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Wiltshire Community History

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Edington

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 Edington:

Map of the Civil parish of Edington

1898
Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre


From the Ordnance Survey 1898 revision of the one inch to one mile map. The modern parish boundary has been superimposed


Thumbnail History:


Edington lies 2 miles east of Westbury and the parish is about 6 miles in length, with land rising to over 600 feet to the south where the land meets Salisbury Plain. The north of the parish lies on the Kimmeridge clay land of mid Wiltshire and the south lies on chalk, with outcrops of greensand and clay where the areas of population are situated. The lower land is arable, with crops grown on the northern edge, while the downland in the south is now used for military training purposes. The B3098 crosses the parish from Westbury to West Lavington and it is along this road that the villages of Edington and Tinhead lie. Minor roads lead north westwards to Steeple Ashton and Trowbridge. The village has no obvious centre and its properties are rather scattered due to the contours of the land. At the eastern end of the village a group of cottages are situated at the end of a lane which leads to the downs. This area was known as 'Little London' in 1773, and was referred to as 'the City 'by 1886. Tinhead is one quarter mile east of Edington, and the villages are joined by a small council estate parallel to the main road. The Lamb Inn and school are on this road, but most of the properties in Tinhead lie off the smaller roads leading towards Steeple Ashton. Other areas close to Edington include West Coulston which was transferred to the parish of East Coulston in 1934, and a number of farms.

According to the Domesday Book and during King Edward's reign, Edington paid geld (tax) for 30 hides. There was land for 35 1/2 ploughs and the population at this time numbered between 280 and 340. Two mills paid 19 shillings and there were 100 acres of meadow. The pasture was one league long and half a league broad. The woodland was 10 furlongs long and one league broad. William Scudet, Osmund, Hervey of Wilton and some Englishmen held 15 hides and 3 virgates of this land with 12 1/2 ploughs. The demesne (lands) of the church was worth £30 and that held by the men was worth £18. The church itself also held Steeple Ashton.

Edington is the site of the Battle of Ethandun, where Alfred defeated the Danes under Guthram, in 878. One of the terms of the eventual surrender was that Guthrum converted to Christianity and then settled in the east of the country. This resulted in a short period of peace. The Witan, an Anglo Saxon advisory council to the King, met at Edington in 957. Notable early inhabitants include William of Edington, Bishop of Winchester 1346-1366, who was a younger son of the leading family of the village and William Wey, who settled at the monastery to write an account of his two pilgrimages to Jerusalem in the 15th century. In 1450, during Cade's rebellion, the Bishop of Salisbury, William Aiscough, was seized while celebrating mass, by an angry mob. He was taken to the top of Edington Hill where he was stoned to death. There was a feeling of discontent at the time, due to the weak reign of Henry VI and Bishop Aiscough was a favourite of the King. Paul Bush, Rector of Edington, later became Bishop of Bristol from 1542 to 1554. 1838 and 1839 saw small Chartist meetings at Tinhead, addressed by William Carrier of Trowbridge.

The Manor of Edington, left by Alfred to his wife, Ealhswith, was granted to Romsey Abbey in 968 and it was held by the nuns in 1086. This remained until just before the Dissolution. The foundation of the religious house in 1351 resulted in the manor being called Edington Rector, while the capital manor was known as Edington Romsey. The manor of Edington was gradually built up with purchases from the Abbess.
Tinhead is first mentioned as a personal name in 1190 when Philip de 'Tunheade' paid a forest fine. The estate known as Tinhead Rector was first referred to in 1363 when it was left to John of Edington by Maud the widow of Robert Selyman. The Romsey property in Tinhead was called Tinhead Romsey after the Dissolution.
In 1539 the lands came to Sir Thomas Seymour, later Sir Seymour of Sudeley, who married Catherine Parr, the widow of Henry VIII, and this included the monastery. In 1549, after his execution, this land reverted to the Crown and was then granted to William Paulet, Earl of Wiltshire. The four manors of Edington Rector, Edington Romsey, Tinhead Rector and Tinhead Romsey all descended in the Paulet family until 1768 when they were sold after the death of the fifth duke and a pursuance in chancery. They were purchased by Peter Delme who conveyed the estate to Joshua and Drummond Smith of Erlestoke Park, part of the Watson Taylor family.

In 1540 the farm and monastery site were occupied by William Popeley, then was granted by the crown to Isabel, widow of Henry Baynton in 1550, who later married Sir James Stumpe and was succeeded by her son Henry Baynton. By 1599 the house was occupied by William Jones of Keevil. The Marquis of Winchester had leased the whole of his Edington and Tinhead estate to his illegitimate sons for 99 years, so John was granted the manors of Edington Romsey and Tinhead Rector and William the manors of Edington Rector and Tinhead Romsey. William lived there until his death in 1629. His estate was assigned to Sir Edward Lewis and then inherited by his widow Lady Anne Beauchamp. The manors of Edington, Romsey and Tinhead were in Richard Lewis' hand by 1665 and he died there in 1695. When the property reverted to the main branch of the Paulet family in the 18th century a large portion of the house was demolished by Joshua Smith although the ruins of the house stood in well kept gardens in 1798. The house, now called the Priory must have been part of it, however, as two decorative ceilings from the 17th century survive. The exterior has been greatly altered and some of the masonry dates from the Middle Ages. Tinhead Court, a moated property with an ecclesiastical barn, was included in the lease granted to Isabel Baynton in 1550 and demolished in the early 19th century.
The court of Lord Baynton mentioned in 1262, descended to the Rous family of Imber, and was settled on the rector and brethren of Edington in 1444. It was then granted to Thomas Seymour, Thomas Gratwicke and Anselm Lambe, and came into the hands of John Long of Little Cheverell by 1673. It then descended through the Long family being sold to the Watson-Taylor family by 1842. From the 16th century the manor was often called Baynton and West Coulston, the house being situated near the present Baynton farm, but this was destroyed by fire in 1796.

Poll tax payers in 1377, numbered 109 in Edington & 114 in Coulston & Baynton. Early census records show the population as 834 in 1801, rising to 1099 by 1821. By 1861 the population had dropped to 994 and this decrease is generally attributed to emigration to New South Wales and migration to the mining districts of South Wales. A further gradual decrease from 1881 to 1951 shows the population dropping from 927 to 579. Baynton, West Coulston & Tinhead had a population of 407 in 1811, rising to 600 by 1821 and last recorded individually as 661 by 1841. The population of Edington was last recorded as 769 in 2001

In 968 King Edgar granted land in Edington to the convent at Romsey, and this is recorded in the Domesday survey of 1086. Little is known of this early church, although a late Norman base is exposed at the west end of the south aisle, and two stones from an early font are nearby. In 1241 the rector acted nominally as a chaplain to the nuns, being represented at Edington by a vicar. In 1351, the Rector's place was taken by the first warden of the chantry when it was founded by William of Edington, who is attributed with building the present church. In 1358 the chantry was converted into a religious house, the head being called the rector, and was consecrated by the Bishop of Salisbury in 1361. The monastic church served as a parish church for Edington until the dissolution. North Bradley was included as a chapelry of Edington until the dissolution, after which it was regarded as a separate parish. The church at Baynton had fallen out of use by the 16th century. After the dissolution the rectory and church were included with the property of the monastery until 1910 when the patronage was transferred to the Bishop of Salisbury.

The church is early Perpendicular in style, cruciform in shape, with an embattled tower holding 6 bells, and a southern porch with a priest's room over. The nave is divided from the side aisles by 6 arches. Renovation in 1889 cost £7,000 on the nave and £1,000 on the chancel. The north side originally housed the conventual buildings connected to the church with a continuous cloister. The stone wall is all that remains.
The St. William of York window and other ancient glass was made in the 1350s.

In 1577 two church wardens were chosen and two churchmen for each of the tithings of Edington and Tinhead. This continued until1583. Early church wardens' account books show that the parish had a stock of a few cattle and sheep let out at yearly rents. In 1604 the church shop and house were leased and in 1809 the parish bought two cottages which were leased to tenants. Four volumes of Overseers' accounts remain for 1806-1834 and show the average annual expenditure on the poor rising from £685 in 1807-1811, to £950 in 1827-1834. Most payments were small sums to aid the low wages, or advances to help buy tools or pay for repairs to property. In 1830 the labour rate system was adopted due to unemployment, two men were to be employed for every 50 acres of arable land, one for every acre of arable pasture, excepting the downs. The remainder were employed on the parish roads. In 1833 this applied each year from November to March.

By the 14th century much of the abbess's land had been granted to free tenants and their rents were an important part of the income of the manor, amounting to £24 in 1350 and remaining the same until 1511. Sheep farming was the main use of the land and in 1284 a total of 1,587 great fleeces and 365 lambs' fleeces were sold. 1,600 sheep remained at the end of that year. In contrast there were only 7 cows, 7 heifers and 3 calves on that same manor in 1284. By 1410 no dairy stock was mentioned at all. The rabbit warren was at Luccombe and leased to Peter Frankeleyn in 1396 for 6s. and 8d. per year, plus four pairs of rabbits. Also in 1284, 58 oxen were kept. In 1502 the common grazing for sheep was south of the parish on the downs. The tenants were often reprimanded for overgrazing and exceeding their allocation of sheep. The open field system of farming continued until 1842 in Edington, although some arable had been inclosed in 1705 in Tinhead. By 1835 no copyhold tenancies remained, and the Watson Taylor property of the manor of Edington consisted mainly of large farms held on yearly tenancies. Thirteen farms were let at £100 per year. Total rents were £4750. More consolidation resulted by 1851, due to a decline in population of the parish. The common fields were never inclosed by an Act of Parliament. The manor of Baynton was valued at £15 18s. 8d, in 1535. By the end of the 18th century this manor consisted of 3 farms.

The woollen industry first arrived in Edington in the mid 14th century when a tucking mill is first mentioned. Richard Tucker held the tucking mill and Whitaker, a clothier of Westbury, built a new mill in 1519. The Whitakers were the most important clothiers in Edington towards the end of the 16th century. Jeffrey Whitaker left about £3,000 to his son Nash, including the businesses of his mill at Bratton, the new Mill in Edington and Langham Mill in North Bradley. Nash subsequently left his estate to his son, Jeffrey, including his best cloth mark, known as the yellow cross. Other clothiers include Robert and William Blackborrow, Thomas Adlam, and Henry Noble, weaver, and in the 17th century Stephen Gawen, Abel Gawen, John Pryor and Henry Spender, weaver.

There was a limekiln at the top of Salisbury Hollow above Tinhead in 1817 occupied by Mrs. Jane Boulter which was demolished by 1901. The bulk of work in Edington was agricultural and farm names mentioned over the years include Parsonage, Manor, White's, Hurst, Ivymill, Edington, Upper and Lower Baynton, Ballards, Slade's, Butler's, Court, Southdown, Spicer's, Baynton Hill, Bridge, Lambourne Lane, Fitzroy, Bratton Crossroads and Graters Lane Farm. By the 19th century there were a number of established trades, as listed in directories of the time, and they include shopkeepers, postmaster, shoemaker, ironmonger, wheelwright, builder and contractor, carpenter, baker, miller, blacksmith, harness maker, accountant and surveyor. By the 20th century these were joined by a station master, coal and timber merchant, plumber, dentist and a female physician.

In 1577 two waymen were chosen for each of the three tithings of Edington, Tinhead, and Baynton and Coulston. By 1736 Edington and Tinhead were maintaining their roads separately. In 1773, a road to Bulkington existed which is now a lane and footpath. An old coaching route passed through Edington, from Bath to Salisbury, and was last mentioned in1780. A highway account book exists for Edington, dating from1809 - 1827.

The main railway line from Westbury to Lavington passes north of the village and a station known as Edington and Bratton was opened in 1900 but closed for passengers in 1952. The station buildings no longer exist.


Most houses are situated along the minor road that leads towards Trowbridge and lanes which adjoin it to the north and south. There are a number of timber framed properties.

Old Manor Farmhouse has stone built gable ends to accommodate the chimneys and a thatched roof, while Manor Farm is brick built. Parsonage Farm is an L-shaped timber framed building of the 17th century. There are a number of cottages of this period also.
The Grange dates from 1750 with a later addition in 1773, and Shore House, opposite the George is partly timber framed and was added to in the 18th century. Becketts House, originally timber framed, contained encaustic tiles thought to have come from the monastic buildings at Edington, as well as some panelling and carved figures dating from c.1600. This was the home of a prosperous family, perhaps clothiers.

In 1086 there were two mills at Edington and four in existence by the 14th century. Ivy Mill, built on the site of the former Sweltenham Mill, was first named in 1720, and had over 100 acres of lane attached to it. In 1921 the three storied mill had been repaired and was in use until after the Second World War. The three storied building, the lowest of stone and the upper two timber framed, was probably converted from a dwelling house from the 15th century, and much of the machinery remained until 1963. The fulling mill of 1550 stood on the site of the present Hudd's Mill. Edington Mill, formerly Mead Mill, worked as a corn mill until the late 19th century and was used as a farm building until 1963. New Mill, on the road from Edington to West Ashton fell into decay with the decline of the cloth industry and was last mentioned in the will of Jeffrey Whitaker.

A fair was held on relic Sunday, the 3rd after Midsummer Day, and was held until the First World War. A Market was held from 1433, and the Shambles (area of market stalls) was mentioned in 1511 & 1529.

The George Inn, an 18th coaching inn built of brick, and the Lamb Inn were situated at Tinhead, The Bell was at West Coulston and The Plough and The Old White Horse in Alfred Lane, were at Edington. No mention is made of The Old White Horse after 1931. The Lamb remained until July 2009, and has recently undergone a village buy-out, and is now re-opened as a community pub.


In 1640, William Tubb left £50 in his will to the poor of the parish, which was invested in land in Steeple Ashton. The rent accrued over a number of years and was distributed equally among the poor. Since 1894 recipients have been chosen by trustees appointed by the Parish Council. George Taylor left £3,000, to be invested, in 1852, and to be divided between four parishes, Steeple Ashton, Keevil, Edington and Poulshot. As a result of this, the preaching of a sermon and distribution of cakes were carried out by the vicar and the Methodist minister, as well as upkeep of the Taylor monuments in the church. Later it was transferred to an educational foundation with income in 1951 being £14. 16s. The Reverend Samuel Littlewood, curate, left £50 in 1884 to be invested to supply bibles and prayer books to poor parishioners who were over 50 years old and members of the Church of England. This is still administered.


The spring line following the northern escarpment of Salisbury Plain, meant that Edington and the surrounding area were provided with fresh spring water. Piped water was not installed until 1948, after the Second World War. It was usual to collect softer rainwater for the washing of clothes and hair.

Edington Festival was first held in 1956, and continues annually. It encompasses a variety of styles of composition, some old and some newly written for the Festival, with the emphasis on English liturgical music.

The parish magazines, which date from the 1940s, present a picture of a vibrant community that seems willing to pull together when required. Organisations in the village community included the Bell Ringers and Choir, the Mothers Union and Sunday school and the Young Peoples Guild. Edington Football Club was active and successful during the 1960s, and the over 60s, Youth Club and the Women's Institute were established around this time. More recently, in 1999, Edington received the National Village of the Year Award, winning this jointly with Weobley in Herefordshire. The village now owns a minibus, runs a Good Neighbouring scheme, and the Post Office is run part time from a garage. The derelict site alongside the railway has been utilised and there is even a Toad Watch group. The Link scheme connects the villages of Bratton, Edington, Coulston and Erlestoke. Other activities supported by organisations include the British Legion, Cricket, Fishing, Amateur Dramatics, a Book Club, WRVS, Rainbows, Brownies, under fives and local playgroups. Sadly the school, pubs, shops and chapel are all now closed, but there is still a great variety of services offered in the village which are advertised in the parish magazine. There has been recent interest in running the Lamb Inn as a community pub and a group has been formed to move this forward.

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Population 1801 - 2011

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Folk Arts:

Folk Songs from Edington

Folk Biographies from Edington

Folk Plays from Edington

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