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Wiltshire Community History

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Tollard Royal

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 Tollard Royal:

Map of the Civil Parish of Tollard Royal

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:

Tollard Royal civil parish lies within Chalke Hundred and extends over 1,854 acres; it covers some 2.5 km from north to south and 3 km from east to west. The village of Tollard Royal lies 23 km. south west of Salisbury.

The present parish represents part of a larger, original, parish which included Dorset lands south of Tollard Green, stretching into the south-east to include a tithing known as Tollard Farnham and Farnham village (also known as Little Farnham) in the 19th century. At this date the Dorset lands measured 851 acres; they were merged with the civil parish of Farnham, Dorset, in 1885.

The Wiltshire lands were known as Tollard until the 16th century. In 1086 the sheriff of Dorset, Aiulf, is likely to have held some of the Tollard land and the adjoining estate at Farnham in Dorset. The latter lands were considered part of Tollard manor in the 13th and 14th centuries, and tithes were paid for the Dorset lands to the rectors of Tollard in the mid-14th century.

The brief history which follows will be concerned with the Wiltshire lands only which comprise the modern civil parish of Tollard Royal.

A late 11th century survey suggests that in the mid-10th century the Wiltshire lands had formed part of Wilton Abbey's Chalke estate, from the year 955. If this was the case, the lands had been separated from the Chalke estate by 1066 when there were at least seven landholdings. Five thegns held a total of c.660 acres; another landholder was Rozo, who held c.300 acres and in addition a Toli held c.120 acres in the Wiltshire section of Tollard. By 1086 five of these holdings, presumably those of the thegns, comprised one estate of c.600 acres, of which c.480 hides were in demesne and with a population of some 78 individuals; this estate also contained 20 acres of pasture, four acres of woodland and a vineyard comprising approximately two acres. The overlord of this estate was Aiulf, sheriff of Dorset. A second estate was smaller, comprising demesne of c.240 acres. On this estate there were approximately 46 individuals, with pasture and woodland which were equally two furlongs long and one furlong wide. This estate, which had been held by Rozo in 1066, was also held by Aiulf, but under the overlordship of Edward of Salisbury. The third estate in 1086, of Toli, included five acres of meadow and one furlong of woodland. The overlord of this estate was William of Eu. Further information on the agricultural history of the land later in the Middle Ages is scarce, although the rectorial glebe is known to have comprised three yardlands in 1341 and an East Field was recorded in 1403.

There may have been a mill in the parish in 1341. The number of poll tax payers (aged over 14 years) in 1377 has been estimated at 69.

The Place Names of Wiltshire, (Vol. XVI, English Place-Name Society) suggests that the name “Tollard” has a British derivation with the first element reflected in corresponding forms in Welsh, Cornish and Breton and signifying “hole, cavity, pit”, with the second element “-ard” signifying “height”. The suffix “Royal” is attributed to the holding of part of Tollard manor by King John through his wife, Isabella. However, the full name of Tollard Royal was only first recorded in 1535. The parish primarily comprises chalk downland, with a dry valley on its eastern boundary; the more northerly section of this is known as Malacombe Bottom and the southerly section Tinkley Bottom. A further dry valley, Ashgrove Bottom, lies alongside a section of the northern parish boundary. The highest part of the parish is at Berwick Down as it rises from Malacombe Bottom at the north eastern tip of the parish; here the land rises to some 229 metes. The clay covered chalk of the southern and western parts of the parish are lower and lie at less than 107 metres in the south eastern corner.

There is no river in the parish, although there are ponds at Larmer Grounds in woodland south of Tollard Royal village, in the village itself and, in wet weather, at Bugden Bottom in the extreme south east of the parish.

The course of the Roman road from Badbury Rings, Shapwick in Dorset, to Bath crosses the north-west corner of the parish and is now registered as a scheduled monument. From the late 18th century the main road across the parish has run from Shaftesbury to Ringwood via Sixpenny Handley; this continues to be the case today. The road enters the parish on Ashmore Down in the north-west of the parish, north of Ashgrove Farm and crosses south-eastwards through Tollard Royal village before leaving the parish at Minchington Down. This road has the modern designation B3081. A minor road leaves the main road south east of the village, by Larmer Tree Grounds and also proceeds to Ringwood, this time via Farnham. Between 1832 and 1877 both main and minor roads were turnpiked. A further minor road leads from the main Shaftesbury to Ringwood road south of Ashgrove Farm and takes a south easterly route to Farnham. This road was in use in the 18th century and remains so today.

The 1773 Andrews and Dury map shows roads running north-westwards from Tollard Royal village across the parish boundary to Ludwell, in Donhead St. Mary parish, a road which has now disappeared, and northwards to Berwick St. John; this road is now little more than a track. Another road leaves the village and takes a south-westerly route to Tollard Green; this is still in use. However, in the latter case the road still bears the marks of the diversion between 1773 and c.1807 when, following the construction of a new rectory house, the course of the road was diverted away from the house southwards to pass by the church; the original course of the road was then used as a driveway to the new rectory. This remains a public right of way as a footpath.

Numerous archaeological discoveries have been made in the parish. These include an Iron Age enclosure and a Romano-British enclosure, both on Berwick Down, Bronze Age implements at Corner Farm, on Berwick Down and at Tollard; a Mesolithic implement at Bengers Farmhouse garden and at Tinkley Down, where a Neolithic stone tool was also found, and medieval jewellery and a medieval settlement also in the parish. Full details of the archaeological finds may be found on the Wiltshire Council Historic Environment Record website at http://history.wiltshire.gov.uk/smr/smr_search.php?parish_in=TollardRoyal.

In 1242-3 Ela, Countess of Salisbury and wife of William Longespee, shared the overlordship of the whole manor of Tollard with the earl of Gloucester and Hertford, Richard de Clare. In 1261 after Ela's death, Maud Longespee, widow of Ela's grandson, claimed rights in Tollard and she is recorded as holding lands there in 1263. The rights of the Longespee family to sections of Tollard manor may have persisted through the holdings of the Montagu and Mortimer families up to the early 15th century. In the late 12th century and up to the mid-14th century parts of the manor were held by the earls of Gloucester; King John's wife Isabel was countess of Gloucester and his reputed holding of land in Tollard derives from this fact, although there is no documented record of such a holding.

A section of the manor known as Tollard Govis was held by Roger de Govis in 1223 and 1227 and descended through the Govis family, with a short interruption from 1242-3, until the first half of the 16th century when it was held by William Savage. After it passed by sale, it is believed, to Lord Henry Daubeney, it was conveyed to his nephew, Sir Thomas Arundell, in 1535. In 1552 Sir Thomas was executed and his lands confiscated but two years later his section of Tollard manor was granted to his widow Margaret and subsequently passed to their son, Matthew.

A further section of Tollard manor was known as Tollard Lucy, following its tenure by the Lucy family from the early 13th century to the late 14th. In the 16th century this section was sold to Sir Thomas Arundell and it descended with Tollard Govis to his son Matthew. The manor of Tollard was thus reunited and remained in the Arundell family until c.1819, with the exception of some 500 acres which had been sold to Thomas Grove between 1814 and 1817. James, Baron Arundell, sold the lordship of the manor and the remaining Wiltshire lands in 1819 to George Pitt, Baron Rivers, and they then descended with the Pitt family's manor of Berwick St. John and subsequently with the extended Pitt-Rivers family.

Tollard Royal lies within the Inner Bounds of the Cranborne Chase, which formed an approximate quadrangle shape from Salisbury in the north-east to Shaftesbury in the west and from Ringwood in the south-east to Wimborne in the south, a circuit of some 80 miles. Ownership of Chase rights and lodges had been sold after the Restoration, passing through several hands to an earlier George Pitt in 1714, grandfather of the first Baron Rivers. By the final quarter of the 18th century negotiations were under way for disenfranchisement of the Chase in order that its rights owners might relinquish control of the area's vert and venison, receiving compensation for the loss of these rights. Negotiations broke down in 1791 but finally, in 1828, shortly after the death of the first Baron Rivers, an Act of Parliament was passed in which rights over preservation of the vert and venison, that is, the animals of the Chase and the trees and undergrowth which provided their cover, ceased and the barony would receive an annual payment in compensation. This would be payable in proportions by individual landowners; for example, Thomas Grove who held 348 acres in Tollard Royal paid £7 6s. 4d. per annum. The new holder of the estate and of the barony in 1828, since the first Lord Rivers did not have an heir, was William Horace Beckford, son of Peter Beckford and Lord Rivers' eldest sister, Louisa; he adopted the name “Pitt-Rivers”.

The 500 acres bought by Thomas Grove lay north and north-west of the village of Tollard Royal; they included Corner Farm, close to the north of the village, and part of Higher Ashford Farm at the north-western point of the parish. Thomas Grove died in 1847 and the lands passed with the Ferne estate in neighbouring Donhead St. Andrew through descent within the family, created a baronetcy in 1874, and sale in c.1901 to A. H Charlesworth. In 1915 the land was sold, to Alfred, Duke of Hamilton and Brandon and in 1920 to R. W. Borley. Ownership of some 100 acres in the northwest of Tollard Parish remained with Ashcombe Farm, in Berwick St. John parish, in the hands of R.W. Borley's son in the final years of the 20th century; the 375 acres of Corner Farm having been sold in 1958.

The death in 1880 of the sixth Baron Rivers, who died without a direct heir, brought inheritance of the Rivers estates into the hands of Lieutenant General Augustus Lane-Fox, who subsequently adopted the surname Pitt-Rivers. A pioneer archaeologist and anthropologist who was appointed to be the first Inspector of Ancient Monuments in 1882 and whose work would later be widely recognised, he contributed significantly to the life of the parish at the end of the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth. Shortly after he took possession of his estates, he opened the
Larmer Tree Grounds - six acres of pleasure grounds created 'for the recreation of the people in the neighbouring towns and villages'; these were open to the public every day of the year without payment. In these gardens in 1880 he rebuilt two “ornamental Indian pavilions,” as described in the Department of the Environment's listing of buildings of historical and architectural interest. The buildings are described as timber framed, with lathe and plaster panels and with finely carved window surrounds, designed to “illustrate an unfamiliar culture to the public.” Also listed is a limestone “Temple” also constructed in 1880.

General Pitt-Rivers also had built six houses for people to picnic in, a bandstand and, in 1895, a theatre. The services of a caretaker were paid for and crockery and cutlery were available for loan free of charge to picnic parties. On Sunday afternoons a band of 16 workmen from the estate played music. Nearby were tennis courts and a racecourse, and the General's menagerie of animals. Although the General left an endowment for the maintenance of the grounds after his death in 1900, they subsequently became less popular; however, in 1893 there had been more than 24,000 visitors and 44,817 in 1899. Numerous day visitors came from the developing resort of Bournemouth.

The Larmer Tree which gave its name to the Grounds was a wych elm that stood at their southern edge and which appears to have been an ancient boundary marker. Various theories have surrounded the tree - including that King John met his huntsmen here. The tree died in the winter of 1894 but the General had a cutting from the tree grafted to the oak which replaced it. The tree, nevertheless, has not flourished. General Pitt-Rivers found flint scrapers and other artefacts within a radius of a couple of hundred feet from the tree.

A notable building within the parish is King John's House. Some writers have suggested that it was King John's hunting lodge, although its Grade II* listing describes it as incorporating 13th, 14th, 16th and 17th century elements which would indicate a later date. Nevertheless the house was presumably the manor house of Tollard Govis or Tollard Lucy. The central block of the house dates from the mid-13th century and is described in its listing as a 13th century hall house with a 17th century east service cross wing and solar range to the west; the three window front of the block is of two storeys; several medieval windows survive. The chimney stack dates from the 17th century.

An article in the Gentleman's Magazine of September 1811 includes a sketch of the house at that date, entitled “King John's Hunting Seat” and described as “now a farmhouse”. The article refers to the Court Leet traditionally held at the site of the Larmer Tree on the first Monday in September with the Steward of the Lord of the Manor sitting under the tree. The article goes on to describe the hunting and killing of a brace of bucks after the closure of the Court.

The house was extensively restored in 1880s by General A.H.L.F Pitt-Rivers when some early 19th century additions were removed and a single storey extension was constructed north and north-west of the medieval block. It was in King John's House in which General Pitt-Rivers housed the visual arts collection open to the public free of charge; shown there were works by Cuyp, Cranach, Breughel, and Poussin, amongst others. A basement room was used as a reading and recreation room for the villagers. The General studied the architectural history of the house and excavated its environs, publishing a report on his work in 1890. In addition to his ventures in Tollard Royal parish, he established a museum of architectural exhibits in nearby Tollard Farnham.

The Pitt-Rivers family residence itself was Rushmore Lodge, to the east of Tollard Royal village but in the neighbouring civil parish of Berwick St. John. The Lodge had been recorded in the 15th century as the “keeper's” lodge pertaining to Rushmore Walk, one of the five sections of the Chase within the Inner Bounds. Originally it was the dwelling of the Abbess of Wilton's woodward (officer of the Forest). In the early 17th century Robert Cecil built a new Rushmore Lodge and enclosed the adjoining waste to form a park. Reconstructed as a mansion by Lord Rivers c.1760, it became the administrative centre of the Chase, rather than the town of Cranborne itself. Rushmore House is now Sandroyd School but the Tollard Royal lands of the Rushmore Estate, of which the Larmer Tree Gardens and Rushmore Golf Club are part, are in the ownership in the early 21st century of William Gronow-Davis, heir to General Pitt-Rivers' descendant, the late Michael Pitt-Rivers.

In the 16th and 17th centuries three open arable fields were in existence. These were known as West, Middle and East, or Rushmore, Fields. An East Field had been recorded in 1403. A small acreage was enclosed at Bugden Bottom in the late 16th century. Some 50 acres of arable were further enclosed by 1659 and an agreement to enclose further arable was made by 1697. All open fields had been enclosed by 1814. Common pasture land existed at Berwick Down, Woodley Down and Tollard Green in the early 17th century but more than 100 acres of pasture had been enclosed by 1659. Common pasture for sheep persisted on Berwick Down, Woodley Down and Colleys Cliff and for cattle on Tollard Green in 1783, but Berwick Down had been enclosed by 1814; Woodley Down and Colleys Cliff between 1839 and 1880. Most of Tollard Green was arable land in the 1940s but part remained open in the late 20th century.

In 1814 on the Wiltshire lands of the parish, there were four farms with, in addition, some 120 acres held in small parcels. By 1838 the four farms had been reduced to three: Corner Farm, of 375 acres north and northwest of the village; Lower Farm, 382 acres, at the eastern boundary of the parish; the lands of these two farms were worked from a farmstead north of the church in the village street, although by 1886 a new farmstead was built south-east of the church. Church Farm, of 400 acres, lay west and south of the village and was worked from King John's House; later this farm would be named Tollard Park Farm and included Woodley Down by 1880. In addition, the mainly arable rectorial glebe comprised 55 acres and lay west of the village. In total, in the Wiltshire section of the parish at this date there were some 700 acres of arable, 850 acres of pasture, 250 acres of wood, and 40 acres of meadow.

In the late 20th century both Tollard Farm and Tollard Park Farm were worked as one cereal and sheep farm of 855 acres. The latter was converted to a stud farm in 1966. From the 1920s to 1958 the Wiltshire lands of Corner Farm and Higher and Lower Ashgrove Farms were worked with lands in neighbouring parishes; after 1958 these lands comprised 100 acres although Corner Farm (375 acres) was now worked separately.

In 1910 there were 160 acres of woodland in Tollard Royal parish and, by the end of the 20th century, a further 90 acres had been planted near the eastern parish boundary and in the south western corner of the parish.

The population of Tollard Royal parish increased from 1801 when it had 238 inhabitants to 1871 when they peaked at 384. The reduced number of inhabitants from 1891 reflects the separation of the tithing of Tollard Farnham into Dorset. By 1901 the population of Tollard Royal stood at 196 and continued to decline until 1981 when it stood at 92; from that date, however, it has again increased and in 2011 stood at 115.

Tollard Royal became part of Tisbury Poor-Law Union in 1835 and part of Salisbury District Council in 1974 until the creation of the unitary Wiltshire Council in 2009.

Parish Web Site
CouncilWiltshire Council
Web Sitewww.wiltshire.gov.uk
Parish CouncilTollard Royal Parish Council
Parish Emailtollardpc@btinternet.com

Churches: Information on both current and disused churches and chapels.

Church of St. Peter ad Vincula, Tollard Royal
Early Non-Conformists, Tollard Royal
Methodists, Tollard Royal
Schools: Information on both current and closed schools.

Population 1801 - 2001

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.

A census of Wiltshire in 1676
General Pitt-Rivers: Evolution and Archaeology in the Nineteenth Century
Illustrated Portrait of Wiltshire, pp. 264-265
King John's House, Tollard Royal, Wilts.
Lists of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, Salisbury, Vol. 4, pp. 117-124
Names of Wiltshire churches
Notes on Wiltshire churches
Pitt-Rivers: The life and archaeological work of Lieutenant-General Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt-Rivers, DCL ,FRS, FSA
Rushmore - then and now
Tales of the Grass Gamekeepers, pp. 42-44
The Place Names of Wiltshire
Victoria History of Wiltshire, vol. 13, pp. 79-88
Wiltshire (Buildings of England Series) revised by Bridget Cherry, pp. 525-527
Wiltshire Dissenters' Meeting House Certificates and Registrations, 1689-1852 (Vol. 40)
Wiltshire returns to the Bishop's visitation queries, 1783
Wiltshire Village Book, pp. 215-217

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.

Salisbury Journal 1738
Salisbury Times 1898 to 2000
Salisbury & Wiltshire Herald 1833 to 1852
Sherborne Mercury 1737 to 1867

Maps: listed below are maps on which you can find this community. All maps are Ordnance Survey maps.

Map Type Map Sheet Reference
O.S. National Grid Reference ST 995178
O.S. 25 inch County Series 1870s-194074/11
O.S. 6 inch County Series 1870s-1940
O.S. 1:2500 metric edition; 1950s onwardST 9417-9517
O.S. 1:10000 metric edition; 1950s onwardST 91 NW
O.S. Explorer118
O.S. Landranger184
Geological Sheet314

Map of Tollard Royal

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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:

There were no Folk Songs found for Tollard Royal

There were no Folk Biographies found for Tollard Royal

There were no Folk Plays found for Tollard Royal

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 11. There are no Grade I buildings; and 2 Grade II* buildings, Church of St. Peter ad Vincula and King John's House.

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.

Current District:Salisbury
Address:The Laburnums 50 Bedwin Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP1 3UW
Former District:Tisbury to April 1936; Mere to January 1978

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