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Wiltshire Community History

Chapmanslade 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 Chapmanslade:

Map of the Civil Parish of Chapmanslade

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:

Chapmanslade is a small village in the far west of Wiltshire and is less than four miles away from Frome in Somerset and four miles south-west of Westbury. In the Middle Ages - definitely in 1235 - Chapmanslade was part of the parish of Corsley and it retains close links with that village. Up until the year 1894 Chapmanslade was a tithing within the parish of Westbury but after that year a new parish of Dilton Marsh was created of which most of Chapmanslade was part. In effect, the parish boundary ran from Westbury to Frome and cut through the village of Chapmanslade for ¾ of a mile, and followed the line of the main village street. This meant houses on the southern side of the street remained in Corsley, while the northern part were in Dilton Marsh. A 1773 map of the village of Chapmanslade shows a spelling of “Shapmanslade” but when the present spelling came into more general use is not clear. It was not until 1934 that Chapmanslade became a parish proper; elements of Dilton Marsh, Upper Scudamore and the village of Chapmanslade formed the civil parish. The first ever parish council meeting was on 6 April 1934 at the National School.

The parish of Chapmanslade is quite small and is made up of approximately 1,136 acres. It stretches about a mile and a half from north to south and the same from east to west. The southern boundaries are marked by Corsley Mill Farm and the Rodden Brook to the south and Black Dog Woods to the north. The western boundary is the easiest to spot; it is the county boundary between Wiltshire and Somerset. The wonderfully named Black Dog Woods, which make up the north-west corner of the parish, were once part of Selwood Forest. They were replanted to a large degree in 1959.

The land to the east of the parish is fertile greensand and land to the west is clay.The parish rises to a height of 142 metres at the very centre and slopes quite steeply once you head south.

The village of Chapmanslade itself is in the centre of the parish. There were 651 people living in the village in 2001. The Westbury to Frome road which runs through the village is naturally where most of the houses are situated. The majority of houses are cottages and small houses and date from the 18th and 19th centuries. They are mainly constructed from stone. A small group of council houses were built to the east of the village in 1948.

The manor of Chapmanslade belonged to Stanley Abbey until the Dissolution.

The village of Corsley, a mile away from Chapmanslade, is of course significant. In the opening pages of `”Crocodiles and Chicken Chasers”, written by residents of the two villages, is charmingly written: ‘For a lifetime and more there has been a friendly rivalry between our two villages. “Corsley Crocodiles” would be the cry from the children on one side of Divers Bridge, and back would come the response “Chapmanslade Chicken Chasers”. Nobody quite knows why.’

It is thought that Chapmanslade once was part of a thriving weaving industry. Some evidence can be seen in the village today; opposite the church in the middle of the village is an early 19th century weaver’s cottage. While there is what was once a weaver’s workshop to the east of the village; it has now been converted into two cottages. There is evidence for weaving in the village up until 1850. Brian Woodruffe, when visiting Chapmanslade for his book “Wiltshire Villages” in 1982, was not especially complimentary. He said: ‘Its former weaving industry has left little of architectural merit and the church and its complementary school, both walled with a dull brownish-orange stone, add but a minimum of charm to the overall character.’

Despite this, there are a number of listed buildings in the parish. Many of the farmhouses, including Barters Farm, Black Dog Farmhouse, Thoulstone Farmhouse and Spinney Farmhouse are all Grade II listed. Many houses and cottages on the main street are also Grade II listed. A milestone found at the junction of the Bath Road with the Westbury Road, dates from 1840 and is Grade II listed. It is a cast iron pillar with the lettering “Bath/14 Warminster/3” inscribed upon it.

Agriculture in the parish has historically focused on dairy farming and in the 1930s there were 21 farms of various sizes. Farming has decreased rapidly since then, and in 2000 only one dairy farm was recorded. In addition to dairy farms, in the 19th and early 20th centuries there were many small holdings.

Another industry in the village was Dyer’s Printing Works, which was founded in 1939. Harold Dyer, who was the postmaster, bought large printing machines and installed them in the building adjacent to the Post Office. A new building works was later built in Wood Lane, running north from the main street through the village. Before the Second World War there were more industries, but since then trades have declined in the parish. In Kelly’s 1935 Directory of Wiltshire two blacksmiths, a painter, a bootmaker and a market gardener are all listed as occupations in the village. In the 1920s there was a sweet shop and factory on Short Street.

The social life of the village has always been important to the villagers. The Women’s Institute in particular was always popular; it reformed in 1964 after being closed after the Second World War, but it began initially in the 1920s. In 1926 there were 41 members but that fell to 27 by 1943. The cricket club is also central to the village and matches between Chapmanslade and Corsley are always a highlight of the social calendar. Matches were once played behind the school but after 1922 they played on the Memorial Ground, which was considered one of the best wickets in the area. Football, tennis and badminton are also popular clubs and the Chapmanslade Players, while not established until the 1970s, have put on many productions. Comedies and pantomimes were especially important.

Mains electricity and water did not arrive in the parish until the 1940s, although lighting was installed in the chapel and church in 1934.

During the Second World War the Home Guard and A.R.P (Air Raid Precautions) kept a strict eye on those villagers who did not adhere to black out regulations. One bomb was dropped on the village during the war and landed near Godswell Grove to the north. The bomb disposal unit arrived, to the great delight of the local children. There was a large searchlight installed in a field at Thoulstone, which is just in the parish, to the far west.

The Black Dog Inn, which dates back to 1760, was to be found at the bottom of Black Dog Hill. It is likely that it was a coaching inn, bearing in mind the location, which would have been ideal for people travelling from Bristol or Bath to the south coast. The Black Dog Inn subsequently became a private house. The Wheelwright Arms dates back even further than the Black Dog Inn, and is thought to have been built in 1711, although it was first used as a private home. It closed in 1960.The Three Horse Shoes still stands and is the current village pub. It is thought to date from the 16th century. The Nag’s Head and The King’s Arms were the other two pubs, now closed.

CouncilWiltshire Council
Web Sitewww.wiltshire.gov.uk
Parish CouncilChapmanslade Parish Council
Parish Web Site 
Parish Emailchapmansladepc@yahoo.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 Chapmanslade

Folk Biographies from Chapmanslade

Folk Plays from Chapmanslade

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 24.

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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