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Wiltshire Community History

Wiltshire History Questions Search Results

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Question Date :

Monday 4th July 2011 10:03

Question:
We are researching our family history and understand that one of our families lived in one of the 'China Cottages' in Stowell, near Alton Priors. Whilst visiting the area earlier this week, we found the cottages and were able to speak to one of the current occupiers. He wasn't able to tell us why they are called China Cottages, but said that whenever he digs in the garden he always finds pieces of broken china!
Is anything known about the history of these cottages please?

Answer:
China Cottages, at East Stowell in Wilcot parish, date from the 18th century and were so called in the late 19th century (Ordnance Survey map). In his writings on the names and dialect in the Vale of Pewsey W.B. Sykes, a vicar of Wilcot, says that the name was originally Cheyney's Cottages. They are likely to have been owned by a Mr Cheney, probably a farmer, in the 18th century and the name has become corrupted.

There is much broken china in the gardens of most rural cottages as, in the days before refuse collections and recycling, waste and broken items were disposed of in the garden. This would have produced a fair amount of inorganic material during a couple of centuries.

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