A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 14, Malmesbury Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1991.
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LEA AND CLEVERTON
Lea village is 2.5 km. ESE. of Malmesbury, and Cleverton hamlet is 2 km. ESE. of that. (fn. 1) Lea and Cleverton is one of very few Wiltshire parishes called by the names of two settlements, and it has only one church, at Lea. By the mid 16th century the church was served by the rector of Garsdon; (fn. 2) in 1608 and 1671 the churchwardens of Lea entitled the glebe terriers Lea and Cleverton, (fn. 3) and in a visitation book of 1680 the bishop entered Lea and, erroneously, Cleverton as two chapels served by the rector of Garsdon. Although that entry was later corrected (fn. 4) the chapelry was called Lea and Cleverton in subsequent diocesan records (fn. 5) and that was the parish name in the 19th century; (fn. 6) it is unlikely that the name was used to distinguish Lea from Leigh Delamere in the same deanery.
To the south-west the parish embraced an island of Little Somerford parish, 5 a.: under an Act of 1882 that was transferred to Lea and Cleverton and a small area of Lea and Cleverton was transferred to Little Somerford. (fn. 7) Lea and Cleverton parish thereafter measured 1,778 a. (720 ha.). Garsdon parish was added to it in 1934 and increased its area to 1,176 ha. (2,908 a.). (fn. 8) The simplicity of the parish boundaries in the 19th century suggests that they may be ancient. The western is marked by the Bristol Avon, much of the northern and eastern by its tributary Woodbridge brook which was a boundary c. 1100, and the southern ran near or along the Swindon—Malmesbury road. The inclusion of c. 70 a. west of the Avon within the boundaries in 1840 was apparently a mistake. (fn. 9)
Two streams flow northwards across the parish to Woodbridge brook. The highest land, 100 m., is on the southern boundary, the lowest, 70 m., is beside the Avon, and the relief is gentle. Kellaways Clay outcrops in the west part of the parish, Kellaways Sand between the two streams, and Oxford Clay extensively in the east. Alluvium flanks the eastern stream, Woodbridge brook, and the Avon, and glacial drift covers the highest land to the south. (fn. 10) Most of the land has long been pasture, (fn. 11) and the name Lea may indicate that the parish was formerly well wooded. (fn. 12)
The main Swindon—Malmesbury road, in 1773 as later, entered the parish across Cow bridge: it was turnpiked in 1809, disturnpiked in 1876. (fn. 13) In 1773 a road led north from it through Lea to Charlton. An east-west road from Milbourne in Malmesbury parish crossed the Charlton road at the south end of Lea, followed a winding course to Cleverton, and crossed Woodbridge brook by the bridge now called Wood bridge. West of Lea it was called Crab Mill Road in 1807, later Crab Mill Lane; between Lea and Cleverton it was called Cresswell Lane from the 1880s. Another road left it at Cleverton and led south to the main road. All those roads remained in use in the later 20th century, although Crab Mill Lane was then principally a farm road. North of Lea in 1773 a road ran east from the Charlton road, and from it two others ran south to Cleverton. In 1807 only the western road to Cleverton was in use, though both were used in 1887; (fn. 14) in 1989 the east-west road was a private drive. A Bristol—Cirencester canal across the parish was proposed in the late 18th century but not built. (fn. 15) The railway line to Malmesbury opened in 1877 crossed the parish near the Avon. (fn. 16)
In 1377 Lea had 40 poll-tax payers, Cleverton 55. The population of the parish rose rapidly in the early 19th century, from 252 in 1801 to 446 in 1841, when 330 lived in Lea tithing, 116 in Cleverton. Insufficient housing was said to have caused its fall to 414 between 1841 and 1851. It had risen to 494 by 1871 but thereafter declined, with some fluctuations. The steepest fall was from 414 in 1921 to 377 in 1931. (fn. 17) After 1970 the population of the enlarged parish was much increased by new housing; of 695 inhabitants in 1981, (fn. 18) the great majority lived in Lea village.
The village stands in the west part of the parish on sandy soil. It was called the Lea from the 13th century to the later 18th. (fn. 19) The church is at the junction of the Charlton road and Cresswell Lane. East of it Manor Farm is a gabled stone farmhouse of the late 17th or early 18th century: it may have been built to a T-shaped plan but is now square. South-west of the church Brill's Court was a large house in the 17th century: in the early 19th century it was replaced by a small farmhouse (fn. 20) which was later much extended. Between Manor Farm and Brill's Court, near the church, another farmhouse is of 18th-century origin.
West of the church Crab Mill Lane and the road approaching the village from the south had wide verges with a small green, Lea green, at their junction, and in 1773 buildings stood along the north side of the green, now the east end of Crab Mill Lane. Most were replaced in the 19th century or the 20th. Most of Lea green was used as a recreation ground in the later 20th century. Scattered houses were also along Cresswell Lane in 1773. North of the church in 1773 farmsteads and houses stood on the edges of the roughly triangular Lea lower common. (fn. 21) A few buildings survive from that date including Street Farm, Merton Farm, and some at the west end of Little Badminton Lane and in School Lane. When the common was inclosed in 1806 School Lane was made along its northern edge, Little Badminton Lane was made across it, and the Charlton road, later called the Street, was remade on a more westerly course. (fn. 22)
In the early 19th century much of the village was rebuilt, but its extent had changed little by 1840. (fn. 23) In the Street a nonconformist chapel was built in the early 19th century and a school in the later. The Rose and Crown inn, mentioned in 1788. (fn. 24) was at the southern end of the Street, rebuilt in 1891, (fn. 25) and open in 1989. The Old Inn, mentioned in 1822 and 1827, (fn. 26) may also have been in Lea village. A pond, east of the Street in 1840, had been drained by 1885. (fn. 27) A few more houses were built in the Street in the later 19th century but, apart from a village hall of 1934, (fn. 28) there was little further building until the later 20th century. A rectory house and some private houses in the Street and 14 council houses in St. Giles's Close at its north end were built in the 1950s and 1960s. I n the 1970s and 1980s over 100 houses were built; there was infilling in the Street, School Lane, and Crab Mill Lane, 33 houses and bungalows were built in Pembroke Green west of the church, and 8 houses south of Little Badminton Lane.
West of the village Crab Mill stood on Woodbridge brook from the 15th century or earlier. (fn. 29) East of the village Walkers Farm and Chink Farm were standing in 1773; (fn. 30) Chink Farm was rebuilt c. 1800, Walkers was demolished between 1840 and 1885. (fn. 31) Winkworth Farm was built soon after 1773 on a raised site east of Walkers Farm; (fn. 32) it was much altered in the 19th century and cottages and a bungalow were built west of it in the 20th. Firs Farm was built beside the main road south of the village between 1807 and 1840, (fn. 33) and in the late 19th century Lea House, a large brick and stone villa, was built south of the road near Cow bridge. Several other houses were built beside the road and in the 1930s six pairs of council houses, Lea Crescent, were built at its junction with the road to the village. (fn. 34)
Cleverton in 1773 was a loose group of c. 12 farmsteads and cottages in Cresswell Lane and lanes leading north and south from it. (fn. 35) At the junction with the southern lane a cross standing in the late 18th century had been removed by 1840. (fn. 36) In the east part of Cresswell Lane a group of buildings was called Old Hill in 1773; (fn. 37) a lane linking Old Hill to the northern lane went out of use between 1807 and 1828. (fn. 38) Two farmsteads survive from 1773, Street Farm in the southern lane and Cleverton Manor Farm on the north side of Cresswell Lane at Old Hill. Between 1773 and 1802 Coles Farm was built south-west of Cleverton Manor Farm. (fn. 39) It and Cleverton Farm, further west in Cresswell Lane, were rebuilt and Cross Farm, on the site of the cross, was built in the early 19th century. In 1832 a nonconformist chapel, presumably on the site of a later chapel north of Street Farm, was built. (fn. 40) Between 1840 and 1885 a farmstead beside the northern lane north of Cleverton Farm was demolished, (fn. 41) but otherwise the hamlet has been little changed since 1840.
South of the hamlet the Swindon—Malmesbury road had very wide verges called Cleverton down. (fn. 42) Of two buildings north of the verge in 1773 (fn. 43) one, called the Crow's Nest in 1828, (fn. 44) was an inn in 1865 and may have been earlier; it was closed between 1931 and 1939. (fn. 45) A 20th-century bungalow is on the site of the other. Cleverton down was inclosed in 1806, (fn. 46) and a new inn, the Traveller's Rest, was built beside the road between 1840 and 1885. (fn. 47) It was closed between 1915 and 1921 (fn. 48) and the site was used for Lovett Farm. To the west Hill Field Farm was built in the earlier 20th century behind the line of the old verge.
Manors and other Estates.
The lands of Lea and Cleverton were probably held by Malmesbury abbey before the Conquest and may have been part of its large estate called Brokenborough c. 1100. (fn. 49) By the later 13th century the abbey had alienated some lands in the parish; it then had an estate called Cleverton (fn. 50) and perhaps a separate estate called Lea.
After the Dissolution the Crown granted the abbey's whole estate in the parish to Richard Moody in 1540. (fn. 51) As LEA AND CLEVERTON manor the estate passed with Garsdon manor from Moody (d. 1550) in turn to his relict Catherine (fn. 52) (d. 1556) and son Richard (fn. 53) (d. 1612), to Sir Henry Moody, Bt. (fn. 54) (d. 1629), and to Sir Henry's son Sir Henry, (fn. 55) who sold Lea and Cleverton manor to Henry Danvers, earl of Danby, in 1634. (fn. 56) Danby (d. 1644) devised it with Malmesbury manor to his nephew Henry Danvers. After Danvers's death in 1654 his estates were shared by his sisters Elizabeth and Anne. Anne (d. 1659), wife of Sir Henry Lee, Bt. (d. 1659), was succeeded by her daughters Eleanor, wife of James Bertie, earl of Abingdon, and Anne, wife of Thomas Wharton, marquess of Wharton. A moiety of Lea and Cleverton manor was probably among estates allotted to the younger Anne at her marriage in 1673. (fn. 57) Elizabeth and her husband Robert Danvers held the other moiety in 1672 (fn. 58) but had apparently conveyed it to the Whartons by 1685. (fn. 59) In 1705 Lord Wharton sold the whole manor, except apparently Westfield farm, to Thomas Boucher (fn. 60) (d. 1708), who was succeeded by his son Thomas (fl. 1749). The younger Thomas's daughter Julia or Judith married William FitzWilliam, (fn. 61) who held the manor in 1774 (fn. 62) and 1780. By 1789 it had passed to William's grandnephew Richard FitzWilliam, Viscount FitzWilliam (d. 1816), (fn. 63) who devised it to his kinsman Sidney Herbert (cr. Baron Herbert of Lea and d. 1861). Herbert, who in 1840 held c. 750 a. in the parish, was succeeded by his son George, Baron Herbert, who in 1862 became earl of Pembroke and of Montgomery. The manor, increased by purchase to c. 1,050 a., passed to Reginald Herbert, earl of Pembroke and of Montgomery, (fn. 64) who in 1916 and 1917 sold it in portions. (fn. 65)
Manor farm, 188 a., was bought in 1917 by J. Sellwood (fn. 66) and held in 1923 and 1939 by H. J. Sellwood. (fn. 67) It apparently belonged to the Sellwood family until 1973 (fn. 68) and was later broken up. (fn. 69) John Newman bought Winkworth farm, 233 a., in 1917. (fn. 70) It passed to his kinsman George Newman (d. 1975) whose sons Mr. Anthony Newman and Mr. Timothy Newman owned it in 1989. (fn. 71) Cleverton farm, 150 a., was bought in 1916 by Frederick Smith, (fn. 72) who sold it in 1939 to Jesus College, Oxford. In 1971 the college sold it to Mr. Anthony Webb who with his son Mr. Paul Webb owned the farm in 1989. (fn. 73)
WESTFIELD farm was owned by Lord Wharton in 1685 (fn. 74) and apparently retained in 1705. Between then and 1780, when it belonged to Jacob Bouverie, earl of Radnor, it may have passed with the main part of Whitchurch and Milbourne manor in Malmesbury or with Southfield farm in Milbourne. Lord Radnor sold Westfield farm c. 1820 either to John Howard, earl of Suffolk and of Berkshire (d. 1820), or to John's son Thomas, earl of Suffolk and of Berkshire, (fn. 75) who in 1840 held 133 a. in Lea and Cleverton parish. (fn. 76) The lands passed with Charlton manor and the titles, presumably to Michael Howard, earl of Suffolk and of Berkshire from 1941. In 1989 they probably belonged to Mr. R. G. Baker. (fn. 77)
A manor of LEA, of which Malmesbury abbey was overlord in 1439, (fn. 78) apparently consisted of land subinfeudated by the abbey. Richard Parfet held 1/8 knight's fee in'Lea in 1242–3 and perhaps after 1260, William of Hankerton held ¼ knight's fee, probably also in 1242–3, (fn. 79) and Robert, son of Pain of Lea, held ½ hide and I yardland in the later 13th century. (fn. 80) In 1340 Ralph of Combe conveyed Lea manor to Sir John Mauduit, Mauduit conveyed it to John Moleyns, husband of his daughter Gille, (fn. 81) and Moleyns was granted free warren in the demesne lands. (fn. 82) The manor was confiscated in 1341 but restored to Moleyns in 1345. (fn. 83) On his death in 1360 it passed to Joan (d. 1369), relict of his son John and then wife of Sir Michael Poynings (d. 1369), and in 1369 to the elder John Moleyns's son Sir William (d. 1381), (fn. 84) whose relict Margery held it at her death in 1399. Margery was succeeded by her grandson Sir William Moleyns (fn. 85) (d. 1425), whose relict Margery held Lea manor at her death in 1439. It passed to her granddaughter Eleanor Moleyns, later wife of Sir Robert Hungerford, Lord Hungerford and Moleyns (attainted 1461, d. 1464). (fn. 86) In 1460 Robert and Eleanor conveyed Lea with other manors to trustees to raise money for Robert's ransom from Aquitaine. Eleanor sued for its return in 1461 but may not have recovered it until after 1464. In 1472 she and her husband Sir Oliver Manningham (d. 1499) settled it on themselves for life with reversion to Eleanor's son Sir Walter Hungerford (d. 1516) in tail and with remainder to her granddaughter Mary Hungerford, suo jure Baroness Botreaux, Hungerford, and Moleyns (d. c. 1533), who married first Edward Hastings, Lord Hastings (d. 1506), and secondly Sir Richard Sacheverell (d. 1534). (fn. 87) Sir Walter's rights were apparently ignored in 1499 and the manor passed to Mary's son George Hastings, Lord Hastings (cr. earl of Huntingdon 1529, d. 1544), who retained it after arbitration between him and Sir Walter's grandson Walter, Lord Hungerford, in 1535. Lea manor passed to George's son Francis, earl of Huntingdon (d. 1560), and to Francis's son Henry, earl of Huntingdon, (fn. 88) who sold Lea manor in parcels between 1571 and 1581. The lordship was bought in 1575 by William Drewet, (fn. 89) perhaps a trustee of Richard Moody, and in 1581 Huntingdon conveyed the lordship and some land of the manor to Moody, (fn. 90) who merged them with Lea and Cleverton manor.
Several other estates in Lea are known to have been parts of Lea manor, as others, not traced before the 17th century, may have been. In 1572 Lord Huntingdon sold an estate in Lea, including a manor house, to Henry Cheever (fn. 91) (d. by 1591), who was succeeded by his son Jeremy. (fn. 92) Sir Henry Moody (d. 1629) bought part of Cheever's estate and added it to Lea and Cleverton manor; (fn. 93) the rest, including the house, passed from Jeremy Cheever (d. 1622) to his son Robert. (fn. 94) Lands in Lea bought in 1571 from Lord Huntingdon by Thomas Rich, (fn. 95) and sold by Rich to Jeremy Cheever, were also held by Robert Cheever in 1623. (fn. 96) No later record of the Cheevers' holding has been traced.
Lands bought from Lord Huntingdon in 1571 by Robert Golding (fl. 1580) (fn. 97) passed to Golding's son Thomas (d. 1610) and to Thomas's son Robert. (fn. 98) By 1695 another Thomas Golding had sold the estate, c. 80 a., to John Jacob. (fn. 99) Lands sold by Lord Huntingdon in 1571 to Philip Watts or Gibbs (fn. 100) were probably also among c. 270 a. in the parish settled by Jacob (d. 1705) on the marriage of his son John. (fn. 101) The younger John (d. 1728 or 1729) devised thirds to his daughters Anne (d. 1787), Mary (d. 1790), later wife of James Clutterbuck, and Elizabeth, later wife of John Buxton. (fn. 102) Mary's portion passed c. 1788 to her nephew Robert Buxton (cr. a baronet 1800). That and Elizabeth's portion were apparently bought from Robert by Richard, Viscount FitzWilliam, who held them in 1790 and added them to Lea and Cleverton manor. (fn. 103) Anne's portion, later called Chink farm, also passed to Robert Buxton. In 1839 Sir Robert was succeeded by his son Sir John (d. 1842), who held c. 130 a. in the parish and was succeeded by his son Sir Robert. (fn. 104) In 1860 the farm was owned by Sidney Herbert. (fn. 105) It passed with Lea and Cleverton manor to Reginald, earl of Pembroke and of Montgomery, who sold it in 1917 to A. Shewring (d. by 1923). (fn. 106) H. J. Shewring owned the farm in 1939, (fn. 107) and it belonged to a member of the Shewring family in 1989. (fn. 108)
An estate in Lea, perhaps formerly Lord Huntingdon's, was held in 1625 and 1630 by Thomas Hungerford (fn. 109) and may have been that held in the earlier 17th century by Anthony Hungerford which included a house called BRILL'S COURT and, after purchases by Anthony, 76 a. Brill's Court may have been acquired by Henry, earl of Danby, lord of Lea and Cleverton manor, but it apparently passed like Rodbourne manor in Malmesbury parish to Eleanor, countess of Abingdon, and Montagu Bertie, earl of Abingdon, and like Grange farm in Malmesbury to Edmund Estcourt, who held it in 1752, and Edmund Gale. (fn. 110) In 1840 James Bailey held the house and 30 a.; Gale's heirs held the rest of the estate, Walkers farm, 77 a. (fn. 111) The farm was later merged with Lea and Cleverton manor. (fn. 112)
In 1780 John Weeks owned the farm later called Cleverton Manor farm. He was succeeded c. 1802 by William Weeks, (fn. 113) who in 1840 held 129 a. in the parish. (fn. 114) A William Weeks held the farm in 1854 (fn. 115) and 1865, (fn. 116) E. R. Case in 1910, (fn. 117) and W. A. Sellwood in the 1920s. (fn. 118) In 1965 it was bought by Mr. F. E. Durston, who sold the farmhouse and 75 a. to Mr. and Mrs. Fittes. (fn. 119)
Land in Lea and Cleverton, 74 a. in 1840, (fn. 120) was apparently sold by Sir Henry Moody with Garsdon manor in 1631. It descended as part of Garsdon manor, with which it was sold in 1843 by Paul Methuen, Baron Methuen, to Thomas, earl of Suffolk and of Berkshire, until c. 1945. (fn. 121)
Malmesbury abbey owned great tithes in the parish in 1248 (fn. 122) and at the Dissolution. (fn. 123) By grants of 1540 and 1543 the abbey's tithes were acquired by Richard Moody, (fn. 124) and they descended with Lea and Cleverton manor. By 1840 the great tithes from that manor and most other land in the parish had been merged. From c. 300 a. the great tithes, belonging to Sidney Herbert, were valued at £35 and commuted. (fn. 125)
There was an open field at Winkworth in the 13th century. (fn. 126) Burton field in the west part of the parish was apparently open in the 16th century, (fn. 127) and Westfield, which had been inclosed by the 17th century, (fn. 128) may earlier have been open. All are likely to have been on the sandy soils around Lea village. All or part of the field at Winkworth was inclosed in the later 13th century. (fn. 129) Most holdings in the parish consisted chiefly of inclosed meadow and pasture in the 16th century, (fn. 130) and there is no later reference to open-field cultivation. Men of Cleverton had a common meadow near the field at Winkworth in the 13th century. (fn. 131) In the 18th century, as presumably earlier, there was grazing on Lea lower common, 59 a., south of Lea village on Lea upper common, 57 a., on Cleverton down, 30 a., and on scattered smaller greens. (fn. 132) Pasture rights in Braydon forest were claimed for the parcels of Lea manor sold in the 1570s, (fn. 133) and successfully in 1606 for Lea and Cleverton manor. (fn. 134) About 1631, after the forest was inclosed, rights to feed animals on Moonsleaze common, c. 280 a., part of the purlieus in Purton parish, were allotted to replace those wider rights. (fn. 135) By an award of 1733 under an Act of 1732 c. 175 a. of Moonsleaze common were allotted to replace the grazing rights of those owning land in Lea and Cleverton; (fn. 136) it is unlikely that the allotted land was added to a farm based in Lea or Cleverton.
There were 25 tenants on Malmesbury abbey's Cleverton estate in the late 13th century: two paid rents amounting to almost half the total, and nine were described as acremen. (fn. 137) No demesne was mentioned then, and in the mid 16th century there was said to be none, (fn. 138) but in 1630 there were 39 a. of demesne. What the abbey alienated in the earlier Middle Ages may have been demesne land. In 1630 a total of 722 a. of Lea and Cleverton manor was held by 33 tenants for lives; only four had holdings of more than 50 a., the largest being 79 a. (fn. 139) Westfield was a holding of 140 a. in 1617, (fn. 140) of 102 a. in 1685 when it included a small area recently ploughed and 22 a. of meadow. (fn. 141) The demesne of Lea manor was leased in the 1430s (fn. 142) and in 1554, when it included some open arable and pasture for 100 sheep. (fn. 143) There were copyholds of the manor in the mid 16th century. (fn. 144) In 1675 c. 270 a. formerly part of Lea manor may have been a single farm, of which probably less than a third was arable, (fn. 145) and, if so, that was almost certainly the largest farm in the parish. The farm held with Brill's Court was 76 a. of meadow and pasture in 1752. (fn. 146)
In 1340 the lord of Lea manor was licensed to impark a wood and 100 a. of meadow and pasture, (fn. 147) but there is no evidence that he did so. In the early 17th century a small area near the parish's northern boundary was taken into the park around Garsdon Manor; (fn. 148) by 1721 it had been disparked. (fn. 149)
The common pastures in the parish were inclosed in 1806 under an Act of 1805. A total of 192 a. was divided into small fields, the largest of which was c. 10 a., and many allotments were of green lanes and of the verges of lanes. (fn. 150) West of Lea village Westfield, 104 a. on which farm buildings stood c. 1800 but not in 1810, and northeast of the village 73 a. near the boundary with Garsdon were worked respectively from Southfield Farm in Malmesbury parish and from Garsdon in the early 19th century. (fn. 151) Five farms of over 100 a. were based in the parish in 1840, Winkworth, 287 a., Manor, 158 a., Street farm in Cleverton, 132 a., Cleverton Manor, 129 a., and Chink, then called Cresswell Lane, 118 a. There were eight farms of between 30 a. and 100 a. No more than a fifth of any of the larger farms was arable; the parish contained c. 1,300 a. of pasture, c. 300 a. of arable, and 10 a. of wood. (fn. 152)
In the 1850s new buildings were erected on some larger farms, (fn. 153) perhaps as tillage increased. In 1863 Manor farm, 239 a., and Winkworth farm, 233 a., were both about a third arable. (fn. 154) There was, however, no more than 350 a. of arable in the parish in 1866; wheat was the main crop. By 1906 the area of arable had fallen to 123 a. The number of cattle, half of them dairy cows, rose from c. 300 in 1866 to nearly 600 in 1906, of sheep from c. 300 to 1,634. (fn. 155) Manor, over 400 a., was the largest farm in the 1890s, (fn. 156) Winkworth, 225 a., in the 1920s. (fn. 157) Before the Second World War the area of arable remained small, much of it on the sand east of Lea village, and the pasture was used less intensively; 505 cattle and 410 sheep were kept in 1926. (fn. 158) In 1973 Manor farm, 150 a., was a corn and stock farm; (fn. 159) in the 1980s some land in the parish went out of agricultural use, (fn. 160) and in 1989 most of the remainder was used for dairying and for breeding and fattening cattle. (fn. 161)
A wood called the Grove was part of Lea manor in the earlier 15th century. (fn. 162) In the late 18th and the early 19th there were several small woods in the parish; in 1840 the largest was Lea wood, 7 a., south of Lea village. (fn. 163) In the 1880s Woodbridge copse north-east of Cleverton hamlet was also c. 7 a., and a smaller wood was north of the hamlet. (fn. 164) Those three woods still stood in the later 20th century.
Mill. In 1421 Crabwell Mill was part of Lea manor. (fn. 165) Crab Mill, presumably on the same site, was built in the early 17th century. Sir Henry Moody held it at his death in 1629, (fn. 166) but it did not descend with Lea and Cleverton manor and in 1840 was owned by William Baker. (fn. 167) In 1848 Baker apparently had a flourishing trade, and in 1895 the mill was driven by both steam and water. Between 1927 and 1939 it went out of use. (fn. 168)
Until the Dissolution men of Lea and Cleverton manor may have attended Brokenborough court, at which Malmesbury abbey exercised leet jurisdiction. Courts were held at Lea for Lea and Cleverton manor in the 1540s and in 1550; apart from the granting of copyholds it is not clear what business was done. (fn. 169) In 1340 view of frankpledge in his manor of Lea was granted with other liberties to John Moleyns. (fn. 170) Courts were held from the earlier 15th century or earlier until the 1550s. In 1486–7 and 1510–14 a view of frankpledge and court was held twice a year. The tithingman of Lea attended and he or the homage presented dilapidations and minor nuisances such as blocked ditches. (fn. 171) From the late 16th century courts for Lea and Cleverton manor and for Lea manor may have been held together. In 1629 the lord was said to have view of frankpledge in Lea manor, (fn. 172) but the last recorded courts, described as courts for Lea and Cleverton manor and held yearly between 1646 and 1648, dealt only with tenurial matters. (fn. 173) In the 17th century Lea and Cleverton each had a tithingman. (fn. 174)
In the 18th century poor relief was administered by a pair of overseers acting for the parish as a whole. In 1741 permanent relief was given to five parishioners and £26 was spent. Occasional payments were for clothing, food, and coffins, to pay rents, and to the sick. In 1761 there were seven regular recipients of relief and £65 was spent. In 1788 the vestry held on lease all or part of the Rose and Crown inn, (fn. 175) presumably to house paupers, and in 1806 there was a building in Cresswell Lane called a workhouse; (fn. 176) no record has been found of its inmates. Expenditure had risen to £78 by 1776 and to £288 by 1803, when 28 adults and 41 children were permanently relieved and the parish rate was a little above the average for Malmesbury hundred. (fn. 177) Between 1810 and 1835 the cost of poor relief fluctuated, rising from £297 in 1828 to a peak of £575 in 1831. Between 1833 and 1835 the average annual expenditure was £301. Lea and Cleverton parish became part of Malmesbury poor-law union in 1835 (fn. 178) and of North Wiltshire district in 1974. (fn. 179)
A church at Lea may have been served by chaplains appointed by Malmesbury abbey, which owned the great tithes in 1248, (fn. 180) and apparently remained a chapel. By the mid 16th century it had been annexed to Garsdon rectory. (fn. 181) A proposal of 1650 to separate Lea and Cleverton from Garsdon (fn. 182) came to nothing. (fn. 183) In the earlier 20th century Garsdon and Lea and Cleverton were considered a united benefice (fn. 184) and in 1987 the rectory of Garsdon with Lea and Cleverton was united with Charlton vicarage. (fn. 185)
Rectors of Garsdon took small tithes from all Lea and Cleverton parish except 77 a. which were mostly held with Garsdon manor and tithe free. (fn. 186) The tithes were valued at £30 in 1650 (fn. 187) and at £188 in 1840, when they were commuted. (fn. 188) The rector had 37 a. of glebe in Lea and Cleverton parish in 1608, presumably then as in 1783 with rights of common pasture. (fn. 189) Those rights were replaced by an allotment of 8 a. in 1806, (fn. 190) and in 1919 the glebe, 45 a., was sold. (fn. 191) A house on the glebe in 1608 was probably that of two storeys each of two rooms which stood south of the church in 1671. (fn. 192) The clerk's house, presumably that house, was burned down in 1752 (fn. 193) and there was no glebe house in 1783. (fn. 194) In 1950 a new house for the rector of Garsdon was built north of Lea church. (fn. 195)
In the Middle Ages a cottage, 2½ a. in Lea and Cleverton parish, and a rent of 20d. were given for lights, including St. Giles's, in Lea church. (fn. 196) Curates who served the church in the later 16th century may have lived in the parish, but from then until the 20th century no clergyman is known to have been resident. It was reported in 1553 that no quarter sermon had been preached, (fn. 197) in 1556 that ornaments necessary for the restored mass were missing, (fn. 198) and in 1585 that the church needed repair. (fn. 199) In 1662 the churchwardens promised to provide a surplice with all speed. (fn. 200) In 1783 according to long standing practice Sunday services were held at Lea in the morning in spring and summer, in the afternoon in autumn and winter. Communion was celebrated at Christmas, Easter, and Whitsun; there were 10 communicants. (fn. 201) On Census Sunday in 1851 a congregation of 108 attended the afternoon service. (fn. 202)
ST. GILES'S. church was probably so called in the later 16th century (fn. 203) as it was in 1763. (fn. 204) It had a chancel and nave, perhaps undivided and both apparently of the 14th century, a south porch, and a 15th-century west tower. (fn. 205) Except for the tower the church was rebuilt to a larger scale in 1879, to a design by G. J. Phipps, (fn. 206) in coursed rubble and an early 14th-century style. It has a chancel with north vestry and a nave with north aisle and south porch.
Plate weighing 2½ oz. was confiscated and a chalice of 10½ oz. left in the church in 1553. All the church's plate was destroyed when the clerk's house was burned down in 1752. Plate given in the 19th century remained in 1989. (fn. 207)
There were four bells in 1553. Two new bells were cast in 1622 and, although in 1662 there was said to be no bell in the church, survived to the 20th century. Two more were cast in the 1660s and another in 1670; all five were by members of the Purdue family. (fn. 208) In 1978 four of the bells were unsound and removed: (fn. 209) one of 1663 remained in the church in 1989. (fn. 210)
In 1662 seven or more parishioners attended what was probably a Quaker meeting. (fn. 213) A Friends' society for Lea and Brinkworth, recorded in 1678, acquired a burial ground west of the church in 1691. (fn. 214) There was a Quaker family in the parish until the 1720s and Quakers were buried there until the 1750s (fn. 215) or later. In 1883 and later the burial ground was a garden. (fn. 216)
A house in Lea was certified in 1797 for Independent meetings, as was another in 1802. By 1808 the congregation had become Calvinistic Methodists and had built the Zion chapel on the east side of the Street. (fn. 217) Independents worshipped there in 1851, when morning service on Census Sunday was attended by 133 people and evening service by 140. (fn. 218) The chapel was rebuilt in stone and a plain style in 1861. (fn. 219) It was used by Congregationalists between 1885 and 1939 (fn. 220) and by Baptists in 1989.
A house at Cleverton was certified in 1735 for Presbyterian meetings and another in 1828 for Primitive Methodist meetings. (fn. 221) A Primitive Methodist chapel was built there in 1832. At the morning, afternoon, and evening services held on Census Sunday in 1851 congregations averaged 54. (fn. 222) A new chapel, small and of stone with brick dressings, was built in 1874 (fn. 223) and was open in 1989.
There was no school in the parish in 1818 although the poor were said to desire one. (fn. 224) In 1833 there were two schools, attended by a total of 22 children. (fn. 225) One may have been that at Lea which in 1846 was affiliated to the National Society and attended by 43 children; (fn. 226) the other may have been the day and boarding school attended by 15 children in 1858 but not recorded thereafter. Children from outside the parish also attended the National school in 1858. It was then a small thatched building with one room (fn. 227) and in 1871 was severely overcrowded. (fn. 228) In 1873 a new school with a teacher's house was built at Lea to serve Lea, Cleverton, and Garsdon. (fn. 229) Attendance fell from 94 to 39 between 1906 and 1919, and was 42 in 1936. (fn. 230) The buildings were extended in 1976, and in 1989 there were no children on roll. (fn. 231)
Charities for the Poor.
By will proved 1722 Edward Mills gave £40 to the poor of Lea and Cleverton; 2 a. in Stratton St. Margaret were bought and the rent presumably distributed. The land was sold in 1814. The income of the charity, c. £6, was distributed among poor parishioners at Christmas in the later 19th century and the earlier 20th. (fn. 232) In 1950 there were 79 beneficiaries. (fn. 233) In 1989 the income, £5, was given for a Christmas party for elderly parishioners. (fn. 234)