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Wiltshire Community History

North Newnton Search Results

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North Newnton

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 North Newnton:

Map of the Civil Parish of North Newnton

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.


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.


Thumbnail History:



The village lies in the Pewsey Vale, 5 miles east south east of Devizes and 3 miles south west of Pewsey. The main part of the parish comprises the two disconnected tithings of North Newnton and Hilcott; the boundaries in the 21st century remain similar to those indicated in the charters of 892 and 934.The majority of the parish follows the course of a tributary of the Christchurch (Salisbury) river Avon, and for about ¾ of a mile the Avon itself is the boundary. There are no steep gradients in the area. The higher ground consists of chalk outcrops whilst the upper valleys are alluvium, with river gravel in the southern corners of the parish. Historically the land has been used for tillage with the outcrops mainly laid to meadow, while there are also some areas of woodland. The highest point of the parish is Cats Brain Hill, this name is thought to be a reference to the rough clay and stone soil of the area.
The Hilcote tithing is a compact area, whilst North Newnton consists of two main areas, one to the south west and the second to the east. The tithing of Rainscombe, 4 ½miles north east of North Newnton was part of the parish until 1885, when it was transferred to Wilcot parish.

North Newnton and Hilcott were granted to Athelhelm by King Alfred in 892. In 934 Rainscombe was added and the three areas were granted to St. Mary’s Abbey at Wilton, by Athelhelm. The three settlements remained in the possession of the Abbey until the dissolution. In 1541 the manor was granted to George Howard, brother of Queen Catherine Howard, and by 1547 was granted to Sir William Herbert, later Earl of Pembroke. The holding remained in the Pembroke family until 1680 when it was sold off in smaller lots.

The whole estate was said to be worth £14 in 1066, this value increased to £18 by 1086 when there was said to be land for 10 ploughs, although only eight were being used. The total population was between 135 and 155 and there were 30 acres of meadow, about 80 acres of pasture, and woodland covering an area approximately three miles square. The mill was paying 12 shillings and 6 pence in 1068 and in 1679 it was said to be in need of repair, but was finally destroyed by fire in 1910.

Taxation returns during the 14th century show the parish as having a below national average population and this situation still existed in 1801 when the two tithings had a total population of 222. This increased to 374 by 1881. The transfer of Rainscombe, as mentioned, reduced the population by 35. In 1911 the number of inhabitants was 330, reducing to 279 by 1921 but in 1971 it had again increased to 365 and in 2011 there were 430 people living in the parish.

There is no evidence of settlement in North Newnton before Saxon times, when a church and houses were built near the confluence of two streams. However this area flooded in winter and in the 1530s the stream passing near the east end of the church was diverted. This may have helped the situation, but when the demesne (manor) farmhouse was destroyed by fire, it was rebuilt at the other end of the parish, suggesting the diversion was not successful. In 1803 there were three farms, a number of cottages, the church and a mill. The church and mill were together at the eastern branch of the Avon, whilst the farms stood off the Amesbury to Avebury road, with the cottages sited between the farms and the church. By 2015 the church together with a late 18th century farm house and 19th century cottage, both thatched were standing. There were two cottages dated 1907 and a pair of cottages from late 19th or early 20th century.

A church stood at North Newnton before 1291, the present dedication to St. James, was recorded in 1442. The construction is of flint rubble, brick and ashlar, with a square tower. The chancel and nave date to the 13th century with the south porch added in the 14th century and the tower in the 15th century. The nave and chancel were rebuilt in 1862.

It is thought Hilcott is the earlier settled site as artefacts from both the Bronze Age and Neolithic periods have been discovered in this area and it was possibly an early British settlement. By 1377 the villages were of similar size with Hilcott having 47 poll tax payers (people aged over 14) whilst North Newnton had 51, but in the 20th century Hilcott was the lesser of the settlements. Hilcott lies along the Avebury to Amesbury road, the main site being to the north of the road, consisting of Hilcott Manor, two 19th century cottages together with the chapel and the village hall. There is a thatched 18th century farmhouse, a house built around 1700 sited next to a 17th century cottage with a further one dated 1729, together with the Old Rectory and a farmhouse form the mid 19th century. On the south side of the road is Hilcott Farm together with 19th century cottages.

A more recent development was at Gores. In 1972 the area was called Gores Lane but in the 18th century the name was Gore, the name meaning ‘angle’ and the parish boundary makes a series of right angled bends here. A number of cottages were built on waste land at the cross roads before 1773. By 1803, five were standing on the west side of the Avebury-Amesbury road, with around the same number on the north side of the Pewsey road. Six houses and a beer house were built about 1838. In 1855 the beer house was known as The Sun. Expansion continued almost to Bottlesford. The Prince of Wales public house was built in 1870, but closed in the early 20th century to become a private house. In the 19th and early 20th centuries more dwellings were built beside the Beechingstoke and Wilsford roads. Along the Upavon Road, in around 1886, the only buildings were the Woodbridge Inn and two cottages, but between the two world wars development in this area commenced and 17 houses and bungalows were built. 1950s saw eight council houses constructed, to be followed by seven bungalows for pensioners in 1960s. In 1971 Gores was the largest settlement with 61 cottages and houses. The 21st century has seen very little change in the parish.

Kelly’s Directory of 1848 lists traders in the parish as a tailor, shopkeepers, a shoemaker, bricklayers, a stone mason and a cooper. By 1867 a miller and a thatcher had been added to the list of tradesmen. The main industry in the area has been agriculture throughout the centuries, mainly land put to pasture for dairy farming, with a small amount of arable land. In the 1880s R.F. Ford established a business supplying seeds, fertilizer and animal feeds to the area. The business was still owned by the same family in 1971, when 15 people were employed.

The hamlet of Bottlesford is now mostly in North Newnton parish although historically it has been a part of Manningford Bohune. In the late 18th century there were dwellings on either side of the road between Gores and the present bridge over the railway and the settlement extended eastwards in the 19th century. By the late 20th century houses were on the northern side of the road. The Seven Stars is mentioned in 1822 and is still (2015) open at the western end of the settlement. Despite this the place-name is not connected with bottles but from the ford on the western boundary stream and in the 9th century was known as botan waelle.

CouncilWiltshire Council
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Parish CouncilNorth Newnton Parish Council
Parish Web Site 
Parish EmailNNPC@ruraloffice.co.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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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.

 

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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 North Newnton

Folk Biographies from North Newnton

Folk Plays from North Newnton

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 historical importance is 16. There are no Grade I listed buildings, and 1 Grade II* building, the Church of St. James.

English Heritage and National Monuments Record

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