was extended southwards when a small part of Fonthill Gifford parish was transferred to it. (fn. 4) The epithet St. Leonard, echoing the invocation of the church, was used from 1276 or earlier, (fn. 5) but from the 16th century to the 19th the village was called alternatively Cold Berwick. (fn. 6)
A tributary of the Nadder, which after heavy rain rises nearby in Hindon, marked the southern parish boundary until 1986; the northern boundary is on the watershed between the rivers Nadder and Wylye; the straight lines of the eastern boundary with Fonthill Bishop were set out by the Berwick inclosure commissioners and confirmed in 1840; (fn. 7) and the western boundary followed a ridge, a road, and a dry valley. Chalk outcrops over the whole parish. (fn. 8) The land falls from over 213 m. at the watershed to 107 m. by the stream. The dry valley called Chicklade Bottom crosses the parish at its waist. South of it Cold Berwick Hill reaches 180 m. The geology and relief of the parish favoured sheepand-corn husbandry, and at the north end Berwick Wood is part of the woodland of Great Ridge. (fn. 9)
The downland road from Amesbury to Mere crossed the parish through Chicklade Bottom. It was turnpiked in 1761 (fn. 10) with a branch taking coach traffic north-east and south-west through Berwick fields between Hindon and the New Inn, later Chicklade Bottom Farm, in Fonthill Bishop. (fn. 11) The Amesbury-Mere road increased in importance in the 20th century, especially after 1936, as part of the main London-Exeter road (fn. 12) and has been improved. The road from Hindon to Chicklade Bottom Farm is, apart from a road leading northwards to it from the church, the only other road in the parish to have been made up. The road from Salisbury, Wilton, and Barford St. Martin to Hindon and Mere may, with the stream, have formed much of the southern parish boundary. It was turnpiked under an Act of 1761 and apparently remade on the higher ground a little further south. (fn. 13) The new road passes very near the village but, until 1986 when it became the new boundary, outside the parish except for a few metres in the extreme south-west corner. The old road disappeared. The new was disturnpiked in 1870. (fn. 14) Since the late 18th century tracks have led across the downs to villages in the Wylye valley, serving Cold Berwick Farm in the 18th century (fn. 15) and Bake Barn in the late 19th and the 20th. (fn. 16) None was much used in the late 20th.
Tax assessments of the 14th and 16th centuries suggest that Berwick had little wealth or population. (fn. 17) The population numbered 36 in 1801 and 40 in 1861. Migration of farm labourers from Chicklade to Berwick had caused an increase to 61 by 1871. The population reached a peak of 79 in 1921 since when it has steadily declined. (fn. 18) There were 24 inhabitants in 1981. (fn. 19)
There may have been Romano-British settlement on the downs at the north end of the parish, (fn. 20) but later Berwick village, typically Saxon in name (fn. 21) and site, was at the south end beside the stream and the old Wilton-Mere road. In the Middle Ages there were presumably farm buildings near the church. (fn. 22) In the earlier 17th century a manor house was built (fn. 23) immediately south-west of the church and, possibly about then, Cold Berwick Farm was built on Cold Berwick Hill 1 km. north-west of the church and any farm building near the church apparently removed. In the late 18th century there were several houses or cottages east of the church beside the stream, and a farmhouse apparently of the 18th century west of the church. (fn. 24) In the early 19th century Cold Berwick Farm was demolished and the principal farmstead in the parish was again near the church. (fn. 25) In 1983 its very extensive farm buildings included survivors from the early 19th century but most were later 19thand 20th-century. The apparently 18th-century farmhouse also survived. East of the church a pair of cottages is possibly one of the buildings standing there in the 18th century. The others were replaced in the mid 19th, later 19th, and possibly 20th century by two pairs and a trio of estate cottages in which stone is the main walling material. North of the church a pair of red-brick cottages was built c. 1900. The manor house was removed between 1902 and 1904. (fn. 26) Berwick House and farm buildings beside the Wilton-Mere road (fn. 27) are part of the village. With a pair of cottages further east they were transferred to the parish from Fonthill Gifford in 1986. (fn. 28) Outside the village there were in the late 18th century farm buildings 1 km. west of the church on land later transferred to Hindon. (fn. 29) In 1983 there was a mid 20th-century house among 19th- and 20th-century farm buildings on the site. A pair of cottages was built beside the Wilton-Mere road west of the village in 1884; (fn. 30) Bake Barn, of stone and flint with central transeptal entrances, was built on the downs in the mid 19th century and other farm buildings have since been erected around it; Berwick Hill Dairy, a large farmstead including a bungalow, was built on a levelled site beside the road from Hindon to Chicklade Bottom Farm in 1980. (fn. 31)
Manor and other Estate.
The manor of BERWICK ST. LEONARD was an endowment of the abbey of Shaftesbury (Dors.) in the early 12th century. (fn. 32) Berwick was not mentioned in Domesday Book, an assessment of its land in 1086 may have been included in the assessment of the abbey's Tisbury estate, and Berwick may have passed with Tisbury in the 10th century and earlier. (fn. 33) In 1241 the abbess of Shaftesbury granted the manor for life to Robert of Berwick and his wife Gode, daughter of Robert le Gentil, (fn. 34) and grants for life were later made to Roger of Purbeck and to his relict Joan (fl. 1278). Gode of Berwick was said to hold the manor of the abbey at fee farm in 1242–3, but the claim of William of Wylye, Robert of Berwick's nephew, to the freehold in 1278 failed. (fn. 35) The manor reverted to the abbey and in 1428 was assessed at ⅓ knight's fee. (fn. 36) It passed to the Crown at the Dissolution and in 1545 was granted to William Powton (fn. 37) who in 1597 settled the manor on himself for life with remainder to his son Edward. On William's death in 1599 a third of it passed to his son James's son Constantine (fn. 38) (d. c. 1600). (fn. 39) In 1610 the whole manor was conveyed, apparently by way of sale, by Edward Powton and Constantine's brother, and possibly heir, Francis Powton to Sir George Farewell. (fn. 40) In 1614 Farewell sold the manor to Sir Richard Grobham (d. 1629) who settled it on himself for life and, for uses expressed in his will, on his executors for the life of his brother John (will proved 1646) with reversion to George, son of John Grobham of Broomfield (Som.), a minor in 1629 and almost certainly Sir Richard's grandnephew. (fn. 41) After John's death c. 1646 the manor apparently passed to Sir Richard's nephew Sir George Howe (d. 1647) (fn. 42) whose son George Grobham Howe was created a baronet in 1660. Sir George (d. 1676) was succeeded by his son Sir James Howe (d. s.p. 1736) (fn. 43) who devised Berwick to his nephew Henry Lee Warner (fn. 44) (d. 1760). Warner's heir was his son Henry Lee Warner (d. 1804) who devised the manor to his first cousin Mary Huntley's son Daniel Woodward. By an Act of 1805 Woodward took the surnames Lee Warner in place of Woodward; and in 1806, under an Act passed in that year, he sold the manor to John Benett. (fn. 45) In 1823 Benett sold it to John Farquhar (fn. 46) who in 1826 sold it to Robert Grosvenor, Earl Grosvenor, from 1831 marquess of Westminster. (fn. 47) In 1838 Lord Westminster sold the manor to James Morrison: (fn. 48) it has since passed in the Morrison family with the Fonthill House estate, and in 1983 belonged to the Hon. J. I. Morrison. (fn. 49)
William Powton and Sir George Farewell lived at Berwick, (fn. 50) presumably in the house which in 1612 was said to have previously been the rectory house. (fn. 51) It may have been acquired by Powton in the 1560s, when Edward Powton was rector and William or James Powton was lessee of the rectory estate. (fn. 52) That house was replaced by the manor house built south-west of the church in the earlier 17th century. (fn. 53) William of Orange stayed in the house on his way to London in 1688. (fn. 54) Both Henry Lee Warners seem to have used it as a residence, (fn. 55) although perhaps not frequently, (fn. 56) and the house may have been unoccupied long before the 1820s when it was used as a barn. It had principal elevations of three gabled bays. The south front had an elaborate open-sided central porch and two-storeyed oriel windows with fretted balustrades below the end bays. There was a low, presumably service, east wing. (fn. 57) Between 1902 and 1904 it was demolished: the materials were re-used as the centre part of Little Ridge, later called Fonthill House, in Chilmark parish. (fn. 58) That house was largely demolished in 1972. (fn. 59)
The rector's glebe, 108 a., was bought in 1912, and owned in 1983, by Wiltshire county council. (fn. 60)
Chilfinch Hill was ploughed in prehistoric times. (fn. 61) Later and until the 19th century agriculture in Berwick conformed to the pattern of the Wiltshire chalklands: there was meadow beside the stream in the south, arable on the lower chalk slopes nearer the village, rough pasture on the higher downland north of that, and woodland at the north end of the parish. (fn. 62) As normal, sheepand-corn husbandry predominated. (fn. 63)
Until the 19th century all the land of the parish was part of Berwick St. Leonard manor. (fn. 64) In the early 12th century there was demesne land and other land reckoned as 1½ hide, 3 yardlands, and 37 a. There was apparently open-field husbandry, and presumably feeding in common on the downs. The demesne was apparently then in hand. Of the tenanted land a priest held ½ hide, an old man ½ yardland, and seven others a total of 1 hide, 2½ yardlands, and 3 a.: all except the priest and the old man owed rent and labour service. The lord's smith, shepherd, ploughman, two oxherds, and two other men, presumably labourers, held a total of 34 a. (fn. 65) In 1225, when it supported 400 sheep, the demesne seems to have been much more than half the parish: eight tenants had totals of 100 sheep and 7 cows. (fn. 66)
In the late 15th century Shaftesbury abbey kept a wether flock of over 200 at Berwick, (fn. 67) but the demesne arable was apparently leased. There were copyholds, open fields, and common pastures for cattle and sheep. (fn. 68) In the early 16th century the manor was at farm as a whole, apart from the right to feed 300 wethers on the demesne pasture with the farmer's wethers which at the Dissolution was separately leased. (fn. 69) A lease of the manor in reversion granted by the abbess in 1537 (fn. 70) was acquired by William Powton (fn. 71) who bought the freehold in 1545. (fn. 72) After 1545 Powton tried to expel the lessee Thomas Hayter (fn. 73) and in 1562 a copyhold tenant of 2 yardlands. (fn. 74) In 1578 the justices ordered him to remove a new hedge. (fn. 75) If Powton intended to bring all the land in hand and to restrict open-field husbandry he seems to have been largely successful. No later copyhold is known and no more than vestiges of such husbandry remained to be removed by parliamentary inclosure. (fn. 76)
A farm consisting of the former glebe house, 7 a. of meadow, feeding rights for cattle and horses, and possibly woodland was created by lease in 1612, (fn. 77) but most of the parish seems to have been a single farm. From before 1650 to the early 19th century, when the lords of the manor were sometimes resident, (fn. 78) the farm may have included all but the manor house, the lord's woodland, (fn. 79) and the rector's 3 a. of woodland in the north-east corner of the parish and 2 a. east of the church. (fn. 80) In the later 18th century it may have been worked from Cold Berwick Farm: (fn. 81) there was only one farmhouse in the parish in 1783, (fn. 82) presumably there. The farm measured 792 a. c. 1805 when there was also a largely arable holding of 52 a.: (fn. 83) c. 1807 the farm absorbed the smaller holding. (fn. 84) By 1817 new farm buildings had been erected north of the church (fn. 85) and the manor house was later used as a barn. (fn. 86) By 1822 Cold Berwick Farm had been demolished. (fn. 87) The claim by the lord of the manor of 'Fonthill', presumably Fonthill Bishop, to pasture on 10 a. of down was extinguished by halving the land c. 1807. (fn. 88)
The parish was subject to an inclosure Act of 1818. The award was apparently effective from c. 1822 but not enrolled until 1840. In 1822 the parish consisted of Berwick Bushes, 14 a., and Berwick Wood, 191 a., the down, 431 a. mostly north of the London-Exeter road, 414 a. of arable on each side of the road from Hindon to Chicklade Bottom Farm, and c. 45 a. of meadow and pasture in the south. Adjoining Berwick Wood were Upper Pennings, 19 a., and Lower Pennings, 11 a., inclosures of, respectively, pasture and arable, either converted from woodland or hedged in from downland. The principal effect of the award was to create a glebe farm of 109 a. in the south-west corner of the parish with buildings beside the road from Hindon to Chicklade Bottom Farm. Berwick farm was then c. 820 a. (fn. 89)
By 1824 Part of the down had been ploughed (fn. 90) and Bake Barn, erected on Chilfinch Hill before 1886, (fn. 91) was presumably on that part. Sheep-andcorn husbandry still predominated in the later 19th century; only occasionally were root crops grown more extensively than cereals and very few cows were kept. (fn. 92) Berwick farm was tenanted in the early 20th century and in 1913 was in two parts, one based on the buildings near the church, the other on those at Bake Barn: the former glebe then included two 50-a. farms. Berwick farm was brought in hand in 1918 (fn. 93) and has since been directly managed by its owners as part of their Fonthill House estate. (fn. 94) In the 1930s there was more grassland in the south part of the parish than earlier. (fn. 95) In 1980 Berwick Hill Dairy was built to house 350 cows and extensive covered sheep pens were erected at Bake Barn, and in 1983 the parish was used for dairy, sheep, and arable farming. (fn. 96) Since 1947 the former glebe land, then in Hindon, has been a single farm which in 1983 was mainly devoted to dairying. (fn. 97)
Berwick Wood was said to contain no more than 100 oaks and ashes in 1545. (fn. 98) In the late 17th century and early 18th the wood was cut biennially. (fn. 99) The 205 a. of woodland in 1822 were divided into seven coppices, including Brick Kiln Copse and Lime Pit Copse, (fn. 100) names suggesting uses to which the wood may have been put in the 18th century and early 19th. In 1983 the c. 200 a. of woodland were used mainly for commercial forestry. (fn. 101)
Berwick fair was being held in the late 13th century, (fn. 102) presumably under an early grant to an abbess of Shaftesbury or by prescription. It was held on St. Leonard's day (6 November) in the late 16th century (fn. 103) and was still yearly in the early 17th. (fn. 104) In 1822 the fairground was near the site of Cold Berwick Farm and there were permanent buildings for it. (fn. 105) In 1824 the fair was said to be worth £22: (fn. 106) in 1848 it was a sheep and horse fair and wras still held on 6 November. By 1867 it had been discontinued. (fn. 107)
Manor courts for Berwick held by Shaftesbury abbey in the late 15th century and early 16th proceeded partly on presentments by the homage. In them deaths of tenants were reported and admittances witnessed, the lord's right to residual customary services was claimed, and agrarian custom declared and refined: the repair of buildings and hedges was ordered, tenants were amerced for not raising the lord's hay from a meadow at Tisbury, and use of the common pastures was restricted to inhabitants of Berwick. (fn. 108) The Crown held a court in 1541. (fn. 109) It is unlikely that many courts were held after the Dissolution since there were so few copyholds. (fn. 110)
In the period 1783–5 the parish spent an average of £12 a year on the poor. In 1802–3 only two adults and five children, presumably a single family, were permanently relieved. (fn. 111) Average expenditure had risen to £46 by 1816–18, (fn. 112) but was £16 in the period 1833–5. In 1835 the parish joined Tisbury poor-law union. (fn. 113) It became part of Salisbury district in 1974. (fn. 114)
There was presumably a church at Berwick c. 1120 served by the clerk of St. Leonard who held land and tithes as a tenant of Shaftesbury abbey's manor of Tisbury. (fn. 115) A priest held the church as the abbey's tenant c. 1130. (fn. 116) There was then no right of burial at Berwick, and bodies were taken to Tisbury. (fn. 117) The church later had all rights, from 1299 or earlier abbesses presented rectors, and the living remained a rectory. (fn. 118) The inhabitants of Sedgehill, who had been buried at Shaftesbury, became parishioners of Berwick in 1395 when a graveyard at Sedgehill was consecrated and the church there was annexed to the church of Berwick as a chapel. (fn. 119) In circumstances which are obscure and may have arisen from the exception of all advowsons but that of Berwick St. Leonard church from the grant of Berwick manor by the Crown in 1545, (fn. 120) the Crown presented rectors of Sedgehill in 1619 and 1622, (fn. 121) but after the Restoration Sedgehill church was again a chapel of Berwick. (fn. 122) The chapelry was detached in 1914. (fn. 123) The rectories of Berwick St. Leonard and Fonthill Bishop were held in plurality from 1914 and united in 1916. The parishes were united in 1966. From 1939 the united benefice was held by the rectors of Fonthill Gifford. (fn. 124) Berwick church was declared redundant in 1973 and placed in the care of the Redundant Churches Fund in 1976. (fn. 125)
The advowson belonged to Shaftesbury abbey and none but an abbess is known to have presented before the Dissolution. Thereafter it passed with the manor until 1823: (fn. 126) John Benett presented in 1822. John Maclntyre, a general serving the East India Company, presented in 1823 and 1826, (fn. 127) presumably by grant of John Farquhar, formerly a gunpowder contractor in India, (fn. 128) who bought the manor from Benett in 1823. (fn. 129) Maclntyre's right to present was disputed by Benett, (fn. 130) possibly on the grounds that he had not conveyed the advowson with the manor. Benett had recovered the advowson by 1840 (fn. 131) and in 1847 he sold it to Richard Grosvenor, marquess of Westminster. (fn. 132) It passed with the Fonthill Abbey estate to Lady Octavia Shaw-Stewart (fn. 133) who in 1915 transferred it to the bishop of Oxford, (fn. 134) already patron of Fonthill Bishop. (fn. 135) The patronage of the united benefice of Berwick St. Leonard with Fonthill Bishop was transferred to the bishop of Salisbury in 1965. (fn. 136)
In the early 12th century the priest holding Berwick church held with it ½ hide with feeding rights, wood for his fire, and other things from the manor, and he was entitled to all tithes from Berwick. (fn. 137) The yearly value of the church, £6 13s. 4d. in 1291, (fn. 138) £8 6s. 8d. in 1535, (fn. 139) and £374 c. 1830, (fn. 140) was average. From 1395 the rector presumably had the income from Sedgehill. (fn. 141) The income from Berwick was leased for £13 6s. 8d. c. 1570. (fn. 142) The rector had all tithes and 5 a. of glebe in Berwick in 1677 and 1705 when he was also entitled to all tithes from Sedgehill. (fn. 143) At inclosure c. 1822 the tithes from Berwick were exchanged for 104 a.: (fn. 144) the glebe in Berwick was sold in 1912. (fn. 145) The income from Sedgehill was assigned to the vicar of Sedgehill in 1914. (fn. 146) The rector had a house at Berwick until it was somehow attached to the manor, apparently in the later 16th century. (fn. 147) He had a house in 1677 and 1705 (fn. 148) but apparently not in 1783 (fn. 149) and certainly not at Berwick in 1840. (fn. 150)
Stephen Duraunt, rector from 1300 to 1315 or later, (fn. 151) was licensed to study for five years on condition that he appointed a chaplain. (fn. 152) Homilies were delivered in place of sermons in 1553, (fn. 153) and in 1565, when almost certainly Edward Powton was rector, (fn. 154) it was reported that there had been no service for a year. (fn. 155) John Cowte, rector from 1568 to c. 1572, apparently served both Berwick and Sedgehill. (fn. 156) George Powton and William Powton were rectors respectively 1575–1605 and 1605–25 (fn. 157) and seem to have lived at Berwick. (fn. 158) Thomas Aylesbury, pre sented in 1625, (fn. 159) may have served the church for a few years. (fn. 160) In the early 17th century chaplains served Sedgehill. (fn. 161) Aylesbury held several other livings: he was a Clubman, his Wiltshire livings were sequestrated between 1646 and 1648, and he was imprisoned. He was restored at Berwick, where the intruder had been J. Barnes, in 1660. (fn. 162) In 1662 the church had no Book of Homilies, no copy of Jewell's Apology, no surplice, no register, and no table of degrees. (fn. 163) In 1731 William Nairn was instituted to both Berwick and Pertwood: (fn. 164) in 1767 John Nairn was curate of both. (fn. 165) In 1783 a curate living at Chicklade served Berwick, Fonthill Bishop, and Fonthill Gifford, holding a Sunday service at each. Communion was celebrated at Berwick four times a year with no more than five or six parishioners. (fn. 166) From c. 1826 to 1914 rectors lived at Sedgehill (fn. 167) and curates continued to serve Berwick. (fn. 168) The curate lived at East Knoyle in 1864. He held either a morning or an afternoon service on Sundays with an average congregation of 22; he held services on Christmas day, Ash Wednesday, and Good Friday at which the average congregation was increased to 40 by non-parishioners; and he administered the sacrament four times a year to some 10 communicants of whom half came from other parishes. (fn. 169) The church was closed in 1966. (fn. 170)
The church of ST. LEONARD, so called in the late 13th century, (fn. 171) is of flint and limestone rubble with ashlar dressings, and consists of a chancel and a nave with a south porch surmounted by a low tower. The nave is 12th-century. The chancel was possibly rebuilt in the early 14th century when the porch and tower were added and new windows set in the nave. (fn. 172) In 1861 the chancel was rebuilt and the church was provided with new roofs, windows, and interior fittings. (fn. 173)
Plate weighing 2 oz. was taken for the king in 1553 and a chalice of 10 oz. was left. New plate consisting of a chalice, a paten, and two flagons, all hallmarked for 1674, was given in 1677. (fn. 174) In 1969 a flagon was sold to raise money to repair Fonthill Bishop church: the remainder of the plate was in the care of the Redundant Churches Fund in 1983. (fn. 175) Two bells hung in the church in 1553. They were replaced by a bell cast by William Cockey in 1725 and another dated 1766, both apparently rehung in the early 19th century. (fn. 176) The registers date from 1723. (fn. 177)
In 1818 there was a day school in Berwick said to be attended by some 20 children, (fn. 180) presumably most from other parishes since the population of Berwick was only 44 in 1821. (fn. 181) There was no school in the parish in 1833 (fn. 182) and children living in Berwick have since gone to school in Fonthill Bishop, (fn. 183) Hindon, (fn. 184) and possibly elsewhere.
Charity for the Poor.
The income from £5 stock bequeathed by William Bisse was being distributed to the poor in the 1660s. (fn. 185) That charity was afterwards lost and no other endowed charity for parishioners is known.