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Clyffe Pypard

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.

Map of the Civil Parish of Clyffe Pypard:

Map of the Civil Parish of Clyffe Pypard

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, 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


Thumbnail History:


The sprawling parish of Clyffe Pypard is situated approximately seven miles south-west of Swindon and borders the large parish of Royal Wootton Bassett to the north.
The parish consists of several hamlets which had included Broad Town up until 1884 when it became a parish in its own right. The hamlets included in the parish are; Woodhill, Bupton, Bushton and Thornhill. Both Woodhill and Bupton had been substantial medieval villages. Thornhill became part of Broad Town parish in 1884.

The village of Clyffe Pypard lies on the slope of a wooded greensand ridge, which rises steeply above it. The ridge is a north facing chalk escarpment which reaches over 700 feet. Below this, the greensand leads down to a belt of gault followed by the local common geological material of Kimmeridge clay. Overall, approximately two thirds of Clyffe Pypard parish is situated on clay and the other third on chalk. This gives the parish diversity in agriculture ranging from arable crops on the scarp to sheep and dairy farming on the lower slopes and fields.

There are numerous water sources trickling down from the escarpment in the form of springs and brooks. In fact a headwater of the Bristol Avon, the Brinkworth Brook, rises here and runs north through the parish. This amount of water undoubtedly creates marshy conditions and gave one of the common grazing areas in Bushton, The Marsh, its name.

Up until quite recently, the parish had large swathes of deciduous woodland. Unfortunately, a couple of the local landowners had to pay off debts and used the timber to keep their estates afloat. The two remaining areas of woodland of note are Clyffe Pypard or Cleeve Wood, which actually stands away from the village to the north, and Stanmore Copse. a fox covert, which is sited in a field above the scarp to the south. At the time of the Domesday survey, it appears that there was much more woodland, amounting to 28 acres within six estates.

The name Clyffe Pypard is derived from 'clif' meaning slope and Pypard most probably comes from landowner Richard Pipart (later spelt Pipard) who held the estate of Clyffe in 1231. The two word name was first mentioned together in 1282, when it was Pippardesclyve. It was also known as Clive Pip(p)ard in 1291 and Piperesclyve in 1340. By 1570, Cleve Pepper or Pepper Cleeve seemed to be a consistent name and the following local rhyme includes the village;

“White Cleeve, Pepper Cleeve, Cleeve and Clevancy,
Lyneham and Lousy Clack,
Cus Mavord and Dantsey”

It is thought that there has been human activity in the parish for thousands of years. Between Clyffe Pypard village and the small settlement of Bupton there are a group of possible barrows in an area covering three hectares. These barrows have not been excavated. There have been Neolithic finds in the area including flint working tools and arrowheads. In the 1880s, a skeleton was found in the field, above Clyffe Pypard village, owned by Nelson Goddard. 'Two or three huge Sarsen stones forming most efficient protection to the body they covered. 'This was the description given in The Wiltshire Magazine at that time. It is possible that there may have been Roman occupation at some time but only on a small scale. Perhaps a small farmstead or villa stood in the Bupton area as this is where a Roman earthenware ring and a Greek bronze coin of Antinous were found.

The most noticeable human activity in the parish occurred during medieval times. Not only were there estates in Clyffe Pypard and Bushton during this period, but also Woodhill and Bupton were villages in their own right. Thornhill is also well documented during the medieval period. Substantial earthworks are still very visible in the areas of the two abandoned villages at Bupton and Woodhill including earthworks of fishponds and house platforms.

At the time of the Domesday survey (1086), there are at least thirteen references to 'Clive'. It is possible that the main estate at Clyffe Pypard was held by Alfric, Burgel and Godere. By 1086, Gilbert de Breteuil held the estate of the main manor, of the King. At this time there was land for seven ploughs, 66 acres of meadow, 87 acres of pasture and 18 acres of woodland. The estate supported 26 servile tenants. Also the survey indicates that Ansfrid held 11 hides of the estate of Gilbert, amounting to £6. The other main Clyffe Pypard estate belonged to Humphrey Lisle. This estate amounted to eight hides which held four ploughs, 20 acres each of meadow and pasture. This estate was worth £4. The population of all the estates at this time was probably between 130 and 160 people.

During the mid 13th century the overlordship passed to the Reviers family, Baldwin de Reviers held the estate in 1242. At this time the estate was reckoned at a one and a half knight's fee. Very soon the Clyffe Pypard estate passed to Walter Marshall, Earl of Pembroke, or his successors. The owner became an overlord and the estate is believed to have descended identically to that of Hamstead Marshall in Berkshire. Queen Joan, the consort of Henry IV was the last documented overlord of Clyffe Pypard in 1428.

The main estate was held by the Reviers family in 1242 under the name of 'Clive', briefly followed by the Baron Columbars whose title became extinct by 1342. A Richard Pipard (hence the name of Pipard added to Clive) held the estate of Matthew Columbars; the estate was eventually passed by marriage to John de Cobham. By 1297 the lord of the manor was Roger de Cobham, John's third son, who had bought, not inherited, the estate. Roger was granted free warren in 1304 which meant that the King gave permission to raise and hunt certain animals including 'Conies (Rabbits), Hares, Roe (Deer), Partridge, Quaile, Raile, Pheasant, Woodcocke, Mallard and Herne (Heron). The manor remained in the control of the Cobham family until 1525, when an Edward Cobham sold it to William Dauntsey, an Alderman of London who founded Dauntsey's School in West Lavington.

The Goddard family took possession of the estate in 1530, when a John Goddard of Aldbourne bought it. Apart from the few years of disruption during the Dissolution when Clyffe Pypard was handed over to Lacock Abbey, the estate remained with the Goddards for almost four hundred years.
The final member of the family by name was Frances Goddard who was the daughter of Horatio Nelson Goddard (died 1900). Miss Goddard married William Wilson, a naval officer. Their son, William Werden Wilson inherited the estate on Frances Goddard's death in 1940. The estate was then passed to his son, Peter Werden Wilson in 1950.

Some members of the Goddard family were of particular note; one member, the Reverend Edward Hungerford Goddard, was the vicar in Clyffe Pypard during the 19th century. He kept notes for some of his years of service which included details of weather, illnesses and events in the parish. Some examples of his reports included; '1897 was the best year for farmers in twenty years' and the following year of 1898 was 'a wonderful year for agriculture'. Rev. Goddard was also the secretary for the Wiltshire Archaeological & Natural History Society. Another Goddard who made his mark at Clyffe Pypard was Horatio Nelson Goddard who was the squire for several years. He supported the community considerably during his time there. In the 1850s Mr Goddard was a Justice of the Peace in Oxfordshire.

The Goddard family resided in the Manor House which is set on the edge of the main village and was built in around 1840, but considerably remodelled in 1880 for Horatio Nelson Goddard Esq. It was constructed in red brick with stone dressings, a stone slate roof with stone mullioned windows. It is not known what the old manor house would have looked like. Other buildings located centrally in the village include The Vicarage, the Church of St. Peter and the now redundant village school (built 1854). Some old cottages that are timber framed with half-hipped thatched roofs still remain in the centre of the village. Two date from the 17th century and are listed properties while the two other houses are from the 18th century. Another building of note is the village pub (Goddard Arms). The main streets through the village are Wood Street (once known as Wood Way) and Pilgrim's Way.

The provision of half an acre of land in 1399 for the site of a vicarage was a gift by John of Maidenhead to the advowson of Lacock. The building was described in 1671, as having a 'little court, garden and orchard'. Over the years it became derelict and was eventually pulled down and replaced in 1939, on an adjoining site. In order to provide the new vicarage with necessary features such as a stable block and kitchen garden several village buildings were pulled down. This included premises belonging to the blacksmith and carpenter. The current vicarage was built in 1979 on the site of the old kitchen garden. The village school was built in 1854 and became a dwelling house after the school was closed in the 1978.

The Goddard Arms was given its name in 1856 after the family gave permission for its use of both name and the coat of arms for its sign. The family motto is 'Cervus non servus' which means (Free as a) stag not (a) slave. The pub was previously called The Polly Gale in the early 19th century. It was almost completely destroyed by fire in December 1961 along with two old cottages. Amongst some of the pub's landlords according to the Kelly's Directories were Thomas Gale (1885) followed by Amelia Gale (1903), Frederick Wheeler (1920) and Henry Smart (1939).

During the 19th and 20th centuries there were blacksmith and carpenter premises in Clyffe Pypard along with a village store. At this time there was also a carter, horse dealer and several farmers. The main post office however was located in Bushton due to its accessibility to surrounding villages. After the Second World War, a group of terraced council houses were built to the west of the village.

Owing to its rural position, Clyffe Pypard was, and still is, predominantly an agricultural community. The main arable crops grown here were meadow grass/hay, wheat, barley, beans and more recently oil seed rape. Some farms located on the lower stretches of the parish are dairy farms whereas sheep farming takes place on the slopes. Nowadays, farms located in and around the village include Manor Farm, Home Farm, Bellcroft Farm, Nonesuch Farm and Nebo Farm.

In 1603, a lease of warrens was taken from part of the common ground belonging to the manor. This was in addition to the free warren already established in the parish. During a survey of the manor in 1684 there were 6 leasehold and 4 copyhold tenants (including one holding a mill). The leasehold tenants were those who rented their land for a certain number of lives. The copyholders held tracts of open fields (yard lands) or parts of fields (strips). The copyhold or 'villain tenure of land' made the participant subject to manorial custom and obligation to undertake certain services for the Lord of the Manor. A copy of a copyholder's contract was recorded on the manorial court roll. At this time the main farm in the village covered 172 acres, this was probably Manor Farm and the tenant was John Pyke. It appears that the surrounding land was divided amongst a number of other tenants including a small leasehold of 24 acres of pasture called Rosyers and another including a coppice near Cleeve Wood of 5 acres.
In 1699, the annual value of leaseholders was £443 and of copyholders it was £61 10 shillings.

During the rural upheaval and discontent in the mid 19th century some farm labourers committed numerous crimes in protest of their wages and working conditions. In Clyffe Pypard, a sheepfold belonging to H. Goddard was set alight by a local man named John Chunn, aged 57 years. He was sentenced to 15 years transportation, probably to Australia.

Children as young as eight years old were sent from the village as apprentices to learn a trade. In 1800 Elizabeth Baker, aged 8, was sent as a broad weaver to John Flower of Seend and Robert Spackman , aged 10, became a broadcloth weaver for Joel Tanner in Chippenham..

The two World Wars affected the parish as much as every other rural community. The inhabitants tightened their belts and sacrificed young men on the front line. During the Second World War, residents welcomed evacuees into their homes and German prisoners of war were housed at a farm in Lower Bupton.

On 8th September 1941, no.29 E.F.T.S was formed at Clyffe Pypard to carry out initial flying training for pupil pilots of the RAF under no.50 (T) Group of Flying Training Command. The RAF station was located above the village on top of the scarp slope where there was an ample level site for a runway and plenty of space for all the buildings needed. Nebo Farm was demolished to make way for the base. The station was to provide facilities for 40 officers, 30 sergeants, 440 airmen and 208 civilians. Initially the trainee pilots flew Tiger Moth trainers but by 1942, glider training had begun by the Army. After the war, the facility was used by RAF Lyneham as a transit camp for RAF Transport Command. In April 1978, the 33 acre site fetched £4,950 at auction as a potential agricultural holding.

Leisure facilities in Clyffe Pypard were quite restricted due to its location. A sports field was provided by the lord of the manor during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This enabled the parishioners to play football and cricket and annual sports' days took place there. A traditional festival named 'Clyffe Feast' apparently took place in the parish from medieval times to celebrate the Festival of St.Peter in June. One of the entertainments during the festival was fighting. The men would strip themselves to the waist and using a single stick 'break heads with the back sword'. The men of Clyffe Pypard would frequently fight residents of Hilmarton who were infamously rougher.

Several charities were established in Clyffe Pypard to benefit the many poor residents.
Two of these charities were created by different Thomas Spackmans who died over a century apart. The first Spackman charity appeared from a will left by Thomas Spackman who died in 1675. The will was taken from a rent charge of a six acre meadow to the value of 21 shillings. The charity funds enabled the distribution of bread to the poor by the vicar. Not much is known of this charity. The other Spackman charity was established in 1782 on the death of a wealthy carpenter, Thomas Spackman who had made his fortune in London after leaving his home parish of Clyffe Pypard. Part of his legacy was to maintain his elaborate monument in the church. The main part of the charity was to set up and fund a school in the village. The fund was later known as the Spackman Educational Foundation which enabled the erection of a village school and to buy not only equipment but give prizes for attendance and good behaviour. The last part of the charity was to distribute bread to the poor each Sunday after the church service. In the early 20th century the bread fund had stopped and the money was added to the coal club instead.

Another charity relating to education had been founded by Sarah, Duchess of Somerset from her will proved in 1704. Although it was later known as the Broad Town Trust, it also benefited young residents of her manor at Thornhill. A number of boys were apprenticed with the funding. Trades chosen by the participants included building, engineering and printing. Two more charities benefited the parish in the last two centuries. Jacob Pinneger Broome stipulated in his will proved in 1876 that his executor was to distribute £100 to the poor at his discretion. This fund was amalgamated with others to provide clothing and bedding to poor residents. A will left by resident Elizabeth Malpuss resulted in the founding of another charity in Clyffe Pypard. The will was proved in 1884 when £100 was put into trust; the income was to provide bread, coal and blankets 'to deserving and necessitous persons'. By 1905 the incomes from this and the Broome charity were paid to the parish Bedding Club. In 1962, the Malpuss charity was earning £3 10s and the Broome charity's income was £9 three years later. At this time the incomes were used to provide food to needy parishioners.



Bushton

The settlement of Bushton lies away from the escarpment less than half a mile to the north-west of Clyffe Pypard village. It is a sizeable hamlet containing several farms and smallholdings, a village inn and numerous dwellings. The hamlet spreads along Breach Lane towards Tockenham where there is a mixture of older and more modern properties. Access to Bushton is on minor roads; the main route known locally as 'the Bushton Road' separates the hamlet and is unclassified. With an orientation of north-east/south-west it runs from Broad Town to Hilmarton. Another minor route which crosses Bushton at a crossroads can take you northwards to Tockenham or southwards to Clyffe Pypard. Bushton has always been more accessible than Clyffe Pypard hence the reason for the parish post office and main store being located here in the past.

The name Bushton comes from 'Bishop-tun' meaning Bishop's Farm. The origin of this dates from when the Bishop of Winchester held the estate from the time of the Domesday survey in 1086 to the Dissolution. The land and inhabitants were tied to St.Swithun's Priory in Winchester whereby produce was given to the priory regularly; this was their only income. The estate comprised ten hides; land for five ploughs, 30 acres of meadow and woodland measuring two furlongs long and one furlong wide. There were 13 servile tenants at this time.

In the early 13th century, the manor of Bushton was worth £8. The rents supplied an income of £2.0s.2d and held 16 oxen. In 1337 there were 40 poll tax payers (aged over 14 years). After the Dissolution several families of note held the estate at Bushton including the Richmonds, Huntons, Wroughtons and the Broomes. The manor including most of the farms were sold off by the Broome family in 1913. At auction, the county council acquired three of the farms, Bushton, Smith's and Bellcroft, as smallholdings.

The house of Bushton's Manor is now known as Manor Farmhouse. The present building dates from 1747, when the owner Ralph Broome rebuilt the property although it is believed it retains some older features. Broome (1742-1835) was a pamphleteer and poet who was born and bred in the village. One of the oldest properties in Bushton is Merrythatch Cottage which dates from around 1621. It was a farmhouse and is timber framed with a thatched roof.

Historically, farming has been the main occupation in Bushton. There are still several farms here including Bushton Manor Farm, Bishop's Farm, Hollyhouse Farm and Smith's Farm. Most of the Bushton farms have been active in dairy farming which also included the production of cheese. Other trades were established in Bushton during the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1848 these trades included two shopkeepers, a shoemaker, beer retailer and tailor. In 1927 there other trades including a cow keeper, horse slaughterer and grocer/sub postmaster.

In the mid 16th century there were two commons in Bushton called 'The Marsh' and 'The Hurst', amounting to 60 acres. At this time a 12d fee was paid annually to St.Swithun's called 'Monken Eve'. The arable land was located in the west and east fields located above the hill and the village of Clyffe Pypard.


Bupton

Bupton is a tiny hamlet made up of a few properties and farms. It is situated at the far south western end of the parish of Clyffe Pypard. It borders Hilmarton parish with its hamlets of Corton, Clevancy and Littlecot. Bupton lies at the foot of the chalk escarpment which runs from the south-west to the north-east through the parish of Clyffe Pypard. It is believed that the name of Bupton comes from the name of William Bubbe who owed service in 'Clive' in 1255. There have been various spellings of this hamlet including 'Bubbeton' and Great Bupton. Nowadays Bupton consists of Bupton Farm (previously known as Lower Bupton Farm), Bupton Hill Farm, Model Farm and a couple of private dwellings. In the 14th century Bupton was a small medieval village with many more properties than there is today. There are traces of earthworks including fishponds and platforms in the vicinity of the old village today. It is believed that part of the demise of the village came with the bankruptcy of the main landowners, the Quintins, in the early 17th century. They had been very highly taxed and had had all their lands seized by 1617.



Woodhill

The origin of the name Woodhill comes from the 'hill where Woad grows'. Woad is a plant which was widely used as a blue dye. There are several variations of the spelling including Wadhulle in 1086, Odehill in 1497 and Oad Hill Park in 1773. The Bishop of Bayeaux held the estate at the time of the Domesday survey in 1086. The estate comprised of 6 hides and had land for 3 ploughs. There were 12 acres of meadow and small parcels of pasture and woodland. There were 11 servile tenants on land worth £4. The Wroughton family held the estate from the 14th to the 17th centuries. The Broome family succeeded them from the mid 17th century to 1923 when the estate was sold to a tenant farmer. Woodhill comprises one property called Woodhill Park Farm. The current building is a large private dwelling consisting of two back to back ranges in red brick. The oldest part of the property dates from the 18th century. There was a small chapel at Woodhill in 1340. At Woodhill there was a windmill in the 14th century. It is believed that it had become redundant by the mid 17th century.

CouncilWiltshire Council
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Parish CouncilClyffe Pypard Parish Council
Parish Web Site 
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Population 1801 - 2011

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Folk Arts:

Folk Songs from Clyffe Pypard

Folk Biographies from Clyffe Pypard

Folk Plays from Clyffe Pypard

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