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Wiltshire Community History

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Boyton

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.


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 Boyton:

Map of the Civil Parish of Boyton

1896
Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre


From the Ordnance Survey 1896 revision of the one inch to one mile map. The modern civil parish boundary has been superimposed.


Thumbnail History:


The parish of Boyton is one of a string of parishes in the Wylye valley that have developed alongside the river. Only the far north of the parish is populated, the rest being hills and woodland. The hamlet of Corton is part of the parish. Both place names refer to personal names. Boyton is 'Boia's Farm' and Corton is 'Farm of Cort or Corta'.

There are nine archaeological sites, six of them being on the parish boundary. These enclosures, tumuli and barrows were important boundary markers. Three of the barrows were opened by William Cunnington in 1801 and 1804. The barrow on Boyton Down was 76 feet in diameter and contained 13 skeletons lying in different directions. The Corton long barrow was 216 feet long and contained eight skeletons. A Roman road, 'Mendip to Sorviodunum' (Old Sarum) passes through the south of the parish.

Among the families who have owned the Manor of Boyton are the Giffards, the Lamberts, the Benetts and the Fanes. The parish church was founded in the 12th century by the Giffards. The Lamberts held the Manor from 1572-1842. Aylmer Lambert was a notable 19th century botanist, best known for his work 'Description of the Genus Pinus'. In 1842 he died childless and was succeeded by his sister who had married John Benett of Pyt House in Tisbury. Their daughter Lucy married Arthur Fane and their eldest son succeeded to Boyton. The Manor remained in this family until 1935. The Manor House was let, and c.1877 the tenant was H.R.H. Prince Leopold, fourth son of Queen Victoria.

The church at Boyton is dedicated to St. Mary and was built c.1280 with 14th and 15th century additions. It consists of a nave, chancel and north and south chapels. In 1824 Sir Richard Colt Hoare described it as 'one of the most interesting parish churches in the Vale of Wily' [Wylye]. Pevsner was very complimentary about the south chapel, saying that it was 'certain that no architectural traveller will forget Boyton'. The church was restored in 1860 by T.H. Wyatt, and work was also carried out in 1949-51 and 1956-60.

A chapel at Corton, dedicated to St Modwen, was built on a site near Corton Manor House probably in the 13th century. It soon fell into decay and there is no mention of it at the time of the Reformation. According to Wiltshire Notes and Queries volume four, the chapel was pulled down c.1569. In 1877 a church was built but never consecrated. A chapel of ease, dedicated to The Holy Angels, was built and consecrated in 1937. By the 1970s it was proving almost impossible to support two places of worship, and the chapel sadly closed in 1980. It is now a private house.

A Baptist chapel, with its own burial ground, was built in 1827. It closed in 1965.

There are two manor houses in the parish. Boyton Manor was built in 1618 for Thomas Lambert. The interior still has some of the original Jacobean features. In the 18th century the Fane family built a Dower House close by. Cortington Manor was built in the late 17th century. The Dove Inn at Corton, originally The New Inn, dates from the 1860s.

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the majority of men were employed in agriculture, and may have worked in any of the neighbouring parishes, as well as their own. Until the mid 18th century, the cloth industry had been another major source of employment. As early as 1379 there were three fullers in the parish, one at Corton and two at Boyton. In 1440 there was a fulling mill at Boyton. The river Wylye was an immediate water source and the 1000 plus sheep kept by the Hungerford family at Heytesbury provided the wool. The last reference to fulling in Boyton is 1727, when it was included in a list of mills at which medley cloths were to be inspected.

In the late 19th century Boyton had most of the services needed by a community in order to make it self sufficient. In the Kelly's Directory for 1885 there were two shopkeepers, a grocer, two beer retailers, a thatcher and a blacksmith, all in Corton. By the time of the 1907 edition, they had all gone. Possibly the villagers were shopping in neighbouring Heytesbury or Codford, or even Warminster.

At the time of Domesday, the estimated population of Boyton was 60-80. The first official figure is from 1801, by which time it had risen to 248. The population continued to rise steadily until 1861, when it reached its peak of 410. The 1871 census shows a decrease of 54, which was attributed to the demolition of houses and the migration of young persons, chiefly as domestic servants, to the towns. From this date the figure dropped gradually to 181 people in 2001.

The report made to the Charity Commissioners in 1902 describes three charities in Boyton, namely Mompesson, Lambert and Snelgrove. The interest on the sums of £50, £100 and £100 respectively was used from the first two named to buy sheets and coal for the poor. Snelgrove's charity paid 2s 6d to each poor person over the age of 65.

Organised leisure activities began to appear in general in the late 19th century. The 1903 Kelly's Directory shows a Reading Room at Codford. The men in Boyton may well have used this facility to read a daily newspaper, or perhaps to play cards or billiards. There was also in Codford a football club by 1910, a Women's Institute in 1924, various sports clubs in the 1930s and the Woolstore Theatre opened in 1928.

The population of Boyton has changed very little in the 20th century and there has been little building. The 1901 census shows that most of the men were working on the land at that time, although some were working on the G.W.R. Today most people will travel to work, possibly to neighbouring Warminster. A recent success story is 'The Ginger Piggery'. The Wheatley-Hubbard family have farmed in Boyton since 1963, specialising in the Tamworth pig. Recognising the need to diversify, the family set up 'The Ginger Piggery'. This includes 'The Trough', a coffee shop and restaurant serving the farm's own meat and other local produce, 'Tamworth Studios' which offers artisan workshops, 'The Black Barn Gallery' which exhibits work from over 20 local artists, and tours, talks and demonstrations.

Although many Wiltshire villages were self sufficient until the Second World War, Boyton was not. In the second half of the 19th century its population almost halved. According to the Kelly's Directory the village shop closed c.1905. There was a sub Post Office at Corton, although the nearest money order and telegraph office was at Upton Lovell. The villagers probably chose to shop in neighbouring Codford, where they could also catch the train to Warminster. The village school, built in 1874, remained open until 1932, when the children moved to Codford. The author Brian Woodruffe, in his book 'Wiltshire Villages', describes Boyton as 'not so much a village as a spacious grouping of country houses, a few cottages and farm buildings all set in a parkland landscape with beech hangers, roadside rows of trees and orchards with grazing sheep'. It is undoubtedly a beautiful part of the Wylye Valley.

CouncilWiltshire Council
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Parish CouncilBoyton Parish Council
Parish Web Site 
Parish Emailboytonandcortonparishclerk@gmail.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.

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 Boyton

Folk Biographies from Boyton

Folk Plays from Boyton

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 17. There is one Grade I building, Boyton Manor and no Grade II* buildings.

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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