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Wiltshire Community History

Baydon 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.

Map of the Civil Parish of Baydon:

Map of the Civil Parish of Baydon

Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre

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

Thumbnail History:

The parish of Baydon lies approximately ten miles to the south east of Swindon and ten miles to the north west of Marlborough. It is on the edge of the Wiltshire/Berkshire border. It encompasses the small village of Baydon, extending north to Bailey Hill and south to Baydon Wood and several small copses. The village has grown around the Roman Road which runs through it (Baydon Road and Ermin Street.) If this road is followed north, the driver will arrive in Stratton St Margaret and then Swindon. The M4 motorway runs eastward above the village. The village is equidistant between junctions 14 and 15 and the parish is now made up of 2,473 acres.

Baydon parish lies on a chalk area, and is just north of the famous Marlborough Downs, (now part of the North Wessex Downs) which consist of chalk. The shape of the Baydon parish boundary roughly make an hourglass shape, stretching north to Gore Lane and south for two miles, to the east of the larger village of Aldbourne. It is thought to be the highest village in Wiltshire standing at 750 feet above sea level.

 The earliest written reference to Baydon was in 1196. There is no mention of it in the Domesday book, but we do know that in 1377 there were 59 poll tax payers. There were 81 men in the parish in 1773; the population was 290 in 1801. It rose to 380 in 1861 but declined to 213 by 1921. The population began to rise in the 1950s and with more extensive car ownership in the 1960s and access to the M4 from the early 1970s this accelerated and the population in 2001 was 525.

 In 1086, the land of Baydon was part of the bishop of Salisbury’s Ramsbury estate. An area of 500 acres of land passed with Ramsbury manor through the Jones family to Sir Francis Burdett, who died in 1844. By 1827, this land had been merged into Manor Farm. This was sold to the Williams family, then to Francis James Simpkins and William James Phelps.

 The chapelry and tithing of Baydon was in the Ramsbury Parish until the 1790s, when it achieved full parish status. The boundary lines changed in 1934, when the boundary with Aldbourne was moved. This western boundary change excluded Ford Farm, and reduced the area of the parish to 2,473 acres. 

 The owners and tenants of the lands of Ramsbury manor in Baydon shared all the land until the enclosures of the 18th century. In the 12th and 13th centuries the bishop of Salisbury leased the land to a range of tenants. In the late 13th century, there was a change when Sir Peter of Membury leased the land from the bishop in exchange for Membury Manor.

In the mid-16th century, it is thought that 1,200 acres of the land was arable. Baydon is unusual in that it is dry and has no riverside meadowland. Indeed, piped water was not brought to the village until 1936.

By the 19th century, there were around ten farms and arable farming was still the popular option. Two men who forged the way for steam ploughing farmed there; J.A. Williams and A. Brown.  

 Baydon was recorded as being a poor law parish in 1702, and this status continued until 1835, when it joined the Hungerford Poor Law Union. In 1775-76 the sum of £119 was spent on the poor with over £300 in 1802-03 and over £400 in 1818-19.

 For a long period, between the 16th and 19th centuries, Baydon was a village primarily of medium sized farmsteads. Between the 19th and 20th centuries there was little re-building; what there was was undertaken by the philanthropist Angela, Baroness Burdett-Coutts, who replaced some of the simple cottages. Some council houses sprang up near Ermin Street.

 In 1834, a parcel of land was given to Baydon by the Right Honourable William Earl of Craven.

 Near to Baydon is Finches Farm, where Sir Isaac Newton spent many summers. He bought the estate just a few days before his death in 1727, which was settled on his grand-nephews and nieces.

 There is one pub which has managed to stay open in Baydon, despite others closing and being demolished. The Green Dragon was definitely in existence in 1715, on the south side of the Roman road, but was converted into cottages in 1771 and was later demolished.  Another inn, The Plough, replaced The Green Dragon, but was also converted into cottages in the years 1848-55. The Red Lion, the pub which still stands today, is though to have been built in the 17th century.

 Since the Second World War, building has mainly been restricted to the south of Baydon Road. In 1973, a water tower designed by Scherrer and Hicks, was built on the east side of the village, towards the M4 motorway.

 The current population of Baydon is thought to be around 550. The relatively high increase in population and number of houses in Baydon can be explained by its proximity to Swindon and the M4 and it has become somewhat of a dormitory of Swindon.


CouncilWiltshire Council
Web Sitewww.wiltshire.gov.uk
Parish CouncilBaydon Parish Council
Parish Web Site 
Parish Emailbaydonparishclerk@gmail.com

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 Baydon

Folk Biographies from Baydon

Folk Plays from Baydon

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 historic importance is 6. There are no Grade I buildings and one Grade II building the Church of St. Nicholas.

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.


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

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