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Wiltshire Community History

Britford Search Results

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This page is one of 261 pages covering every community in Wiltshire, and is provided by Wiltshire Council Libraries and Heritage. A project to provide a fuller picture of each community is in progress, working on the larger communities first. When these 261, which are modern civil parishes, are completed we will begin work on a further 180 villages and hamlets to provide comprehensive coverage of Wiltshire communities large and small.

From Andrews' and Dury's Map of Wiltshire, 1773:

From Andrews' and Dury's Map of Wiltshire, 1773

Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham

From Andrews' and Dury's Map of Wiltshire, 1810:

From Andrews' and Dury's Map of Wiltshire, 1810

Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham

This is a corrected and updated edition of the 1773 map that includes the recently built canals.

From the Ordnance Survey 1890s revision of the one inch to one mile map. The modern parish boundary:

From the Ordnance Survey 1890s revision of the one inch to one mile map. The modern parish boundary

Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre

Thumbnail History:

Britford is a small parish to the south of the county of Wiltshire adjacent to the city boundaries of Salisbury. The village of Britford is approximately two miles south east from the city centre and is almost 10 miles north of Fordingbridge. The parish is made up of 2,711 acres; around 2000 acres of this is pasture land and the rest is meadow and water. The parish of Britford is four and a half miles long, and at its widest point reaches two miles wide.

The manor was held by Edward the Confessor in 1065. At the Domesday survey in 1086 Britford is noted as "Bretforde" and the church was held by Osbern, a priest; the population at this time would have been around 200 people. At the start of the Middle Ages there are many names for Britford, including Brytford, Brutford, Brudefort, Burtford and Burford. It was not until the latter part of the Middle Ages that Britford (or Britfordstok) was used regularly. It is thought that Britford means "Briton's Ford" or Ford of the Britton's.

Until the 16th century, the manor belonged to the earls of Huntingdon. In 1538, the Jervys family bought Britford from George, earl of Huntingdon, who was married to Anne, who was the daughter of Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham. He had been executed by Richard III in Salisbury in 1483.

In 1999, during an archaeological investigation into some land near to Odstock Road in the parish prior to residential extension, 22 trenches found evidence of late Neolithic and early Bronze age pottery, as well as finds from the middle to late Bronze age and Romano- Britain times. The study concluded that there was probably domestic activity at Britford during the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age period. and found 59 sherds of pottery, probably from three beakers. During the 1873 restoration of St. Peter's Church, four Roman coins were found. They dated from the time of Constantine the Great, from the 3rd and 4th centuries and were made in Carthage.

Until 1855, the parish of Britford included East Harnham, but after a church was built there in 1854, the parishes became ecclesiastically separate. Up until 1896, East Harnham remained as part of the civil parish of Britford, but in that year it was separated by an order of the Local Government Board. In 1904 East Harnham and Britford were made part of the borough of Salisbury.

An attempt to develop the Salisbury Avon as navigable was made at the end of the 17th century. Waterways were of course a very important way of transporting goods and work began in 1675. However, money for the project ran out in 1677, and apart from a few spasmodic attempts to continue, all work stopped by 1730. One of the main signs of the work is a lock in the west of the village of Britford.

The Britford Fair was traditionally a big event in the parish taking place annually on August 12 every year. In 1835, there were 53,000 sheep sold at the fair.

The Reverend T.K. Woodhall, speaking about Britford parish, is noted as saying: "I am continually being asked by my Salisbury friends after a wet day: "Aren't you drowned out at Britford?" The parish is certainly not short of water; the Avon splits into three courses at Britford where there is a long history of water meadows, and indeed has one of the last two managed water meadows in Britain. Britford's water meadows are a Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI). The meadows were created in the 17th century and work when water is diverted from a river and used to deliberately flood or "drown" the fields through a series of ridges and furrows. The logic behind this practice is that the river water gives land nutrients and promotes lush and healthy growing of pasture. In 1992, 42 acres were managed by farmer Peter Martin and the land was owned by Lord Radnor. At the height of the water meadows popularity, there were 350 acres at Britford.

There is currently no public house in the village, although there are records of a short lived inn called "The Square and Compass." There are a few listed buildings in the parish, including the Church of St. Peter, which is Grade I. Manor Farmhouse, The Old Forge, Moat Cottage, Bridge Farmhouse and Little Manor Farmhouse are all Grade II listed buildings. Numbers One and Two Moat House are also Grade II listed and are especially interesting as the large house, now divided into two private residences, dates from as far back as the 17th century.

CouncilWiltshire Council
Web Sitewww.wiltshire.gov.uk
Parish CouncilBritford Parish Council
Parish Web Site 
Parish Emailbrycroft@tiscali.co.uk

Churches: Information on both current and disused churches and chapels.

Schools: Information on both current and closed schools.

Population 1801 - 2011

Photographs: If images have been added for this community they are available here.: We hold a collection of over 50,000 photographs of places in Wiltshire in the County Local Studies Library. These may be viewed at this library and copies of out of copyright material may be purchased. We can search for a picture of a building or event if you e-mail us with details.

Historical Sources: A select list of books and articles is listed in 'Printed material'. You may go directly to the actual text from some of these.

Printed Material: This is a select book-list for the community but in the case of a town there may be hundreds more books, pamphlets and journal articles.

The full text of some items is available to view on this site.

The Victoria History of Wiltshire (opens in new window) is a partnership between local authorities and the Institute of Historical Research at London University. The History of Wiltshire is now the largest county history in the country and is still growing. The volumes are divided between general and topographical with Volumes One to Five covering subjects such as prehistory, ecclesiastical, economic and political history. The Volumes from Six onwards are topographical and will ultimately provide a comprehensive and systematic history of every single town and parish in the county.

(opens in new window) Explore Wiltshire's Past web site

Newspapers from 1738: These newspapers covered this community at different times. Newspaper titles in bold text are either the ones you should check first for information about this community.


Maps: listed are maps on which you can find this community. All maps are Ordnance Survey maps.


Archaeological Sites: A Sites and Monuments Record (opens new window) is maintained by the County Archaeology Service and covers some 20,000 sites. The Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society was formed in 1853 and have been publishing an annual journal since 1854. The journal contains both substantial articles and shorter notes on archaeological excavations, finds, museum objects, local history, genealogy and natural history.

Folk Arts:

Folk Songs from Britford

Folk Biographies from Britford

Folk Plays from Britford

History of Buildings: The collections of the Wiltshire Buildings Record are housed in the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre at Chippenham.

Listed Buildings: The number of buildings, or groups of buildings, listed as being of architectural of historic importance is 25. There is 1 Grade I building, Church of St. Peter and Radnor Mausoleum; and 1 Grade II*, Rectory Farmhouse.

English Heritage and National Monuments Record

Local Authors: There could be an author who was born or has lived in this community.

Literary Associations: Some communities have featured in novels or may have been the main setting for a book.

Registration Districts: If you want to obtain a copy of a birth, marriage or death certificate you can contact the local registrar.


Frequently Asked Questions

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Wiltshire & Swindon Archives

Wiltshire Wills Search by name, occupation, or subject for details of a will from this parish held in the Wiltshire & Swindon Record Office.

Genuki Family History - Wiltshire

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