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Some Places in Wiltshire

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Map showing where Wiltshire is

Click on the map to see a larger map of Wiltshire (29,700 bytes)

or here to see an enlarged map of the Swindon area as it was in 1890 (273,987 bytes)

Contents

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Introduction

To appear in this section a town or village has to meet a number of criteria. First, it has to be of family history interest to me; in other words, one or more of my or my wife's ancestors lived there. Second, I must have, or have access to, the appropriate information to be able to set up the page. Third, I must have managed to find the time to do it. Finally, if I am aware that it has already been done by someone else, all that will be found here is a link to that other site.

However, for completeness sake, if the place meets the first criterion but fails on one or more of the others, then it will at least appear here as a heading, so the reader will have some idea which places may "get the treatment" at some time in the future.

When there is a mention of a surnames interests section for a town or village (South Marston, Swindon, Wanborough and West Harnham), this includes an invitation for any reader to have his/her interests included.

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Bishopstone

My great great great grandparents Edward Collier and Lydia Warren married in this north-east Wiltshire village in 1815, although neither originated there. Two views of the church where they married are shown below (24,004 and 27,435 bytes respectively).

Bishopstone church Bishopstone church

Bishopstone is shown to the east of Swindon on the linked map of Wiltshire.

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Broad Blunsdon

St. Leonard's Church, Broad Blunsdon St. Leonard's Church, Broad BlunsdonGeorge Fisher, father of the John Fisher of South Marston mentioned below, was living in Broad Blunsdon at the time of his marriage to Betty Bridges (which took place in South Marston) and he married Mary COOK, his second wife, at St. Leonard's parish church (click on thumbnails left for pictures, 72,533 bytes and 27,869 bytes) here 29th November 1819. However, he was not born or buried here and Mary Cook is not my ancestor, so my interest in the village is somewhat limited.

Broad Blunsdon is not shown on the linked map of Wiltshire, because, like several other villages in this list, it is too close to Swindon to show clearly, but it can be seen in the centre of the upper part of the enlarged map of the Swindon area (273,987 bytes).

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Broad Hinton

St. Peter ad Vincula Church, Broad Hinton Cottages and well at Broad Hinton My great great great grandfather John Jefferies was baptised at St. Peter ad Vincula Church (left photo 39,669 bytes) in January 1766. The old cottages and well (with snowdrops flowering in the grass around it) in the second photo (52,277 bytes) are near the church.

Broad Hinton is shown south of Swindon on the linked map of Wiltshire.

 

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Chiseldon

Chiseldon parish churchMy paternal grandparents were married here in 1906. They were living in Coate at the time, which was then within Chiseldon parish. This photo (click on the thumbnail for a larger image, 30,966 bytes) shows the parish church.

 

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Coate

The tiny hamlet of Coate was where my father was born and spent his early years. His parents were also living there at the time of their marriage. It was a part of the parish of Chiseldon until 1929, when it was incorporated into Swindon. The first photo below (81,807 bytes) shows the cottage where my father was born, with him in his mother's arms (plus his older sister standing) outside it, in about 1910. About six years later it was burnt down. The second (33,403 bytes) shows it in March 2002, long after rebuilding (the stonework inside still shows scorch marks from the fire). The third (30,223 bytes) shows a little more of the single row of houses which, together with two inns and a museum (the former farm where the writer Richard Jefferies was born and grew up), now constitutes the entire hamlet.

Old cottage at Coate The same cottage at Coate in 2002 Cottages at Coate

The other major feature of Coate is the reservoir, originally established to supply water to the Wilts & Berks Canal, it soon became a popular place of relaxation for the people of nearby Swindon, with swimming in and boating on the main lake, while a paddling pool was provided for small children. Today it is a country park, and the lake, originally about three quarters of a mile in length, was extended in the 1960s to provide a substantial nature reserve in the newly flooded area. Also in the 1960s, swimming in the main lake was permanently ended as a result of major algal pollution, the paddling pool was converted to a sandpit, and a new swimming and paddling facility was built within the grounds. The first photo below (20,571 bytes) shows the old diving board in the north-west corner of the lake which was reserved for swimmers (the five-level board could be reached only by swimming to it), and the second (33,717 bytes) looks diagonally across the lake from beside the old paddling pool - the diving board can just be seen a little to the left of centre, while almost the whole length of the dam across that end can be seen, mostly to the right of it. This lake is the scene of much of the book Bevis, the Story of a Boy, by Richard Jefferies.

Diving board at Coate Reservoir Coate Reservoir

Coate is not shown on the linked map of Wiltshire, because, like several other villages in this list, it is too close to Swindon to show clearly, but it can be seen near the bottom right of the enlarged map of the Swindon area (273,987 bytes).

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Liddington

My great great great great grandparents Caleb Warren and Ann Drew married in this north-east Wiltshire village in 1792.

Liddington is not shown on the linked map of Wiltshire, because, like several other villages in this list, it is too close to Swindon to show clearly, but it can be seen towards the right on the bottom edge of the enlarged map of the Swindon area (273,987 bytes).

Here are two photos of the All Saints parish church (41,395 and 32,180 bytes), and one, taken from the churchyard at a range of about 1 mile, of Liddington Castle (10,371 bytes), an iron age fort on the hilltop overlooking the village and visible for many miles. Some parachutists can be seen part way up the hill, below the castle ramparts (the red rectangle above the foreground hedge, and the dark spots further right and a little lower). Click on the thumbnails to see larger images.

All Saints Church, Liddington All Saints Church, Liddington Liddington Castle

From the castle the view northwards stretches for 40 or 50 miles across the Thames valley to the Cotswold Hills. Alfred Williams in his book A Wiltshire Village (published in 1912) says, "It is claimed that there are seven counties visible from these heights. These are Wiltshire, Hampshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, and Buckinghamshire. As all these, except Hampshire, come within a radius of forty miles of the hill on the open side, the claim may very well be admitted; it is a noble and extensive panorama that is spread out before you." I have done some calculations, making due allowance for the earth's curvature and intervening hills, and can confirm all those except Hampshire, and would add Somerset to the west (at Lansdown, near Bath), the hilltop above Broadway which is just in Worcestershire, and the Monmouthshire hill of Wentwood beyond the Wye Valley. In the case of Berkshire, this is partly that section of the ancient county which was transferred to Oxfordshire in 1974, and includes White Horse Hill near Uffington. Unlike all the others mentioned, Hampshire lies to the south-east across the downland which is not so much lower in altitude than the castle; I cannot find any part of that county which is not shielded from Liddington Castle by one or more hills higher than those of Hampshire and in some cases a little higher than Liddington Hill.

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Little Hinton (Hinton Parva)

My father's paternal grandfather married in the church here, and we suspect lived in the village with his wife for a time before returning to his home village of Wanborough.

This little village was once a part of the parish of Wanborough. It is one of a series of villages which grew up along the spring line where the porous chalk meets the lower, impervious clay, and like the others is on the ancient Icknield Way drovers road from Wales to Norfolk. It lies between two other spring-line villages, Bishopstone and Wanborough, about one mile from each.

The two names for the village mean the same, one in English and the other in Latin. Both appear on the roadside sign on entry to the village, and confusingly, some signposts directing travellers there use one name and others the other. There are two origins for the common place name Hinton. In this case it means "farmstead belonging to a religious community", from the Old English hiwan + tun. In 1205 it was referred to as "Hinneton".

Shown below are some pictures of St. Swithun's Church. In each case click on the thumbnail to see a larger image:

St. Swithun's Church, Little Hinton
St. Swithun's Church
St. Swithun's Church, Little Hinton
St. Swithun's Church
St. Swithun's Church, Little Hinton
St. Swithun's Church
Looking towards the altar
St. Swithun's Church, Little Hinton
St. Swithun's Church
Looking away from the altar
St. Swithun's Church, Little Hinton
St. Swithun's Church
Window behind the altar
St. Swithun's Church, Little Hinton
St. Swithun's Church
Saxon font

Little Hinton is not shown on the linked map of Wiltshire, because, like several other villages in this list, it is too close to Swindon to show clearly, but it can be seen near the bottom right of the enlarged map of the Swindon area (273,987 bytes).

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Marston Maisey

My BRIDGES ancestors lived in this village in the early part of the 18th century. The village at that time did not have its own church, so baptisms, marriages and burials normally took place in the parish church of nearby Meysey Hampton in Gloucestershire.

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North Bradley

St. Nicholas Church, North Bradley My great great great great great grandfather Benjamin Morgan was almost certainly the man who married local girl Elizabeth Say at the North Bradley parish church (St. Nicholas) in 1753. She seems not to have been baptised here, although her possible parents married here in 1731. Certainly there were Says (a rare name) living in the village, so a link is almost certain.

North Bradley is shown on the map of Wiltshire, just south of Trowbridge.

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Oaksey

All Saints Church, Oaksey All Saints Church, Oaksey My great great great great great great grandfather George Fisher was baptised in this church (All Saints) in 1698.

Oaksey can be seen on the linked map of Wiltshire, right in the north and a little west of centre.

 

 

 

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Poole Keynes

This village has moved backwards and forwards between Wiltshire and Gloucestershire and is currently back in Gloucestershire. It is included in my Gloucestershire page. It is about 1 mile north-east of Oaksey.

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Purton

Purton Purton My great great great great great great grandparents William Bridges and Hannah King married here in 1733, but then returned to her home village of South Marston to produce and raise their family. These two photos (35,734 and 23,602 bytes respectively) show different views of the unusual parish church, which shares with nearby Wanborough and that at Ormskirk in Lancashire the distinction of having both a tower and a spire.

Purton is shown to the west of Swindon on the linked map of Wiltshire.

 

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Ramsbury

Holy Cross Church, Ramsbury My great great great great great great great grandmother Mary BERIMAN was baptised at this large parish church (photo 65,332 bytes) in 1681.

Ramsbury is shown on the River Kennet on the linked map of Wiltshire.

 

 

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Salisbury

My mother's paternal grandfather, and several generations of his ancestors were born in Salisbury, so my interest in that ancient city is considerable. (N.B. I have given two different links here to sites about Salisbury.)

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Shaw

My great great great grandfather Edward Collier was born in Shaw, which was then a hamlet within the parish of Lydiard Millicent, a few miles west of Swindon. It has recently been totally swallowed up by Swindon, and is now merely a housing district within the town.

Shaw is not shown on the linked map of Wiltshire, because, like several other villages in this list, it is too close to Swindon to show clearly, but it can be seen three quarters of the way down towards the left of the enlarged map of the Swindon area (273,987 bytes).

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South Marston

In his book "A Wiltshire Village" (published 1912) Alfred Williams mentions many people living in South Marston, Wilts. and nearby villages. A list of all those mentioned is shown on my South Marston book page, together with two recent photos of the village. My ancestor John Fisher was born in South Marston in 1788, and his mother was also born there, hence my interest. Another George, grandson of John's father George and therefore John's nephew, and his son (also named George), are the subject of several paragraphs in Alfred Williams' book.

There is a brief description of the village, a few photos and a surnames interest section on my main South Marston page.

South Marston is not shown on the linked map of Wiltshire, because, like several other villages in this list, it is too close to Swindon to show clearly, but it can be seen just right of centre of the enlarged map of the Swindon area (273,987 bytes).

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Swindon

Swindon is where my father spent most of his life and where my mother, brother, sister and I were all born and grew up. It is described on my Swindon pages, on which there are several photos as well as a brief review of its history and geography, a list of incumbents at the parish church and a surnames interest section.

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Wanborough

St. Andrew's Church, Wanborough Most of my father's ancestors that I know about lived in Wanborough. The history and geography of the village is briefly described on my Wanborough page, which also features a number of photos, including one of its very unusual church, and a surnames interests section.

Wanborough is not shown on the linked map of Wiltshire, because, like several other villages in this list, it is too close to Swindon to show clearly, but it can be seen near the bottom right of the enlarged map of the Swindon area (273,987 bytes).

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Warminster

My great great great great great great grandfather John Morgan, and his father of the same name, were born in the old market town of Warminster and were baptised there in 1702 and 1655 respectively. The older John was a maltster, and his descendants, but not my ancestors, carried on with that business for several generations. The maltings built by one of them later in the 18th century are still in use, and are shown in these three photos:-

Warminster Maltings Warminster Maltings Warminster Maltings

 

 

 

St. Denys Church, Warminster The old parish church of St. Denys is a very impressive building at the western edge of the town centre.

 

 

 

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West Harnham

My maternal grandmother moved as a child with her parents to West Harnham, just outside Salisbury. I have now created a separate page about the village, which includes a photo of my great grandparents' picturesque home there, and of the parish church, as well as a surnames interests section.

West Harnham is not shown on the linked map of Wiltshire, because it is too close to Salisbury to show clearly. It is located just south of the city, across the river from the cathedral. This small map (10,382 bytes) shows the village in some detail, and its relationship to Salisbury.

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