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Wiltshire Community History

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Newton Tony

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

Map of the Civil Parish of Newton Tony:

Map of the Civil Parish of Newton Tony

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:

Newton Tony is a civil parish in the south of the county of Wiltshire. Its primary settlement is the village of Newton Tony, in the centre of the parish, which is approximately nine miles north east of Salisbury and 13 miles south east of Andover in Hampshire. The parish made up of 2,386 acres and lies on Upper Chalk. Newton Tony's eastern boundary is also the county border, where Wiltshire ends and Hampshire begins. In the 19th century heavy belts of trees were planted on the parish boundaries. The River Bourne runs through the centre of the village and roads and houses line either side of it. The highest land in the parish is 170 metres above sea level at Tower Hill in the south east corner. Portway, a Roman road to Salisbury, comes through the south eastern portion of the parish.

The population of the parish was 286 in 1801, it rose to 351 by 1851 but dropped, as was often the way in small rural parishes at that time, to 292 by 1891. By 1911 it had started to rise slightly and 306 people lived in the parish and there were 304 residents in 1951. In 2001 there were 408 people living in the parish.

On the eve of the Millennium, the villagers published a book entitled: "Newton Tony: A Wiltshire Village at the Millennium". In the opening remarks, compiler Roger Crisp writes: 'Newton Tony is a secret of the South Wiltshire valleys. In our fast changing world in the year 2000 Newton Tony represents the gentle pace of everyday English life, accommodating and absorbing the changes without being enslaved by them. The seasons still shape the landscape, sheep graze in the fields, new houses sit next to old and the Rover Bourne still rises, backwards, in the winter- if it feels like it. This is Newton Tony, or Toney.'

There is evidence of pre-historic settlement in the area; to the east of the parish an Iron Age pit was once found, while18 barrows are in the south of the parish although it is unclear when they date from. A Roman bust was found in 1977 in an area near to the church in the middle of the village. It dates from between 10 and 300 AD.

At the time of the Domesday survey in 1086, the manor of Newton Tony was held by Alfred of Marlborough and it possessed a mill, three acres of meadow and some pasture land as well as the common fields. The population in 1086 can be estimated at between 100 and 130 people and seven plough teams were needed for the land. It then passed to Edward of Salisbury before passing down the de Bohun family until 1384 when it became part of the duchy of Lancaster, for Mary de Bohun, daughter of Humphrey de Bohun, married Henry of Lancaster, earl of Derby, who later became Henry IV of England. The land at Newton Tony was subinfeudated in 1257; this essentially means some of the land was sub-let or transferred to another family. This family was the Tony family.

The "Tony" part of the parish's name often leads to disagreement between locals; up until 1990 signposts showed "Tony" and "Toney". Certainly, the original spelling seems to be "Tony"; Roger de Tony held land in 1257 and this passed down through the family for the next several centuries, although the name did change often. By the 17th century the manor was held by the Fiennes family; a famous daughter of Newton Tony is Celia Fiennes, the 18th century traveller and chronicler. She was born in Newton Tony in 1662, and was the daughter of Colonel Nathaniel Fiennes. She was able to travel around England, primarily on horseback, between the years of 1684 and 1703. Her work was first published together in 1888 and was called "Through England on a Side Saddle". She died in London but was buried in Newton Tony.

In "Wiltshire Villages" Brian Woodruffe writes: 'In the village itself the course of the Bourne running along the middle of the main street is a feature no other Wiltshire village possesses, and with a handful of thatched cottages and farm buildings this lower part is quite attractive.'
Author William Henry Swift, when investigating life in the village in the 1870s, wrote: 'In the 1870s, as today, Newton Tony consisted of a long and winding street, bordered for the most part by thatched roof cottages, with intervals between them of meadow land and gardens. A deep channel, about 15 feet broad, ran down the centre of the main portion of the village. During the summer the channel was full of grass and weeds, and children played in it; but each year, on some day in late autumn or early winter, you found a slender stream of water beginning to fill it. This quickly broadened into a hurrying river.'

The Bourne ("Bourne" meaning simply "river") does not flow all year round, or even every year, but rises in the autumn and winter if the water table is high enough. It rises "backwards"; it starts at a small pool by Manor Farm in the middle of the village, then a pool at the Post Office and then to Salisbury. There is even an annual sweepstake run by the Mallet Arms for people to guess when the Bourne will appear. This custom was started by Mr Tom Rickard, who was Churchwarden and Church Treasurer. There are four bridges for vehicles to cross the river, three footbridges and a ford. Two of the footbridges were built between 1875 and 1899. In extreme conditions, the Bourne has burst its banks and flooded the roads flanking it on both sides.

The Wilbury Estate looms large in the history of Newton Tony; it is to the north of the village. Wilbury House is a Grade I listed building and was built by William Benson in 1710, as a single storeyed building originally. Benson was said to have been inspired by Inigo Jones, the famous architect. It was named Wilbury House in 1739.
It is a very large building in the Palladian style and lies in the centre of 874 acres of land. Four lodges were also built on the park's perimeters in the 19th century. In the late 18th century Thomas Bradshaw built a grand entrance to the front of the house and added a second storey. The eastern wing was used as a Roman Catholic chapel between 1797 and the early 19th century. Sir Charles Warre Malet, resident of Wilbury House in 1803, was responsible for planting 40,000 trees along the parish boundaries. The trees were a mixture of Scotch Fir, Spruce, Oak, Elm, Chestnut, Beech and Aspen. The eastern staircase was replaced in the 18th century. The Malet family held Wilbury Estate until Sir Harry Malet, lord of the manor, sold Wilbury House and all his buildings in 1926.This meant much of the village was freed up for residents to buy their houses and farms. Wilbury Estate is now owned by the Countess of Iveagh. The local hunt traditionally met on the large lawn in front of Wilbury House.

In the 20th century the number of residential buildings grew at a very fast rate; modern developments centred on Beechfield, The Croft and St. Just Close. In addition to these developments, a station master's house and two cottages were built in 1900. Prior to this, most of the village grew around the street which runs through the centre of the village and alongside the river; usually called High Street. Some 17th and 18th century cottages and small houses have survived, but at the end of the 19th century some cottages in the middle of the main street were demolished. There are some listed buildings in Newton Tony; Beechfield Cottage, Little Old Thatch, and Chelsea Cottage are just a few of the buildings that are Grade II listed.

Farming in the parish was classically split between sheep rearing and growing corn. In 1315 there were 220 acres of arable land. Now, the agriculture is a mix of pastoral and arable; cows and sheep being the animals that are farmed. Barley was the primary crop in the 19th century.

Open fields and common land were enclosed in 1710. Manor and Warren Farms were built in the 19th century. In the 1841 census, 60 men were employed in agriculture but by the start of the 21st century, there were only four working farms left in the parish. These were Wilbury Estate, Manor Farm, Thistledown Farm and Pulsatilla Farm. Manor Farm was built at the start of the 19th century and is made of red brick and is on the east side of the road, set back a little.

The parish spent £98 on its poor in 1775, which had increased to £390 by 1812. The parish became part of the Amesbury poor law union in 1835.

There was a racecourse in the parish in 1839; situated in the south east of Newton Tony, it had become disused by 1874.

A railway station was built at Newton Tony in 1902 because of the building of the Amesbury and Military Camp Light Railway line; an offshoot from the main Salisbury to London line, which itself crossed the south of the parish when it was built in 1857. The line ran from Grateley, to Newton Tony, Amesbury, Bulford and The Sling. It was often used in World War I to transport troops. The railway ceased transporting passengers in 1952 and goods in 1963. The line is no longer in use at all and much of it was used as a place for refusal disposal and a landfill site. The railway station also no longer exists.

The Memorial Hall was built in 1920; it was a gift from Sir Harry Malet, Baronet, the lord of the manor. The hall was opened formally on December 15th that year by the earl of Radnor. It could hold 160 people. There had been a Reading Room in the village but it was neglected after the opening of the Memorial Hall, which was redecorated in 1999.

The pub which serves the community is the Malet Arms; named after the Malet family who lived on the Wilbury Estate for a long time. It is a Grade II listed building. It sits on the bank of the Bourne in the centre of the village and is thought to have been built in the late 17th or early 18th centuries. At this stage it was known as the Three Horseshoes and another, smaller inn to the south of the village had the name the Malet Arms. The present Malet Arms took on the name at the end of the 19th century. The pub has often been a victim of floods if the Bourne flows high; in 1921 for example, it was under at least two feet of water. There is also some evidence of a third inn around 1773 - the Swan - but there is little evidence to verify this.

The parish council of Newton Tony first met in March 1895. The parish council and villagers created a village book to celebrate the Millennium. The Memorial Hall Management Committee organised the installation of a commemorative mosaic in the place of the old playground to the back of the Memorial Hall. The mosaic was designed by local craftswoman Jenny Reed and shows St. Andrew's Church, Newton Tony Church, the Memorial Hall, the Malet Arms and Wilbury House.

CouncilWiltshire Council
Web Sitewww.wiltshire.gov.uk
Parish CouncilNewton Tony Parish Council
Parish Web Site 
Parish Emailnewtontoney@googlemail.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.

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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 Newton Tony

Folk Biographies from Newton Tony

Folk Plays from Newton Tony

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 of historic importance is 29. There is 1 Grade I building, Wilbury House; and 1 Grade II*, the Summer House at Wilbury House.

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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