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Wiltshire Community History

Buttermere 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 Buttermere:

Map of the Civil Parish of Buttermere

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:

The parish of Buttermere lies approximately 7km south of Hungerford on Wiltshire’s boundary with Berkshire and Hampshire. It contains Buttermere village and Henley hamlet and measures 1,501 acres. The soil is clay-with-flints and the subsoil is chalk. There is a marked difference in the height of the land across the parish; the extreme north is 287m above sea level and the south-east corner of the tail is 155m.

The village of Buttermere almost certainly stood on its present site in the mid 9th century. Its name was in use then and literally means ‘butter mere or pond’. The butter element is possibly a reference to the colour of the water. The pond has had two locations. The original pond was on the road between Town Farm and the northern parish boundary. The present Buttermere Pond was made in the 19th century and is on the south side of Town Farm.

There is very few archaeological remains in Buttermere. There is a tumulus on the western parish boundary to the west of Town Farm and other burial sites on the eastern county boundary where Ham meets Buttermere. Close to the boundary on Ham Hill are the remains of an earthwork. These landmarks helped the villagers to remember the extent of their own parish boundary. There is a boundary stone on the western boundary near Henley. Rockmoor Pond is at the south-eastern tip of the parish where Wiltshire, Hampshire and Berkshire all meet. This meeting point used to be further north at a place known as County Gate and later Buttermere Corner. In 1895 the parish of Combe in Hampshire was transferred to Berkshire, causing the boundary to move.

There were two established manors in the parish; Buttermere itself and Henley. Buttermere belonged to St. Swithun’s Priory in Winchester until the Dissolution when it passed to the Dean and Chapter of Winchester. The resident lords of the manor paid rent to the Priory. Buttermere changed hands many times during its history until it was sold and broken up into farms c.1861. The land at Henley had the same owners and was part of the Priory’s manor of Ham. It too was sold as farm land in 1861. A detailed history of the manorial descent can be found in the Victoria County History of Wiltshire volume 16.

The church of St. James can trace its history back to the mid 13th century. It was built of flint and had an undivided chancel and nave, a north porch, and a western bell turret made of wood. The windows in the north wall were replaced in the 14th century, and the porch was built in the 18th. The new church, built of rubble with freestone dressings to designs by R.J. Withers, has the same plan as the old except that it was given a small central timber spirelet instead of a western turret. The spirelet was removed in 1946, when the bell was hung on the outside of the west wall.nA new spirelet was built in 1991.

There has never been a Non-conformist chapel in the village, although there are a few references to religious meetings being held in cottages, and to Buttermere villagers attending chapels elsewhere. A breakaway Methodist movement, the Primitive Methodist Connexion, evangelised the Wiltshire/Berkshire/Hampshire borders during the 1830s and registered cottage meetings at Oxenwood, Shalbourne, Bagshot and elsewhere during 1831-2. The first reference to the baptism of a Buttermere child in the Andover Primitive Methodist Circuit register occurred in 1846.

In 1864 Buttermere’s curate reported that Primitive Methodist meetings were being held in a private house in the parish, and that although there were ‘probably not more than two persons who would not come to church’, there were ‘very many more who would go to the meeting’. Three years later the curate claimed that there was no meeting house, but that many parishioners attended Methodist chapels in neighbouring villages. By the 1870s the many had reduced to a few.

In 1915 services and prayer meetings were still being held by a small congregation who met in a room in Town Farmhouse. A Sunday School was provided for the children, many of whom attended both church and chapel. The rector and the dissenters remained on friendly terms; the latter continued to use the church for their baptisms, marriages and burials.

Apart from the church, there are only three listed buildings in this small community; Moordown Farmhouse, Henley Cottage and Town Farmhouse. Moordown and Henley both date from the 17th century and are in the south-western ‘tail-piece’ of the parish boundary.

A present day map shows three farms, Town, Grange and Manor, but only the second and third are currently working farms. Town Farm dates back to the 16th century and is also the only one of the three that hasn’t changed its name. The oldest part of the farmhouse consists of an Elizabethan standard farmhouse built around a central chimney-stack. An 18th century extension with a corridor and additional staircase was built during the prosperous wool trade period. To the west is an 18th century brick built cow barn that is linked to the house with an early Victorian open barn. The now demolished fourth side of the farm complex quadrangle consisted of a timber framed barn, cart sheds and piggeries. An 18th century timber framed granary on saddlestones is to the south of the house.

In 1730 there were three farms in the parish, Town, Home and White’s, all approximately the same size. By 1930 there were still three farms, but Home Farm had changed its name to Manor. There was a further change in the late 1960s when White’s became Grange Farm. In 1994 Grange Farm was an arable and sheep farm while Manor was entirely arable.

In 1861 Home Farm (now Grange) and White Farm (now Manor) were sold in two lots; Lot 1 was White Farm. The farmhouse contained six bedrooms, two sitting rooms, a pantry, a kitchen and a wash-house. The farm buildings comprised stabling for 17 horses, cart shed, gig-house, a two-stall nag stable, meal-house and piggeries. There was also arable, meadow, down and wood land. The whole farm comprised 626 acres and it was bought by Matthew Marsh for £9,500.

Lot 2 was Home Farm, the farmhouse containing three bedrooms, two servants’ rooms, two sitting rooms, kitchen, larder, storeroom and bakery. The farm buildings comprised a well-house, fowl-house, a two-stall nag stable, loose box, chaise-house, a cart horse stable for seven horses, a two-bay oat barn, a two-bay wheat barn, another barn, piggeries, wood-house, two cow houses, cart shed and granary. There was also a detached, newly built wheat barn, an open cart shed and granary, cart horse stabling for ten horses, with lofts above. In c.1840 there were six cottages standing, but the sale only mentions two. None of them have survived. The arable meadow, down and woodland completed a slightly smaller farm at 551 acres. Town Farm was included in the sale, but the catalogue did not identify its buildings by name.

Parish Web Site
CouncilWiltshire Council
Web Sitewww.wiltshire.gov.uk
Parish CouncilButtermere Parish Council
Parish Email 

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

Church of St.James, Buttermere
Non-conformists, Buttermere
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.

Monumental Inscriptions of Wiltshire 1822, page 185
Notes on the Rural Deaneries of Marlborough and Cricklade 1812
The Reflection in the Pond; A Moonraking Approach to History, pages 217-263
The Victoria County History of Wiltshire, vol 16, pages 82-88
Wiltshire (Buildings of England series) page 154
Wiltshire Glebe Terriers 1588-1827, pages 64-65

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 to 1816
Marlborough Times 1859
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 SU 340612
O.S. 25 inch County Series 1870s-194037/16
O.S. 6 inch County Series 1870s-194037
O.S. 1:2500 metric edition; 1950s onwardSU 3460-3560; 3261-3361; 3461-3561
O.S. 1:10000 metric edition; 1950s onwardSU 36 SW
O.S. Explorer158/131
O.S. Landranger174
Geological Sheet283

Map of Buttermere

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Map showing Panoramio pictures and Wikipedia entries for the area around Buttermere

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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 Buttermere

There were no Folk Biographies found for Buttermere

There were no Folk Plays found for Buttermere

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 4. There are no Grade I buildings; and no Grade II* buildings.

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:Marlborough
Address:1 The Green, Marlborough, Wiltshire SN8 1AL
Former District:Hungerford to April 1937

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