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Wiltshire Community History

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Landford

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, 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 Andrews’ and Dury’s Map of Wiltshire, 1773:

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


Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham



Map of the Civil Parish of Landford:

Map of the Civil Parish of Landford

1890s
Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre


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


Thumbnail History:


The parish of Landford lies in the extreme south-east of Wiltshire, sandwiched between Whiteparish and Redlynch and bordering the Hampshire parishes of Plaitford, once in Wiltshire, and West Wellow. Like its neighbours it was part of the Royal Forest of Melchet and the forest had had considerable influence on its development. The boundary of Hamptworth, now in Redlynch parish, came very close to the present village centre of Landford and the two communities have many links. The village of Nomansland has also had close links with Landford since its founding around 1800 and today the two villages join to the south-west of Landford Common.

The river Blackwater flows from west to east across the parish with river terrace deposits in its valley. Otherwise there is London Clay to the north of the river and London Clay and Bracklesham Sands to the south. A prehistoric trackway, the Cloven Way, from Totton on Southampton Water to Grim's Ditch, west of Downton crosses the south-west corner of Landford parish. Archaeological finds indicate activity in this and neighbouring parishes but it is difficult to know if there was much permanent settlement in Landford before the Iron Age.

Mesolithic microliths have been found in a field between Broom Park Wood and Sharp Hearn Wood. Judging by the quantity found and the fact that cooking stones were also present this could have been a semi-permanent flint factory site. Two loopless palstaves (axes) from the early to middle and the late Bronze Age have been found opposite the Shoe Inn and on Landford Common, now in Plaitford. At Earldoms there is an Iron Age camp in woodland and an excavation in 1929 found 18 burial urns of the late Iron Age in a small circular mound. There were settlements in other parishes and the indication is that there was prehistoric activity in the parish even if there was little permanent settlement.

With Roman Villas at East Grimstead and West Dean, substantial Roman settlement in Downton and probably late 4th century settlement in Whiteparish, it is most likely that Romans and Romano-Britons were working and using Landford. There was probably iron working in the parish and pottery was made at Fritham. The Saxons conquered this part of Wiltshire in the early 6th century but when settlement occurred in unknown. By the 10th and 11th centuries there was a small community here and a mill on the river Blackwater.

The Domesday Book of 1086 gives us an idea of the settlement. There was enough arable land to maintain two ploughs, a mill and six bordars. This indicates a population of between 20 and 30 - a fairly small community. The pasture is one league (more than a mile) by half a league while the woodland is four by four furlongs. The large area of woodland that was regarded as Royal Forest is not included. The estate was held by Otho, and as his father held it before the Norman Conquest it is likely that he was a Saxon, probably employed as King's forester. A church is believed to have been here in the 11th century and it seems likely that the main house would have been nearby, as Landford Manor is today. With only six other households it is likely that settlement has always been scattered throughout the parish and there may not have been nucleated settlement around the church although field walking may disprove this.

Landford Wood remained part of the Royal Forest of Melchet until the late 16th century. Assarting (clearing woodland for arable holdings) did take place from 1270 and the appropriate fines were paid. From the early 14th century William de Lye held Landford manor and the Lye, or Legh, family remained there until the early 16th century. During this period the population remained small. In 1334 a total of £3.6.8d (£3.33p) tax was paid for the parish - the medieval settlement of Cowesfield in neighbouring Whiteparish paid £5. In 1377 there were 48 poll tax payers (people aged over 14 years) compared with 55 in Cowesfield and 36 in Hamptworth. It is difficult to estimate population from the poll tax as there were evasions of payment and the number of children of 14 and under is unknown but the comparison would indicate that the whole parish of Landford was smaller than the settlement of Cowesfield in Whiteparish. It is quite probable that there were less than 20 families in Landford at this time.

With rights of common in the forest for the farmers and smallholders there would have been a problem with straying animals and a pound for these was established. The name Pound Hill indicates where this was in later centuries and it could well have been here from medieval times. In 1540 the manor passed to the Dauntsey family and their descendants. Sir John Dauntsey rebuilt Landford Manor House in c.1600. From 1577 the tenants had surrendered rights of common pasture in the forest in one of the early steps by the landowner to begin enclosure of the forest. This started in 1610 when the parish can be considered to no longer be part of the royal forest. In 1627/8 the manor was conveyed to Giles Eyre of Brickworth in Whiteparish and the Eyre family and their descendants resided at the manor. In 1656 Wickets Green Farm was either built or extended.

There never seems to have been an inn at Landford although there was probably an alehouse. It is most likely that this was unlicensed as this was fairly common in areas, in or close, to forests. During the 18th century the cottage industry of lace making spread into the parish from Downton. This provided an extra income for families when wives and daughters made lace at home. The industry continued through the 19th century and into the early 20th century. Two roads that meet in the parish were turnpiked in the 18th century and this must have increased the traffic between Salisbury and Southampton through this quiet corner of Wiltshire. Without an inn it is unlikely that any of the commercial coaches stopped, except as a special favour.

The Andrews and Dury map of Wiltshire in 1773 shows a very scattered settlement in the parish. There is no settlement on Landford Common and very little on North Common. Landford Mill is still working on the river Blackwater and by 1776 Landford Lodge, formerly called Breach House, was rebuilt for Sir William Heathcote of Hursley (Hampshire) who had the greater part of the earlier house taken down. The chief crops now were wheat, barley and turnips and livestock was also kept in a mixed farming economy. The area in the south of the parish was still unenclosed and remained so until the mid 19th century.

In 1801 the first national census gives us an accurate population for Landford. There were 186 people, 97 males and 89 females with 37 families living in 32 households. Nearly everyone was employed in agriculture, 148 people, with only 13 employed in trade, manufacturers or handicrafts. As only 25 people were not employed in these two categories it would seem that the census enumerator had included the whole family under the occupation of the head of the household. The picture changes in the 1841 census, which asked more detailed questions. The population had risen to 255, 123 males and 132 females and of these 65 were under the age of 12 years. A total of 51 people were involved in agriculture and of these nine were farmers. It is likely that the total number was much higher as farmers' sons and teenage boys are not recorded as having any employment and they would have been working on a farm. Other occupations were; servants 9, Broom makers 3, Shopkeepers 2, Plumber 1, Needlewoman 1, Cheese dealer 1, Hostler 1. There was the vicar and surgeon (doctor) and one sailor while two men were in the army. Fourteen people said that they were of independent means. Certainly farming was the main work and most males of 12 years and over would have been employed while many of the women would have done seasonal work such as harvesting.

Much cider was made in Landford, perhaps because there was no public house, and the horse drawn cider press visited both farms and cottages to press the apples. It continued its rounds until about 1925, by which time it was drawn by a lorry. At the beginning of the 20th century the cider press was operated by Oliver Kendall, who was also the wheelwright and blacksmith. The cider press is still used today, by Oliver's great grandson. A school was built in 1842 replacing the dame school that had existed from at least 1818. The site for the school was given by Lady Nelson, whose family were very involved and influential in the parish during the 19th century. A few new buildings were erected in the first half of the 19th century including the house now known as 'Northlands', but built as Holly Hill, on Wickets Green, that was so called as it was once the area where villagers played cricket. By now the Foresters' Club was running an annual fair on the Thursday after Whitsun in the yard of Manor Farm. A very popular event, it caused occasional truancy from school, as children did not want to miss the fun.

By 1856 the dilapidated state of the church was causing concern. Both the ravages of time and storm damage had affected the medieval structure and the interior had suffered many coats of whitewash. The church was virtually rebuilt and re-consecrated in 1858. Landford Common was enclosed in 1861, with most of the land allocated to Lady Nelson (640 out of 740 acres) but with one acre allowed for a stone and gravel pit and four acres for exercise and recreation for the villagers. Land to the south of the track, now New Road, was sold at £15 an acre for people to build on from the 1870s. From then onwards houses were built around the two roads across the common giving a V shape of ribbon development on Broomhill and New Road. Following the rebuilding of the church the same architect, William Butterfield, and builder, William Crook of Whiteparish, built a new rectory for £1,250 in 1871.

By 1880 there was a post office at the schoolhouse, Mr. Newey the headmaster was also the sub postmaster. Letters arrived from Salisbury at 7.45 a.m. and post left the village for Salisbury at 5.15 p.m. By 1889 there were two deliveries of post from Salisbury, at 7.45 a.m. and 3.45 p.m. The post office also dealt with money orders and operated a savings bank. In 1890 it was transferred to Reuben Moody's bakery and grocer's shop and by 1899 there was also a telegraph office here. Transport for villagers was provided by a horse-drawn covered wagon which travelled to Romsey taking two to three hours each way. The length of time was dictated by the number of stops to collect orders on the way out and to deliver goods on the way back. Passengers paid 3d (1.25p).

Administrative changes in the area meant that Plaitford was transferred from Wiltshire to Hampshire in 1895 but in 1896 Whiteparish received the Earldoms from Whiteparish. Although the population had fallen to 231 in 1891, from a high point of 278 in 1861, it rose to 358 in 1901. This is an indication of the new houses, and later bungalows, that continued to be built in the parish during the first half of the 20th century. The modern pattern of settlement on Landford Common (Broomhill and New Road), Landford Wood and Northlands (North Common) was now established. A new bakery was built in 1912 and, in addition there was a grocer, village shop, a shoe shop offering repairs, a builder, a plumber, a wheelwright and undertaker, a blacksmith and garage, a confectioner, market gardens, and an agricultural machinist. During the First World War the carrier's wagon was replaced by a local bus service to Salisbury while by 1921 the Wilts and Dorset Omnibus Co. were operating services locally. The Landford and Hamptworth Women's Institute was founded in 1919 and in the 1920s the Landford and District Choral Society was an important feature of village life. Formed by Miss Olive Boult of Northlands, sister of the conductor Sir Adrian Boult, they performed in many competitions. Sometimes Sir Adrian himself would conduct them.

In the 1920s this was still chiefly an agricultural parish and in 1927 the chief crops were still wheat, barley and turnips. The village pound still remained although little used. A telephone exchange opened in the village but after much confusion with the Dorset town of Blandford, the exchange name was changed from Landford to Earldoms. The first telephone kiosk appeared here in 1938. A well known local farmer, Albert Winter of Glebe Farm, died in 1939. He had begun breeding the new strain of Wessex Saddleback pigs and his work was continued by Lord Melchet and his bailiff.

During the Second World War the house and grounds of Landford Lodge were occupied successively by the Royal Tank Regiment, the Corps of Military Police, and American troops. School children and mothers were evacuated from Portsmouth. The children used the village school and were thought somewhat ill mannered compared with country children. A unit of the Home Guard with 80 men was formed and there was an anti aircraft searchlight post at Hamptworth. A local prisoner of war camp supplied Italian prisoners to work on local farms. During the bombing of Southampton some of its inhabitants took refuge in the village and commuted to work. Several remained after the war.

Building work continued after the war and in 1951 council houses were built at Brookside, near the school, and Northlands was converted to flats. Also in 1951 the neglected village recreation ground was restored, let to the Landford and Hamptworth Sports Club, who undertook to manage it, and re-opened on 19 May with sports, a fete, and a tea. It was also used by Landford School for games and sports and children's play equipment was bought and put up there. The appearance of part of the village was profoundly changed in 1975 when the A36, Salisbury to Southampton trunk road was completely rebuilt from Partridge Hill on the Hampshire borders to the Earldoms. Many fine trees were lost as a result of this, though some were replaced, and the Church of St. Andrews now looks down upon constant streams of vehicles as they rush through the parish. In 1989 the first known licensed premises came to the village when the Landford Poacher opened its doors.

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Population 1801 - 2011

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Folk Arts:

Folk Songs from Landford

Folk Biographies from Landford

Folk Plays from Landford

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 23. There are two Grade II* listed buildings; the Church of St.Andrew and Landford Manor.

English Heritage and National Monuments Record

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