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Wiltshire Community History

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Wingfield

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, 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 Wingfield:

Map of the Civil Parish of Wingfield

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 name Wink(g)field comes from 'Wina's open land' and there is no known reason why the 'k' was used. Various spellings of Wingfield have existed through time and include Winefeld, Wenefeld and Winkfield as illustrated in the Domesday Book. Wingfield came into use in the later part of the 19th century.

Wingfield is two miles south west of Trowbridge and two and a half miles south of Bradford on Avon, where the B3109 crosses the A366. Geographically the area is Oxford and Kimmeridge clay typical of north and mid Wiltshire and the area is between 150 and 200 feet above sea level. The surrounding parishes include Tellisford and Farleigh Hungerford and the actual boundaries have varied a little due to the Divided Parishes Act of 1882, when some parts of Wingfield were transferred to Bradford, Westwood and Farleigh. In 1934 some parts of Bradford Without and Trowbridge were added to Wingfield. Swansbrook forms part of the eastern and southern boundary and the River Frome forms most of the western boundary.

Early finds in the area include a Palaeolithic polished flint axe found near St. Mary's Church, Romano-British fragments of pottery and coins near Trowle Wood and east of Midway Manor and evidence of a late Saxon settlement in the Pomeroy Farm area. There is also evidence of medieval settlement and field boundaries shown by earthworks at Arnold's Hill and Home Farm and a medieval holloway (sunken track) at Rowley Lane. Medieval items found in the parish include a pendant, a spur fragment, and a pruning knife

Wingfield is mentioned in early charters of 954 and 1001, often associated with Bradford on Avon. In 1086 it was held by Geoffrey de Mowbray and passed to the Earl of Gloucester with lands held by the Abbot of Keynsham until the time of the Dissolution. The possessions of the Abbey were then valued at £12 13s. 4d. in Wingfield and Stowford. In 1539 Wingfield was granted to Thomas Bayley by the King and stayed in this family, by descent, until 1647 when it passed to the Ashe family who sold it in 1683 to Walter Greene. By the 1760s it was held by John Cooper, sold to Joseph Mortimer and passed then via John Tillie Coryton to Thomas Timbrell of Trowbridge by 1820. He was followed by Charles Spackman, dyer, of Bradford on Avon, John Houlton and then Thomas Rummings, a local farmer, by 1875. There is no reference after this date to manorial rights. By 1895 most of the land was purchased by Sir Vincent Caillard and by 1939 the chief landowners in Wingfield were Mrs. T. Place and Mr. And Mrs. S. Butler.

The lost village of Wittenham is now within the parish but was once a separate parish also mentioned in the charter of 1001. After 1300 it is sometimes called Rowley (meaning rough clearing in wood) or Wittenham with Trowle and Wingfield but today there is no trace, apart from a mention of Rowley copse in Farleigh Hungerford. It was situated north west of Midway Manor and followed the descent of Wingfield, held in the 1300s by the Earl of Gloucester and passing eventually to Lord Hungerford and then by descent to Henry Baynton of Spye Park by 1686. It later became and Rowley, sometimes Wittenhamrowley and then simply Rowley from c.1450. In 1428 it was amalgamated with Farleigh Hungerford and was therefore part of Somerset and the Diocese of Bath and Wells. The parishioners of Rowley were exempted from paying for the upkeep of the nave of Farleigh Church so long as they maintained the nave of their own church. Masses were to be said three times a year in Rowley Church but for other services the parishioners were to attend Farleigh Church. It is not known how long the church survived. Later it was grouped as part of the Iford estate and in 1939 was owned by Major M.J. Peto. It is thought that Wittenham was affected by the Black Death 1348-50 when the villagers burnt their houses and fled, leaving only the church, which then fell into decay. Part of Rowley Farm passed to Thomas Cooper of Wingfield and forms the part of Stowford Farm that is in the Farleigh Hungerford parish. By 1870 the farm buildings had disappeared but a 1585 survey shows two houses and land comprising 37 acres. An estate known as 'Hamundes' probably part of Rowley was conveyed to the lord of the manor in 1431 and the lands then leased out.

The manor of Pomeroy was scattered over Bradford, Westwood and Rowley in the 14th century and said in 1523 to be in the tithing of Winsley. In the 18th century the whole of Pomeroy was in Wingfield. Pomeroy was also mentioned in the 1001 charter, held by Osmund Latimar after the conquest, then later by the Earl of Salisbury. It was part of the manor of Trowbridge in 1325 and held by the Abbess of Shaftesbury descending eventually with the Lisle family in the 1700s. The site of Pomeroy manor was at Pomeroy Farm, later owned by Sir William Caillard and part of the Wingfield estate.

Another manor referred to as 'Pomeroy-La-Slowe belonging to Lord Hungerford and descending from him until 1607 was mentioned as part of the manor of Rowley. By 1675 these lands are part of the Long inheritance.

Stowford, meaning stony ford, annexed from the manor of Wingfield, was leased in 1458 by William Sewey or Stowford and his wife, for 96 years. In 1495 it was granted to William Clevedole for 86 years and then in 1539 to Thomas Bayley, thereafter descending with Wingfield. In 1661 the mansion house and land was held under a lease of 1654 by Samuel Ashe. Freshaw a tenement granted in 1331 to the Abbot of Keynsham, followed the same descent as Stowford and is last mentioned as 'Freshawleaze' a close in the manor of Wingfield. Another tenement called Bradshawe followed the same descent.
Wingfield church is situated south of the crossroads and Church Farm is to the west of the church and dates from the mid 16th century with some 17th century additions when it was inhabited by Christopher Bailey. Part of the west wing later burnt down.
Midway Manor was originally part of the Rowley estate. It later belonged to the Shrapnel family and in 1908 was owned by Henry Summers Baynton. It lies to the north of the parish and was inhabited by Henry Shrapnel from 1822-1824. He was the inventor of the shrapnel shell or more correctly 'spherical case shot' as described by Shrapnel himself. His family had been prosperous clothiers during the 17th century and were based in Bradford later moving to Midway Manor.
Wingfield House lies at the crossroads and was owned in 1836 by Mr. Brasher and then from 1866 by Judge Caillard. During the First World War it was run as a nursing home, later used as a boy's home and then used by the Army during the Second World War. It was then bought and developed into four individual residential units.
Trowle House, earlier known as Wingfield Green, is 17th century with 19th century alterations and is situated north east of the crossroads. It is now a house and chiropractic clinic.
Belle Cour is south west of the crossroads and was inhabited in the mid to late 17th century by the Tillie family. The family were not always resident there, spending some time in Cornwall where James Tillie died. The house was described as a 'gentry residence with terrace walks and ponds'.
Stowford farm and mill in the far west of the parish and on the Somerset border originally included four fulling mills and had fishing rights on the River Frome. The building dates from the 15th century and has a Tudor front added in 1543 consisting of three gables and an entrance door. The original part of the building is older and has a 14th - 15th century gothic window at one end. By 1658 there was also a dye house, workshop and shear shop. By 1851 the property was a corn mill as the textile industry was in decline and in 1880 it was sold to Jesse Gouldsmith. It is now owned by the Bryant family who have been there since the 1930s and continue to farm it. From 1984 it was the site of the successful Village Pump Folk Festival held annually in July which has recently moved site to the White Horse Country Park, near Westbury.
In 1889 the burial took place in Wingfield of a local resident, John Harper, who was 6' tall and often played the bass viola in the church. He had saved and bought a small house and brought up a large family, and was 98 years old when he died. He had lived in the village all of his life, working as a labourer on one of the farms and is mentioned in a scrapbook begun in 1902 by the Reverend R. Earle as a 'model resident.'
In 1939 the main landowners were Mrs. T Place and Mr. & Mrs Butler, both absentee landlords. Typical Wingfield surnames of previous inhabitants include Baylie, Clevedole (Clevedon), Moore, Bissie, Tilly, Ashe, Bruce, Wadam and Huzey amongst others.

At the time of Domesday, 3 villeins and 9 bordars indicate a population of approximately 60 people. A mill (Stowford) paid 20 shillings and had 7 acres of meadow and 20 acres of woodland. Withenham also shows a population of approximately 60 at this time with 10 acres of meadow and 16 acres of woodland. The list of Poll Tax payers in 1377 indicates 69 people aged over 14.The poor parishes list of 1428 shows Wittenham (in Wingfield) as having less than 10 householders and therefore exempt from tax, indicating that is was then a very small settlement.
Census returns from 1801 count 290 people; the population of Wingfield rose steadily to 362 by 1861. By 1891 it had dropped to 302 but Rowley had just been transferred to Bradford on Avon which would explain this. By 1921 there were 252 inhabitants, and in 1951 this had risen to 294, but parts of Wingfield had again been transferred to both Trowbridge and Bradford on Avon. In 2001 375 people were recorded as living in Wingfield.

The area in and around Wingfield was once part of Selwood forest until the 13th century and early records show land leased to Thomas, rector of Farleigh, stock was kept and supplied with hay from a meadow called “Greneham.” In the mid 15th century small parcels of land were leased out measuring from one to seven acres and field names included Cleyfurlang, Stofordyate, Goremded and Wittenham-furlang. Inclosure in 1823 allotted 90 acres and the lord of the manor, Thomas Timbrell, received half after the sale of some to cover expenses. Commoners were allotted 41 acres and two parcels were sold to labourers. A common existed north of the church.
No doubt beer houses existed although there is little mention of them in surviving records. Today the Poplars is popular for eating and drinking and is renowned for its cricket pitch, where if you hit a six onto the road you are allowed the score but immediately pronounced “out”. The building dates from the 18th century and was formerly a farmhouse. Sale particulars of 1924 list a number of outbuildings described as a stable coach house, cow house with boiler, and pig sty, amongst others. It occupied 2 acres in all and in 1924 is described as the only public house in Wingfield, having been held by the same family, the Huntleys, for 57 years. It also contained a grocery store, described as in 'good shape and with a capital store room' giving an indication of the size of the property. Wadworth's Brewery purchased the pub at this point and still run it today. In 1796 there was an objection raised to the granting of a licence for a public house by the magistrates, “they are fully convinced of the mischief which must follow the setting up of a public house” and it was signed by Reverend Edward Spencer, Shrapnel and both John and Thomas Stillman.
In the 19th century there were a number of businesses as well as the farms; a bakery, post office, workshop, a coal yard run by the Moore family and a malt yard, but interestingly no blacksmith. Similar existed by 1920 as well as a market gardener, a gamekeeper and a laundress but the majority of work was still on farms in the early part of the 20th century. In 1086 a mill at Stowford was valued at 20 shillings and one at Wittenham 12 shillings, and the Stowford mill was still operational in 1903.
Cloth was made at Stowford until the 19th century employing people from nearby Wingfield. The local clothiers, the Bailey family, were responsible for building the house that is now the farm next to the church as well as the clothier's house next to the mill at Stowford. At the time of Thomas Bailey's death in 1552 there were four fulling mills at Stowford and cloth making continued at Stowford until 1860 when the mill reverted to other uses. The gradual decline of the textile industry in the area meant that Wingfield became a farming community by the mid 19th century and dairy farms by the end of that century included Stowford, Snarlton, Pomeroy, Swansbrooke, and Arnold's Hill.

The roads that form the crossroads around which Wingfield are scattered were turnpiked in 1799 and Reverend Spencer was highway surveyor recording details of road measurements in a series of small notebooks. A public carriage road and 25 private carriage roads and public and private footways were enumerated in the inclosure award.

Richard Bissie, in his will of 1684, left provision from rents received to place a local boy in an apprentice scheme; £4 a year was allocated and deposited in Lloyds bank in Trowbridge. One apprentice was John Sartaine who was appointed as a tailor apprentice for 7 years. His board and washing was paid for and at the end of his term he was provided with two new suits.
In 1781 the will of Thomas Pennington left £50 to the minister and churchwardens, the interest of which was for the poor of Wingfield and distributed annually.
Thomas Cooper's Charity of 1724 left £40 to be invested for the poor, and was administered by his son, John Cooper, until 1783 when property was sold.
Rev. Spencer in 1800 introduced the plaiting of straw, supplying the materials and buying the results of the work, thereby creating an industrious economy in the village allowing the poor to earn and support themselves; this was at a time when increasing rates and living expenses were affecting the local population.

Street lighting was introduced just after the 2nd World War and water mains installed in the village but some public pumps were still in use. A sewerage system was in place by 1975.

Between 1727 and 1816 there was an outbreak of smallpox, and the poor relief helped with the costs of burying, tending to, even inoculating people. Incidents of scarlet fever were also recorded at the same time.

Wingfield is a very rural village with scattered houses and farms. The majority of work was on the farms and the enclosed common had the Frome, Bradford and Trowbridge roads passing through it. Today the school is thriving and there are a number of successful businesses including the Chiropractic Clinic, the Poplars Inn and a number of artisan businesses based at Stowford farm including local stone masons, a furniture maker and an upholsterer.

CouncilWiltshire Council
Web Sitewww.wiltshire.gov.uk
Emailcustomercare@wiltshire.gov.uk
 
Parish CouncilWingfield Parish Council
Parish Web Site 
Parish EmailRoger.P.Coleman@btinternet.com
 

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Population 1801 - 2011

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Folk Arts:

Folk Songs from Wingfield

Folk Biographies from Wingfield

Folk Plays from Wingfield

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Listed Buildings: The number of buildings, or groups of buildings, listed as being of architectural or historic importance is 30. There are no Grade I buildings and two Grade II*, The Church of St. Mary, and Stowford Manor.

English Heritage and National Monuments Record

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