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Wiltshire Community History

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Lydiard Tregoze

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 Lydiard Tregoze:

Map of the Civil Parish of Lydiard Tregoze

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:

Over the years has been confusion regarding the boundary of this parish. In 1831 the total area was given as 5,930 acres, in 1851 - 5,142 acres. The first Ordnance Survey maps gave the area as 5,327 acres. A Local Government Board Commission in 1899 found that historically the parish was made up of Lydiard Tregoze and Bassett Down estates, so the 1901 map gave an area of 5,430 acres, but in 1928 the area was reduce when 95 acres became controlled by Swindon Borough.

The eastern parish boundary adjoins Swindon whilst the Hay Lane boundary with the parish of Wroughton was originally part of a pre-historic track. Streams form the northern boundary, one of which was dammed to form the lake at Lydiard Park. There is heavy clay towards the south of the parish where there are deep drainage ditches. To the north is Kimmeridge clay with a 2 mile length of Corallian rock at the centre. Wheatley limestone has been quarried to the north west and where the parish meets the Marlborough Downs, Bassett Down rises to 600 feet.

At the time of the Domesday survey the parish had extensive woodland, becoming part of the royal Braydon Forest, but by 1300 there had been de-forestation. In 1964 the parish was well wooded in the north east and on Bassett Down. In 1086, Alfred of Marlborough's estate at Lydiard paid geld for seven hides, with land for seven plough teams. Three hides were in demesne with one plough and three serfs, farmed for Alfred himself while four were for tenant farming. There were also eight villeins and ten lesser tenants with four ploughs. This would suggest a total population of between 85 and 100 people. There were 40 acres of meadow and 30 of pasture, woodland measured one league (three miles) by league. For several centuries the main industry was dairy farming with cheese and butter making. In the 17th century Aubrey writes 'butter around Lydiard is as good as any in England, but not an entirely satisfactory cheese'. In 1826 Cobbett said Lydiard Park was neglected if not abandoned. In 1875 along with the many farmers, traders also consisted of a carpenter and beer retailer, an agricultural machinist, shoemaker, blacksmith hurdle maker a wheelwright and smith and a tax collector. By 1899 there was a shoe maker and a baker.

There is no central area of the parish; the church has traces of 13th century work, so it is presumed that at that time there was a settlement in this area. The original village may have been to the east of the church. It is possible that an overgrown track to the south of the present driveway to Lydiard Park may have been a former village street leading to the church. In the 14th century the parish consisted of 3 tythings, Lydiard Tregoze, Mannington and Midgehall. At this time, and also in the 16th century, Lydiard Tregoze was the most populated, however the population declined and a cluster of houses at Hook emerged, suggesting de-population around Lydiard Tregoze church, with no obvious reason unless the St. John family were clearing the hovels of villagers from their parkland and what they came to regard as their family church. Clearances such as this was fairly common practice and the settlement at Hook may have been planned by them or just allowed to develope. In the 20th century the church is within Lydiard Park, there is a cluster of houses at Hook, along the main Royal Wootton Bassett to Cricklade road; here also is the school, chapel, post office and public house, together with council houses built after the Second World War. The wide verges along Hook Street form greens on either side of this road and the area was known as Lower Marsh. The rest of the parish consists of scattered medium sized farms together with Lydiard Park, but the need for housing in Swindon is encroaching nearer, around 1983 the Rev. Flory, vicar of St. Mary's noted that the expansion of Swindon gave 2,500 new parishioners each year and in the 21st century more expansion is planned.

The previously mentioned Hay Lane was part of the pre-historic track running north to south between Cirencester and Avebury and known as Saltharpesweye. The present Royal Wootton Bassett to Swindon road crosses the parish from east to west and was turnpiked between 1751 and 1755,;a map of 1773 shows only sections of this road. The section between Blagrove and Upper Studley farms was possibly constructed around 1790, under an act passed for the improvement of the Wootton Bassett to Swindon road The road is not shown on the 1766 map, when the route to Lydiard Park ran north of the present road and was known as 'My Lord's Coachway'. The road from north to south in the parish from Cricklade to Wootton Bassett was turnpiked between 1776 and 1800.

A section of the Wilts and Berks canal crossed the parish from west to east opening in 1804, when there was a small wharf at Hay Lane. In 1964 it was overgrown, and an area between Lydiard Tregoze and Swindon had been filled in. A movement has been formed to try and restore the canal for much of its length and is making steady progress. The London to Bristol railway which opened in 1841 runs just north of the canal route across the parish.

In 1086 South Lydiard was held by Alfred of Marlborough and the church was given to Gloucester Abbey. In 1198 the manor was inherited by Sybil, wife of Robert Tregoze, Sheriff of Wiltshire, the name of Tregoze was added to distinguish the parish from Lydiard Millicent. Margaret Shottesbrook inherited the manor in 1441. As her second husband, Margaret married John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset. Their daughter Margaret married Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond and became mother of Henry VII. From the late 15th century until 1940 the parish was held by the St. John family; in 1712 Henry St. John was created Viscount Bolingbrook. In the 19th century Viscount Bolingbrook made over his interests in Lydiard Park to his half brother, the Hon. John St. John, but for most of the 19th century the estate was in the hands of mortgagees. The house and 147 acres was purchased by Swindon Corporation in 1943.

Lydiard Park House is Palladian in style. An inscription in the attic records that it was re-built by John, Viscount St. John in 1743. This is only partially true as sections from an earlier age can be seen at the back of the house. The building is re-modelled on a late medieval plan, extensively altered and extended in the 17th century. To the west, a kitchen wing was added in the mid 19th century. Traces of three avenues of trees planted around 1700 remain, and a small lake and fishpond existed in 1743. The empty house was derelict when it was purchased by Swindon borough in 1943. Re-furbishing is on-going with St. John family portraits brought back, and one of the few original items remaining was a bust of Henry St. John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke. Just one ceiling in the house is in the Rococo style.

Around 1942 a camp was built in Lydiard Park to act as a hospital for American Forces wounded during World War 2. This hutted camp, with a chapel, later became a prisoner of war camp. In 1950 Swindon Corporation converted some of the huts into living accommodation for families and at that time three huts were used as a temporary school.

The manor of Midgehall was granted to Stanley Abbey around 1150, and the monks held it until the dissolution. In 1536 it was granted to Sir Edward Seymour, Viscount Beauchamp (later created Duke of Somerset). After passing through this family, in 1685 it was conveyed to Lawrence Hyde, Earl of Rochester, who had purchased Wootton Bassett manor in 1676. Midgehall then descended with Wootton Bassett Manor. The manor was farmed by the Pleydel family from 1534 until 1726. Midgehall is an L shaped farmhouse standing at the corner of a large rectangular moat and dates from around 1800, with many later additions.

In 1242 the manor of Mannington, including farms at Toothill and Whitehill, was held by Baldwin de Riviers, earl of Devon for half a knight's fee, and by 1245 was held by the earl of Pembroke, the Earl Marshal. At the end of the 15th century it was held by Sir John Cheyney, but on his death reverted to the Crown. 1512 saw the manor of Mannington, along with others in Wiltshire, conveyed to Thomas Sutton, founder of the London Charterhouse. Mannington was one of the manors endowed to Charterhouse, and remained part of the Charterhouse estates until 1919 when it was sold to Wiltshire County Council to provide small holdings for soldiers returning from the First World War. The Manor House, dating from the 18th century, is to the north of the main Chippenham to Swindon road. It is roughcast with stone dressings, a hipped mansard roof with three light casement windows flanking the central doorway.

Chaddington belonged to the Castle Combe Barony of Walter de Dunstanville in 1242. Soon after this date it was conveyed to the prior and convent of Bradenstoke. By 1562 Chaddington had become annexed to the manor of Bricknowle in Broad Hinton, but was then sold to John St. John of Lydiard Tregoze. Around 1920, Great and Little Chaddington farms were sold. Great Chaddington farmhouse is timber framed with a thatched roof dating from the 17th century but considerably altered. Little Chaddington farmhouse is of red brick with a thatched roof dating from the 19th century, but was derelict by 1968.

Studley Grange was a possession of Stanley Abbey until the dissolution when it passed to Sir Edward Seymour of Midgehall. The estate was split around 1648, the southern part becoming Bassett Down Estate. Bassett Down House dated from the 15th century, partially rebuilt at the end of the 17th century was reduced in size in the 19th century and demolished around 1958. In 1764 the Bassett Down estate was sold to Henry Maskelyne and was occupied by his brother, the Astronomer Royal, Nevil Maskelyne; the Maskelynes and Storey-Maskelynes and Arnold-Forsters continued to live here until Nigel M. Arnold-Forster demolished it.

The Can Court estate is first mentioned in 1567 when it was held as part of the manor of Elcombe in Wrougton. In1616 it was purchased by Sir John Benet, who conveyed it to Pembroke College, Oxford. The 4 storied farmhouse is a 17th century building with a fine oak staircase. It has a twin gabled front, in the centre of a timber framed two storied porch, and with projecting chimneys, having diagonally set stacks. It is suggested that the house plans and craftsmanship indicate it was not built as a farmhouse. A stone slab at the entrance to the forecourt commemorated Cornelius Bradford who died around 1750. The Bradford family were tenants of Can Court during the 18th Century, when they left for Midgehall.

Around 1692 Thomas Hardyman and Timothy Dewell gave £20 each, to be invested 'for the poor of the parish'. It was decided to build cottages. In 1733 Viscount St. John gave land at Hook Common and cottages were built. By 1800 the cottages were let at £3 per annum - £1 to Lord Bolingbroke, £2 to the poor. By 1834 payments to the poor had lapsed and in 1901 the charity was reported 'irretrievably lost' Richard Miles, who was Rector from 1747 to 1839 gave £700 to be invested to provide blankets and bedding to the poor each Christmas. In 1900 68 people received blankets. In 1901 the interest was £19. By 1960 the income of £17 was distributed to the poor in the form of vouchers. In 1845, a ratepayers meeting gave authorisation to raise £8 towards expenses for young men wishing to emigrate to America. In the following year money was raised for young men wishing to emigrate to Australia. In 1851 the parish borrowed £200 for this purpose.
Today Lydiard Park is within Swindon Borough Council and is not part of the parish of Lydiard Tregoze.

CouncilWiltshire Council
Web Sitewww.wiltshire.gov.uk
Parish CouncilLydiard Tregoze Parish Council
Parish Web Site 
Parish Emailavril@alphadeltafinance.co.uk

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Population 1801 - 2011

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Folk Arts:

Folk Songs from Lydiard Tregoze

Folk Biographies from Lydiard Tregoze

Folk Plays from Lydiard Tregoze

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