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Wiltshire Community History

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Luckington

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 Luckington:

Map of the Civil Parish of Luckington

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 Luckington is found in the extreme north west of Wiltshire seven miles south west of Malmesbury and seven miles north east of Sodbury. The parish comprises the village of Luckington and the smaller village of Alderton found to the south west of the parish. The road which runs through the parish is the B4040 connecting Malmesbury with Old Sodbury. Parish boundaries border Gloucestershire in the west and Great Badminton and Sherston in the north east with Grittleton and Leigh Delamere to the south east. The centre and nucleus of Luckington is the cross roads, where two small triangular greens are found, with five roads meeting. The name of Luckington is thought to derive from “Lucca's Farm”. The earliest evidence of settlement in Alderton was the discovery of a Neolithic stone axe near to Drew's Pond and some Iron Age remains have also been found to the west of the village.

Author Brian J. Woodruffe describes Luckington as: “A happy blend of old and new, made up of some pleasant sub-areas of Cotswoldian character attached to a rather less attractive centre. Five roads meet here, interlaced in such a way that the core of the village is sliced up into triangular pieces, which in the distant past formed one large green.” The school and schoolhouse are found on the edge of one of these remaining greens.

The population of the parish in 1801 was 304, and despite a dip in the ensuing 50 years, rose to 339 in 1851. It grew to 470 in 1951 and 532 people lived in the parish at the time of the 2001 census.

In 1086 there were two manors at Luckington held by Herman (of Durand of Gloucester) and Edward (of Ralf de Mortemer). The total population would have been around 120 people and there was enough land for eight ploughteams, each with eight oxen, and a mill on the infant Avon. From 1141 until the 14th century, the manor of Luckington was held by the Earls of Hereford. The church has the same dedications as Hereford Cathedral - St. Mary and St. Ethelbert - indicating perhaps a tangible link between Hereford and Luckington.

In the 16th century the manor passed to the Fitzherbert family and remained with them until 1798, when the last heiress is said to have eloped with a man from Bristol (reportedly a butcher) named Jones, creating the family of the Fitzherbert Jones. It was
this family that added the impressive front of Luckington Court.

In 1086 there were also two manors in Alderton, held by Richard (of Ralf de Mortemer) and Hugh (of Drew Fitz Ponz). The population would have been around 60 who worked five ploughteams and a mill. Thus the total population of the modern civil parish was around 180 people. Later the manors were held in part by Roger de Mortimer, and also by Hugo. It then passed through the Mortimer family in the 13thcentury to the Cliffords and then the influential Gore family. The Montagu family of Lackham held the manor until 1827, when Joseph Neeld bought Alderton. He was from Hendon, Middlesex, and went on to own many estates in North Wiltshire, including nearby Grittleton. The estate was sold in 1966 and most was bought by the Duke of Beaufort.

The village of Luckington has a clear connection to pre-Norman times; a house standing on the site of what is now Luckington Court is said to have been used by King Harold as a hunting box. Because Harold was King, if only for a short time, Luckington technically became a Royal manor, so was entitled to use the title “court”, at Luckington Court, which was an important part of the village.
It is found to the west of the church and is a Queen Anne style house. An earlier house on the site was referred to as “Peach House”. The present building is made from Cotswold stone and became famous when it starred as Longbourne, the home of the Bennett family, in the BBC's seminal production of “Pride and Prejudice”. Within the grounds of grade II listed Luckington Court are two cedar trees that are said to be 400 years old. There are many other listed buildings in the parish, both in Luckington and Alderton. These include the Old Bakehouse, The Forge House, and Manor Farmhouse in Alderton, and Whitehouse Farmhouse, North End House, Wick Farmhouse, and The Old Rectory in Luckington.

Luckington has the distinction of containing the springs that are the source of the Bristol Avon and these are found in the south of the parish. The Avon, from Luckington, passes through Malmesbury and Chippenham, towards Melksham and Bradford-on-Avon, leading to Bath and Bristol. The prolific and influential writer John Aubrey of the 17th century was probably referring to one of these springs when he wrote: “Hancock's Well at Luckington is so extremely cold that in summer one cannot long endure one's hand in it. It does much good to the eies. It cures the itch.”

Luckington's most famous residents were probably John Thaw and Sheila Hancock, who lived in the village on a semi-permanent basis until Thaw's death from oesophageal cancer in 2002. Sheila Hancock and her family are still sometimes resident there.
When Thaw was diagnosed with cancer in 2001, the realities of celebrity life arrived with a bang in Luckington. In “My Life with John Thaw”, Sheila Hancock writes: “Today at the Post Office two photographers started snapping at us. John was feeling peaky and just sighed but I was like a wild animal. Luckington has never seen such an unseemly display.”

CouncilWiltshire Council
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Parish CouncilLuckington Parish Council
Parish Web Site 
Parish Emailclerk@luckington.org.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 Luckington

Folk Biographies from Luckington

Folk Plays from Luckington

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 61. There is one Grade I building, the Church of St. Mary and St. Ethelbert; and two Grade II* buildings, the Church of St. Giles and Luckington Court.

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.

Genuki Family History - Wiltshire

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