If you are reading this page using a screenreader, we support ARIA landmarks for quick navigation too

Wiltshire Community History

Downton Timeline

There were 109 items found.


C.5000 BC       Permanent settlement, farming, and an increase in population had occurred in Avon Valley.
C.3000 BC       Men were ploughing, tending sheep and had pottery.
C.1500 BC       Iron Age settlement built in what is now a playing field.
C.100 BC       Tribes living in the Downton area were from a wave of Celts from northern France.
C.300       Romano-British villa built in Downton.
638       The first Bishop to the West Saxons, St Birinus, consecrated a church in Downton.
648       King Cywalh gave his manor estate at Downton to the see of Winchester
700s       The large Downton estate was an endowment of the Bishop of Winchester and became his manor.
C.850       The earliest parts of what is now known as the Manor House, next to the church, may have been built as early as this.
997       The Bishop's estate was divided.
C.1066       Downton lost 250 acres of land to the King's New Forest, south and east of the village.
1086       Downton becomes part of the Salisbury Diocese, although mostly still owned by the Bishop of Winchester. The Bishop had seven mills built on his estate.
1135       Downton church rebuilt.
1140       Norman motte and bailey castle built by Bishop Henry of Blois.
1147       Count Patrick seized Downton Castle.
C.1190       Bishop's Palace built.
Late 1100s       Building of a new Norman church begun to replace the old Saxon one.
Early 1200s       Norman church enlarged considerable. Valuable eel fisheries established here.
1208       Peter des Roches, Bishop of Winchester, tried to create a new market town on his manor of Downton by planting a borough. A market was claimed.
C.1210       The cross in the centre of Downton is thought to have been built.
1215       Fulling mill mentioned - one of the earliest in Wiltshire.
C.1218       New Court built.
C.1247       New mill built.
1249       By this time fairs were regularly taking place.
1281       With appointment of the first Rector, William de Hamilton, Downton ceased to have a Minister or Parsonage with a group of bailiffs for the demesne lands.
1289       The Bishop claimed a Thursday market which only lasted until the late 1300s.
1315       A terrible harvest took place. The price of corn had trebled and death rates increased by 10%.
1348-1350       The Black Death. Downton shrinks considerably.
1350       By this time the Norman bishops had completely replaced the Saxon church.
1385       The main road to Salisbury, Barford Lane, is referred to as the "common King's Highway".
1395-1832       The village elected two Burgesses or Members of Parliament.
1400s       Village recovers from the Black Death.
1450s       The original eastern end had become more urbanised than the Borough, which failed to develop back streets and lanes.
1452       The "High Street" is first mentioned.
1400s       The number of properties in the original village increased.
C.1500       Winemaking and breweries were well established by this time.
1500s       Shoemakers in Downton are first mentioned.
1503       The first hostel/inn is mentioned - possibly the "White Horse" in Borough.
1551       The Bishop let the Lordship of Downton Manor to a sucession of Lords Lesse (or Lord Farmers) beginning with Sir William Herbert.
1585       Reverend William Wilkes DD becomes Vicar.
1500s       The first Workhouse in Downton is built.
1600s       Basket weaving begins
1606       A tanner is first mentioned in the village, while linen was woven also. Floods occurred, which lasted over a month.
1626       The Raleighs receve the lease for Parsonage Manor.
1628       The "King's Arms" opened as an inn in the original village.
1636       Flood.
1640       Moot House was built.
1642       Charles I stayed in Moot House, newly built.
1648       Western aisle and entrance to the church were rebuilt.
C.1650       Sir Joseph Ashe creased extensive water meadows - this provided an early bite of grass for ewes, helping survival rate and encouraging earlier lambing. Baptists arrived in Downton.
C.1653-1658       The first Baptist congregation gathered at night on the Downs above Wick - this continued until 1658.
1660       Giles Eyre becomes MP for Downton.
1662       Baptists are led by Peter Coles, the tanner. Philip, Earl of Pembroke, is replaced by Sir Joseph Ashe as Lord Farmer.
1676       Two animal fairs take place on 12 April and 21 September granted to Giles Eyre and were held along the western part of the Borough.
1679       The tolls from the fairs were part of the endowment of the Free School, founded by Giles Eyre and Sir Joseph Ashe.
1695       Barford House was built by Sir Charles Duncombe.
1698       336 people were making lace in Downton at this time.
1600s       Several thatched cottages were erected. Housing expanded in the area around the Headlands. Attempts to make the Avon navigable through Downton to Swindon failed - possible because of the extensive water meadows and mills.
1700s       The area around the main road, the Headlands, became much more built up.
1700s       Ploughing of upland pastures began.
C.1700       The Snelgroves set up a paper mill in Downton.
1700       Barford House was rebuilt by Sir Charles Dunscombe.
1703       Dunscombe petitioned for the revival of the Thursday market.
1710       The paper mill began working and continued to do so until WW1.
1726       "The Bull" opened on the main road. The White Horse was rebuilt.
1741       Anthony Duncombe, son of Sir Charles Duncombe, bought Downton Manor from the Bishop of Winchester.
1768       Village had a fire engine by this time.
1779-1790       Bonnie Bobby Shafto becomes Downton's MP.
1789-1796       First Sunday school begins in a small cottage.
1790       Fairs for cattle and peddlers' stalls (23 April) and horses and sheep (20 October).
1791       A chapel is built in South Lane.
1795       Flood.
1700s       Houses built in Barford Lane, Moot Lane, Lode Hill (called Node Hill in 1539) and Slab Lane. King's Arms rebuilt. Doctors were present in village.
1814       Methodist chapel built.
1832       Borough disenfranchised under the Great Reform Act of 1832. More people given the vote. Policing began. Cholera epidemic.
1837       By this time the present Lode Hill/High Street was well established. Lode Hill cutting was deepened for railway.
1840       British school erected.
1846       Girls' school erected.
1847       National School erected in Barford Lane.
1855       First mention of a post office in Downton.
C.1860       A cottage hospital existed.
1864       A railway built through the parish.
1866       Salisbury and Dorset Junction Railway built Downton Station halfway up Lode Hill on the Salisbury - Romsey line.
1870       Downton band formed.
1884       Downton railway disaster, 45 people killed.
1890       Oil lamp street lighting provided by subscription payment.
1895       Board School built, then Secondary School. Football club founded.
1800s       Downton Parish was considerably reduced in size.
1800s       Lace making died out.
1914       Papermaking ended.
1916       Women's Institute was established, the first in Wiltshire!
1918       Women (over 30) given the right to vote.
1919       The Southern Tanning Co Ltd. built a new tannery on the old site.
1920s       Bacon curing began.
1923       Fire destroyed the Moot House. Moot house rebuilt.
1929       Former paper mill/corn mill became part of an electricity generating station for the Tannery. South Wilts Bacon Curing Co. converted the workhouse into a factory.
1930       The Southern Tanning Co Ltd. failed and was replaced by Downton Tanning Co.
1931       By this time the electricity generating station was supplying the village with electricity.
1934       Downton Engineering began as a motor garage at Mesh Lane.
1940       German landmines landed in the water meadows and on the Cross in the middle of Downton Borough.
After WW1       Sewage works were built to the south of the villiage and most houses connected to it.
1950s       Both council and private housing was built at Moot Lane. Housing estates also built on the western side of Salisbury Road at Wick. New Seconadry Modern School opened.
1950       A small bag of coins was found dating back to 1309 and earlier.
1952       West Hants Water Co. laid freshwater mains.
1960s       New bungalows and houses built.
1980       The Cuckoo Fair revived in the Borough.
1990       A mains gas pipeline was built to the village.
1992       Hopback Brewery was established in the village.
1998       Tannery closed. New housing and appartments built here for the over 55s. Main tannery building converted into luxury appartments. A new public library was also built on the site.

Actions

Search

This website

Contact details

Contact Wiltshire Council

Write to us or call us

Wiltshire Council
County Hall
Bythesea Road
Trowbridge
Wiltshire
BA14 8JN