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Wiltshire Community History

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Latton

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 Latton:

Map of the Civil Parish of Latton

1890s
Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham


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


Thumbnail History:


Latton is a small civil parish in the far north of Wiltshire, with the village itself approximately two miles north of Cricklade and nine north of Swindon. It is around six miles south east of Cirencester in Gloucestershire. The parish is made up of 1,825 acres of land and comprises the village of Latton and the small hamlet of Eysey (also known as Eisey) and the area of land known as Water Eaton. The western boundary of the parish ends just as the town of Cricklade begins. The parish runs north west and then south east of the village.

The boundaries roughly ran along the lines of small rivers and brooks until re-organisation in 1896, but now they run partly along the lines of a main road and some tributaries of the Thames. North of the northern boundary of Latton lies Gloucestershire; the northern boundary of Latton is the northern boundary of Wiltshire. The dual carriage way the A419, which connects Cirencester and Swindon, runs through the north east of the parish, while the Roman road known as Ermin Street crosses the parish. The highest point of the parish is 100 metres above sea level and the geology is primarily Oxford Clay, (known locally as Minety Clay) with river deposits of gravel and alluvium. The River Churn runs through the parish; it is a tributary of the River Thames.

The parish of Latton was extended in 1896 when the parish of Eysey was added. Eysey had previously been a civil parish in its own right, with its own church, but was ecclesiastically united with Latton in 1819, with the civil parishes unified 78 years later. Some land in the parish was transferred to Cricklade in 1984, reducing the size fairly drastically.

The population has remained fairly steady over several centuries; it has been affected by house building and working patterns. In 1377 there were 114 poll tax payers (people aged over 14) in Latton, and three centuries later, in 1676, there were 156 adults in the parish. More recent figures show that there were 379 people in the parish in 1841 and in 1891 Latton had been affected by the national pattern of people moving away from the countryside to find work in urban areas and there were 281 people living there. The highest number of people living in the parish was in 1951, after new houses had been built, and there were 506 residents. There were 429 people in Latton in 2001.

There is evidence of early settlement at Latton. In 1998 the remains of a large number of a type of mammoth were found in Latton, during a field trip run by Neville Hollingworth, who was a member of staff at the Natural Environment Research Council's Swindon offices. As the gravel pit was excavated the bones of between 50 and 200 mammoths were found, along with flint axes. This was an extremely unusual grouping of finds, and is thought to be one of the few examples in the United Kingdom of interaction of early man and mammoths. It was thought the mammoths had drowned and either Neanderthals or Homo Heidelbergensis came across the bodies.

Roman coins have been found near to the church and evidence has been found of a Roman settlement to the south east of the parish.

In 1066 Latton (and Eysey) became the property of Earl Harold, but after his death at the battle of Hastings in October, they belonged to William I. In 1087, William gave Latton and Eysey to Rainbold, a priest. In 1133 the lands had returned to the Crown and Henry I gave them to Cirencester Abbey, who held them until the Dissolution of the monasteries in the 1539. The lands were usually considered as a single manor at this point. The lands were given to the Crown in 1539 and they sold them the following year to Sir Anthony Hungerford of Down Ampney. Thus began a long connection for the parish with Down Ampney, in Gloucestershire (in reality only a few miles away). It passed out of the Hungerford family in the 18th century. By the start of the 19th century, it was in the hands of William Eliot, Earl of St Germans. It was sold by the St. Germans' in 1918 to the Co-operative Wholesale Society.

The parish of Latton appointed two overseers each year to relieve the poor and by the 18th century the role was sometimes held by women. The cost of poor relief grew rapidly at the start of the 18th century; in 1724 the cost was £64 and by 1775 it was £84. In 1802, in what was a very high rate for the area, £335 was spent. Latton became part of Cricklade and Wootton Bassett poor law union when it was formed in 1835.

There were two mills included in the manor in 1086. It is thought they were both near to Latton village. They were powered by the River Churn. They were known as Upper Mill and Lower, South or Nether Mill. Upper Mill was part of the manor of Latton until 1715. It was rebuilt in the 18th century and extended in the 19th. It is thought Lower Mill was pulled down in the 1820s.

Farming in the early Middle Ages was split between the lord of the manor's lands and individual freeholders. In 1540 there were 24 tenants. By 1775, and possibly earlier, around 40 per cent of Latton land was enclosed. This land was mainly in the south and west of the parish. Some arable fields which remained in the 18th century were to the north-west of the village. There were five common meadows. Latton Farm was the largest farm operating in the 18th century. Any remaining common rights were wiped out in 1802, after an Act of Parliament the previous year. At the start of the 20th century there were six farms with tenants at Latton. When the manor was sold in 1918 to the Co-operative Wholesale Society, they also bought Church Farm and Westfield Farm and then turned their attention to dairy farming. By the beginning of the 21st century, dairy farming ceased in the parish and the fields were used for growing wheat.

Prior to the 20th century, development and settlement centred around the church. Several houses were built along the side of the Thames and Severn Canal. These houses were mainly built in 1790 and included a large warehouse. There were also some cottages. There are several listed buildings in the parish with The Old Vicarage, The Village School, The Glebe Cottage, The Mill House and Court Farmhouse all Grade II listed. Several cottages on Ermin Street are also listed. In the early 20th centuries many houses were demolished and rebuilt. In 1947 there were nine council houses built on Limes Place and in the second half of the century around 20 private houses were built near and on Croft Lane, Upcott and Gosditch. At the start of the 21st century several new houses were built in the south of the village; 14 were built at Collett Place and 31 at the Croft.

Locally, gravel extraction has been big business, especially further north in the south of Gloucestershire. It began on a large scale in Latton in the 20th century, but was dabbled with in the 16th century. In the 1990s there was a resurgence of gravel extraction and pits south-west of Ermin Street were opened. By the start of the 21st century three especially large pits had been mined. One, to the north-west of the parish, was turned into a lake and formed the eastern part of the Cotswold Water Park, a scheme which turned exhausted gravel pits into lakes, attracting wildlife and tourists.

The Thames and Severn Canal opened in 1789 and snaked across the parish to the south of the village of Latton. There were locks at Cerney Wick and in the south of the parish of Latton. The canal was used to carry coal from the Forest of Dean and Staffordshire, while salt was also sometimes transported. The height of this trade of goods was in the 1830s to the 1860s. and there was a coal merchant at the wharf in Latton until 1900. Use of the canal ceased in 1927. The North Wilts Canal was opened in 1819 and served as a link between the Thames and Severn Canal and the Wilts and Berks Canal. .It went through the parish to the west of the village. A basin, a lock and a wharf was built. It was closed in 1914, because it was rarely used by then.

A scheme to supply nearby Swindon with water, in order to keep up with the growth in its population, began in the parish in 1931, when a large borehole was sunk.A pumping station was built next to it and water was transported from there to a reservoir at Blunsdon Hill. This scheme is believed to have cost around £100,000. Prior to this a private borehole had been built in 1919.

A creamery was built next to the main road in Latton in around 1930. Some houses for employees there were also built. The creamery was built by the Co-operative Wholesale Society, who used it primarily to produce evaporated milk.The creamery was built there as it was near a source of water and by 1956 it employed 139 people. By 1936 it had become so productive that it had to be extended. It was extended yet again in 1946, and by this time the creamery had expanded to producing condensed milk and tinned cream as well as evaporated milk.It was closed in 1996 and knocked down in 2000.

There was a library in Latton in 1835, but this was only open to the men attending the evening Sunday school. The centre of village life in the 20th century was the club room (for men only!) which was built by Henry Eliot, Earl of St. Germans, lord of the manor. It was replaced in 1922 by another built by the Co-operative Wholesale Society. This was the village hall until the 1960s, after which the now defunct school, which closed in 1970, was used as a village hall.

CouncilWiltshire Council
Web Sitewww.wiltshire.gov.uk
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Parish CouncilLatton Parish Council
Parish Web Sitewww.lattonparishcouncil.org.uk
Parish Emailclerk@lattonparishcouncil.org.uk
 

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

Schools: Information on both current and closed schools.

Population 1801 - 2011

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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.

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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 Latton

Folk Biographies from Latton

Folk Plays from Latton

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 27. There is one Grade I buildings, the Church of St. John the Baptist.

English Heritage and National Monuments Record

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

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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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