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Wiltshire Community History

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Hindon

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.


Map of the Civil Parish of Hindon:

Map of the Civil Parish of Hindon

1896
Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre


From the Ordnance Survey 1896 revision of the one inch to one mile map. The modern civil parish boundary has been superimposed.


Thumbnail History:

Although there is evidence of prehistoric man living in the surroundings of the village of Hindon, the village itself does not possess such ancient roots. It is, by the standard of many local villages, relatively new. It is a planted town and was built under the directions of the Bishop of Winchester, Sir Peter de Roches.

The village is situated about 16 miles west of Salisbury and 9.6 miles south of Warminster. Hindon's neighbours are East Knoyle, Chicklade and Berwick St. Leonard. It is thought that the position was chosen because the village falls on a main road, distant from existing markets and would thus have good opportunities for trading.

The town was built in 1220 with a series of burgage plots along a main street. Each of these was a narrow plot with a house built at one end and a path passing a long the back of the plot. The village has had little development, although there was a reasonable amount of building in the mid 20th century, and thus the original structure can still easily be seen today. It is possible that it was originally intended that the households should have no additional land to their burgage. However, in order to enable the new community to survive additional land was sold for 6d an acre. The settlement survived and c. 1250 there were 150 houses and a population supposedly larger than the average village. However, there were no more than 77 poll tax payers (aged over 14 years) in 1377. In 1801 the population was 793 and it peaked 30 years later with 921.

Hindon's success as a town was due far more to its large markets and fairs than to its industry. Being a borough from the Middle Ages until 1832 may have attracted investment. In addition, its position in the middle of the south-west of the county made it the centre for some local government. Following the turnpiking of other main roads in the area in the 18th century, the road through Hindon became an important route across the downs. It was from this that its main trade arose. In 1754 there were 14 inns and public houses in Hindon and there were still numerous inns in the early 19th century. Many of these inns can still be seen in the High street with their arches leading through to the courtyard behind. Daily coaches left some of the inns in a variety of directions, towards London and Exeter for example, in 1830. The presence of this industry meant that Hindon was able to recover quickly from a fire which destroyed some of the upper part of the town in July 1754.

However, Hindon began to decline from its 1831 peak and the population fell to 603 by 1871 and in 1931 there were only 376 inhabitants. Following the First World War the fairs stopped and the markets had ceased. By this time only two of the inns remained; both remain open in 2010, the Lamb and the Grosvenor Arms (now known as the Angel). The building of the railway line had led to a decline in road traffic through the area so the inns had ceased to be needed. Despite the general decline in population development began at the bottom end of the High Street in 1831 including the building of the school and a Congregational chapel in addition to further housing. Initially this development belonged to the neighbouring parishes rather than Hindon itself but it was transferred to Hindon in 1934 adding 110 people to the population. By 1971 the population had risen to 534.

In 1748 the relatively wide High Street was lined with row housing, each house with its narrow burgage plot extending behind. Looking behind the front terrace of houses it is still easy to see today where rows of cottages have been built along the gardens of the plots. The market was probably held along the length of the street with a market building. Although reports of the 1754 fire suggest that the whole town was razed to the ground, the survival of several buildings from before the date of the fire, particularly on the west side of the street suggest that in fact some of the village survived despite other parts being lost. There is a group of houses on the east side of the street which seem to have been built soon after 1754. In 1836 there were trees lining the street which now contained buildings dating from the 17th to 19th century. Until the 18th century buildings tended to be stone and after this red brick. Council houses were added to the village in the mid-20th century behind the church and in the south-east of the village. In 1748 there were a few houses on the downs. Hawking Down House was one of them, however, it was replaced by a small Tudor house described as new in 1838. This house is believed to have been built for the valet of William Beckford in about 1822 when he left Fonthill Gifford.

The land on which Hindon was built was part of the Bishop of Winchester's manor of East Knoyle and the bishops remained the overlords with the land as freeholds. At first these freeholds were small. However, in the 14th century the Mussel family accumulated a substantial estate. This estate remained in the family for at least 3 generations until it was mortgaged to Thomas Tropnell in 1452. It remained within Tropnell's family for a further 6 generations until c.1620 when it was sold by trustees to settle a debt. It now became owned by a Hindon innkeeper before changing hands several times. In 1820 the manor consisted of 129 acres and 89 houses. It was, by this time, under ownership of the Calthorpe family until it was sold again in the 1850s to Richard Grosvenor, Marquess of Westminster. The manor together with nearby Fonthill Abbey descended to his widow who sold them both to her daughter's husband: Sir Michael Robert Shaw-Stewart. In 1921 the estate passed to their son Robert who sold the estate in 1922 at which point it was broken up.

Agriculture

Although there is evidence of prehistoric ploughing around the site, by 1231 the land was used as pasture for the Bishop of Winchester's sheep. By the end of the 13th century it had been ploughed again. It seems that these fields were split into strips as was the general custom at this time with villagers having strips in each of the fields. Some areas became enclosed. There was also common feeding at Hocken (now Hawking) down in the north end of the chapelry. There is no evidence of strip cultivation after 1431, however, and in the 16th century there is mention of many small enclosures. There were several small farms in Hindon in 1741 which lasted for many years. For instance in 1843 there were 6 which all had farmsteads in the street except Hawking Down. Nearly all the land was ploughed. Hindon still had multiple small farms in 1923 which also owned land in other parishes. By 1977 the majority of the land in the parish, arable in the north and pastures in the south, was divided among small shareholders.

Markets and Fairs

In 1219 Hindon was granted a Thursday market. By this time a market place and merchant buildings had been constructed and a market cross erected. The markets which began at this time continued and indeed flourished until it began to decline in the 19th century and had stopped by the 1880s. The size of the market in the latter part of the 16th century can be inferred from the corruption of the market clerks, a practise only occurring at larger markets. In the 17th century the corn market at Hindon was very successful and in the middle of the century someone rated it as only second to Warminster, one of the largest in the south west. Later it was seen as one of the two great Wiltshire markets with Chippenham.
At the same time as the market was granted, 1219, Hindon was also granted an annual Michaelmas fair. In 1332 this was replaced by two fairs granted by the bishop at Ascension and St Luke's Day (18th October) each of which lasted three days. The fairs had the same success as the markets and flourished. However, when cattle and cheese dealing was mentioned in the 1790s the fairs were limited to a single day each: the Monday before Whitsun and 29th October. By the late 19th century they were fixed on 27th May and 29th October. By the start of the 20th century only the autumn fair remained and following World War One the fairs ceased completely.

Trade and Industry

Most of Hindon's inhabitants made their living from trade for the majority of the village's history. With the flourishing markets and fairs much of the town was involved in baking, brewing and innkeeping. By the 18th century the support of travellers appears to have been a major trade. In 1754 there were 14 inns and public houses in the town. The decline in the fairs and markets led to this trade decreasing. This was heightened by the loss of coach travel owing to the creation of the railway between London and Exeter. However, with the proliferation of cars in the 20th century trade picked up a little. Hindon had weavers in the 15th and 16th century and by the late 18th century had its own small share in the linen, dowlas and tick-weaving industry at Mere, although this was short lived and mostly lost by 1820. The year 1820 also saw the decline of the silk twist industry here. Clock-making continued in Hindon until the late 18th century and in 1700 there had been 3 families of clockmakers. In 1636 the gunpowder industry of Hindon transferred to Salisbury. Other than these local trade and industry followed the usual pattern for a rural village with wood, metal and leather working as well as chandlers and surgeons. However, no business has ever particularly grown and by 1977 the majority of the population were working outside the parish.

Local Government
In the Middle Ages Hindon was governed through the Bishop of Winchester's courts at East Knoyle and wasn't part of any tithing. The bailiff had the same role as the tithingmen of other villages and Hindon had its own constable. Perhaps owing to Hindon's markets and fairs the bailiff presented far more people at the assizes for breaches of bread and ale than the other tithingmen did. In 1464, for example, 2 brewers, 9 tavern owners, 2 innkeepers, 3 bakers and 1 butcher were punished. Other offenders were also presented but in smaller numbers. In the late 15th and 16th century unlawful gaming and moral offences were sometimes dealt with. Hindon mainly presented public nuisances in the 17th and 18th centuries; for instance before and after the 1754 fire the dangerous condition of the chimney stacks was often mentioned. In 1732 and 1754 the stocks, blind house (lock up), cross and pillory were said to be in need of repair. Hindon had responsibility for caring for its own poor but no record of this occurring has survived. 1812 saw the inhabitants agree to provide a new workhouse and a house and malt-house were converted for the purpose before Hindon joined the Tisbury poor-law union in 1835.

Parliamentary Representation

In the 18th-century despite general electoral corruption throughout the country, Hindon was known as being exceptionally corrupt. Since 1378 Hindon had been summoned to send members to Parliament, although it didn't send a member until 1385. The year 1448 saw the start of 384 years of Parliamentary representation for Hindon with two members representing the borough. The bishop of Winchester appointed a bailiff as the returning officer. In1688 Hindon had 120 voters and in 1701 and 1728 the franchise was formally invested in the householders. In the 16th century elections the influence of the Bishop of Winchester can be seen as few of the members had local connections but were his appointees. This influence declined from the end of the century onwards and it was instead the powerful Wiltshire families who were elected. In 1702 a vote to allow all the householders in the Downton hundred to vote in the county elections passed the Commons but got no further. In 1774 an election was declared void after there were accusations of bribery by all four of the candidates. Hindon attracted a variety of MPs with no local connection because the seats could be bought. In the 18th century the influence of the local landowning families, the Calthorpes and the Beckfords, increased again. From the late 18th century until disenfranchisement in 1832 thedecisions of lords of Hindon and Fonthill Gifford manors was important at elections.

Charity

In 1828 James Ames in his will left £10 a year to be distributed in food and clothing to the poor of the village. By 1833 the money was used to distribute coal instead. In 1860 the charity had £333. Bread and calico were distributed to the poor on Christmas Eve. In 1965 the scheme still operated and 8s. 6d. apiece was given to 20 people.

CouncilWiltshire Council
Web Sitewww.wiltshire.gov.uk
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Parish CouncilHindon Parish Council
Parish Web Site 
Parish Emailladydown@gmail.com
 

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Population 1801 - 2011

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Folk Arts:

Folk Songs from Hindon

Folk Biographies from Hindon

Folk Plays from Hindon

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 or historical interest is 65.

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