Parishes: Milston

A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 15, Amesbury Hundred, Branch and Dole Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1995.

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A P Baggs. Jane Freeman. Janet H Stevenson, 'Parishes: Milston', A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 15, Amesbury Hundred, Branch and Dole Hundred, (London, 1995), pp. 136-143. British History Online [accessed 14 June 2024].

A P Baggs. Jane Freeman. Janet H Stevenson. "Parishes: Milston", in A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 15, Amesbury Hundred, Branch and Dole Hundred, (London, 1995) 136-143. British History Online, accessed June 14, 2024,

Baggs, A P. Freeman, Jane. Stevenson, Janet H. "Parishes: Milston", A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 15, Amesbury Hundred, Branch and Dole Hundred, (London, 1995). 136-143. British History Online. Web. 14 June 2024,

In this section


Milston 1841

Milston parish, 917 ha. (2,265 a.), is 15 km. north of Salisbury. (fn. 1) Long and narrow, it reaches 6.5 km. across Salisbury Plain from the Christchurch Avon in the west to Hampshire in the east, and it contains two small villages, Milston to the south, Brigmerston to the north. (fn. 2) Their etymology suggests that both villages are of Saxon origin, and both stand near the river, Brigmerston on slightly higher ground than Milston; Brigmerston took its name from its lord in 1066, (fn. 3) and later 18th- and earlier 19th-century references to it as Brigmilston were misconceived. (fn. 4)

The parish boundary is very simple, long straight lines across the downs, the Avon in the west. Parts of both the northern and southern boundary follow dry valleys; the eastern follows a ridge and for much of its length is marked by a prehistoric ditch.

The whole parish is on Upper Chalk. The Avon has deposited gravel, on which the two villages stand, and, west of Milston, alluvium. To the east the downland is crossed from north to south by a tributary of the Avon, Nine Mile river, which rises on Brigmerston down and has also deposited gravel. The land is at c. 70 m. beside the Avon and c. 85 m. beside Nine Mile river; the highest land is over 165 m. on Dunch Hill at the north-east corner of the parish. West of Nine Mile river the chalkland slopes gently, east of it more steeply. The alluvium was meadow land, on the gently sloping chalk there were open fields, and to the east there was rough pasture. After 1899 some arable in the west was converted to pasture when the eastern part of the parish became part of a military training area. (fn. 5)

Two main roads crossed the parish's downland. That from Chipping Campden (Glos.) via Marlborough to Salisbury was prominent in the later 17th century, (fn. 6) that from Oxford via Hungerford (Berks.) to Salisbury in the later 18th. The Oxford—Salisbury road did not cross the parish until a new more westerly route was brought into use for it after 1675. Both roads were superseded in the earlier 19th century by a turnpiked road in the Bourne valley further east, (fn. 7) and both were closed by the army in the earlier 20th. The old Marlborough road has retained its name. Across the west part of the parish the road linking the villages on the east bank of the Avon was turnpiked between Figheldean and Bulford in 1761 and disturnpiked in 1871. (fn. 8)

Much evidence of prehistoric activity has been found in Milston parish, the oldest being Bronze-Age artefacts found on Brigmerston down. There are barrow cemeteries on Silk Hill and Milston down. There are Iron-Age enclosures on Milston and Brigmerston downs, Iron-Age or Romano-British pottery has been found near the site of Milston mill, and a field system based on an Iron-Age hill fort on Sidbury Hill in North Tidworth extends into the parish. A north-south ditch crossing the parish, east of Nine Mile river, and the parallel Devil's ditch, which marks the eastern parish boundary, may be associated with the field system. (fn. 9)

There were 55 poll-tax payers in 1377. (fn. 10) The population, 139 in 1801, had declined to 98 by 1821, its lowest known point. Numbers had increased to 155 by 1881, declined to 121 by 1901, and risen to 162 by 1921. The population was 154 in 1951 and, after new houses were built, (fn. 11) 251 in 1961. Thereafter numbers fell rapidly and there were only 126 inhabitants in 1991. (fn. 12)

The villages of Milston and Brigmerston apparently originated within a westwards meander of the Avon, Milston on the north bank, Brigmerston on the south, and grew round a rectangle of lanes. (fn. 13) The east side of the rectangle was a track in 1841 (fn. 14) and did not survive in 1851. (fn. 15) The name Church Road was applied to both the south and the west sides in the 20th century. Both villages were bypassed by the Figheldean—Bulford turnpike road. Brigmerston may have been the wealthier of the two settlements in the 14th century; (fn. 16) Milston was more populous in the mid 19th century, (fn. 17) Brigmerston in the later 20th.


The parish church stands at Milston at the south-west corner of the rectangle of lanes. East of it the rectory house may have been the birthplace, and was the childhood home, of Joseph Addison (1672–1719), a founder of The Spectator. (fn. 18) On the north side of the churchyard a house, of flint with ashlar dressings, was built for Roger Pinckney in 1613 and may have incorporated an older building. (fn. 19) The new house may have been U-shaped with a principal eastwest range, containing a central hall, and short north wings. The north-west wing may have contained a parlour and a staircase, the northeast wing a kitchen. If there was a north-west wing, it was presumably demolished in the 18th century when a staircase was inserted in the north-east wing, which survives. In the 19th century several stone-mullioned windows, and two canted bay windows on the ground floor in the north and west elevations, were inserted. A farmhouse on the north side of Church Road was built in the 17th century as a four-bayed timber-framed and thatched house with banded brick and flint infilling. The ground floor was reconstructed in brick in the 18th century, and in the early 20th a lower two-storeyed fifth bay was built on the west end. The house became cottages when a new Milston Farm was built north-west of it c. 1850, (fn. 20) and was two houses in 1991. A pair of cottages east of it is also timberframed, thatched, and 17th-century. The farm buildings on the south side of Church Road were apparently built in the late 18th century or early 19th. (fn. 21) Further south on the Avon stood two mills. (fn. 22) In 1991 an early 19th-century mill house, of flint rubble with red-brick dressings, thatched, and with a later north-west extension, and south-east of it an early 19th-century cottage built of the same materials, stood on the north side of the lane which linked the mills to the Figheldean—Bulford road. A farmstead was built c. 1 km. north-east of the village in the mid 19th century. (fn. 23) Milston's population was 77 in 1841 (fn. 24) and, there having been very few houses built since then, evidently much less in 1991. A burial ground was opened west of Church Road midway between Milston and Brigmerston in 1918. (fn. 25)


The north side of the rectangle of lanes, extending west beyond Church Road, formed a village street for Brigmerston. (fn. 26) A Very meanly built' manor house and a dovecot stood in the village in 1274, (fn. 27) and the lord of Milston and Brigmerston manor apparently had a house there in the earlier 14th century and the later 16th. (fn. 28) The site of the early manor house is unknown but the dovecot survives on the south side of the street. It retains a medieval buttress at the north-east corner and possibly traces of others at the south-east and north-west corners. It was lined with stone nesting boxes. Much of the walling has been renewed and its present pyramidal roof was constructed in the 18th century. The dovecot was made into a cottage in the early 20th century and replanned internally in 1969. (fn. 29) A fire destroyed 11 houses in Brigmerston in 1768. (fn. 30) The principal farmstead in the village, Brigmerston Farm, was at the west end of the street on the south side, the farm buildings west of the house. (fn. 31) A new farmhouse was built south-west of the buildings between 1851 and c. 1877. (fn. 32) Brigmerston House, a large square stone building with a long south-east and north-west range at its north corner, was built in a 3-a. park between 1820 and 1841, probably for C. E. Rendall in the 1830s. (fn. 33) It was converted to seven flats c. 1950. (fn. 34) At the junction of Brigmerston street and the Figheldean—Bulford road a pair of cottages was built in the mid 19th century, and west of that, all on the north side of the street, three pairs were built in the early 20th. (fn. 35) West of them on the north side eight council houses and four old people's bungalows were built in 1956, (fn. 36) taking settlement back to the old part of the village, where a few cottages of the 18th century or the 19th survive. At Brigmerston Corner, east of the junction of Brigmerston street and the Figheldean—Bulford road, temporary housing was erected after the Second World War and apparently removed in the 1960s. (fn. 37) Brigmerston's population was 33 in 1841, (fn. 38) evidently much more in 1991.

Manors and other estates.

Osmund held Milston in 1066; Turold held it in 1084 and in 1086 as tenant of Roger de Montgomery (fn. 39) (d. 1094). MILSTON manor passed successively to Roger's sons Hugh de Montgomery (d. 1098) and Robert de Belleâme, who forfeited it in 1102. (fn. 40) It was granted to Gilbert de Villiers who held it 1201–4. (fn. 41) In 1204 King John granted it to Walter de Cauntelo, (fn. 42) who held it 1210–12. (fn. 43) Henry III confirmed the manor in 1227 to Walter's son William (fn. 44) (d. 1239), (fn. 45) and it passed in the direct male line to William (fn. 46) (d. 1251), William (d. 1254), and George (d. s.p. 1273). George also held Brigmerston manor, (fn. 47) and in 1274 the united manor of MILSTON AND BRIGMERSTON was allotted to his sister Millicent (fn. 48) (d. 1299), who in 1285 settled it on Eve (fn. 49) (d. 1314), her daughter by Eudes la Zouche. Eve's widower Maurice de Berkeley, Lord Berkeley (d. 1326), (fn. 50) forfeited the manor in 1322. (fn. 51) Maurice's son Maurice, the reversioner, held the manor in 1329, (fn. 52) and on his death in 1347 it passed to his son Thomas (fn. 53) (d. 1361). (fn. 54) Thomas's relict Catherine (d. 1388), wife of Sir John Thorp (d. 1386), successfully defended her right to it against Thomas, Lord Berkeley, the great-grandson of Maurice, Lord Berkeley. The manor passed to her son Maurice Berkeley (fn. 55) (d. 1400), to Maurice's son Sir Maurice (fn. 56) (d. 1464), and to Sir Maurice's son Sir William, (fn. 57) who forfeited it in 1485. It was granted in 1486 to Jasper Tudor, earl of Bedford (d. 1495), (fn. 58) and on his death, in accordance with a royal grant of 1489, reverted to Sir William (d. c. 1500) and his wife Anne (fl. 1515). (fn. 59) William's grandson and heir John Berkeley sold the manor in 1544 to Richard Buckland. (fn. 60)

Richard Buckland (d. 1558) was succeeded in turn by his sons Matthew (fn. 61) (d. 1559) and Walter, (fn. 62) who in 1572 sold Milston and Brigmerston manor to Francis Green. (fn. 63) In 1606 Green sold it to (Sir) Laurence Hyde (fn. 64) (d. 1642). (fn. 65) In 1643 moieties were allotted to Hyde's sons Alexander (d. 1667), bishop of Salisbury from 1665, and Henry (d. 1651), (fn. 66) but Henry's was not afterwards mentioned and the two were merged. Alexander was succeeded by his son Robert (fn. 67) (d. 1722) and Robert by his cousin Robert Hyde (d. s.p. 1723). The manor passed with Heale manor in Woodford to the second Robert's sister Mary Levinz (d. 1730–1). It was apparently settled on the marriage of Mary's daughter Mary Levinz (d. 1724) with Matthew Frampton (d. 1742), to whom the elder Mary devised the reversion. (fn. 68) From 1742 it passed with part of Linley manor in Tisbury to Matthew's nephews the Revd. Thomas Bull (d. 1743), Edward Polhill (d. 1759), and Edward's brother Simon (d. 1760) in turn, and to Simon's cousin twice removed the Revd. William Bowles (d. 1788). Bowles's son and successor William became bankrupt in 1810 (fn. 69) and by 1815 the manor had been sold to Thomas Rendall (will proved 1831). Rendall was succeeded by his son C. E. Rendall (fn. 70) (d. 1872) and he by his grandniece Rachel Pinckney (d. 1926), from 1877 wife of F. S. Holden (F. S. Rendall from 1877). (fn. 71) The War Department bought the 2,205-a. estate, without Brigmerston House and 3 a., in 1899 and the Ministry of Defence owned it in 1991. (fn. 72)

In 1066 Brismar and in 1086 Robert son of Gerald held 1½ hide that became MILSTON GUDGEON manor. (fn. 73) The overlordship was part of the honor of Camel (Som.) in the 14th century and was held by Edmund of Woodstock, earl of Kent (d. 1330), (fn. 74) his sons Edmund, earl of Kent (d. 1331), (fn. 75) and John, earl of Kent (d. 1352), and his daughter Joan, (fn. 76) countess of Kent (d. 1385), wife of Thomas de Holand, Lord Holand. The overlordship passed with the earldom to Joan's son Thomas de Holand (d. 1397) and to that Thomas's sons Thomas (d. 1400) and Edmund (d. 1408); from Edmund it passed to his sister Margaret (d. 1439), wife of John Beaufort, earl of Somerset. (fn. 77)

Robert held the 1½ hide of Robert son of Gerald in 1086. (fn. 78) The estate was afterwards held by Geoffrey le Dun and in 1203 by his relict Aubrey (fl. 1226), wife of Ellis the huntsman. (fn. 79) Geoffrey's heir was his grandson Simon le Dun and the estate passed to William le Dun (d. 1286) and his son John (fn. 80) (d. s.p. c. 1331). (fn. 81) In 1331 Stephen of Brigmerston claimed it under a settlement of 1309, (fn. 82) and in 1339 Nicholas of Wylye and his wife Isabel conveyed it to John Gudgeon. (fn. 83) In 1350 Joan, wife of Sir John Winchester, established her right as heir of John le Dun, (fn. 84) and in 1351 Gudgeon's relict Joan released the manor to her. (fn. 85) Sir John Winchester and Joan conveyed it to Walter of Coombe in 1357. (fn. 86) It was held in 1365 by Catherine Thorp and became part of Milston and Brigmerston manor. (fn. 87)

The 4 hides that became BRIGMERSTON manor were Brismar's in 1066 and held by Robert of Robert son of Gerald in 1086. (fn. 88) George de Cauntelo (d. 1273) held the manor, (fn. 89) which afterwards descended with Milston. (fn. 90)

Francis Court held land worth £17 in Milston and Brigmerston in 1412. (fn. 91) Possibly the same estate was conveyed in 1468 by Elizabeth Mountain and her husband Richard to Nicholas Forthey, (fn. 92) and was perhaps the one forfeited by Sir Roger Tocotes in 1483. In 1484 Tocotes's estate was granted to Edward Redmayne, (fn. 93) after 1485 it was restored to Tocotes (d. 1492), (fn. 94) and in 1535 another Roger Tocotes sold it to William Stumpe (fn. 95) (d. 1552). William's son Sir James (fn. 96) sold it in 1553 to John Cowper (fn. 97) (d. 1561), who owned a house and 100 a. in Milston. John's son Thomas (fn. 98) held the estate in 1572, (fn. 99) but it has not been traced further.

Some tithes from the demesne of Milston and Brigmerston manor were held with 24 a. by Wherwell abbey (Hants) at the Dissolution. (fn. 100) The estate, called HORRELL, had been acquired by a lord of the manor by 1650 and became part of the manor. In respect of it 776 a. were deemed tithe free at inclosure in 1778. (fn. 101)

In 1179 Henry II confirmed to Amesbury priory 1 a. of wheat in Milston and 2 a. of wheat in Brigmerston, possibly representing an estate of tithes held until 1177 by Amesbury abbey. (fn. 102) Tithes worth 3s. 4d. from Milston parish belonged to the priory at the Dissolution. It was customary to lease them to the rector. (fn. 103) Tithes granted to Bermondsey priory (Surr.) had been exchanged before 1317 for 6d. yearly, but the pension was no longer paid in 1319. (fn. 104)

Economic history.

In 1086 Milston had 3½ ploughteams on land for 3: 1 was on demesne land of 2 hides, and 3 villani, 2 servi, and 9 coscets had 2½ teams. There were 12 a. of meadow, and there was pasture 1 league by 3 furlongs and 12 furlongs by 1. At Brigmerston there was land for 2 teams which, with 11 bordars, were there on the demesne. There were 10 a. of meadow, and there was pasture 12 by 4 furlongs. (fn. 105)

In 1274 the demesne of Milston manor may have been worked with that of Brigmerston, and at Milston the united manor had only five customary tenants each holding ½ yardland for 4s. rent, autumn boonworks, and other labour services. There were also three cottagers. Milston Gudgeon manor in 1331 included tenants, but its 160 a. of arable, 3 a. of meadow, and sheep pasture worth 145. were apparently demesne. In 1274 the demesne land worked from Brigmerston was extensive: there were 432 a. of arable, 14 a. of meadow, and two several pastures, one for 1,000 sheep and one for 18 draught animals. At Brigmerston four customary tenants each held ½ yardland for 4s. 4½d. and labour service between 1 August and 29 September, four customary tenants each held ¼ yardland for 2s. 8d., autumn boonworks, and shearing and weeding services, and there was a cottager. Hay was made in the lord's meadows apparently by the customary tenants of both Milston and Brigmerston. The united manor also had five free tenants holding a total of 6 yardlands. In 1347 there were 300 a. of demesne arable worked from Brigmerston. (fn. 106)

The three manors in the parish were in single ownership from c. 1365 (fn. 107) and if, as is likely, Milston and Brigmerston each had a separate set of open fields and common pastures in the earlier Middle Ages the two had apparently been merged by c. 1600. Although some demesne was inclosed c. 1595 and in 1616, (fn. 108) and c. 64 a. of common down were inclosed in 1611, (fn. 109) sheepand-corn husbandry continued mostly in common. In the later 17th century the four open fields were named after the points of the compass. (fn. 110) Under an Act of 1778 the fields, c. 700 a. of arable all east of the Figheldean—Bulford road, and the north part of the downland, c. 525 a., were inclosed. (fn. 111) The inclosed downland became part of the demesne farm, apparently still worked from Brigmerston. That remaining, c. 754 a., was for use in common by the rector and the tenantry and was for 1,360 sheep. (fn. 112)

The number of tenants of Milston and Brigmerston manor was reduced from c. 25 in 1618 (fn. 113) to c. 14 in 1778 (fn. 114) and 6 in 1813. (fn. 115) The owner of the manor from c. 1815 was apparently himself a farmer, and by 1840 nearly all the land of the parish was in the lord's hand. Between 1778 and 1840 c. 70 a. of the demesne down and c. 60 a. of the open down were burnbaked, and c. 54 a. of plantations were made between 1817 and 1840 on Silk Hill and along downland stretches of the parish boundary. In 1840 the parish had 884 a. of arable, 1,130 a. of downland, and c. 32 a. of meadow, of which c. 10 a. were watered. There were farm buildings at both Brigmerston and Milston and near Silk Hill. (fn. 116) From c. 1850 Milston farm and Brigmerston farm were separate, each of over 1,000 a., and Milston farm included the glebe and the rector's right to feed sheep on the downland. (fn. 117) On both, new farmhouses were built in the mid 19th century (fn. 118) and sheep-and-corn husbandry continued: barley was the chief crop and c. 2,000 sheep were kept. (fn. 119) In 1856 it was intended to plough a further 60 a. of downland and plant more trees. (fn. 120)

From 1899 the east part of the parish was used for military training, and by the 1920s much more woodland had been planted on it. (fn. 121)

The land was still used for military training in 1991. In the west part in the earlier 20th century dairy farming increased at the expense of arable and sheep farming. (fn. 122) In 1991 a farm of c. 2,000 a., including land in other parishes, was worked from the farmstead built north-east of Milston in the mid 19th century: on it corn and potatoes were grown and cattle for beef were raised. (fn. 123)


A mill on Robert son of Gerald's Milston estate in 1086 (fn. 124) was on Milston Gudgeon manor in 1331. (fn. 125) It presumably stood on the Avon where two new grist mills were built in 1611. (fn. 126) There were still two mills in 1761, (fn. 127) one in 1840: (fn. 128) it ceased working in the 1920s. (fn. 129)

A mill at Brigmerston was mentioned in 1086 (fn. 130) but not later.

Local government.

Courts for Milston and Brigmerston manors were held, either separately or together, in the later 13th century, (fn. 131) and a court was held for Milston Gudgeon manor in the earlier 14th. (fn. 132) Later a single court was held for the composite manor of Milston and Brigmerston. (fn. 133) Some of its records survive for 1606– 41. The court baron was generally held twice a year in spring and autumn. Presentments included the deaths of tenants, ruinous tenements, illegal undertenancies, encroachments on the common pastures, and in 1610, unusually, an assault. The court regulated common husbandry, in 1611 appointed surveyors to oversee an inclosure, and in 1626 sanctioned a subscription to induce an undesirable parishioner and his wife to move away. Manorial officers appointed at the court included a hayward and, occasionally, a water bailiff, who in 1631 was also ordered to act for the lord of a manor in Durrington. (fn. 134)

In 1775–6 £16, in the years 1783–5 an average of £33, and in 1802–3 £47 was spent on the poor: in 1802–3 the parish relieved a quarter of its inhabitants, 15 adults and 18 children. (fn. 135) Afterwards fewer were relieved regularly, 9 in 1812– 13 when £176 was spent and relief was generous, 8 in 1813–14 when £113 was spent, and 8 in 1814–15 when £50 was spent and relief was less generous. (fn. 136) As might be expected of a small parish the sums spent on poor relief remained low, between 1816 and 1836 exceeding £100 only in 1817–18 and 1827–8. The parish became part of Amesbury poor-law union in 1835. (fn. 137) It was included in Salisbury district in 1974. (fn. 138)


The chapel recorded at Milston in 1274 had by 1299 become a parish church served by a rector. (fn. 139) It was consecrated in 1413. (fn. 140) A proposal made in 1650 that the parishes of Milston and Bulford should be united (fn. 141) was not implemented. Milston rectory was united in 1940 with Figheldean vicarage, and Bulford vicarage was added to the united benefice in 1982. (fn. 142)

The advowson of Milston church descended with Milston and Brigmerston manor until the early 19th century and the lords or their representatives usually presented. In 1361 the king presented for Thomas Berkeley who died in that year, and in 1392–3 the right of Maurice Berkeley (d. 1400) was challenged by Thomas, Lord Berkeley. In 1392 Lord Berkeley presented a rector and the ordinary collated one; in 1393 the king and Lord Berkeley each presented and Lord Berkeley's nominee may not have been instituted. Lord Berkeley may have surrendered his claim to the advowson c. 1394. The king presented in 1411 because (Sir) Maurice Berkeley was a minor, and the bishop collated for an unknown reason in 1458. (fn. 143) From 1572 to 1606 the lord of the manor, Francis Green, was a recusant, (fn. 144) and Henry Poole and his brother George, to whom Henry gave the advowson by will proved 1604, (fn. 145) may have been his trustees. The advowson passed with Alexander Hyde's moiety of the manor and his brother Sir Frederick Hyde presented, in each case presumably by grant of a turn, in 1663 and 1670. In 1703 the ordinary collated through lapse. (fn. 146) The advowson was sold, possibly c. 1810, (fn. 147) to Peter Templeman (d. 1824), who devised it to the Revd. Christopher Erle. (fn. 148) Before 1832 Erle sold it to the Revd. Peter Hall (d. 1849), whose trustees in 1834 presented him as rector. (fn. 149) It was bought by C. E. Rendall and again passed with the manor. (fn. 150) In 1940 the War Office became entitled to present alternately for the united benefice and in 1982 the Ministry of Defence at two of every three turns. (fn. 151)

The rectory was worth £13 6s. 8d. a year in 1535, (fn. 152) £100 in 1650, (fn. 153) and £275 c. 1830. (fn. 154) The rector was entitled to all the tithes of the parish except some from the demesne of Milston and Brigmerston manor. (fn. 155) From inclosure in 1778 the rector took all the tithes except those from 776 a. and those other than wool and lambs from 31 a. They were valued at £204 in 1840 and commuted. (fn. 156) In the 17th century and early 18th the rector had a house, a nominal 8 a. of arable with pasture rights, and 1 a. of meadow. (fn. 157) At inclosure in 1778, when some tithes were given up and land was exchanged, the glebe was increased to 101 a. with rights to feed 286 sheep on the tenantry down. (fn. 158) The land and grazing rights were sold to the War Department in 1907. (fn. 159) The thatched house in which the rector lived in 1671 was of recent construction. A new taller wing, also thatched, was built on the west in the 18th century. (fn. 160) The large stone house in 17th-century style which replaced it c. 1870 was sold c. 1940. (fn. 161)

Before the Reformation a small flock of sheep was given to pay for a light in the church. (fn. 162) The rector was licensed in 1299 to study for two years provided that he supplied a chaplain to serve the cure. His successor, apparently in minor orders when instituted in 1299, received licences to study in 1299, 1301, and 1306 (fn. 163) and may rarely have resided. In 1565 the rector was said to be a drunken pluralist. (fn. 164) Curates served the cure 1622–31 and 1640–2. (fn. 165) Edward Hyde, rector 1641–59, (fn. 166) was sequestered. John Smith, who was intruded, preached twice on Sundays in 1650. (fn. 167) Thomas Rutty, who served the cure c. 1654, was ejected in 1660. (fn. 168) William Gulston, rector 1663–70, (fn. 169) either delegated the cure to, or was assisted by, curates, (fn. 170) and in 1669 received a royal dispensation to hold in plurality a rectory in Sussex. (fn. 171) His successor Lancelot Addison, rector 1670–1703 (fn. 172) and author of theological and devotional works, did not reside after he became dean of Lichfield (Staffs.) in 1683, and a curate served Milston. (fn. 173) William Bowles, rector 1757– 61, resigned after inheriting Milston and Brigmerston manor and presented a kinsman Edward Polhill, rector 1761–1800. (fn. 174) In 1783 Polhill, who lived in Milston but not in the glebe house, held two Sunday services at one of which he preached, held weekday services on principal feast days, and administered the sacrament four times a year to c. 10 communicants. (fn. 175) His successor J. J. Toogood, rector 1801–34 and from 1815 also vicar of Broad Hinton, lived at Milston in 1832 and held a service there every other Sunday. (fn. 176) Peter Hall, rector 1834–49, published topographical and theological works and an edition of the Preces Privatae of Lancelot Andrews. (fn. 177) Toogood, Hall, and Richard Webb, rector 1850–62 and perpetual curate of Durrington, were all assisted by curates. (fn. 178) On Census Sunday in 1851 the curate held morning and afternoon services attended by 58 and 72 people respectively. (fn. 179) From 1863 the rector had no curate and in 1864 held and preached at two services every Sunday, held poorly attended weekday services in Lent, and administered the sacrament to c. 25 communicants six times a year. (fn. 180)

The church of ST. MARY, so called in 1763, (fn. 181) consists of a chancel and a nave with north vestry, south porch, and west bellcot, (fn. 182) and is built of flint and of stone rubble with dressings of limestone and greensand. A lancet window of the late 13th century survives in the south wall of the chancel. The chancel arch and the nave were rebuilt, and a piscina was placed in the chancel, in the 14th century. New windows were inserted in both nave and chancel in the 15th and 16th centuries, and traces of early 16thcentury wall paintings survive in the nave. The church was out of repair in the later 16th century, (fn. 183) and then or in the 17th the nave and chancel roofs were reconstructed. The chancel arch was restored in 1786. (fn. 184) The entire church was restored in 1860, and again in 1906 when the vestry, designed by C. E. Ponting, was built. (fn. 185) Probably also in 1906 a new bellcot supported on buttresses replaced a timber one, and the timber-framed porch was rebuilt to incorporate a 17th-century door and frame.

In 1553 the king's commissioners took 2 oz. of plate and left a chalice of 10 oz. In 1891 and 1991 the parish held a chalice hallmarked for 1576 and a paten hallmarked for 1694 and given in 1718. (fn. 186) A 13th-century bell hangs in the bellcot. (fn. 187) Registrations of marriages and burials survive from 1540, of baptisms from 1541: those of baptisms are lacking 1654–1702, of marriages 1653–1703. (fn. 188)


After his ejection from Milston in 1660, Thomas Rutty was a nonconformist preacher in Trowbridge and elsewhere. (fn. 189) Parishioners may have attended Baptist conventicles in the later 17th century, (fn. 190) but in 1676 there was said to be no nonconformist in Milston. (fn. 191)


In 1858 an old woman taught 15–20 younger children, and older ones attended school at Durrington. (fn. 192) The school at Milston, apparently affiliated to the National Society, was attended by 13 children on return day in 1871. (fn. 193) It was open in 1875 but closed c. 1880. (fn. 194) Milston children attended schools at Bulford, Durrington, and Figheldean in 1923, (fn. 195) at Bulford and Durrington in 1991. (fn. 196)

Charity for the poor.

None known.


  • 1. This article was written in 1991.
  • 2. Maps used include O.S. Maps 1", sheet 14(1817 edn.); 1/50,000, sheet 184 (1988 edn.); 1/25,000, 41/14, 41/24 (1948 edns.); 6", Wilts. XLVIII, LIV–LV (1883–7 and later edns.).
  • 3. P.N. Wilts. (E.P.N.S.), 369; below, manors (Brigmerston).
  • 4. Andrews and Dury, Map (W.R.S. viii), pl. 9; O.S. Map 1", sheet 14 (1817 edn.).
  • 5. Geol. Surv. Map 1", drift, sheet 282 (1967 edn.); below, econ. hist.
  • 6. J. Ogilby, Brit. (1675), pl. 85.
  • 7. Ibid. pl. 83; Andrews and Dury, Map (W.R.S. viii), pl. 9; below, N. Tidworth, intro. [roads].
  • 8. V.C.H. Wilts, iv. 257, 262, 266, 270; L.J. xxx. 138.
  • 9. V.C.H. Wilts. i(1), 89, 142, 183–4,210,218–19,225–6, 229, 236, 239, 241, 244, 254, 267, 273, 276; W.A.M. xlv. 197.
  • 10. V.C.H. Wilts, iv. 306.
  • 11. Ibid. 354; for the housing, below, this section (Brigmerston).
  • 12. Census, 1961; 1991.
  • 13. Andrews and Dury, Map (W.R.S. viii), pl. 9.
  • 14. P.R.O., IR 30/38/197.
  • 15. W.R.O. 1550/48.
  • 16. Tax List, 1332 (W.R.S. xlv), 110.
  • 17. V.C.H. Wilts, iv. 354.
  • 18. D.N.B.; W.N. & Q. i. 527; vii. 380. Baptisms in par. reg. are missing for 1672 and his baptism is not recorded in the bishop's transcript for 1672: W.R.O. 1469/1–2; ibid. bishop's transcripts, bdle. 1.
  • 19. Date and initials on N. gable; W.R.O. 367/2, deed, Pinckney to Pinckney, 1612.
  • 20. W.R.O. 1550/48.
  • 21. Andrews and Dury, Map (W.R.S. viii), pl. 9; O.S. Map 1", sheet 14 (1817 edn.).
  • 22. Below, econ. hist, (mills).
  • 23. W.R.O. 1550/48.
  • 24. V.C.H. Wilts, iv. 354.
  • 25. Ch. Com. file 86813.
  • 26. Andrews and Dury, Map (W.R.S. viii), pl. 9; O.S. Map 1", sheet 14 (1817 edn.); P.R.O., IR 30/38/197.
  • 27. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1242–1326 (Index Libr.), 75.
  • 28. Ibid. 1327–77 (Index Libr.), 179; Taxation Lists (W.R.S. x), 132–3; Tax List, 1332 (W.R.S. xlv), 110; below, manors.
  • 29. Inf. from Miss A. D. Hooper, the Dovecote.
  • 30. B.L. Church Briefs, B. ix. 4.
  • 31. P.R.O., IR 29/38/197; IR 30/38/197.
  • 32. O.S. Map 6", Wilts. LIV (1887 edn.); W.R.O. 1550/48.
  • 33. C. Greenwood, Map of Wilts. (1820); P.R.O., IR 29/38/197; IR 30/38/197; below, manors (Milston and Brigmerston); inf. from Miss Hooper.
  • 34. W.R.O., A 1/355/346.
  • 35. O.S. Maps 6", Wilts. LIV (1887 and later edns.); P.R.O., IR 29/38/197; IR 30/38/197.
  • 36. W.R.O., G 1/602/2.
  • 37. Ibid. A 1/355/331; Census, 1961; 1971.
  • 38. V.C.H. Wilts, iv. 354.
  • 39. Ibid. ii, pp. 133, 194.
  • 40. Complete Peerage, i. 230–3.
  • 41. Rot. Normanniae (Rec. Com.), i. 6; Pipe R. 1202 (P.R.S. N.s. xv), 283; 1203 (P.R.S. N.S. xvi), 43; 1204 (P.R.S. N.S. xviii), 231.
  • 42. Rot. Litt. Claus. (Rec. Com.), i. 8.
  • 43. Red Bk. Exch. (Rolls Ser.), ii. 482.
  • 44. Pat. R. 1225–32, 138; D.N.B. (s.v. Wm. de Cantelupe).
  • 45. For the Cauntelo fam., I. J. Sanders, Eng. Baronies, 39–40.
  • 46. Bk. of Fees, ii. 747.
  • 47. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1242–1326 (Index Libr.), 74–6; below, this section (Brigmerston).
  • 48. Cal. Fine R. i. 18.
  • 49. Feet of F. 1272–1327 (W.R.S. i), p. 25.
  • 50. Complete Peerage, ii. 128–9.
  • 51. J. Smyth, Berkeley Manuscripts: Lives of the Berkeleys, ed. J. Maclean (Glouc. 1883), 246.
  • 52. I. H. Jeayes, Descriptive Cat. of Chart. and Mun. at Berkeley Castle, p. 157.
  • 53. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1327–77 (Index Libr.), 178–9.
  • 54. Ibid. 272.
  • 55. Cal. Inq.p.m. xvi, pp. 175, 244–5; Cal. Fine R. x. 223; P.R.O., CP 40/487, rot. 386.
  • 56. Cal. Inq. p.m. xviii, p. 128; Feud. Aids, v. 240.
  • 57. P.R.O., C 140/14, no. 29, rot. 5.
  • 58. Cal. Pat. 1485–94, 64; Complete Peerage, ii. 73.
  • 59. Cal. Pat. 1485–94, 266; Smyth, Lives of the Berkeleys, ed. Maclean, 262; P.R.O., C 142/29, no. 97.
  • 60. P.R.O., C 54/434, no. 76; C 142/29, no. 97.
  • 61. Ibid. C 142/124, no. 172.
  • 62. Ibid. C 142/124, no. 174.
  • 63. Ibid. CP 25/2/239/14 & 15 Eliz. I Mich.
  • 64. Ibid. CP 25/2/369/4 Jas. I Mich.
  • 65. For the Hyde fam., Wilts. Pedigrees (Harl. Soc. cv/cvi), 98–100.
  • 66. W.R.O. 130/49A, deed, Hyde to Hyde, 1643.
  • 67. Ibid. 130/49A, lease, Hyde to Lawes, 1683; 367/2, deed, Hyde to Pinckney, 1707.
  • 68. V.C.H. Wilts, vi. 224, which this acct. expands; Alum. Oxon. 1500–1714, ii. 528, 783; D.N.B. (s.v. Baptist Levinz); P.R.O., PROB 11/586, ff. 196V.–200; PROB 11/643, ff. 355V–357V.
  • 69. V.C.H. Wilts, xiii. 216; Milston and Brigmerston Incl. Act, 19 Geo. III, c. 8 (Priv. Act); W.R.O., A 1/345/298.
  • 70. P.R.O., PROB 11/1782, ff. 75–76v.; W.R.O., A 1/345/298.
  • 71. Kelly's Handbook (1924), 1280; Burke, Land. Gent. (1937). 1907; G.P.L., Treas. Solicitor, 440/50.
  • 72. Inf. from Defence Land Agent, Durrington.
  • 73. V.C.H. Wilts, ii, p. 153.
  • 74. Cal. Inq. Misc. ii, p. 278; Complete Peerage, vii. 143–7.
  • 75. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1327–77 (Index Libr.), 59–60.
  • 76. Cal. Inq. p.m. x, pp. 41, 54.
  • 77. Complete Peerage, vii. 148–162; xii (1), 39–45; Cal. Close, 1409–13, 248.
  • 78. V.C.H. Wilts, ii, p. 153.
  • 79. Cur. Reg. R. ii. 229; iii. 76; xii, p. 362.
  • 80. Ibid. xii, p. 362; Cal. Fine R. i. 230.
  • 81. Wilts. Inq.p.m. 1327–77 (Index Libr.), 59–60.
  • 82. Cal. Pat. 1307–13, 157; P.R.O., C 260/143, no. 16.
  • 83. Feet of F. 1327–77 (W.R.S. xxix), p. 56.
  • 84. P.R.O., CP 40/363, rot. 72.
  • 85. Feet of F. 1327–77 (W.R.S. xxix), pp. 97–8.
  • 86. Ibid. p. 111.
  • 87. Extents for Debts (W.R.S. xxviii), p. 26.
  • 88. V.C.H. Wilts, ii, p. 153.
  • 89. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1242–1326 (Index Libr.), 74–6.
  • 90. Above, this section (Milston).
  • 91. Feud. Aids, vi. 535.
  • 92. Feet of F. 1377–1509 (W.R.S. xli), p. 148.
  • 93. Cal. Pat. 1476–85, 501.
  • 94. Complete Peerage, xi. 303.
  • 95. W.R.O. 88/1/22.
  • 96. P.R.O., WARD 7/6, no. 121.
  • 97. Ibid. CP 25/2/65/533, no. 26.
  • 98. Ibid. WARD 7/34, no. 190.
  • 99. Ibid. CP 25/2/239/14 & 15 Eliz. I Mich.
  • 100. Ibid. SC 6/Hen. VIII/3342, rot. 89.
  • 101. Ibid. IR 18/11093; IR 29/38/197; Milston and Brigmerston Incl. Act, 19 Geo. III, c. 8 (Priv. Act); W.A.M. xl. 256.
  • 102. Cal. Chart. R. 1257–1300, 157–9; for the hist. of the abbey and priory, V.C.H. Wilts, iii. 242–59.
  • 103. P.R.O., SC 6/Hen. VIII/3986, rot. 86.
  • 104. Reg. Martival (Cant. & York Soc), iii, pp. 35, 54.
  • 105. V.C.H. Wilts, ii, pp. 133, 153.
  • 106. Wilts. Inq.p.m. 1242–1326 (Index Libr.), 75–6; 1327– 77 (Index Libr.), 59–60, 179.
  • 107. Above, manors.
  • 108. P.R.O., E 134/13 Jas. I Hil./17.
  • 109. W.R.O. 2/1, rot. 3.
  • 110. Ibid. 130/49A/13.
  • 111. Milston and Brigmerston Incl. Act, 19 Geo. III, c. 8 (Priv. Act).
  • 112. W.A.M. xxxi. 2; P.R.O., IR 29/38/197; IR 30/38/197.
  • 113. W.R.O. 2/1, rot. 11.
  • 114. Ibid. A 1/345/298.
  • 115. W.A.M. xxxi. 2.
  • 116. O.S. Map 1", sheet 14 (1817 edn.); P.R.O., IR 29/38/197; IR 30/38/197.
  • 117. Kelly's Dir. Wilts. (1848 and later edns.); W.R.O. 906/W/202, lease, Rendall to Hussey, 1856.
  • 118. Above, intro.
  • 119. P.R.O., MAF 68/151, sheet 22; MAF 68/493, sheet 12; MAF 68/1063, sheet 12.
  • 120. W.R.O. 906/W/202, lease, Rendall to Hussey, 1856.
  • 121. Above, manors; O.S. Maps 6", Wilts. XLVIII. SW., LV. NW. (1901, 1925 edns.).
  • 122. P.R.O., MAF 68/2203, sheet 8; MAF 68/2773, sheet 8; MAF 68/3319, sheet 8; MAF 68/3814, sheet 106; MAF 68/4182, no. 106; MAF 68/4552, no. 106.
  • 123. Inf. from Mrs. S. Parsons, Addison Ho.
  • 124. V.C.H. Wilts, ii, p. 153.
  • 125. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1327–77 (Index Libr.), 59–60.
  • 126. P.R.O., E 134/13 Jas. I Hil./17; Winch. Coll. Mun. 5908A.
  • 127. W.R.O. 367/2, lease, Bowles to Southby, 1761.
  • 128. P.R.O., IR 29/38/197; IR 30/38/197.
  • 129. Kelly's Dir. Wilts. (1923 and later edns.); W.R.O., G 1/500/11.
  • 130. V.C.H. Wilts, ii, p. 153.
  • 131. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1242–1326 (Index Libr.), 74–6.
  • 132. Ibid. 1327–77 (Index Libr.), 59–60.
  • 133. Cf. above, manors.
  • 134. W.R.O. 2/1; 549/42; B.L. Add. Ch. 58418.
  • 135. Poor Law Abstract, 1804, 558–9; V.C.H. Wilts, iv. 354.
  • 136. Poor Law Abstract, 1818, 492–3.
  • 137. Poor Rate Returns, 1816–21, 185; 1822–4, 225; 1825– 9, 215; 1830–4, 209; Poor Law Com. 2nd Rep. App. D, 558.
  • 138. O.S. Map 1/100,000, admin, areas, Wilts. (1974 edn.).
  • 139. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1242–1326 (Index Libr.), 76; Reg. Ghent (Cant. & York Soc), ii. 600.
  • 140. Reg. Hallum (Cant. & York Soc), pp. 122, 140.
  • 141. W.A.M.. xl. 258.
  • 142. Ch. Com. file, NB 34/143; inf. from Ch. Com.
  • 143. Phillipps, Wilts. Inst. (index in W.A.M. xxviii. 225); Smyth, Lives of the Berkeleys, ed. Maclean, 247; above, manors.
  • 144. V.C.H. Wilts, iii. 89.
  • 145. P.R.O., PROB 11/104, f. 141 and v.
  • 146. Phillipps, Wilts. Inst. ii. 26, 30, 47; Wilts. Pedigrees (Harl. Soc. cv/cvi), 99.
  • 147. Cf. above, manors (Milston and Brigmerston).
  • 148. Hoare, Mod. Wilts. Amesbury, 38; P.R.O., PROB 11/1688, ff. 365V.–367V.
  • 149. D.N.B.; Alum. Oxon. 1715–1886, ii. 588; Ch. Com. file, NB 34/58C; P.R.O., IR 18/11093.
  • 150. Kelly's Dir. Wilts. (1855 and later edns.)
  • 151. Ch. Com. file, NB 34/143; inf. from Ch. Com.
  • 152. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii. 93.
  • 153. W.A.M. xl. 256.
  • 154. Rep. Com. Eccl. Revenues, 842–3.
  • 155. W.R.O., D 1/24/149/1–3.
  • 156. P.R.O., IR 29/38/197.
  • 157. W.R.O., D 1/24/149/1–3.
  • 158. P.R.O., IR 29/38/197; IR 30/38/197.
  • 159. Inf. from Defence Land Agent.
  • 160. W.R.O., D 1/24/149/2–3; Ch. Com. file, NB 34/58C; J. Buckler, watercolour in W.A.S. Libr., vol. i. 14; see below, plate facing p. 251.
  • 161. Church Guide.
  • 162. P.R.O., E 318/31/1729.
  • 163. Reg. Ghent (Cant. & York Soc), ii. 838–9, 845, 877.
  • 164. W.R.O., D 1/43/4, f. iv.
  • 165. Ibid. bishop's transcripts, bdle. 1; W.N. & Q. vii. 498; Cal. S.P. Dom. 1640–1, 384.
  • 166. Phillipps, Wilts. Inst. ii. 20;Wilts. Pedigrees (Harl. Soc. cv/cvi), 99.
  • 167. W.A.M. xl. 256.
  • 168. Calamy Revised, ed. Matthews, 421.
  • 169. Phillipps, Wilts. Inst. ii. 26, 30.
  • 170. W.R.O., bishop's transcripts, bdle. 1; ibid. D 1/54/3/2, no. 13.
  • 171. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1668–9, 407. 412.
  • 172. Phillipps, Wilts. Inst. ii. 30, 47.
  • 173. D.N.B.; W.A.M. xxxiii. 276; W.R.O., bishop's transcripts, bdle. 1.
  • 174. Phillipps, Wilts. Inst. ii. 77, 80, 101; above, manors.
  • 175. Vis. Queries, 1783 (W.R.S. xxvii), pp. 158–9.
  • 176. Alum. Oxon. 1715–1886, iv. 1426; Ch. Com. file, NB 34/58C.
  • 177. D.N.B.; Alum. Oxon. 1715–1886, ii. 588.
  • 178. Alum. Oxon. 1715–1886, iv. 1516; W.R.O., bishop's transcripts, bdle. 5.
  • 179. P.R.O., HO 129/262/2/7/11.
  • 180. W.R.O., D 1/56/7.
  • 181. J. Ecton, Thesaurus (1763), 391.
  • 182. For the church in the early 19th cent., Buckler, watercolour in W.A.S. Libr., vol. viii. 5.
  • 183. W.R.O., D 1/43/1, f. 109; D 1/43/4, f. iv.; D 1/43/5, f. 36; D 1/43/6, f. 4.
  • 184. Date on chancel arch.
  • 185. Pevsner, Wilts. (2nd edn.), 351; W.A.M. xxxiv. 335; W.R.O. 1469/10.
  • 186. Nightingale, Wilts. Plate, 41; inf. from the vicar, Figheldean.
  • 187. Walters, Wilts. Bells, 140; inf. from the vicar.
  • 188. W.R.O. 1469/1–4; bishop's transcripts of some of the missing reg. are ibid.; marriages are printed in Wilts. Par. Reg. (Mar.), ed. W. P. W. Phillimore and J. Sadler, iii. 123–8.
  • 189. V.C.H. Wilts. iii. 105.
  • 190. Ibid. 112.
  • 191. Compton Census, ed. Whiteman, 124.
  • 192. Acct. of Wilts. Schs. 34.
  • 193. Returns relating to Elem. Educ. 426–7.
  • 194. Kelly's Dir. Wilts. (1875, 1880).
  • 195. Ch. Com. file 100404.
  • 196. Inf. from the vicar.