Parishes: Bishop's Cannings

A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 7. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1953.

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H F Chettle, W R Powell, P A Spalding, P M Tillott, 'Parishes: Bishop's Cannings', in A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 7, ed. R B Pugh, Elizabeth Crittall( London, 1953), British History Online [accessed 13 July 2024].

H F Chettle, W R Powell, P A Spalding, P M Tillott, 'Parishes: Bishop's Cannings', in A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 7. Edited by R B Pugh, Elizabeth Crittall( London, 1953), British History Online, accessed July 13, 2024,

H F Chettle, W R Powell, P A Spalding, P M Tillott. "Parishes: Bishop's Cannings". A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 7. Ed. R B Pugh, Elizabeth Crittall(London, 1953), , British History Online. Web. 13 July 2024.

In this section


For most of its history Bishop's Cannings was a large parish which included the detached tithing of Chittoe and the chapelry of St. James, sometimes called Southbroom. Bishop's Cannings proper contained the tithings of Cannings, Bourton and Easton, Coate, and Horton. The chapelry included the tithings of Roundway, Wick, Nursteed, and Bedborough. (fn. 1) Chittoe was augmented by parts of Bromham and Poulshot in 1883 and constituted a civil parish: (fn. 2) in 1934 it was merged with Bromham, of which parish it forms the north-west corner. (fn. 3) It consisted of 1,309 acres. (fn. 4) Roundway became a civil parish in 1894 being formed partly from Bishop's Cannings and partly from the chapelry of St. James. A further portion of the chapelry was at the same time transferred to the borough of Devizes. (fn. 5) In 1934 the boundaries of the borough were expanded and Wick (now represented by Wick Green) and the whole of St. James's are now within the Municipal Borough of Devizes. Nursteed and Bedborough (now only traced by Bedborough Lane) (fn. 6) are in the parish of Roundway. (fn. 7) Bishop's Cannings is now the second largest parish in the county, comprising 8,871 acres. Roundway is 2,056 acres. (fn. 8)

The modern parish of Bishop's Cannings runs roughly from north to south being at its broadest in the north where it is dominated by the south-western slopes of the Marlborough Downs. The village of Bishop's Cannings lies in the south near the Kennet and Avon Canal: the road from Swindon and Banbury to Devizes (A 361) passes ½ mile to the west of the village. Haif a mile north-east is the hamlet of Bourton and south of this Easton Farm marking the site of the hamlet of Easton. Horton lies on the other side of the canal, south of Bishop's Cannings, to which it is linked by road. A minor road, branching off the Swindon road passes through Horton and goes to Allington and Pewsey crossing the canal by two stone bridges, the first of which is known as Horton Bridge. From Horton Bridge a minor road branches off to Little Horton and Coate which are separately connected with Devizes by a minor road passing over the canal by a stone bridge. (fn. 9) Bishop's Cannings and Horton were at one time linked directly by a track crossing a swing bridge over the canal; the bridge remains but the track has now (1951) almost disappeared. Two other bridges over the canal lie within the parish but have fallen out of use. A minor road from Calne to Bishop's Cannings passes through the parish crossing the Swindon road a ¼ mile north-west of the village. A few yards short of the intersection the road divides: the northern arm, now a grass-grown track, passes north of the village to the downs and is known as Harepath Way. The name is said to derive from the O.E. herepæeth indicating the track followed by a Saxon army. (fn. 10) The southern arm of the road leads directly to the village. Wansdyke runs north-west through the centre of the parish, to the north of Bishop's Cannings village. A breach in the wall occurs at Shepherds' Shore where the Swindon road passes through. A ¼ mile north of this point the embankment is pierced by the old Bath and London coach road, the breach being known as Old Shepherds' Shore. (fn. 11) The word Shore derives from a characteristic Wiltshire word 'sceard' meaning a notch or a gap. (fn. 12) On the extreme north of the parish is the course of a former Roman road. The height of the land in the parish is about 500 ft. in the north, rises to 670 ft. on Bishop's Cannings Down, and falls to 400 ft. near Horton. On Morgan's Hill in the north-west it is 940 ft.

The village of Roundway is 1 mile north-east of Devizes. The parish has common borders with Bromham and Heddington on the north, Rowde on the west, and Devizes and Potterne on the south. Roundway is joined by road to all these places. The ground is highest in the north: Roundway Hill is 795 ft. In the south the land falls to about 430 ft. Between the village and Devizes is Roundway Park (fn. 13) through which passes a bridle road leading in a straight line to the village from Devizes and known as Quakers' Walk. The name is traditionally supposed to be a corruption of Keepers' Walk. (fn. 14) A few yards from the end of this walk, on the foot-path to the west of the village, is the traditional site of Roundway manor house. (fn. 15) Roundway Hill Covert, a wooded plantation covering the steep slope of the south-western extremity of the hill, was felled in 1949. (fn. 16) At the foot of the hill is a spring known as Mother Anthony's Well.

The village of Chittoe is ½ mile north-west of Bromham. Much of this former parish is woodland, including Spye Park through which runs the course of the Roman road and Wansdyke. It is possible that the woodland mentioned in the Domesday survey lay in this detached portion of Bishop's Cannings parish. The height of the ground in the neighbourhood is about 500 ft. (fn. 17)

The Wiltshire Avon has its source in streams that flow through Coate, Horton, and Bishop's Cannings, passing under the canal by three brick ducts. (fn. 18) It is in the one time marshy area of their source that Caningan mærsc, the farthest point of Danish penetration after the burning of Northampton in 1010, is said to be. (fn. 19) In the extreme north-west corner of the parish the North Wiltshire Golf Club has a nine-hole course. The club was founded in 1890 and first laid out its course on Roundway Hill, using a railway coach as a club-house. A new course was laid out on Morgan's Hill in 1898 and a pavilion built in 1920. In 1937 a club-house was erected. (fn. 20)

In the north-east corner of the parish are training gallops for the racing-stables at Beckhampton. Drew's Pond, a small stretch of water in the southern outskirts of Devizes in Roundway parish, now much overgrown, was once a popular resort for the people of Devizes. It is presumably named after the Drew family who held land in the parish and in Devizes from the 16th century. (fn. 21) Roundway Hospital, lying on the south-eastern boundary of Devizes in the parish of Roundway was opened in 1851 when it was known as the Wiltshire County Lunatic Asylum. It was built of Bath stone in the Italian style from designs by T. H. Wyatt and has been considerably enlarged since 1851. (fn. 22) The first medical superintendent was a Dr. Thurnam. (fn. 23) Devizes Waterworks, lying north of Shepherds' Shore on the Swindon Road, was erected in 1879 at a cost of £11,700. (fn. 24) There are five wells varying from 138 to 188 ft. in depth with a minimum reliable yield of 350,000 gals, a day. To meet increased demands a new bore hole was sunk in 1944 at Bourton. (fn. 25)

In July 1643 Roundway Down was the scene of a defeat of the Parliamentary forces under Waller by the Royalist army under Hopton. The precise site of the battle remains uncertain but it has recently been claimed that it took place between Roughridge Hill and Roundway Down. (fn. 26) Waller had recovered quickly after the battle of Lansdown on 5 July and chased the Royal army into Devizes. The Royalist cavalry escaped during the night of 10–11 July and on the 12th Waller attacked the besieged foot. It was, however, a relieving force of cavalry under Lord Wilmot and Sir John Byron that finally joined battle with the Parliamentary forces on 13 July. The besieged Royalist foot only ventured out when Waller's forces were in retreat and when Byron, according to his own account, 'fell in amongst them and killed 600 of them and hurt many more, and took 800 prisoners and all their colours'. (fn. 27)

Le Marchant Barracks was completed in 1878 at a cost of £46,000 and lies on the Devizes—Avebury road about a mile from the centre of the town and now in Roundway parish. It was named after Sir John Gaspard Le Marchant who commanded the 99th Foot in 1839. The Wiltshire Regiment (which was formed from the 99th and 62nd Foot) has its depot in the barracks (fn. 28) and the Regimental museum is housed in the building. (fn. 29) Prince Maurice Barracks, of timber and various types of hutting, which lies ½ mile farther north along the Avebury road was built in 1939 on land owned by the War Department. It is occupied by the Royal Army Pay Corps as a Regimental Pay Office for the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. (fn. 30)

Devizes Wireless Telegraph Station on Morgan's Hill was originally intended to form part of an Imperial chain of wireless stations. Some time before 1914 the Marconi Company erected eight tubular steel masts on the site. The outbreak of the war prevented the completion of the work and the scheme was abandoned about 1922.

During 1915, a section of the Royal Engineers Signals (Wireless) erected a station on the site which was used for interception and for training members of the Corps. In 1920 the site was taken over by the General Post Office and the equipment used for communicating with vessels at sea. After some years a second transmitter was installed by the Engineering Section of the Post Office. In 1935 the receivers were removed to a new site at Burnham-on-Sea (Som.) and the transmitters at Devizes remotely controlled from the receiving station. On completion of the Portishead Station, the Devizes Station was closed down; the huts and masts were dismantled in 1929. (fn. 31)

The shooting range in the north-east corner of the parish under Morgan's Hill was presented to the Wilts Yeomanry Cavalry by G. T. S. Estcourt in 1884. (fn. 32)

There is no domestic architecture of especial note in Bishop's Cannings. In Horton there is a pair of 17th-century timber-framed cottages with thatched roof and central brick chimney, and another cottage of similar design close by. Many of the agricultural workers' cottages were built in the 19th century by the Crown as landlords.

There is a number of earthworks in the parish which do not appear to be prehistoric in origin. The following are the principal ones. (fn. 33) (i) Twenty-two scattered mounds just north of Old Shepherds' Shore: it has been suggested that these were military encampments in the Civil War. (fn. 34) (O.S. Nat. Grid. 41/040667); (ii) on the north-eastern boundary of the parish where it leaves the Roman road and runs south of Beckhampton, there is a series of embankments. Nothing is known of their origin (O.S. Nat. grid. 41/080675); (iii) rectangular earthwork O.S. Nat. grid. 41/056661, (iv) rectangular earthwork O.S. Nat. grid. 41/040670, excavated by Mrs. M. E. Cunnington 1909; (fn. 35) (v) rectangular inclosure O.S. Nat. grid. 41/026648 (not marked on 6 in. map): located from air photographs; (vi) rectangular enclosure O.S. Nat. grid. 41/077660, the sides are 270 ft., 445 ft., 310 ft., and 410 ft.; (fn. 36) (vii) rectangular earthwork abutting on the Wansdyke: O.S. Nat. grid. 41/073656; (viii) semi-rectangular earthwork O.S. Nat. grid. 41/024657. It has been suggested that the earthworks (iii) to (viii) are pastoral in origin and were inclosures both for sheep and their shepherds. (fn. 37)

Bishop's Cannings is connected with two astronomers. James Pound (1669–1724) was the son of John Pound of this parish, where he was born. He was the teacher of his nephew James Bradley (1693–1762), later Astronomer Royal. (fn. 38) William Bayly (1737– 1810) was the son of a small farmer in this parish. In 1772 and 1776 he sailed with Captain Cook and in 1785 became headmaster of the Royal (Naval) Academy, Portsmouth. (fn. 39) In 1805 Bayly gave £1,000 to the churchwardens of Bishop's Cannings for the purchase of an organ (see below—Churches).

Mrs. Ida Gandy (née Hony), the daughter of a former Vicar of Bishop's Cannings, has published the reminiscences of her childhood there. (fn. 40) This book gives numerous interesting glimpses of the parish as it was fifty years ago, and mentions localities and streets that have now disappeared. The author judges Bishop's Cannings to have been at that time still very parochial in its outlook. The custom of 'Skimmington Riding' existed in the parish under the name of 'Rough Music' as a public expression of disapproval for marital offences. (fn. 41)

Many stories of bucolic stupidity are told of Bishop's Cannings: the well-known tale about the smugglers from the village who were found attempting to recover contraband rum from the marsh and who assured the Excise men that they were raking for the moon shows them using such tales to their advantage. (fn. 42)


The manor of BISHOP'S CANNINGS was held by the Bishop of Salisbury at least as early as 1086. (fn. 43) The manor remained in the hands of successive bishops until the time of Roger (1102–39) who forfeited the episcopal estates in the reign of Stephen. Before his deprivation the bishop had built Devizes castle and the administrative area he formed around this was taken partly from the manor of Bishop's Cannings. Fees in Coate (2), 'Cannings and Horton' (1), and Horton (1) had, before 1255, formed part of the defensive system of knights for the castle. (fn. 44) The episcopal manors were restored in 1157 and remained in the hands of the bishop until the 17th century. Between 1647 and 1661 the manor was sold by the State to Samuel Wightwick for £6,065. 15s. 7d. but it was restored to the bishop in 1660. In the 19th century it passed into the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners (fn. 45) and it was sold in 1858 to the Crown. (fn. 46) The quinquennial accounts for 1866 to 1870 show the Crown making considerable capital improvements. (fn. 47)

No lessee of the manor is recorded before the 16th century. It is possible that earlier than this the bishop had an episcopal residence in the manor since in 1337 and 1377 he was granted licence to crenellate his houses in Potterne and Cannings. (fn. 48) In 1860 traces of a rampart and ditch were said to be still perceptible. (fn. 49)

The first recorded lessee is Thomas Lord Seymour of Sudeley who was granted the manor in 1547, on a ninety-nine year lease. On his attainder the lease was granted by the Crown to William Herbert, K.G., Master of the Horse, later Earl of Pembroke. (fn. 50) In 1616 Robert Drew of Southbroom was a lessee; in 1637 Thomas Shuter and in 1639 Robert Henley, of Henley (Som.). (fn. 51) Sir Robert Henley in 1657 obtained the conveyance of half the manor from Samuel Wightwick. (fn. 52) Presumably this conveyance was rendered void by the restoration of the bishop's property in 1660. In 1661 Sir Robert sold his interest in his lease of the manor to Sir William Turner, merchant tailor and alderman of London. (fn. 53) The next lessee was Paul Methuen, who died in 1667. In 1720 Methuen's son sold the lease to Benjamin Haskins Styles. On his death it descended to Sir Francis Haskins Eyles Styles 'who sold it in chancery'. George Willy purchased the lease and at his death in 1762 it descended to his nephew, son of his sister who was the wife of Prince Sutton. Sutton's daughter married Thomas Grimston Estcourt and the lease finally passed to their son Thomas Henry Sutton Sotheron Estcourt who in 1858 sold it to the Crown. (fn. 54) The Crown and George Giddings Ruddle were the principal landowners in 1939. (fn. 55)

The rectory and manor (fn. 56) of CANNINGS CANONICORUM probably originated in the priest's holding of 2 hides mentioned in Domesday. (fn. 57) In 1091 Bishop Osmund gave the church of Cannings with the tithes and other things pertaining to it, to the cathedral then newly established at Salisbury, (fn. 58) and from that time the Rectory manor remained Dean and Chapter property. In c. 1155 Bishop Jocelin confirmed that Bishop's Cannings should not be appropriated to any one canon but should be ad communam. At that time Robert of Beaufoe held it as a prebend for a life interest only, but thereafter Bishop's Cannings was never a prebend. (fn. 59)

No lessee of the dean and chapter is recorded before 1402 when a Thomas Southam is named as the farmer of Cannings in circumstances that indicate that this manor was meant rather than the bishop's. (fn. 60) In 1548 the 'manor lordship and rectory of Cannings' had been leased to Thomas, Lord Seymour of Sudeley: on his attainder in 1550 it was granted by the Crown to William Herbert, K.G., Master of the Horse, for the remaining term, rent free. (fn. 61) In 1649 a parliamentary survey showed that Richard, Samuel and John Doughty had been lessees of the dean and chapter: Samuel and John had died and Richard was presumed to be dead and a Richard Aldworth held the manor as Richard's supposed assignee. The Committee of Obstructions would not accept Richard Doughty's death but in 1650 allowed Aldworth to hold for one life only. (fn. 62) In 1660 the lease passed to Sir Edward Nicholas, Principal Secretary of State to both Charles I and II. (fn. 63) The Nicholas family retained the lease at least until 1742: William Nicholas died in 1749 (fn. 64) but there is no record of the lessees that followed him until the beginning of the 19th century when the dean and chapter sold the manor to Sir Anthony Abdy by whom it was conveyed to T. Sutton. It descended, like Bishop's Cannings manor, to T. H. S. Sotheron Estcourt and was sold in 1858, along with the lease of that manor, to the Crown. (fn. 65)

The manor of BOURTON was also held of that of Bishop's Cannings. In 1370 Robert de Stokes granted to Sir Philip Fitzwaryn the reversion of the manor then held by John Gaston of Stanton St. Quintin and Maud his wife, for the life of Maud. (fn. 66) Sir Philip granted it four years later to Walter de Frompton. (fn. 67) The manor is not recorded again until the 16th century when it passed into the possession of the Erneley or Ernle family. John Ernle was living at Bourton in 1539. (fn. 68) His son or grandson of the same name held the manor of Bourton in 1572. (fn. 69) He was succeeded by his son Michael, who died in 1594. (fn. 70) Michael's son John sold the manor in 1630 to Henry Blackborow. (fn. 71) It was held in 1634 by 'the Lady Susan Reynolds', (fn. 72) probably as a tenant of Blackborow since in 1658 a Peter Blackborow conveyed it to Robert Henley (the lessee of Bishop's Cannings). (fn. 73) Robert's grandson Sir Robert Henley, bt., sold Bourton in 1670 to Henry Woolnough, from whom it descended to his son Joshua Woolnough. (fn. 74) Rollstone Woolnough, son of Joshua, left it in his will, dated 1757, to his three sisters for their lives, with reversion to his niece Elizabeth, wife of J. H. Smyth, son of Sir Jarrit Smyth, bt. Lady Smyth (who was still alive in 1809) left her estate to the Revd. Israel Lewis, whose trustees sold it after his death to George Skeate Ruddle. (fn. 75) In 1939 George G. Ruddle held this property. (fn. 76) A Court roll for 1595 described as being of 'John Ernle's manor of Bishop's Cannings', presumably refers to Bourton. In 1907 it was in the possession of Major Money Kyrle of Much Marcle (Heref.). (fn. 77)

The manor of COATE or COTES may have originated in the two knight's fees held there by William of Coate to support the defence of Devizes castle. (fn. 78) It was held late in the 12th century by Walter Mautravers, who forfeited it to the Crown in 1194 for supporting Prince John. (fn. 79) By 1200 Walter and his father were dead and the property passed to John, Walter's brother. The descent is direct throughout the 13th century, passing, in 1296–7 to John Mautravers 'the elder', who, in the political troubles of the reign of Edward II took the king's side, while his more famous son John 'the younger' was an adherent of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster. In 1339 John 'the elder' settled the manor of Cotes, among other property, on his grandson John, notwithstanding the forfeiture of John 'the younger'. John 'the elder' died in 1341. In 1351–2 John 'the younger', who (while exiled in Germany) had given valuable service to the Crown, was fully restored to power. His son John died very probably in 1348–9 and his grandson Henry in infanthood in the same year. At the death of John 'the younger' in 1364 the barony fell into abeyance and finally passed to his younger granddaughter Eleanor, (fn. 80) who married first John fitz Alan, son of Richard fitz Alan, 3rd Earl of Arundel, and secondly, in 1380, Reynold de Cobham, Lord Cobham. (fn. 81) Cobham died in 1403, and Eleanor was left in possession of his manor of Cotes. (fn. 82) She died in 1405 and the manor passed to her grandson John fitz Alan, 6th Earl of Arundel. When the 6th Earl died in 1421 his relict Eleanor, daughter of Sir John Berkeley, was granted seisin of Cotes. (fn. 83) Eleanor survived until 1455. (fn. 84) The subsequent descent of the manor is not clear. (fn. 85)

Thomas Southe, who died in 1606, had held the manor of Cotes of the Bishop of Salisbury as of his manor of Bishop's Cannings in free socage and by fealty. His heir was his son Edward. (fn. 86) Edward held the manor in 1634. (fn. 87) In 1650 he sold it to Walter Ernle, grandson of the Michael Ernle (d. 1594) who had held Bourton manor. (fn. 88) Sir Edward Ernle, bt., great-grandson of the above Walter Ernle, married Frances, only daughter and heir of General Thomas Ernle of Charborough (Dors.). Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Edward and Frances, married Henry Drax of Ellerton Abbey (Yorks.). Cotes descended through Elizabeth to her son Thomas Erle Drax. Thomas died childless in 1790, and was succeeded by his brother Edward Drax. Edward's daughter and heiress Sarah-Frances married Richard Grosvenor; her daughter JaneFrances married J. Wanley Sawbridge, who assumed the name and arms of Erle-Drax. Sarah Charlotte Erle-Drax, daughter of Jane-Frances, married F. A. P. Burton and secondly J. L. Egginton. In 1887 Mrs. Egginton assumed, with her husband, the name and arms of Ernle-Erle-Drax. Mrs. Ernle-Erle-Drax died in 1905 and was succeeded by her only daughter (by the first marriage) Elizabeth, Baroness Dunsany. (fn. 89)

Another estate of the tithing of COATE was held by the Hastings family. In 1324 William son of Nicholas de Warwick conveyed a messuage, 4 virgates of arable, 10 acres of meadow, and 10 acres of pasture in Cotes to John de Hastings. (fn. 90) This was probably the 2nd Lord Hastings of Abergavenny, for in 1364 a certain Richard atte Felde died in possession of the property, which reverted to Agnes, relict of Laurence de Hastings, Earl of Pembroke, son of the 2nd Lord Hastings. (fn. 91) John de Hastings, Earl of Pembroke, son of Laurence, died in 1375, holding 'land in Cotes called Coldecote', from the Bishop of Salisbury. (fn. 92) His relict held it after his death and died seised of it in 1384. (fn. 93) Their son died in 1389, while still under age. (fn. 94)

This property was possibly that now known as Calcote Farm. (fn. 95)

The manor of HORTON or HORTON QUARLES may have originated in the 2 knights fees in the district held like those in Coate to support the defence of Devizes castle, (fn. 96) though it is not possible to trace any descent from the holders mentioned in the Hundred Rolls. Half a knight's fee in Horton was held in 1191 by Peter son of Walter. (fn. 97) This property was probably that referred to in 1236 as having belonged to Brian de L'Isle. (fn. 98) Brian had died in 1234 leaving as his heirs Thomas Brito and Alice his wife, William of Glamorgan, and Ralph of Stopham. (fn. 99) Agatha of St. George, the demandant of 1236, demanded ⅓ of ½ knight's fee in Horton from Roger la Zouche, guardian of Ralph de Stopham, and claimed that this land was not held in chief of the king. In the same year Thomas Brito and Alice his wife granted to William of Glamorgan ⅓ of ½ a knight's fee in Horton, a third part of which was held in dower by Grace, relict of Brian de L'Isle. (fn. 100) In 1289 Mabel de L'Isle was granted a messuage and a carucate of land in Horton by Walter de Lumeney and Joan his wife. (fn. 101) In 1331 Joan, relict of Thomas de Gournaye, and previously of Thomas Try vet, received ⅓of the manor of Horton with the corn sown there, which she held in dower from Thomas Tryvet, and which had been forfeited to the king by the rebellion of Thomas de Gournaye. (fn. 102)

In 1378–9 the reversion of the manor of Horton was granted by Philippa, daughter of Richard Hyweye to Sir John de Roches. At that time it was held by Sir Nicholas de Berkeley and Cecily his wife for the life of the latter. (fn. 103) At the inquest of the lands of Cecily in 1393 she was stated to have held 'lands and tenements' in Horton. The manor passed early in the 15 th century from the Roches family to that of Baynton. (fn. 104) John Baynton Kt. who died in 1465 had held the manor jure uxoris. (fn. 105) His son Robert succeeded but in 1471 forfeited his lands on attainder. (fn. 106) Horton was granted in 1475 to John Cheyne, or Cheyney, one of the king's Esquires of the Body. (fn. 107) In 1503 Margaret Stourton, relict of John Cheyney, described as 'knight', died seised of a moiety of the manor (or perhaps the whole manor) worth £8 and held of the earldom of Salisbury by service of a 1/5 of a knight's fee. (fn. 108)

In July 1485 the remainder of the manor was granted to George Neville, but after Bosworth it was restored to the Bayntons, and Sir Edward Baynton died in possession of it in 1545. (fn. 109)

In 1577 Nicholas Swell died in possession of Horton Quarles. He had settled it in the previous year on his son and heir John. (fn. 110) John Swell conveyed it in 1583 to Simon Sloper and Thomas Weston. (fn. 111) Robert Forman held the farm of Horton in 1622, together with land called Quarles. (fn. 112) He was succeded in that year by his son Robert. In 1634 Richard Forman was a tenant of the Bishop of Salisbury in Horton, holding by knight service, but the largest proprietor in the tithing was 'the heir of Simon Unwin'. By this time the 'manor' of Horton Quarles was no more than a number of small holdings. (fn. 113) Richard Forman died in 1640, when it was stated that Horton Farm was held of the king 'in socage in chief by fealty only', and that in 1633 it had been settled on Richard's wife Alice, with reversion to their daughter Alice. (fn. 114)

About 1665 the landowners in Horton were Sir Edward Nicholas, Sir William Turner, Benjamin Gifford of Bosham (Hants), Thomas Weston, and John Unwin who was the largest proprietor. (fn. 115)

In the tithing of Chittoe, an estate which later became known as the manor of CHITTOE passed like Horton from the Roches family to the Bayntons. In 1411 the escheator for Wiltshire was ordered to assign to Elizabeth, wife of Walter Beauchamp and daughter and coheir of Sir John Roches rent of 13s. 4d. issuing from lands in Chittoe whereof Geoffrey Driffelde was tenant for life. Nicholas Baynton, husband of Joan, the other Roches heiress, gave assent to this. (fn. 116) In 1593 Edward Baynton was stated to have recently obtained Spye Park in Chittoe from Stephen Duckett. Edward had died in 1597. Thereafter the 'manor' of Chittoe followed the same descent as that of Bromham Battle (q.v.).

In the tithing of ROUNDWAY no manor has been traced but there was at least one major estate held under the Bishop of Salisbury. From the 14th century until the 18th, the senior branch of the Wiltshire family of Nicholas held land in the tithing, their tenancy being illustrated by a remarkable series of private deeds lodged in the British Museum and the Wiltshire Record Office. (fn. 117)

The earliest member of the family that can be traced is a William Nicholas who was probably alive at the end of the 13th century. William was succeeded by Thomas, and Thomas by John. John's son and heir of the same name died in 1434. (fn. 118) During his lifetime the family had owned land in Roundway computed at 2/5 of a knight's fee. (fn. 119) He was succeeded by a third John (d. 1461) who married Anne daughter of Thomas Ennock. This John's eldest son, William, was 'slain without the gatehouse of Roundway' and the estate passed to his second son, another John who married Agnes daughter of John Goore of 'Hinton' and died in 1502. (fn. 120) During the 16th century the descent is obscure and it is possible that several branches of the family were holding land in Roundway. Towards the end of the century Edward and Robert did homage for their lands in Roundway at Bishop's Cannings court. (fn. 121) This may have been the Edward of Manningford who founded that branch of the family, (fn. 122) and the lands possibly passed through his son Robert (fn. 123) to Griffin Nicholas who on his death in 1635 left his lands in Roundway to his 'Cousin' Thomas. (fn. 124) The deeds show, however, that Griffin secured a good deal of his land by purchase from other members of the family. From Thomas the estate possibly passed to Robert, one time Baron of the Exchequer and great-grandson of Edward of Manningford, (fn. 125) who died in 1667 owning Roundway. (fn. 126) The estate passed out of the family for two generations at Robert's death and was bought in 1705 by another Robert, a descendant of a younger brother. (fn. 127) From this Robert the land passed to Edward the eldest son (of his second wife Jane Child), who married into the Richmond family. Their son Edward Richmond Nicholas, M.B., died 1770: (fn. 128) a survey made before his death, possibly in 1753, shows his holdings scattered about the tithing in the open fields, in the village and in what is now Roundway Park. The property bordering on the Nicholas estate is shown as belonging to a William Willey. (fn. 129) A person of this name was M.P. for Devizes and died in 1765; (fn. 130) his brother George, described as being of New Park, was Mayor of Devizes in 1758. (fn. 131) It was to this family the Nicholas holdings passed by sale sometime after 1770 when Edward Richmond had been succeeded in the Roundway estate by his son Robert, M.P. for Cricklade in 1784. (fn. 132)

At this time the Roundway estate becomes associated with that of NEW PARK. Although at least a small portion of the Devizes parks had been alienated from the Crown by 1634 and appears at that date in a survey of Bishop's Cannings manor as 'New Park' (fn. 133) the major portion seems to have remained within Devizes at least until 1664. (fn. 134) From the Willey family the estate followed the descent of Bishop's Cannings (see above) through the Suttons to the Estcourts. T. H. S. Estcourt lived at New Park until 1837 or 1839 (fn. 135) and in 1840 the estate was bought by E. F. Colston of Filkins Hall (Oxon.). (fn. 136) It is probably about this time that the estate became known as ROUNDWAY PARK. In 1842 the new tenant caused some popular resentment by inclosing 'Sheep Wash Dell'. (fn. 137) In 1892 the deer park was said to consist of 120 acres inclosed by continuous iron fencing and to contain about 200 fallow deer. (fn. 138) From E. F. Colston the estate passed to his son Edward who was succeeded by his second son C. E. H. A. Colston. In 1916 C. E. H. A. Colston was created the first Lord Roundway: he died in 1925 and was succeeded by his son (fn. 139) who sold the estate in 1948. The house, the pleasure grounds, the kitchen garden, and a paddock called the 'Home Ground' were sold to the Wiltshire County Council who use a part of the house for Civil Defence purposes. (fn. 140) The remainder of the estate, comprising 1,584 acres was sold to the Merchant Venturers of Bristol as Trustees of the Charity of H. H. Wills for Chronic and Incurable Sufferers. The land is leased to farmers. (fn. 141)

At least three houses are connected with the Roundway estate. For most of their tenancy the Nicholas family are reputed to have lived at Nicholas Place. (fn. 142) The site of this house was very probably in the meadow that now (1951) lies at the end of Quakers' Walk on the foot-path crossing to the west of the village. That this was in fact the site is strongly emphasized by the earthworks to be found there and by the marking of a house at this point on an 18th-century map of the Nicholas property. (fn. 143) Both Nicholas Farm and Roundway Farm are mentioned as Nicholas property in 16th-century deeds (fn. 144) but it is not clear whether these may be identified with Nicholas Place, with the present Roundway Farm or with the Home Farm in Roundway Park. From Nicholas Place the family appear to have moved into 'New Park' in the 18th century. (fn. 145) What seems to have been their house now forms the kitchen block of the present Roundway House. In 1780 James Sutton began to rebuild the house of the Nicholases (fn. 146) from designs by James Wyatt. (fn. 147)

The house, which faces north-east, consists of a hollow square inclosing a courtyard, which is pierced on the north-east and south by archways, that on the south leading into the garden. The main reception rooms are on the south-west, the kitchens on the north-west. There are stables on the other two sides. Between the main gateway and a portico porch in the centre of the south-east block there is an elliptical wall with an open balustrade. The oldest part of the building, of 18th-century construction, is the kitchen block, of two stories with basement. It is of brick with stone dressings but the brickwork on the south-east has been faced with stucco. The plaster ceiling in the kitchen, panelling in Lower and Upper Oak Rooms, and marble fireplaces seem to confirm the tradition that this block was the original New Park house. The rest of the buildings are of three stories and built of ashlar. With the exception of the billiard-room they are of Greek classical design, with several marble chimney pieces and a painted ceiling in the dining-room. The panelling in the drawing-room is said to have come from Whitton Park (Middx.), the home of the first Lady Roundway. The billiard-room at the south-east end of the south-west block was built in 1892 on the site of a conservatory. There was a fire at the house in 1792 but it seems to have done no permanent damage. (fn. 148)

Three other holdings in Roundway are of some interest. In his charter of 1149 returning the sequestered lands to the Bishop of Salisbury, Henry, Duke of Normandy (later Henry II), excepted, among other things, 2 hides held by Gregory. (fn. 149) There is no further record of this property as Crown land: it may have been merged with the Devizes holdings, forming perhaps part of New Park or it may have been returned to the bishop. Within Roundway was a property of De Vaux College. (fn. 150) This holding is very probably the messuage and virgate acquired by Bishop Giles from Robert de Littlecote in 1262. (fn. 151) In 1543 the college properties were granted by the Crown to Michael Lyster, kt. (fn. 152) and passed into the Nicholas family in 1548. (fn. 153) The tenant at that time was Robert Sompnour: the Valor records his rent as 10s. per annum. (fn. 154) Bradenstoke priory had a small holding of land in Roundway known as Holdcroft under Cotte-grove. (fn. 155)


The advowson of Bishop's Cannings church was considered as parcel of the foundation gift to Salisbury Cathedral of the Rectory manor of Cannings Canonicorum (see above). Thus since 1091 the dean and chapter have been the patrons of the living. (fn. 156) The patrons have from time to time waived their right of presentation or sold it to lessees. The earliest institution of which there is record names a Walter Hervy as patron in 1313; (fn. 157) from 1316 to 1390 the dean and chapter exercised their right but in 1402 the institution was said to be by them at the nomination of Thomas Southam, the lessee of the rectory manor. The canons exercised their right from 1410 to 1543 but in 1593 Michael Ernely, kt., of Whetham, is named as patron and in 1623 John Ferebe, Rector of Poole Keynes (Glos.). (fn. 158) From 1650 the dean and chapter held the patronage to themselves although on two occasions, 1683 and 1815, it was the bishop who actually presented. (fn. 159)

With the gift by St. Osmund of the church of Bishop's Cannings went the episcopal jurisdiction so that the parish remained a peculiar of the dean and achapter until these jurisdictions were abolished in the nineteenth century. (fn. 160)

The value of the rectory and manor of Cannings Canonicorum together with the tithes was always considerable. In 1291 the church was valued at £53. 6s. 8d. and the vicarage at £10. (fn. 161) In 1535 the farm of the rectory and manor was reckoned at £101. 7s. 9d. and the vicar's income at £18. 5s. 8d. (fn. 162) and in 1548 the lessee paid a rent of £102. 1s. 1½d. for the farm of the rectory. (fn. 163) In 1649 the vicarage was worth £60. (fn. 164) The actual value of the rectory and manor was, of course, considerably greater than this: when the lease passed to the Nicholas family in 1660 the leasehold and copyhold rents totalled £738. 7s. 9d. The rent due to the dean and chapter was then £103. 7s. 9d. with £40 due in rent and grain to the vicar. The difference was offset in the usual way by fine upon entry into the lease and in 1742 William Nicholas recorded that his family had 'had the lease 82 years and paid £3,700 for fine beside what was paid by Sir Edward Nicholas in 1660'. (fn. 165)

The value of the tithes was considerable: in 1649 those of the tithings of Cannings, Bourton and Easton, Horton, and Chittoe for corn, grain, wool, lambs, and hay amounted to £421, besides what was due to the vicar; those in Chittoe, Wick, and Nursteed were valued at £90; Roundway and Bedborough £78. (fn. 166) In 1660 the tithes of corn in Bishop's Cannings were valued at £95, in Bourton and Easton £95, in Horton £85, in Coate £90, in Wick and Nursteed £90. Tithes of wool and lamb for the whole parish were worth £85, tithes of hay for Coate and another district £40. At that time the vicar received the tithe of corn, hay, wool and lambs arising from the farm and glebe lands and the tenths of the tithes of the wool and lambs of the whole parish. (fn. 167)

Portions of the tithes were from time to time subleased either by the dean and chapter or their lessees. (fn. 168) In the 19th century the great tithes and part of the small tithes passed with the rectory manor to Sir Anthony Abdy. When the manor later passed into the hands of T. H. S. Sotheron Estcourt he merged the greater part of tithes in land by agreement with the Bishop of Salisbury and surrendered the rest for the augmentation of the churches of Southbroom, Chittoe, and Bishop's Cannings. By the Tithe Rent Charge Acts all tithes due to the vicar were converted to a rentcharge of £360 a year. (fn. 169) In 1940 £435 was due to the incumbent from tithe redemption, £42 from 24 acres of glebe land, and £204 from Queen Anne's Bounty. (fn. 170)

The church of ST. MARY THE VIRGIN was built in the second half of the 12th century and probably consisted then of chancel, nave, north and south transepts, and a two-story sacristy. In the 13th century a central tower was added or possibly rebuilt and the porch was either added or rebuilt in the following century. During alterations in the 15th century a spire was added to the tower: at the same time the north and south walls of the aisles were rebuilt and raised, the nave walls raised and the original clerestory windows blocked, and traceried windows fitted in their place.

The church is built mainly of ashlar and the roofs are covered with stone slates.

The 14th-century porch has a vaulted ceiling and there are three bays of stone vaulting in the chancel. The nave roof of the collar-beam type is dated in the 17th century and the aisles, transepts, and the chapel were reroofed in the 19th century.

Before the Reformation there was a chantry chapel in the church of Bishop's Cannings called 'Our Lady of the Bower'. In 1563 this chapel, since it had been 'for the celebration of papistical masses... constructed and built, and such masses, repugnant and contrary to divine law, by the laws and statutes of this famous Kingdom of England are lawfully abolished and prohibited', and because the cost of its upkeep was heavy, was transferred by the churchwardens of the parish to John Ernle, for his use and that of his family and heirs. Recessed into the north wall is a large stone tomb which is a memorial to John Ernle who died in 1571. On the south wall there is a memorial to Edward Ernle who died in 1656 and who was the son of Michael Ernle of Bourton, and of Edward, his grandchild, who died in 1675. (fn. 171) In the 16th century land belonging to the chapel was purchased by Sir John Perrott, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, (fn. 172) but there is no other record of the Chantry endowments.

There are traces of stoups in the porch and by the 15th-century door to the north aisle. There are two piscinae in the south wall of the chancel and one in the south chapel. The sacristy on the north side of the chancel is now a vestry. There are three scratch dials in the church, one in the porch and two close together on the south wall east of the porch. There is also a post-Reformation dial on the south-east quoin of the chancel. (fn. 173) The church was restored 1883–4 at the cost of about £3,600. (fn. 174) The organ was bought for £400 with money given for that purpose by William Bayley in 1809. The remaining £600 of his gift of £1,000 was invested in 1821 in £631 worth of Consols, the money for the additional stock being subscribed by Thomas Grimston Estcourt into whose hands the money had been entrusted by Bayley at his death in 1810. The interest on this money was, in 1939, applied to the tuning and repair of the organ and towards the stipend of the organist. (fn. 175) The instrument was first erected in a gallery at the west end but it was twice moved and is now in the north transept.

The church contains an unusual piece of furniture similar in construction to a single box pew with a small door. Painted on the inner side of one panel in such a position that it would be on the left of anyone seated at the small desk fitted opposite the seat, is a 'hand of meditation'. On the fingers of the hand and on a scroll below it are inscribed brief admonitory sentences in Latin. It has been suggested that the seat is a monastic 'carrell' but the origin, purpose, and date of the seat is much disputed. (fn. 176)

George Ferebe (Vicar of Bishop's Cannings 1593 to 1623) distinguished himself in 1613 by composing a pastoral which was sung by him and his parishioners before Queen Anne of Denmark as she passed through the parish. The queen showed her gratitude by securing him appointment as a chaplain to the king. (fn. 177) This event has been dramatized by Ida W. Gandy under the title When the Queen Passed By (Village Drama Society Plays). Ferebe is also said to have entertained James I with 'bucolics' of his own making at 'the Bush in Cotefield'. (fn. 178) During his time it was said that Bishop's Cannings 'would have challenged all England for musique, football and ringing'. (fn. 179)

Canon H. H. Mogg, vicar from 1907 to 1927, made his mark in the Church Schools movement and gave much of his time to the furtherance of education in the district. (fn. 180)

The parish registers begin in 1591 and are complete except for the years 1702 to 1812. (fn. 181) Edward VI's commissioners left the church 27 oz. silver but took 127 oz. for the king. (fn. 182) The church plate now comprises a chalice with hall-mark 1660; a paten hall-marked 1712 and a tankard-shaped flagon hall-marked 1827 both bought by the parish in 1846; an alms-dish hallmarked 1824 and presented by the Revd. William Macdonald in 1825. (fn. 183) There are eight bells: (i) 1607; (ii) 1602; (iii) 1602; (iv) thomas mears founder LONDON 1840; (v) GEORGE FEREBE VICAR 1602; (vi) 1602; (vii) as (iv); (viii) 1626 recast 1897. The bells were originally cast by John Wallis of Salisbury during the incumbency of George Ferebe. (fn. 184)

Besides the Bayley charity the church is endowed with a charity known as 'The Church Lands'. The origin of this charity is uncertain but the deed appointing new trustees in 1760 states that the income is to be used for the repair of the fabric and for the use of the church. In 1901 this property comprised 5 tenements in Bishop's Cannings including a house called the Church House and a malt-house with a building adjoining it; 2 tenements in Bedborough tithing behind St. James's Church, and 2 more in Southbroom; a close of meadow in Bishop's Cannings called Brick-kiln ground, another close in 'Coate field' and yet another in Bourton and Easton tithing. On all the tenements were cottages in tenantable repair. In 1900 the gross income from rents was £99. 5s. 6d. (fn. 185) In 1939 the net yearly income was said to be £130. (fn. 186)

In Chittoe, the detached portion of Bishop's Cannings, there seems to have been at one time a chapel. In 1535 the Vicar of Bishop's Cannings paid the Rector of Bromham the annual sum of 6s. 8d. for the chapel of Chittoe. (fn. 187) No trace of the chapel now remains. Until the 19th century the people of Chittoe were accustomed to celebrate marriages and bury their dead in Bishop's Cannings and an old track across the downs acquired thereby the name of 'The Burying Road'. (fn. 188) For some years before 1845 the inhabitants of Chittoe were accustomed to be married at Bishop's Cannings but to attend Bromham Church for baptism and burial. (fn. 189) In that year the church of ST. MARY was built at Chittoe, through the efforts of Archdeacon Macdonald, Vicar of Bishop's Cannings, Mrs. Charlotte Starky, and Bishop Denison of Salisbury. The church consists of nave and chancel and is constructed of ashlar with free stone dressings, in imitation of the Decorated style. (fn. 190) The new living was in the gift of the bishop, who had endowed it with £25 out of his estate. Further endowments were added by the vicar, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and Mr. Sotheron Estcourt. The patronage was subsequently acquired by the Spicer family of Bromham, and the present patron is Captain F. F. F. Spicer. (fn. 191)

The chapel of St. James, Southbroom, was formerly under the jurisdiction of the Vicar of Bishop's Cannings. The chapelry was formed into a separate ecclesiastical parish in 1831. The patron is the Vicar of Bishop's Cannings. (fn. 192)

In Roundway a reading-room for social, parish, and religious work was erected by Edward Coward (d. 1945). It is constructed of timber and corrugated iron on a brick foundation. In 1937 the Parochial Church Council of Southbroom accepted responsibility for the building; a lease for thirty years at a rent of 2s. 6d. per annum was granted by the Crown as landlords. Fortnightly services are held in the room from October to April. (fn. 193)


In 1829 there were no dissenting places of worship in Bishop's Cannings but there was a considerable number of dissenters of several persuasions who attended chapels in Devizes. The Society of Wesleyan Methodists met in one labourer's cottage and a Society of Independents in another. (fn. 194) In 1835 one of the two Sunday schools in the parish was for the children of dissenters: 95 children were taught gratis. (fn. 195)

There were two Methodist societies in other parts of the parish, one at Coate and the other at Horton. In 1829 the Coate Society was assessed at 12s. for the quarter (fn. 196) and was included in the recently created Devizes Circuit. (fn. 197) In 1832, 1837, and 1842 this society had five members but it is omitted from the Devizes Quarterly Schedules of 1850 and makes no appearance thereafter. (fn. 198)

The Horton Society was assessed in 1829 for 14s. (fn. 199) In 1831 a piece of land, 27 ft. square, was bought from Thomas Giddings of Horton for £5 for the purpose of building a chapel in Horton. The property was acquired by the Wiltshire Mission in trust in 1836. (fn. 200) In 1873 there was said to be accommodation in the chapel for 100 persons. (fn. 201) In 1832 the membership of the society was 7: ten years later this number had doubled and it remained so until 1886 when it fell to 12. (fn. 202) In 1951 there were 9 members. (fn. 203) The chapel benefits under the will of Amelia Holloway who in 1841 bequeathed £40 in trust for the repair of the chapel and as an endowment for the minister of the Wesleyan Connexion stationed at Devizes. In 1901 the charity was being administered in accordance with the trust. (fn. 204)

At Chittoe Heath there is a Methodist chapel now attached to the Calne Circuit. Before 1932 this had been a Primitive Methodist chapel; the main building was erected in 1882 and additional accommodation was provided in 1914. (fn. 205)

Coate 'school' was built in 1848 by E. B. Anstie, tobacco manufacture of Devizes, who, while on a visit to Jamaica, had been converted to the uses of The Brethren and started Gospel services in a cottage in Coate in 1841. The building continued to be used both as a chapel and a school: (fn. 206) in 1859 it was reported that 20 to 30 'children of dissenters' were taught there by a master. (fn. 207) The erection of the Anglican school (c. 1870) left the chapel with few pupils but it has continued actively until the present day to serve as a chapel. (fn. 208)


Bishop's Cannings appears in Domesday (fn. 209) as a large and rich manor: it was assessed at 70 hides and there was estimated to be land for 45 plough teams, with 10 hides, 5 plough teams, and 6 serfs in demesne. A house in Calne belonged to the manor and paid 20d. per annum but no later record of this property has been found. The bishop's demesne was valued at £60 and the holdings of the other tenants at £35.

The manor was valued at £129 in 1291—more than £30 above Potterne, where in 1086 the bishop's demesne had been the same value as that of Bishop's Cannings. (fn. 210) The net value of the manor in 1535 was £164. 10s. 1¾d., (fn. 211) again about £30 more than that of Potterne.

Michael Tidcombe, steward of the Bishop of Salisbury, surveyed the manor in 1634. (fn. 212) The tithing of Cannings contained the manor of Cannings Canonicorum which consisted of 9 yardlands and 9 tenements making up 140 acres of arable, 32 acres of meadow, and pasture for 730 sheep. The remainder of the tithing was made up of the tenements of Sir John Danvers, and 3 other freeholders and 9 leaseholders; there were 5 copyholders. The tithing of Bourton and Easton contained the manor of Bourton which consisted of 6 yardlands in demesne made up of 120 acres of arable, 12 acres meadow called 'Eastmead', a 5—acre meadow, called 'the Shiphouse mead', 'the Storkes mead' of 4 acres, 'Long mead' and 'Knights Green' of 4 acres, 'the Milham', 'the Moor', and 'the Ashehayes' containing 2 acres and several down for 600 sheep and common for 12 cattle on 'Canning Cowdowne'; there were 10 freehold tenants and 12 copyholders. In Horton tithing there were 3 freeholders and 5 copyholders and the manor consisted of 80 acres of arable, 35 acres of meadow, and pasture for 200 sheep. In Roundway there were 5 freeholders, 2 leaseholders, and 6 copyholders; in Wick, Nursteed, and Bedborough there were 10 freeholders, 13 leaseholders, and 20 copyholders. In the three lesser tithings, together with Roundway there were an additional 2 freeholders. At New Park there were 3 freeholders. At Chittoe, there was a freeholder (Sir Edward Baynton), a leaseholder, and 12 copyholders. Coate contained the manor of that name, 3 freeholders, a leaseholder, and 4 copyholders, and consisted of 400 acres.

The parish of Bishop's Cannings lies partly within the belt of Upper Greensand which runs from the neighbourhood of Devizes to Burbage. There are also areas of Chalk Marl. Corn and sheep-farming are thus both carried on extensively. (fn. 213) At the end of the 16th century the parish still followed the open field system of farming in typical medieval fashion. In 1597 Robert Nicholas conveyed to John his son a property described as Roundway Farm. The terrier attached to this deed shows that the 160 acres involved were split up into small strips, many of ½ acre or less, distributed among three fields—the East, North, and South Fields. There were, altogether, more than 160 such strips. (fn. 214)

In 1634, in spite of the fact that inclosure had not taken place, sheep farming was carried on on a large scale. The dean and chapter had in their manor 'several down for 730 sheep'. Sir Edward Baynton kept 1,000 sheep on his tenement in the tithing of Cannings. (fn. 215) In Horton the heir of Simon Unwin had 'several down for 800 sheep'. The Lady Susan Reynolds had the same in Bourton for 600 sheep, and the smaller landowners mostly made returns of the sheepbearing capacity of their land. (fn. 216) In 1859 there were in the parish 11,310 sheep, 164 horses, 262 cattle, and 313 pigs. Three years before the crops of corn had been wheat (1,208 acres), barley (226 acres), beans (168 acres), peas (102 acres), and oats (145 acres). At that time the white crop was mostly threshed by steamengine while the beans were got out by the flail. (fn. 217)

There are now six farms around Bishop's Cannings village so divided that each has an area of downland, arable, and lower pasture. (fn. 218)

The inclosure of the parish took place between 1780 and 1815. In 1778 the Act for inclosing the manor and tithing of Coate was passed: (fn. 219) the award was made in 1780. The Act for Roundway, Chittoe, Bedborough, and Bishop's Cannings was passed in 1794 and the award made in 1812. The chief allottees were Thomas Grimston Estcourt as lessee of Bishop's Cannings manor and the rectory manor and Sir Edward Baynton Rolt whose interests were in Chittoe. (fn. 220) The Act for Bourton and Easton, Horton, Nursteed, and Wick was passed in 1815 and the final award was made in the following year; Estcourt was again the principal allottee. (fn. 221)

Approximately half the adult male population of the village work on the land in and around Bishop's Cannings, the others finding employment outside, some in the nearby flax factory on the Devizes road in Roundway parish. Piped water and electricity are laid to the larger houses and farms. (fn. 222)


Domesday Book records 6 mills valued at 7s. 6d.: one of these may be the water-mill in Horton left as part of her property by Cecily de Berkeley at her death in 1393. (fn. 223) In 1429 this or another mill in Horton was mentioned in a conveyance: (fn. 224) a mill in Nursteed changed hands in 1424 (fn. 225) and two 'water grain-mills' called 'Rangborne' Mills are mentioned as being in Bishop's Cannings in 1615. (fn. 226) A water-mill was included in Bourton manor in a conveyance of 1652, and presumably passed with the manor after that date. (fn. 227) There was said to be a water-mill in the parish as late as the end of the 19th century. (fn. 228) The portion of Roundway Hill now lying in Bishop's Cannings parish, east of Roundway Hill Farm, was known as Windmill Knowl as late as 1811. (fn. 229)


In 1819 there were two classes in Bishop's Cannings, providing for 60 children. The parish clerk taught one class and a woman the other. It was reported that 'the poor are without sufficient means of education, though desirous of... them'. (fn. 230) A National school was opened in 1830 (fn. 231) but no trust deed has survived in connexion with it. (fn. 232) The building could accommodate 90 children and a teacher's house was attached to it. (fn. 233) In 1833 it was stated that there were two National schools in the parish, partly supported by subscription. (fn. 234) Probably this means that there were boys' and girls' departments, separately organized. There were also three 'schools' for infants, whose parents paid the whole cost of schooling. In 1859 there; were 30–40 children in the National school, taught by a uncertificated mistress. (fn. 235) The boys' schoolroom was only used on Sundays. Religious instruction was given according to the principles of the Church of England. It was further stated that the Guardian newspaper had published a report of the fact that Mr. Sotheron Estcourt had endowed the school with £20 for ever. In 1893 there was said to be accommodation for 113 although attendance was only 71. (fn. 236) Accommodation was subsequently reckoned in two departments: the figures from 1910 to 1950 were: mixed department, 64, infants 30. The school is now known as a full range Church of England primary school. The average attendance in July 1950 was 90. There are three teachers. (fn. 237) In 1907 the school was moved from the thatched building standing at the cross-roads to a new building erected for the purpose. The old building is now used as a village hall and as an occasional annexe to the school. Whether the thatched cottage is the school of 1830 or not is uncerain. (fn. 238)

The first record of a school in Coate is in 1859 when it was reported that '20 to 30 children are taught under the Rector's eye by a motherly woman of limited attainments in the flagged kitchen of a cottage'. (fn. 239) A school was built in 1876 with contributions by the Diocesan Church Building Association on the understanding that the premises were also to be used for worship: the church was screened from the school. (fn. 240) The school comprised mixed and infants classes; the average attendance between 1900 and 1915 was 32 and this figure fell to 29 between 1916 and 1928. In 1922 the Local Authority ruled that all children of over 11 years should attend other schools: there was considerable local opposition to this scheme and the case was before the Board of Education for more than a year and was finally approved in 1923. In 1929, again in the face of local opposition, the school was closed. (fn. 241) The building is now used as a village hall.

In 1835 children in Chittoe attended schools in Bromham (fn. 242) but in 1859 it was said that '21 boys and 7 girls, mixed, are taught by a certificated mistress in a small rather damp room with flag floor and vis-a-vis desks. The furniture, books, instruction and discipline are only pretty fair. The children attend irregularly and are removed at a very early age.' (fn. 243) A new school in the village, together with a house for the teacher, was subsequently built—by Capt. J. E. P. Spicer according to village tradition. In 1888 this school was given a Parliamentary grant. (fn. 244) Between 1893 and 1903 the average attendance was 51. (fn. 245) The school was closed in June 1906 (fn. 246) and children living in the district now attend schools in Bromham. The school is now (1951) used for village meetings and the schoolhouse is occupied by an old pupil of the school.

There was a school in Horton in 1859 when it was said that '20 children are taught by a dame in a cottage'. (fn. 247) In 1872 the infants school there was said to have accommodation for 50. (fn. 248) There is now no school in the hamlet.


The Poor's Lands. This land in 1901 (fn. 249) was divided into two lots and occupied rent free by the two oldest men in the tithing who satisfied various conditions. It is traditionally known as Naish's charity though nothing is known of its origin. In 1939 it was said that the rent from the land was given only to one man. (fn. 250)

The Poor's Money. In 1901 interest had ceased to be paid on the sum of £30 given by Thomas Stevens of Bristol and Paul Weston of Bishop's Cannings. (fn. 251) Previously bread had been distributed on St. Paul's Day but the Poor Law Commissioners had refused to allow the amount to stand on the parish accounts. '£30 lies in abeyance and the poor lose their loaves', comments the contemporary incumbent. (fn. 252) It was thought unlikely in 1900 that the charity could be revived as the capital had by that time been dispersed. (fn. 253)

William Brown's charity. By his will of 1867 William Brown of Devizes left £200 of which the income was to be devoted to buying coal and clothing for the poor of Horton. The trust was executed in this way in 1900; (fn. 254) in 1939 the money rendered a yearly income of £5. (fn. 255)

The Chittoe Heath charity. By a deed of 1875 a piece of land of the Spye Park estate was put in trust for the purposes of a recreation ground. In 1900 it was said not to be used by the parishioners for any particular purpose. (fn. 256)

White's charity. By his will of 1909, William White of Brighton left a sum of money directing that it should be distributed to the poor after payment of 2s. to the sexton for the upkeep of his father's grave. The money was invested in Consols and other stock and included the proceeds of two houses in Brighton; it is administered under a scheme of the Charity Commissioners of 1910. (fn. 257)


  • 1. W.A.M. vi, 121 ff.
  • 2. Bounds. of Wilts. (1918), 14.
  • 3. Wilts. County Review Order, 1934.
  • 4. Census Returns, 1931, 1951.
  • 5. Bounds. of Wilts. (1918), 19.
  • 6. P.N. Wilts. (E.P.N.S.), 250.
  • 7. Wilts. County Review Order, 1934.
  • 8. Census Returns 1931, 1951.
  • 9. O.S. map 1/25,000, 41/06.
  • 10. P.N. Wilts. (E.P.N.S.), 435.
  • 11. See W.A.M. xlii, 130.
  • 12. P.N. Wilts. (E.P.N.S.), 445.
  • 13. O.S. map 1/25,000, 41/06.
  • 14. Wilts. Gaz. 24 Nov. 1921.
  • 15. O.S. Nat. Grid. 41/01256310; see also under Roundway.
  • 16. W.A.M. liii, 283.
  • 17. O.S. map. 1/25,000, 31/96.
  • 18. 'A Village Survey', by Bishop's Cannings School Young Farmers' Club, 1950, penes the Headmaster.
  • 19. P.N. Wilts. (E.P.N.S.) 250. This corrects the identification in V.C.H. Hants, iv, 586.
  • 20. Ex inf. Mr. F. W. Way, Devises, 1951; 'A Village Survey', 1950.
  • 21. The family is mentioned in the Nicholas deeds, see 'Roundway'.
  • 22. Kelly's Dir. Wilts. 1903.
  • 23. R. D. Gillman, The Annals of... Devizes (1908).
  • 24. Kelly's Dir. Wilts. 1939.
  • 25. 'A Village Survey', 1950.
  • 26. W.A.M. liii, 277 ff; A. H. Burne, More Battlefields of England, 180 ff.
  • 27. Ibid.
  • 28. R. M. T. Gillson, Hist. of the Wilts. Regt. 20; Gillman, Annals of Devizes.
  • 29. Information supplied by the War Office.
  • 30. Ibid.
  • 31. Ex inf. Mr. E. C. Baker, the Post Office Libr.
  • 32. Gillman, Annals of Devizes.
  • 33. Ex inf. Mr. L. V. Grinsell, 1951.
  • 34. W.A.M. xxxviii, 632–3.
  • 35. Ibid. xxxvi, 590.
  • 36. O. G. S. Crawford and A. Keiller, Wessex from the Air (1928), 238–9.
  • 37. Ibid.; W.A.M. xxxvi, 590.
  • 38. D.N.B.
  • 39. Ibid.
  • 40. A Wiltshire Childhood, 1929.
  • 41. See also W.A.M. 1, 278.
  • 42. W.A.M. xlviii, 467.
  • 43. Dom. Bk. Wilts., ed. Jones, 22.
  • 44. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.) ii, 236.
  • 45. W.A.M. vi, 124 ff.
  • 46. [J. Waylen], Hist. Devizes (1859), 559.
  • 47. Income from Crown Lands in Bishop's Cannings and Bromham, H.C. 427 (1870), liv.
  • 48. Cal. Pat. 1334–8, 498; ibid. 1377– 81, 9.
  • 49. W.A.M.. vi, 127.
  • 50. Cal. Pat. 1549–51, 338.
  • 51. W.A.M. vi, 127.
  • 52. C.P. 25(2)/609 Mich. 1657.
  • 53. W.A.M. vi, 128.
  • 54. Ibid.
  • 55. Kelly's Dir. Wilts. 1939.
  • 56. See also Churches.
  • 57. Dom. Bk. Wilts., ed. Jones, 22.
  • 58. Reg. S. Osmund (Rolls Sen), i, 199.
  • 59. Ibid. 217.
  • 60. Phillipps, Wilts. Inst. 892.
  • 61. Cal Pat. 1549–51, 338.
  • 62. W.A.M. xli, 107.
  • 63. Ct. bk. of the manor, W.A.S. Libr., Devizes.
  • 64. W.A.M. xi, 37.
  • 65. Ibid. vi, 127.
  • 66. C.P. 25(1) 255/52 East. 44 Edw. III.
  • 67. C.P. 25(1) 255/53 Trin. 48 Edw. III.
  • 68. Burke, Commoners (1836), iii, 620.
  • 69. Ibid.; E 150/1009/4.
  • 70. C 142/240/77.
  • 71. C.P. 25(2)/509 East. 6 Chas. I.
  • 72. B.M. Add. Chart. 37571.
  • 73. C.P. 25(2)/609 Trin. 1658.
  • 74. C.P. 25(2)/889 Hil. 12 Wm. III.
  • 75. W.A.M. vi, 129–30; C.P. 43/905.
  • 76. Kelly's Dir. Wilts. 1939.
  • 77. Hist. MSS. Com., Var. Coll. iv, 131.
  • 78. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii, 236.
  • 79. Pipe R. 1194 (Pipe R. Soc), n.s., v. 17.
  • 80. Peerage; Cal. Pat. 1338–40, 239.
  • 81. Peerage.
  • 82. Cal. Close, 1402–5, 193.
  • 83. Ibid. 190.
  • 84. Peerage.
  • 85. See W.A.M. vi, 130 where the descent is traced to the Nevilles of Westmorland through Reynold, Lord Cobham.
  • 86. C 142/291/144.
  • 87. B.M. Add. Chart. 37. 571.
  • 88. C.P. 25(2)/608 Hil. 1650; Burke, Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies (1838), 186.
  • 89. Burke's Landed Gentry (1906); Peerage.
  • 90. Feet of F. 1272–1327 (W.A.S., Rec. Brch.), 111.
  • 91. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1327–77 (Index Libr.), 329; Peerage.
  • 92. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1327–77 (Index Libr.), 387.
  • 93. C 136/33(6).
  • 94. C 136/61,62,63.
  • 95. W.A.M. vi, 131.
  • 96. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii, 236.
  • 97. Pipe R. 1191 (Pipe R. Soc.) n.s., ii, 122.
  • 98. Bracton's Note Bk. ed. Maitland, p. 1183.
  • 99. Ibid.; V.C.H. Hants, v, 251; Excerpta e Rot. Fin. (Rec. Com.), i, 265.
  • 100. Cal. Feet of F. Wilts. 1195–1272, ed. Fry, 26.
  • 101. Feet of F. 1272–1327 (W.A.S., Rec Brch.), 32.
  • 102. Cal. Pat. 1330–4, 89.
  • 103. C.P. 25(0/256/54 Trin. 2 Rich. II.
  • 104. See Bromham.
  • 105. C 140/17.
  • 106. C 145/327.
  • 107. Cal. Pat. 1467–77,533.
  • 108. Cal. Inq.p.m. Hen. VII, ii, p. 505.
  • 109. Cal. Pat. 1476–85, 5495 C 142/72/ 109.
  • 110. C 142/179/99.
  • 111. C.P. 25(2)/240 East. 25 Eliz.; C.P. 43/1, rot. 74.
  • 112. C 142/764/21.
  • 113. B.M. Add. Chart. 37571.
  • 114. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1625–49 (Index Libr.) 373.
  • 115. W.A.M. vi, 131–2.
  • 116. Cal. Close, 1409–13, 138.
  • 117. B.M. Add. Chart. 37460–616; Add. MSS. 34008 and W.R.O.
  • 118. B.M. Harl. MS. 1443.
  • 119. Feud. Aids. v, 231.
  • 120. B.M. Harl. MS. 1443.
  • 121. B.M. Add. MSS. 34008.
  • 122. W.A.M. xi, 36 ff.
  • 123. See B.M. Add. Chart. 37554.
  • 124. B.M. Add. MSS. 34008.
  • 125. D.N.B.
  • 126. W.A.M. vi, 136.
  • 127. Ibid.
  • 128. Ibid.
  • 129. B.M. Add. MSS. 34008.
  • 130. [J.Waylen], Hist. Devizes (1859), 404.
  • 131. Ibid. 404, 580.
  • 132. W.A.M. vi, 136, where Arch. MacDonald assigns the sale to 1790: by this time, however, the property had passed to the Suttons—see [J. Waylen], Hist. Devizes (1859), 554.
  • 133. B.M. Add. Chart. 37571.
  • 134. The earlier history of the parks will be dealt with under Devizes.
  • 135. Gillman, Annals of Devizes, gives 1837 [J. Waylen], Hist. Devizes (1859), gives 1839.
  • 136. Gillman, Annals of Devizes.
  • 137. Ibid.
  • 138. J. Whitaker, A Descriptive list of Deer Parks etc. (1892).
  • 139. Peerage.
  • 140. Ex inf. Wilts. C.C.
  • 141. Ex inf. The Society of Merchant Venturers of Bristol.
  • 142. W.A.M. vi, 135.
  • 143. B.M. Add. MSS. 34008: the key to this map is unfortunately missing.
  • 144. B.M. Add. Chart. 37540, 37534.
  • 145. Edw. Coward, notes on Roundway, in A Hist. of the Church & Parish of Southbroom, C. W. Pugh and C. A. Plaxton, Devizes (1936).
  • 146. W.A.M. xlii, 104.
  • 147. John Britton, The Beauties of Wilts. ii. 198.
  • 148. Gillman, Annals of Devizes.
  • 149. Sar. Chart. & Doc. (Rolls Ser.), 16.
  • 150. W.A.M. vi, 135.
  • 151. C.P. 25(0/251/20 East. 46 Hen. III.
  • 152. L. & P. Hen. VIII xviii (1), P. 526.
  • 153. Cal. Pat. 1547–8,268.
  • 154. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii, 90.
  • 155. W.A.M. vi, 135.
  • 156. Reg., S. Osmund (Rolls Ser.), i, 199.
  • 157. Phillipps, Wilts. Inst. i, 11.
  • 158. Ibid. passim.
  • 159. Inst. Books, P.R.O.
  • 160. W.A.M. xxviii, 210.
  • 161. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 194.
  • 162. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii, 79, 132.
  • 163. Cal. Pat. 1549–51, 338.
  • 164. W.A.M. xli, 107.
  • 165. Ct. Bk. of the manor of Cannings Canonicorum, W.A.S. Libr. Devizes.
  • 166. W.A.M. xli, 107.
  • 167. Ct. Bk. of the manor of Cannings Canonicorum, W.A.S. Libr. Devizes.
  • 168. See Hist. MSS. Com. Var. Coll. iv, 127–8; C.P. 25(2)/747 Trin. 35 Chas. II; C.P. 25(2)/1445 Hil. 10 Geo. III; C.P. 25(2)/1447 Hil. 29 Geo. III; W.N.& Q. ii, 579.
  • 169. W.A.M. vi, 142.
  • 170. Crockford's Clerical Dir. 1940.
  • 171. W.A.M. vi, 145–6.
  • 172. Ibid, xxxvi, 349.
  • 173. Ibid, xlv, 293.
  • 174. Kelly's Dir. Wilts. 1939.
  • 175. Ibid.; Endowed Char. (Wilts.), H.C, 361–III (1901) liv; W.A.M. vi, 150.
  • 176. See W.A.M. vi, 148; xix, 136, and xlii, 172; J. C. Cox, English Church Furniture, 253.
  • 177. D.N.B.
  • 178. W.A.M. xxxvii, 193. Also quoted as 'the bush on Coate-field': [J. Waylen], Hist. of Devizes (1859),125.
  • 179. H. B. Walters, Church Bells of Wilts. 26–27.
  • 180. W.A.M. xliv, 482.
  • 181. Ibid. liii, 451.
  • 182. J. E. Nightingale, Church Plate of Wilts. 148.
  • 183. Ibid.; ex inf. the Revd. S. L. R. Sharp, Bishop's Cannings.
  • 184. Walters, Church Bells of Wilts. 26–27; ex inf. Revd. S. L. R. Sharp.
  • 185. Endowed Char. (Wilts.) (1901).
  • 186. Kelly's Dir. Wilts. 1939.
  • 187. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii, 132.
  • 188. W.A.M. xliv, 393.
  • 189. Ibid. vi, 139–40.
  • 190. Ibid. 132.
  • 191. Ibid. 140; Crockford's Clerical Dir. 1950.
  • 192. W.A.M. vi, 1325 Crockford's Clerical Dir. 1950. The chapel will be dealt with under Devizes.
  • 193. Ex inf. Revd. C. A. Witcomb, Southbroom.
  • 194. W.R.O. Return of Places of Worship of Dissenters, 1829.
  • 195. Educ. Enquiry Abstract, H.C. 62, p. 1028 (1835), xliii.
  • 196. Devizes Circuit A/C Book 1829–52, penes Supt. Minister, Wilts. Mission.
  • 197. Created 1824: T. R. Jones, The Departed Worthy, 1857, 102.
  • 198. Devizes Circuit A/C Book.
  • 199. Ibid.
  • 200. Wilts. Mission Trust Schedules, 1921,Penes Supt. Minister, Wilts. Mission.
  • 201. Official Returns of Accommodation, 1873, penes eundem.
  • 202. Devizes Circuit Quarterly Schedules, penes eundem.
  • 203. Ex inf. Revd. M. W. Powell.
  • 204. Endowed Char. (Wilts.), H.C. 361– III (1901), liv.
  • 205. Personal observation.
  • 206. Ex inf. Mr. E. Sawyer, Coate.
  • 207. Acct. of Wilts. Schools, H.C. 27 (1859 Sess. I), xxi (2).
  • 208. Ex inf. Mr. E. Sawyer.
  • 209. Dom. Bk. Wilts., ed. Jones, 22.
  • 210. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 193.
  • 211. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii. 70.
  • 212. B.M. Add. Chart. 37571.
  • 213. A. H. Fry, Land Util Suruv.—Wilts. 216 et passion.
  • 214. B.M. Add. Chart. 37554.
  • 215. During the Civil War, 644 of these sheep were carried off by the Royalists to feed the Oxford garrison: Cal. S.P. Dom. 1654,43, 115.
  • 216. B.M. Add. Chart. 37571.
  • 217. W.A.M. vi, 158.
  • 218. 'A Village Survey', 1950.
  • 219. E. H. Goddard, Wilts. Bibliog. 47.
  • 220. W.R.O. Ac. 89.
  • 221. Ibid. Ac. 109.
  • 222. 'A Village Survey', 1950.
  • 223. Cal. Close, 1392–6, 181.
  • 224. C.P. 25(1)/257/62 Mich. 8 Hen. VI.
  • 225. C.P. 25(1)/257/61 Mich. 2 Hen. VI.
  • 226. C 142/351/117; probably to be identified with Rangebourne Mill, see below— Potterne.
  • 227. C.P. 43/279, rot. 206.
  • 228. Ida Gandy, A Wiltshire Childhood (1929).
  • 229. W.A.M. xlii, 63.
  • 230. Digest of Returns to Sel. Cttee on Educ. of Poor, H.C. 224, p. 1019 (1819), ix (2).
  • 231. Kelly's Dir. Wilts. 1903.
  • 232. Voluntary Schools Returns, H.C. 178, p. 18 (1906), Ixxxviii.
  • 233. Kelly's Dir. Wilts. 1903.
  • 234. Educ. Enquiry Abstract, H.C. 62, p. 1028 (1835), xliii.
  • 235. Account of Wilts. Schools, H.C. 27 (1859, Sess. I), xxi (2).
  • 236. Return of Schools 1893 [C 7529], p. 634, H.C. (1894), lxv.
  • 237. Bd. of Educ, List 21, 1910, 1938; Ex inf. Wilts. Ed. Cttee., 1950.
  • 238. Ex inf. Mr. W. J. Cowling, Headmaster, Bishop'sCannings School, see plate facing p. 163.
  • 239. Account of Wilts. Schools (1859).
  • 240. Voluntary Schools Returns (1906).
  • 241. M. of Ed. File 42/20.
  • 242. Educ. Enq. Abstract(1835).
  • 243. Acct. of Wilts. Schools (1859).
  • 244. Rep. of Cttee. of Council on Educ. [C 5467–I], p. 665, H.C. (1888), xxxviii.
  • 245. Return of Schools, 1893, p. 636 List of Schools under the Admin. of the Bd. [Cd. 1490], p. 256, H.C. (1903), li.
  • 246. Public Elem. Schools, 1907 [Cd. 3901], p. 667, H.C. (1908), lxxxiv.
  • 247. Acct. of Wilts. Schools (1859).
  • 248. Reports on School Accom., 1872, P.R.O. Ed. 1.
  • 249. Endowed Char. (Wilts.), H.C. 361– III (1901), liv.
  • 250. Kelly's Dir. Wilts. 1939.
  • 251. Endoived Char. (Wilts.) (1901).
  • 252. Archdeacon MacDonald, W.A.M. vi, 152.
  • 253. Endoived Char. (Wilts.) (1901)
  • 254. Ibid.
  • 255. Kelly's Dir. Wilts. 1939.
  • 256. Endowed Char. (Wilts.) (1901).
  • 257. Inf. from a notice in Bishop's Cannings church.