Parishes: Fifield Bavant

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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Jane Freeman. Janet H Stevenson, 'Parishes: Fifield Bavant', A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 13, South-West Wiltshire: Chalke and Dunworth Hundreds, (London, 1987), pp. 60-66. British History Online [accessed 23 June 2024].

Jane Freeman. Janet H Stevenson. "Parishes: Fifield Bavant", in A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 13, South-West Wiltshire: Chalke and Dunworth Hundreds, (London, 1987) 60-66. British History Online, accessed June 23, 2024,

Freeman, Jane. Stevenson, Janet H. "Parishes: Fifield Bavant", A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 13, South-West Wiltshire: Chalke and Dunworth Hundreds, (London, 1987). 60-66. British History Online. Web. 23 June 2024,

In this section


FIFIELD Bavant is 13 km. WSW. of Salisbury. (fn. 1) The parish, c. 1,153 a., lay in two attached parts. (fn. 2) The larger, roughly rectangular, reached from the river Ebble 2 km. northwards to its watershed with the Nadder and measured 1.5 km. from east to west. A narrow strip, in most places no more than 125 m. wide, extended from the rectangle's south-western corner southwards for 5.5 km. and formed a tail to the parish which touched Dorset. It seems very likely that in the 10th century the lands which became Fifield Bavant parish were, like those east and west of them, part of Wilton abbey's estate called Chalke. (fn. 3) In 1066, however, both parts of what became the parish were outside that estate. An estate then of 5 hides was probably the northern rectangle, and an estate then of 1 hide was probably the southern strip. (fn. 4) The larger estate gave Fifield its name; the smaller was apparently added after the name had been taken. Together the two estates gave Fifield Bavant an irregular shape in contrast with those of neighbouring parishes which remained part of the abbey's estate. Although much land south of the river remained Wilton abbey's, the Fifield Bavant estates included meadow land south of the river at the south end of the rectangle and thus left Bower Chalke the only parish in the valley without meadow land beside the Ebble. Fifield probably had a church in the mid 12th century. (fn. 5) The suffix Bavant, the surname of 14th-century lords of the manor, was apparently not attached to the name of parish or manor until the 15th century. (fn. 6) In 1885 the parish's tail, c. 283 a., was transferred to Bower Chalke parish, (fn. 7) and in 1894 the remainder, 870 a., was absorbed by Ebbesborne Wake parish. (fn. 8)

The only part of the parish boundary to follow a prominent physical feature was that to the north marked by the watershed, almost certainly a boundary of Wilton abbey's estate in the 10th century. (fn. 9) Elsewhere, especially on the east side of the tail, the boundaries were irregular. The Ebble flows eastwards across the former parish; near the western boundary the sides of the valley near the river are steep. North of the river the land rises to over 183 m. on the flat summit of Fifield Down. In the tail it climbs to 226 m. at the southern limit of the Ebble valley, and slopes down to 107 m. south of that. Chalke outcrops over the whole parish; the Ebble has deposited a narrow strip of alluvium and at the southern tip the chalk is covered by clay. (fn. 10)

It seems that until the 19th century Fifield Down and land in the southern part of the tail provided rough pasture and the arable lands of the parish lay west and north of Fifield Bavant hamlet and in the northern half of the tail. Some or all of the meadows beside the Ebble were watered in the 19th century and perhaps earlier. (fn. 11) Woodland in the parish in 1843 included, to the north, Fifield Ashes and, in the tail, Woodhouse Hanging and the eastern parts of Chase Woods, there called Stonedown and Wakesdean Woods. (fn. 12) In the 20th century trees were planted on c. 25 a. of downland adjacent to Broad Chalke parish. (fn. 13)

The parish lay within the disputed outer boundaries of Cranborne Chase, (fn. 14) but the exercise of chase rights in Fifield Bavant apparently provoked little or no resistance. The rights of the lord of the chase over much of the parish may have lapsed before the early 19th century. When the chase was disfranchised in 1829 compensation was paid for loss of rights in the parish over only 140 a. in the north-east part. (fn. 15)

Ebbesborne Wake and Fifield Bavant c. 1844

The parish's tail was crossed east and west by the ancient ridge way called Ox Drove and, at the southern tip, north and south by the road from Ebbesborne Wake to Sixpenny Handley (Dors.). That part of Ox Drove, but not the part of the Ebbesborne Wake to Sixpenny Handley road, remains in use. The principal route through the former parish is that running east and west to link the villages of the Ebble valley. It links Fifield Bavant hamlet to the neighbouring villages of Broad Chalke and Ebbesborne Wake. The modern road runs north of the river. South of the river a parallel road was in use in the east part of the parish in 1773: in the late 20th century the eastern part of it was marked by a path leading from the church to Little London in Broad Chalke parish. Near the church the northern road was diverted to the north before 1773, possibly to avoid the steep hill there. The old route past the church is still marked by a path. From the new course a road diverges north-westwards to Fovant. Further west, from the Broad Chalke to Ebbesborne Wake road, a road led north-westwards to Swallowcliffe and two led south-eastwards to Bower Chalke in the late 18th century and the early 19th; (fn. 16) only the western road to Bower Chalke was a public road in 1986.

Sites of two early Iron-Age villages have been identified on Fifield Down. Romano-British artefacts have also been found on the down. Other archaeological discoveries in the former parish include a barrow on Fifield Down and ditches south of Ox Drove. (fn. 17)

Later settlement in the parish has long been concentrated in Fifield Bavant hamlet, in the southeastern corner of the northern rectangle. Fifield Bavant was the smallest parish in Chalke hundred and tax assessments show it to have been the poorest and least populous of the hundred in the 14th century, but the medieval settlement was probably considerably larger than the modern one; there were 67 poll-tax payers in 1377. (fn. 18) By 1662, when it was said that there was only one house, perhaps meaning one farmstead, in the parish, (fn. 19) the hamlet had probably declined to its modern size. The parish had 42 inhabitants in 1801; numbers remained between 40 and 50 until 1851 but had fallen to 33 by 1861. The population had risen to 62 by 1871, after new cottages were built in the 1860s. Only 6 people lived in the southern part of the parish transferred to Bower Chalke in 1885, but the population of the parish had fallen to 43 by 1891. (fn. 20) No later figure for Fifield Bavant is available, but in 1986 the population was clearly no more than c. 25.

The buildings of Fifield Bavant hamlet stand north of the river, with the church on rising ground at the hamlet's eastern end. Other buildings are beside the Ebbesborne Wake road. In the Middle Ages there may have been buildings south and south-west of the church between the road and the river, and in 1773 there were buildings on the south side of the road west of the church. (fn. 21) A farmhouse and most of the farm buildings on the demesne of Fifield manor were ruinous in 1350 (fn. 22) and may have been demolished in 1359. (fn. 23) Their sites are perhaps those north of the old course of the Broad Chalke to Ebbesborne Wake road where Manor Farm, built in the 18th century, and its farm buildings, rebuilt in 1866–7, (fn. 24) stand respectively west and east of the new north and south course of the road. West of Manor Farm is the Old Rectory, the oldest house to survive in the hamlet. In 1773 there were two cottages west of that house on the north side of the road. Buildings then south of the road (fn. 25) had been demolished by 1811. (fn. 26) North of the road a terrace of three cottages was built between the Old Rectory and the older cottages in the 1860s, (fn. 27) and another terrace, of four cottages, replaced the older cottages in the early 20th century. (fn. 28) Two new houses were built north of Manor Farm c. 1970. In 1843 the only outlying buildings were a house at the western end of Little London and a barn north of Woodhouse Hanging. (fn. 29) By 1878 a new farmstead, incorporating a house, had been built east of Fifield Ashes, (fn. 30) and more farm buildings, incorporating a dairy, were built 750 m. southeast of the wood in the late 20th century.

Manor and other Estates.

Lands which became FIFIELD BAVANT manor may have been part of the estate called Chalke granted to the nuns of Wilton by King Edwy in 955. (fn. 31) In 1066 Carl held 5 hides and Ulmar 1 hide in Fifield. In 1086 Ulmar held his estate of Alfred of Marlborough and Ralf held of Alfred the lands, and two burgages in Wilton, formerly Carl's. (fn. 32)

From Alfred of Marlborough the overlordship of Fifield, later Fifield Bavant manor, passed with the overlordship of Teffont Evias manor and in the Tregoze family to John Tregoze (d. 1300). (fn. 33) It was among fees allotted in 1302 to John's daughter Sibyl and her husband William de Grandison. (fn. 34) William (d. 1335) was succeeded in turn by his sons Sir Peter (fn. 35) (d. 1358) and John, bishop of Exeter. (fn. 36) In 1366 the bishop conveyed all his fees in Wiltshire to his nephew John, later Sir John, de Montagu (fn. 37) (d. 1390), who was succeeded by his son John, (fn. 38) from 1397 earl of Salisbury. John died in 1400; he was attainted and his estates were confiscated in the same year. The overlordship of Fifield Bavant was restored, with other estates, to his son Thomas, earl of Salisbury, in 1409. (fn. 39) No further reference to the overlordship has been found.

The two 11th-century estates in Fifield were apparently merged to form Fifield manor, which was held by Peter Scudamore until he forfeited it in or before 1216. The manor was granted in 1216 to Godescalde de Maghelin but was probably recovered by Scudamore with other lands in 1217. (fn. 40) It was later confiscated from Godfrey Scudamore and was restored to him in 1222. (fn. 41) Godfrey (fl. 1262) (fn. 42) was succeeded by his son Peter, who held the manor in 1267. (fn. 43) On Peter's death in or before 1293 it passed to his daughter Alice, relict of Adam Bavant. (fn. 44) By 1301 Alice had been succeeded by her son Roger Bavant, (fn. 45) later knighted. By 1336 Sir Roger had settled the manor on his son Roger and Roger's wife Hawise. (fn. 46) In 1344 the younger Roger, then a knight, conveyed his estates to the king; (fn. 47) Fifield was restored to him for life in 1346. (fn. 48) Sir Roger leased the manor to Sir William de Thorpe, chief justice, whose estates, including Fifield, were confiscated in 1350. (fn. 49) The manor may thus have been in the king's hands before Sir Roger's death in 1355. (fn. 50) In 1357 it was granted by the king for life to John Winwick, possibly the same William Thorpe, and William Peek, perhaps trustees for the newly founded priory at Dartford (Kent), with reversion to the priory. (fn. 51) The priory may have received income from the manor from 1357, and apparently received all the income from 1359. (fn. 52) The priory's estates were surrendered to the king in 1371 (fn. 53) and restored in 1372. (fn. 54) Hawise Bavant, who had sought, using a document with a forged seal, to prove that Fifield manor had been entailed to her, (fn. 55) gave up her claim to it in 1362. (fn. 56) Her daughter Joan Bavant and Joan's husband Sir John Dauntsey persisted in a claim to Fifield and other manors until 1373, when they gave it up in return for a grant of Marden manor. (fn. 57)

At the Dissolution Fifield Bavant manor passed to the Crown and in 1544 was granted to George Ludlow. (fn. 58) George (d. by 1580) was succeeded by his son Sir Edmund (fn. 59) (d. 1624), who in 1611 settled the manor on his son Henry, later knighted. (fn. 60) In 1630 Sir Henry sold it to Thomas Hancock (fn. 61) (d. 1650). It passed in turn to Hancock's son John (fl. 1658) and John's son Robert, who in 1663 sold it to Sir James Thynne. (fn. 62) Sir James (d. 1670) was succeeded in turn by his nephews Thomas Thynne (d. 1682) and Thomas Thynne (cr. Viscount Weymouth in 1682). Thereafter the manor passed with the viscountcy and from 1789 with the marquessate of Bath to Thomas Thynne, marquess of Bath, (fn. 63) who sold it c. 1920 to Frederick Herrington. In 1922 Herrington sold Fifield farm, 922 a., (fn. 64) to C. E. Best (d. 1945), who was succeeded by his son John (d. 1984). In 1985 the farm, then called Manor farm and measuring 834 a., was sold to Mr. John Reis; c. 80 a., in the tail of the former parish, were sold to Mr. J. H. Beckley. (fn. 65)

Lands in Fifield Bavant held by John Stayner and his wife Joan in 1551–2 and 1570 (fn. 66) may be identified with the farm called WOODHOUSE held in 1664 and 1682 by William Coles. (fn. 67) Ann Burrow bought the farm from Coles's heir c. 1696 and later sold it, probably to Charles Clarke. (fn. 68) Possibly in 1721 but perhaps after 1731 Clarke sold Woodhouse farm, c. 100 a. in the tail of the parish, to Frances Penruddock (d. 1795). She was succeeded in turn by her grandson John Penruddock (d. 1841) and John's grandnephew Charles Penruddock, (fn. 69) who in 1843 held the farm, then 77 a. Between 1831 and 1843 c. 25 a. were sold, probably to George Pitt-Rivers, Lord Rivers, who held the land in 1843. (fn. 70) George Herbert, earl of Pembroke and Montgomery, had acquired the larger part of the farm by c. 1863. (fn. 71) It passed with the title as part of the Wilton estate until c. 1919 when it was sold with farms and woodland in Bower Chalke and Ebbesborne Wake parishes. (fn. 72)

A portion of tithes, valued at 3s. 4d., from Fifield, perhaps Fifield Bavant, belonged to the dean and chapter of Salisbury cathedral in 1535; (fn. 73) no later reference to the portion has been found.

Economic History.

In 1086 the larger of the two Fifield estates included land for 4 ploughteams. It had a demesne of 3 hides, with 3 serfs and 1 team; 9 villani and 6 bordars had between them 2 teams. There were 2 a. of meadow, pasture ½ league long and 2 furlongs broad, woodland ½ league long and ½ furlong broad, and a smith's forge. (fn. 74)

Sheep-and-corn husbandry was for long practised in common at Fifield Bavant. Of the three fields, East, West, and Middle, in 1608 (fn. 75) one was perhaps a tenantry field; in the mid 14th century and the late 17th demesne arable of Fifield Bavant manor lay in two fields. (fn. 76) The three fields presumably lay on the lower slopes of the downs north of the Ebble and at the northern end of the parish's tail. By the early 17th century part of the demesne had been inclosed, (fn. 77) and common cultivation had apparently ceased by the late 18th century when most of the parish formed a single farm. (fn. 78) Fifield Down probably provided extensive pasture grazed in common by sheep kept on the demesne and by the copyholders' and rector's sheep. In the early 17th century, however, part may have been several pasture for the lord's cattle. (fn. 79) The downs south of Woodhouse Hanging may have provided several pasture for Woodhouse farm and had been inclosed by the late 18th century. (fn. 80)

In 1345–6 stock, including horses, oxen, and a bull, were sent from Fifield Bavant to Wiston (Suss.), another manor held by Sir Roger Bavant (d. 1355). (fn. 81) In 1350 the demesne included 160 a. of arable, 3 a. of meadow, and 12 a. of woodland planted with oaks, and in 1362 there may have been more meadow and woodland. The farm had apparently been neglected; the buildings were in poor repair, and in 1362 gardens and pasture were overgrown. (fn. 82) The demesne was leased from the 16th century or earlier, (fn. 83) and the farm was enlarged in the 17th and 18th centuries by the addition of lands formerly copyhold. In 1682 it comprised 146 a. of arable in the open fields, c. 70 a. of inclosed arable, 19 a. of meadow, perhaps then, as in the 19th century, watered, and pasture rights for 1,200 sheep. (fn. 84) In 1789 it included 378 a. of arable, 470 a. of pasture, and 12 a. of meadow, all apparently inclosed. (fn. 85)

The tenants of Fifield manor in 1362 included 11 yardlanders and a few ½-yardlanders. (fn. 86) In the late 17th century three tenants of the manor, perhaps copyholders, shared c. 130 a. of arable. By 1756 all but 35 a. of the formerly copyhold land had been absorbed by the demesne farm; the 35 a. were then held by a lessee. (fn. 87)

Probably the only farm in the parish in the Middle Ages apart from the demesne and customary holdings of the manor was the rectorial glebe. (fn. 88) In 1779 Woodhouse farm comprised c. 100 a., half arable and half downland pasture and entirely in the parish's southern tail. (fn. 89) It may then have been part of a farm worked from another parish. In 1843 there was a barn on that part of its land which became part of the Wilton estate. (fn. 90)

An inclosure award of 1792, made under an Act of 1785, confirmed existing inclosures, some of which had been made long before. Allotments were made of all the land north of Woodhouse Hanging, amounting to 812 a. They included 734 a. for the demesne farm, Fifield farm, 23 a. for the rectorial glebe, and four other allotments, each of less than 25 a. (fn. 91)

In 1792 it was reported that the tenant of Fifield farm was using a five-field rotation, rather than the four-field system favoured by the landlord. (fn. 92) In 1793, however, it was agreed that the five-field system should be retained. (fn. 93) Between 1790 and 1820 c. 200 a. of Fifield Down were ploughed; the arable on Fifield farm had increased to 516 a. by 1816, (fn. 94) and to 592 a. by 1843. There were 633 a. of arable in the parish in 1843, 362 a. of pasture, 97 a. of wood, and 27 a. of meadow land. Fifield farm was 910 a. and Woodhouse farm included 19 a. of arable and 56 a. of pasture. (fn. 95) In 1831, as at other times, agriculture provided the main employment for all families in the parish. (fn. 96)

The buildings of Fifield farm near the church were replaced and others built to serve the downland arable in the mid 19th century. In 1878 the farm included only 420 a. of arable and part of the downland had been returned to pasture. (fn. 97) In 1922 the farm comprised 440 a. of pasture and 452 a. of arable; cows and sheep were kept and corn was grown. (fn. 98) It remained a mixed farm in the late 20th century when it included the new dairy. (fn. 99)

In 1267 Peter Scudamore was granted the right to hold in his manor of Fifield a weekly market on Fridays and a yearly fair on 10, 11, and 12 November. (fn. 100) There is no evidence that either was held.

Local Government.

Courts were held for Fifield manor in the mid 14th century and in the 16th; (fn. 101) no roll or court book survives.

Poor rates in Fifield Bavant in the late 18th century and the early 19th were low but not the lowest in Chalke hundred. Spending on the poor rose from an annual average of £9 in 1783–5 to £22 in 1803, when 5 people received permanent and 2 occasional relief. Provision of permanent relief for 1 person and occasional relief for 6 cost £19 in 1812–13, £26 in 1813–14. Expenditure was £34 in 1829. (fn. 102) Between 1833 and 1835 the average annual cost of poor relief was £21. Fifield Bavant became part of Wilton poorlaw union in 1836. (fn. 103) From 1974 both northern and southern parts of the parish lay within Salisbury district. (fn. 104)


A chaplain of 'Fifield' recorded at a date perhaps in the mid 12th century (fn. 105) and a rector collated to 'Fifield' by the bishop of Salisbury in or before 1291 (fn. 106) probably served Fifield Bavant church. There was a rector in 1305. (fn. 107) Like its neighbours the church may have been built as a chapel dependent on Broad Chalke church. (fn. 108) In the 17th century inhabitants of Fifield Bavant apparently had the right, on payment, to be buried at Broad Chalke. (fn. 109) The building at Fifield Bavant was called a chapel in 1307, 1317, and 1334, a church in 1305 and after 1334. (fn. 110) In 1923 the rectory was united with Ebbesborne Wake vicarage and the two parishes were united. (fn. 111) In 1963 the benefice of Ebbesborne Wake with Fifield Bavant was united with Alvediston vicarage, (fn. 112) and in 1970 the parishes were united. (fn. 113) From 1972 the incumbent of the enlarged benefice was a mem ber of the Chalke Valley group ministry, and in 1981 the living became part of Chalke Valley West benefice. (fn. 114)

Sir Roger Bavant presented a rector in 1305, and the advowson thereafter passed with Fifield Bavant manor. (fn. 115) The Crown was patron in 1350 and probably in 1353, in the right of Sir William de Thorpe, lessee of the manor, whose estates were confiscated in 1350, (fn. 116) and probably again in 1399. (fn. 117) No member of the Ludlow family presented a rector; presentations were made by John Hooper in 1570, William Coles in 1606, and Roger Coles and William Coles in 1636, by grants from George Ludlow, Sir Edmund Ludlow, and Sir Henry Ludlow respectively. In 1750 Sir John Astley, Bt., presented, presumably by a grant from a member of the Thynne family, and in 1777 the Crown presented at the vacancy created by the appointment of the rector to the bishopric of Oxford. (fn. 118) Thomas Thynne, marquess of Bath, retained the advowson when Fifield Bavant manor was sold c. 1920, and from 1923 had the right to present for the united benefice at alternate turns. (fn. 119) He was succeeded in 1946 by his son Henry, marquess of Bath, (fn. 120) who in 1951 conveyed his share of the advowson to the bishop of Salisbury. The bishop was thereafter sole patron of that benefice, (fn. 121) and was entitled to present at two of every three turns for the new united benefice from 1963, (fn. 122) and at every third turn for that of Chalke Valley West from 1981. (fn. 123)

The rectory, valued at £5 in 1362 (fn. 124) and at £7 in 1535, (fn. 125) was among the poorest livings in Chalke deanery. The rector received an additional £20 a year from an endowment given by Thomas Thynne, Viscount Weymouth (d. 1714). (fn. 126) The sum was still received c. 1830, (fn. 127) but the rector's income, then £170 yearly, remained low for a Wiltshire living. (fn. 128) The endowment was given to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1904. (fn. 129)

In 1608 the rector was said to be entitled to all tithes from the whole parish. (fn. 130) In 1843 he was entitled to all but those from 25 a. at the south end of the parish: his tithes were then valued at £140 and commuted. (fn. 131) In 1608 the glebe included 20 a. and pasture rights for 60 sheep and 6 beasts. (fn. 132) At inclosure in 1792 all that was replaced by an allotment of 23 a. (fn. 133) In 1862 the rector exchanged 17 a. of that allotment for 20 a. belonging to John Thynne, marquess of Bath. (fn. 134) There was a house on the glebe in 1608. (fn. 135) The glebe house was said to be unfit for residence c. 1830 (fn. 136) but was in use in 1843. (fn. 137) The stone house, apparently of 17th-century origin, has been much altered. It was sold with 21 a. of glebe in 1922. (fn. 138)

Ralph, in 1291 rector of 'Fifield', was also rector of Tadmarton (Oxon.) and was said to be 'learned in various sciences'. (fn. 139) Andrew Maufe, rector of Fifield Bavant 1307–17, was licensed to study at an English university for five years during his incumbency. (fn. 140) Between 1334 and 1355 six rectors were admitted, of whom five obtained the benefice by exchange. (fn. 141) It was reported in 1553 that the quarterly sermons were not preached, and in 1585 that the curate was sometimes drunk although the services were said 'orderly'. There was no cover for the communion table in 1553 or 1585; the rector's surplice, stolen before 1570, was not replaced until 1585. (fn. 142) In 1650 the rector, Thomas Coles, preached every Sunday. It was then recommended that the hamlets of East Gurston, West Gurston, and Little London, all in Broad Chalke and nearer to Fifield Bavant church than to their own parish church, should be transferred to Fifield Bavant parish; (fn. 143) nothing came of the recommendation. Thomas Crapon, later vicar of Stanton St. Bernard, was possibly ejected from Fifield Bavant as a nonconformist in 1660 or 1661. (fn. 144) In 1662 the church was again without a cover for the communion table and also lacked copies of Jewell's Apology and the Book of Homilies. (fn. 145) In the 18th and 19th centuries most rectors were pluralists. (fn. 146) John Butler, rector 1750–77 and later bishop of Oxford and of Hereford, also held Everleigh rectory and the archdeaconry of Surrey. (fn. 147) Curates, some of whom lived in the parish, served Fifield Bavant in the early and mid 19th century. (fn. 148) In 1851, on Census Sunday, 26 people attended morning service. (fn. 149) In 1864 a service with a sermon was held each Sunday with an average congregation of 24. Communion was celebrated monthly and on Christmas day, Easter day, and Whit Sunday, and additional services were held in Advent and Lent. (fn. 150) From 1859 until the benefices were united the rectory was held in plurality with Ebbesborne Wake vicarage, (fn. 151) and from c. 1875, when the rector moved to Ebbesborne Wake, no incumbent has lived in Fifield Bavant. (fn. 152) The united benefice was held with Alvediston vicarage from 1956 until the benefice of Ebbesborne Wake with Fifield Bavant and Alvediston was created. (fn. 153)

The church of ST. MARTIN was so called in 1496, (fn. 154) and may have been so from or before the grant of 1267 of a Martinmas fair at Fifield Bavant. (fn. 155) It is one of the smallest churches in Wiltshire. It has chequered walls of flint rubble and ashlar, and comprises a chancel and a nave without a division between them. The 12th-century font and a lancet window in the north wall suggest an early origin, but other windows and the west and south doorways are of dates from the late 15th century to the early 17th. There was no bellcot in 1805; (fn. 156) one was added in 1907. (fn. 157)

Three cows and 40 sheep, said to belong to the church in 1556, (fn. 158) may have provided income for its upkeep. No other reference to such stock has been found.

A chalice was left in the parish and 1½ oz. of plate confiscated in 1553. (fn. 159) In 1662 the parish had neither chalice nor flagon. (fn. 160) A chalice acquired in 1735 (fn. 161) and a paten of similar date belonged to the parish in 1986. (fn. 162) There were two bells in 1553, (fn. 163) one c. 1830 (fn. 164) and in 1986. (fn. 165) Registers of baptisms and burials begin in 1696, those of marriages in 1699. (fn. 166)


The nonconformist Thomas Crapon may have been rector of Fifield Bavant until 1661. (fn. 167) No other dissenter is recorded until 1864, when there was one family of nonconformists. (fn. 168)


In 1818 the poor of Fifield Bavant were said to desire the means of education. (fn. 169) No school was opened in the parish, and from 1859 or earlier children from Fifield Bavant attended the school in Ebbesborne Wake. (fn. 170)

Charities for the Poor.

None known.


  • 1. This article was written in 1986. Maps used include O.S. Maps 1/50,000, sheet 184 (1979 edn.); 1/25,000, ST 91–2, SU 02 (1958–61 edns.); 6", Wilts. LXX, LXXV (1887–9 edns.).
  • 2. W.R.O., tithe award; O.S. Map 6", Wilts. LXX (1889 edn.).
  • 3. V.C.H. Wilts. ii, p. 91; Arch. Jnl. lxxvii. 25–9; below, manor.
  • 4. V.C.H. Wilts. ii, pp. 142–3.
  • 5. Below, church.
  • 6. P.N. Wilts. (E.P.N.S.), 207; below, manor.
  • 7. V.C.H. Wilts. iv. 348; W.R.O., tithe award.
  • 8. Census, 1901.
  • 9. Arch.Jnl. lxxvi. 194–5.
  • 10. Geol. Surv. Maps 1/50,000, drift, sheets 298, 314 (1976 edns.).
  • 11. Below, econ. hist.
  • 12. W.R.O., tithe award.
  • 13. O.S. Map 6", Wilts. LXX (1889 and later edns.).
  • 14. V.C.H. Wilts. iv. 458.
  • 15. W.R.O., EA/141.
  • 16. Andrews and Dury, Map (W.R.S. viii), pl. 2; O.S. Map 1", sheet 15 (1811 edn.).
  • 17. V.C.H. Wilts. i (1), 68–9, 173, 253.
  • 18. Ibid. iv. 298, 307.
  • 19. W.R.O., D 1/54/1.
  • 20. V.C.H. Wilts. iv. 324, 348.
  • 21. Andrews and Dury, Map (W.R.S. viii), pl. 2.
  • 22. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1327–77 (Index Libr.), 221–2.
  • 23. Cal. Pat. 1358–61, 245.
  • 24. Longleat Mun., box 19, Fifield, 13.
  • 25. Andrews and Dury, Map (W.R.S. viii), pl. 2.
  • 26. O.S. Map 1", sheet 15 (1811 edn.).
  • 27. V.C.H. Wilts. iv. 324; Longleat Mun., box 19, Fifield, 16.
  • 28. W.A.S. Libr., sale cat. xviii, no. 13.
  • 29. W.R.O., tithe award.
  • 30. Longleat Mun., box 19, Fifield, 16.
  • 31. V.C.H. Wilts. ii, p. 91; Arch. Jnl. lxxvii. 25–9.
  • 32. V.C.H. Wilts. ii, pp. 142–3.
  • 33. Below, Teffont Evias, manor; Cal. Inq. p.m. iii, PP. 453, 455.
  • 34. Cal. Close, 1296–1302, 562.
  • 35. Cal. Inq. p.m. vii, p. 460.
  • 36. Ibid. x, p. 347.
  • 37. Cal. Pat. 1364–7, 312.
  • 38. Cal. Inq. p.m. xvi, pp. 337, 340.
  • 39. Complete Peerage, xi. 391–3; Cal. Close, 1405–9, 443.
  • 40. Rot. Litt. Claus. (Rec. Com.), i. 285, 300.
  • 41. Ibid. 513.
  • 42. P.R.O., CP 25(1)/251/20, no. 23.
  • 43. Cal. Chart. R. 1257–1300, 73; Vis. Hunts. (Camd. Soc. [1st ser.], xliii), 82.
  • 44. Cal. Inq. p.m. iii, p. 55; Coll. Topog. et Gen. vii. 152.
  • 45. Cal. Pat. 1292–1301, 561; Cal. Inq. p.m. iv, p. 35.
  • 46. Cal. Inq. p.m. vii, p. 460; Cal. Inq. Misc. ii, p. 517.
  • 47. Cal. Pat. 1343–5, 334.
  • 48. Ibid. 1345–8, 125.
  • 49. Cal. Inq. Misc. iii, pp. 15–16; D.N.B.
  • 50. Cal. Inq. p.m. x, p. 314; below, church.
  • 51. Cal. Pat. 1354–8, 521.
  • 52. Ibid. 1358–61, 240.
  • 53. Ibid. 1370–4, 162–3.
  • 54. Dugdale, Mon. vi (1), 538.
  • 55. Cal. Close, 1369–74, 421.
  • 56. Ibid. 1360–4, 383.
  • 57. Cal. Pat. 1370–4, 370.
  • 58. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xix (1), p. 279.
  • 59. W.A.M. xxvi, pedigree at pp. 172–3.
  • 60. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1625–49 (Index Libr.), 94–7.
  • 61. P.R.O., CP 25(2)/509/6 Chas. I Mich.
  • 62. Longleat Mun. 7384.
  • 63. Burke, Peerage (1931), 230–1.
  • 64. W.A.S. Libr., sale cat. xviii, no. 13.
  • 65. Inf. from Mrs. I. Best, Dunmore, Fifield Bavant.
  • 66. P.R.O., CP 25(2)/65/532, no. 40; CP 25(2)/239/12 Eliz. I Hil.
  • 67. Longleat Mun., bk. 47, no. 2; ibid. 10652, p. 46.
  • 68. Ibid. box 19, Fifield, 2; P.R.O., E 134/3 Geo. I Hil./2.
  • 69. Longleat Mun., box 19, Fifield, 2; ibid. map of Fifield Bavant, 1779; Hoare, Mod. Wilts. Chalke, 122; A. H. Noble, 'Penruddock Fam.' (TS. in W.R.O.).
  • 70. W.R.O., A 1/345/176; ibid. tithe award.
  • 71. Ibid. 2057/S 170.
  • 72. Ibid. 2057/E 5/2.
  • 73. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii. 81.
  • 74. V.C.H. Wilts. ii, p. 142.
  • 75. W.R.O., D 1/24/91/1.
  • 76. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1327–77 (Index Libr.), 221; Longleat Mun. 10652.
  • 77. P.R.O., REQ 2/295/16.
  • 78. Below.
  • 79. P.R.O., REQ 2/295/16.
  • 80. W.R.O., EA/38.
  • 81. Suss. Arch. Collections, liii. 146.
  • 82. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1327–77 (Index Libr.), 221–2, 320–1.
  • 83. Longleat Mun. 7377.
  • 84. Ibid. 10652; ibid. box 19, Fifield, 16.
  • 85. King's Coll. Mun., terrier, 1788, in which inf. is dated 1789.
  • 86. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1327–77 (Index Libr.), 321.
  • 87. Longleat Mun. 10652; ibid. survey, 1743, vol. i; King's Coll. Mun., terrier, 1788.
  • 88. Below, church.
  • 89. Longleat Mun., map of Fifield Bavant, 1779.
  • 90. W.R.O., tithe award.
  • 91. Ibid. EA/38.
  • 92. Longleat Mun., box 19, Fifield, 9. i.
  • 93. Ibid. box 19, Fifield, 9. v.
  • 94. Ibid. box 19, Fifield, 9. ix; box 19, Fifield, 9. xii.
  • 95. W.R.O., tithe award.
  • 96. Census, 1831.
  • 97. W.R.O., tithe award; Longleat Mun., box 19, Fifield, 16.
  • 98. W.A.S. Libr., sale cat. xviii, no. 13.
  • 99. Inf. from Mrs. I. Best, Dunmore, Fifield Bavant.
  • 100. Cal. Chart. R. 1257–1300, 73.
  • 101. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1327–77 (Index Libr.), 222, 321; P.R.O., E 318/Box 15/734.
  • 102. Poor Law Abstract, 1804, 560–1; 1818, 494–5; Poor Rate Returns, 1825–9, 216.
  • 103. Poor Law Com. 2nd Rep. App. D, 560.
  • 104. O.S. Map 1/100,000, admin. areas, Wilts. (1974 edn.).
  • 105. Reg. St. Osmund (Rolls Ser.), i. 342.
  • 106. Cal. Papal Reg. i. 525.
  • 107. Reg. Ghent (Cant. & York Soc.), ii. 652.
  • 108. Above, Alvediston, church; Bower Chalke, church; Broad Chalke, church.
  • 109. Longleat Mun., bk. 48, f. 14.
  • 110. Phillipps, Wilts. Inst. (index in W.A.M. xxviii. 220).
  • 111. Lond. Gaz. 12 Oct. 1923, p. 6838.
  • 112. Ibid. 25 Oct. 1963, p. 8770.
  • 113. Ibid. 10 Mar. 1970, p. 2856.
  • 114. Ibid. 26 Oct. 1972, p. 12603; 1 Dec. 1981, p. 15283; above, Alvediston, church.
  • 115. Phillipps, Wilts. Inst. i. 6–8, 15, 29, 40–1, 98, 116, 165, 171, 178, 202; Cal. Pat. 1354–8, 312; above, manor.
  • 116. Cal. Pat. 1350–4, 47, 418; above, manor. Phillipps, Wilts. Inst. i. 51 names the bishop as patron in 1353.
  • 117. Cal. Pat. 1396–9, 493. The prioress of Dartford is named as patron in the bishop's reg.: W.R.O., D 1/2/6, f. 56v.
  • 118. Phillipps, Wilts. Inst. i. 225; ii. 4, 18, 73, 88.
  • 119. Above, manor; Lond. Gaz. 12 Oct. 1923, p. 6838.
  • 120. Burke, Peerage (1959), 168.
  • 121. Lond. Gaz. 10 Apr. 1951, pp. 2005–6.
  • 122. Crockford (1973–4).
  • 123. Ch. Com. file, NB 34/71D.
  • 124. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1327–77 (Index Libr.), 321.
  • 125. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii. 105.
  • 126. Endowed Char. Wilts. (S. Div.), 1007–8.
  • 127. Hoare, Mod. Wilts. Chalke, 125.
  • 128. Rep. Com. Eccl. Revenues, 834–5.
  • 129. Endowed Char. Wilts. (S. Div.), 1008.
  • 130. W.R.O., D 1/24/91/1.
  • 131. Ibid. tithe award.
  • 132. Ibid. D 1/24/91/1.
  • 133. Ibid. EA/38; ibid. tithe award.
  • 134. Ibid. 1918/14.
  • 135. Ibid. D 1/24/91/1.
  • 136. Rep. Com. Eccl. Revenues, 834–5.
  • 137. W.R.O., tithe award.
  • 138. W.A.S. Libr., sale cat. xxvi, no. 23.
  • 139. Cal. Papal Reg. i. 525.
  • 140. Phillipps, Wilts. Inst. i. 8, 15; Reg. Ghent (Cant. & York Soc.), ii. 891.
  • 141. Phillipps, Wilts. Inst. i. 29, 40–1, 49, 51; Cal. Pat. 1354–8, 312.
  • 142. W.R.O., D 1/43/1; D 1/43/5–6.
  • 143. W.A.M. xl. 308.
  • 144. Calamy Revised, ed. A. G. Matthews, 142.
  • 145. W.R.O., D 1/54/1.
  • 146. Alum. Oxon. 1500–1714, iv. 1355; 1715–1886, i. 370; Rep. Com. Eccl. Revenues, 834–5; below.
  • 147. Phillipps, Wilts. Inst. ii. 73, 88; D.N.B.
  • 148. Rep. Com. Eccl. Revenues, 834–5; Kelly's Dir. Wilts. (1859); P.R.O., HO 129/265/2/10/4; W.R.O., tithe award.
  • 149. P.R.O., HO 129/265/2/10/4.
  • 150. W.R.O., D 1/56/7.
  • 151. Clergy List (1859 and later edns.); Crockford (1896 and later edns.).
  • 152. Kelly's Dir. Wilts. (1867 and later edns.); above, Ebbesborne Wake, church.
  • 153. Crockford (1961–2); above.
  • 154. Phillipps, Wilts. Inst. i. 178.
  • 155. Cal. Chart. R. 1257–1300, 73.
  • 156. J. Buckler, watercolour in W.A.S. Libr., vol. ii. 28.
  • 157. Wilts. Cuttings, xxvii. 145.
  • 158. W.R.O., D 1/43/2.
  • 159. Nightingale, Wilts. Plate, 51.
  • 160. W.R.O., D 1/54/1.
  • 161. Nightingale, Wilts. Plate, 51.
  • 162. Inf. from the vicar, Broad Chalke.
  • 163. Walters, Wilts. Bells, 85.
  • 164. Hoare, Mod. Wilts. Chalke, 126.
  • 165. Inf. from the vicar.
  • 166. W.R.O. 1052/8–12; bishop's transcripts for some earlier dates are ibid.
  • 167. Above, church.
  • 168. W.R.O., D 1/56/7.
  • 169. Educ. of Poor Digest, 1026.
  • 170. Acct. of Wilts. Schs. 22.