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Wiltshire Community History

Brokenborough Search Results

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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 Brokenborough:

Map of the Civil Parish of Brokenborough

Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham

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

Thumbnail History:

Brokenborough is a small, pleasant village one and a half miles north west of Malmesbury. It sits on the banks of streams which form the Bristol Avon. The village lies close to the Roman Fosse Way. It is located off the main road between Malmesbury and Tetbury, so you are not obliged to go through it.

The name Brokenborough is believed to mean 'Broken Hill'; referring to the hill on which it sits.

King Edwy handed Brokenborough to Malmesbury Abbey in 956. Nearby Corston and Rodbourne were included in this estate. It is believed the west-Saxon king, King Athelstan, had a valuable palace in Brokenborough, belonging to the monastery. Plans from 956, which were drawn up in the next century reveal the estate included: Ashley, Long Newton, Crudwell, Malmesbury and Westport.

In 1086, Brokenborough was part of Malmesbury's large estate. It almost certainly had its own lands. The name, Brokenborough, is not known to have been used before the 11th century, as detailed in a charter of 956. Malmesbury Abbey claimed that an estate of 100-mansae (dwelling house with land) was granted to it by King Edwy in 956, this was confirmed to be a 50-hide estate by King Edward in 1065. At this time, the abbey, which held the estate until the dissolution, claimed it included Bremilham, Corston, Cowfold, Grittenham, Rodbourne and Sutton Benger.

St. John the Baptist church in Brokenborough was first built in the 12th century. Since this time there have been additions to the church in the 14th and 15th century. From 1341, or possibly earlier, it was a chapel of Westport church, up until 1879, at which point it was a chapel of Charlton church, up to 1984. In 1248 the church may have been served by Malmesbury abbey

In 1249, the Lord of Bremilham held 36 acres in the open fields of the estate. Seven years previous to this, William Le Theyn had held an estate there. During the 12th century, the Brokenborough estate was the Abbey's most valuable asset.

A monk once wrote in the late 14th century that there was a royal residence and its manor that King Athelstan had inhabited. During this time, there were 120 poll-tax people aged over 14 years) payers in the parish. Malmesbury Abbey had reglian rights in the late 14th century. Brokenborough grew area in 1478, with land on the north side of the Tetbury Avon being ascribed.

When the 16th century arrived, the parish was of average wealth. During which time, the King gave the manor, minus a meadow and some woodland, to John Dudly, Duke of Northumberland. He sold the manor to Sir James Stumpe, the owner of the Charlton Manor, in 1553. Stumpe found it imperfect which led him to leasing the manor to the Stafford's. In the early 16th century, the abbey held view of frankpledge, with a manor court being held twice a year. These court records survive from this date to the early 19th century.

In 1676 there were75 adults in residence in Brokenborough. During this time, the ruins from the 10th century royal palace were still standing. In 1671, two men were presented for not attending church, the first non-conformists. A Papist and a Protestant dissenter also lived in the parish at this time; 1676.
In 1706, St. John Baptist church began to receive a grand total of £1 per year from the Lady Frances Winchcombe Charity. The money was used to purchase Bibles and prayer books for the church. The parish had to spend other finances during this time, by relieving its own poor. The cost of doing so was £61 in 1775, although this figure decreased to £55 in the early 1780s.

Brokenborough saw a great deal of change throughout the 19th century. At the turn of the century, in 1801 the population of the parish was 211, this rose to 283 in the following thirty years. In 1841, there were 429 people living in the parish, 131 of these lived in the union workhouse, which is found in the western corner of the estate. The average cost of relieving the poor amongst this population was between £200 and £300. The parish became part of Malmesbury poor union in 1835. The estate was 2,634 acres in 1889, though this all changed as the century neared its close, in 1897. At this point, Brokenborough within was merged with Westport St. Mary Within. Brokenborough Without was to be known as just Brokenborough. The St. John the Baptist church saw its restoration come in the 19th century, in 1883. Not all attended this church, however. In 1815, and 1816, meeting houses for independents were certified, in 1815 to Abraham Smith and in 1816 to William Mills. A small chapel for Primitive Methodists was also constructed in 1873, which saw service until c.1963. Education began in Brokenborough in 1825, with a day school. This was attended by 17 boys and 5 girls. The Elizabeth Hodges Charity donated £2 for three boys to be educated. This day school was held in a cottage, until moved to a room adjoining the post office where it was held until the 1920s. In the mid 19th century a school was held in the union workhouse that at that time was in Brokenborough parish.

The 20th century saw Brokenborough become a civil parish. The church was dependent on Westport and Charlton churches until 1984. This century saw a population rise from 317 in 1901 to 532 in 1981. In 1974 the parish became part of the North Wiltshire District. In 1987, Charlton Park Estate, which had held the estate since 1598, owned 1,548 acres in Brokenborough parish.

In this modern day, the village is home to 173 people. It's a small place, home to farms, a pub and a church, also providing a peaceful environment for its people to live.

CouncilWiltshire Council
Web Sitewww.wiltshire.gov.uk
Parish CouncilBrokenborough Parish Council
Parish Web Site 
Parish Emailemwalker1@tiscali.co.uk

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 Brokenborough

Folk Biographies from Brokenborough

Folk Plays from Brokenborough

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 13. There are no Grade I buildings; and two Grade II* buildings, the Great Barn to the south west of Brockenborough Farmhouse and the Church of John the Baptist.

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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