Old Chitterne Names 18: The Beak

This is the Beak, a field shown on the 1815 map of Chitterne near the parish boundary with Upton Lovell. The track to the left in the photo is part of the Imber Range Perimeter path as it heads towards Long Trees, which marks the boundary between the two parishes.

Here you see the field on the 1815 map sandwiched between the Imber Range path and old Clarken Lane (see last blog). The Beak belonged to Paul Methuen Esq. in 1815 and was leased to William Ingram whose listed tomb lies in Chitterne St Mary graveyard.

I know very little about William Ingram who farmed the land now part occupied by Valley Farm and behind the Vicarage grounds. He must have been connected to the well-known Ingram family of the Wylye Valley (there are many monuments in the Wylye Valley churches) but I don’t know how, as his tomb seems to show him ‘of Poulshot’, at least that’s how I interpreted the inscription years ago, now very worn.

Getting back to The Beak. If you were to walk there from Chitterne you would take the Imber Range perimeter path (IRPP) and, on reaching the crossing with the permissive bridleway, continue on the IRPP away from the village. The Beak is the first field on your right.

The crossing mentioned above with the IRPP heading away from the village towards Warminster.

Old Chitterne Names 17: Green Way or Clarken Lane

This is the first look at one of the ‘new’ old names discovered from the 1815 map of the parishes of Chitterne All Saints and Chitterne St Mary: Green Way or Clarken Lane.

Part of the 1815 map featured in my last blog showing the lane marked Green Way or Clarken Lane crossing diagonally from top left to bottom right. To orientate you, the slightly wider road below it is The Hollow, or the old Salisbury to Warminster coach road. Notice the adjacent field called Clarken Lane Field bounded on the eastern side by Imber Road. To the north also notice two smaller fields, Great Penning and Little Penning, a Dry Pond and a Well, these must mark the site of Penning Barn field barn settlement. The fact that there was a well in 1815 suggests perhaps that the settlement already existed.

A screen grab from Google Earth showing Clarken Lane crossing from top left to bottom right in a wavy line between field boundaries.

Green Way or Clarken Lane is no longer a designated right of way, but it is still possible to see where it once was and to walk the part of it nearest the village.

Here we are looking north away from the village, this is the bit that is most difficult to walk, but it is still marked by a line of bushes and a ditch.

This photo was taken from the same spot as the previous one but looking south towards the village. The path is clearly defined and still regularly used.

Clarken Lane Field, pretty featureless.

Approaching the village. The field to the left was called The Tining on the old map.

Here we have reached the end of Clarken Lane and we are looking back, away from the village. Clarken Lane ends where it meets Churches Path (the path between the two old parish churches) behind Chitterne Farm West Barns.

I don’t know the origin of the name Clarken Lane, but several generations of a family called Clarke lived in Chitterne in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Two Old Maps 2: 1815 Map of the Parishes

You may remember an earlier series of blogs ‘Old Chitterne Names’? This latest map is interesting because it names more of the fields surrounding Chitterne from the time of the Methuen family ownership. The map is a large photocopy of an original held at the History Centre and a difficult subject to photograph, so we will look at small sections.

A section of the map showing the two parishes, Chitterne St Mary on the left and Chitterne All Saints on the right, before they were united as Chitterne. St Mary’s church (211) stands in front of The Manor (220), which still has its east wing, and in front of the church is the old Tithe Barn and stockyard (212 now site of Birch Cottage). To the right are the King’s Head (214), then Bridge Cottage (215), but no St Mary’s Close. Instead we have Clump Farm yard (216/217) abutting the parish boundary, with the old farmhouse behind two farm barns at right-angles to the road. Further west note there is no Vicarage (208), no St Mary’s House nor Little St Mary’s, just Glebe House (209), although there is an unidentified building next to Glebe House, but Gunville Cottages (204/205/206) at the bottom of the Hollow are shown. To the south the Chitterne Brook hugs the verge of the Codford Road, the malthouse (144) is shown next after the road junction, but not the new Clump Farmhouse. On the south side of Bidden Lane, the St Mary’s side, there are many more dwellings than exist today.

The properties held by the Michell family in All Saints are not shown on this map, so the large house owned by them on the Sportsfield site is missing, as is Chitterne House, which they also owned. Although it’s interesting to see that the original entrance to Chitterne House from Back Lane is shown. Opposite Chitterne House is Manor Farm yard and house, to the right is old All Saints Church and in front of it All Saints Vicarage, which was later demolished.

In All Saints parish the old field directly behind the Sportsfield, now known as Garston, was larger, and had three sections. In 1815, spelt Gaston, the sections were Home Gaston, Middle Gaston and Corn Gaston. Not only that, beyond Corn Gaston was another part of the ground called New Piece (top left of the map), which meant that Gaston in those days extended much further out from the village than it does today.

We looked at Garston before, see: Old Chitterne Names 5: St Mary’s Footpath and Garston

Here is a screen-grab from Google Earth for comparison purposes. It would appear that Garston once reached to the furthest edge of the green field to the right of the Hollow, top left of this 2021 map.

I hope to look at other new field names spotted on the 1815 map later, when time and weather allow.

Grateful thanks to VP for the copy of the 1815 map.

Two Old Maps: 1 Valuable Freehold Sporting Estate

Two interesting old maps have come my way lately that I haven’t seen before. The first is an original map for the sale of the Chitterne Sporting Estate. You may remember we had a look at the 1896 brochure for the estate houses and cottages offered for sale by the Long family in previous blogs.

“Plan of the Valuable Freehold Sporting Estate, Chitterne, Wilts.” Offered for sale by the Long family of Rood Ashton House, near Trowbridge sometime around the turn of the 19th century. The estate has been divided into three lots. (Sorry about the wonky photo and creases).

Lot 1: The largest lot which includes Chitterne Farm, Elms (sic) Farm, Middle Barn Farm, Bush Barn Farm and Breach Hill Farm. Also included near the village are Elm Farmhouse, the Smithy (The Poplars) and all the buildings on the right of the road from Pitts House to Chitterne Farmhouse and Chitterne Lodge. Chitterne Lodge is named as such but The Grange is called The Shooting Lodge. Field Barn settlements included in the lot are Two Barns, New Barn, Bush Barn, Middle Barn and Breach Hill cottages. Woodlands are Fox Covert and Wroughton’s Wood, both in green to the right of the map. I believe this whole lot was purchased by Ron Farquharson in 1906, the man who had Chitterne Stables built and also owned Tilshead Lodge.

On the back of the map are hand-written notes in pencil about the make-up of the Field Barn settlements. These are interesting in themselves and indicate what sizeable settlements the Field Barns were. When we look at the second map we will notice changes in some of the names of the Field Barns.

At Breach Hill Farm is a house with lawn back and front, 2 bedrooms, sitting room, scullery, kitchen with grate. Outside a brick and slate cart shed, a 6 horse stable, a chaff house, a brick, WB (?) and slate barn in a yard enclosed by a brick wall.

At Bush Barn are 2 cob and slate cart sheds, a very old timber and thatched shed, brick foundation WB and slate barn, granary and cow house, stable for 10 horses, chaff house. Cottage has 3 bedrooms, kitchen with oven, wash house, pantry and coal house.

At Two Barns is a very large WB (anyone know what that means?) barn and chaff house, a fine range of stables of brick foundations with corrugated iron roof (note: corrugated iron invented by Henry Robert Palmer in 1829). The rest of this section illegible but further on: Barn with brick foundations, WB and thatch, large cart shed of cob and tile and flint. Cob and slate farmhouse with 5 bedrooms, 2 sitting rooms, pantry, 2 kitchens, wash house, bake house of red brick with slate over, cottages of thatched brick and cob with kitchen, sitting room and 2 bedrooms.

At New Barn are kitchen gardens, 2 detached cottages of brick, cob and slate with 3 bedrooms, kitchen with boiler and oven, wash house and pantry each, 2 more brick and slate with kitchens, wash house, pantry and 3 bedrooms each, a brick built and slate bake house with oven. At the end of the lane is a granary of WB, brick foundations with slate roof. Other buildings at New Barn are cob and tile cart shed, a WB brick foundation thatched barn, a WB cob and thatched cow house, stabling for 12 horses and a chaff house, enclosed in a yard are 2000 illegible on timber staging, an iron water mill with sails complete, machinery to wall for traction engine, steel winder on a frame. Outside 3 pits for storing waste.

The only settlement remaining of the old Field Barns is Middle Barn. The rest were removed by the War Department, after their purchase of Farquharson’s estate in 1937, to enable army training to take place unhindered.

Lot 2 consisted of Manor Farm, The Manor, Glebe House, St Mary’s Chancel, the Tithing field (opposite the King’s Head, now part of St Mary’s Lodge) and the water meadows along the north and west side of Codford Road. There are no associated Field Barn settlements. This was later (c.WW1) purchased with a mortgage by the Wallis family who were already the tenants and had been living in The Manor since 1823. After many years the Wallis family sold most of their land to the Harley family who renamed it Valley Farm.

Lot 3 is made up of two farms Clump Farm and Smith’s farm. I believe the Smith family referred to here are the very same Smiths who owned Chitterne Stores in Townsend. Lot 3 also included Clump Farm House, the Malthouse (now demolished) and associated Pine Cottage (now known as the Malt House). Again no associated Field Barns. This lot was purchased by William Robinson a builder of Salford, Manchester for his eldest son Harold to farm, unfortunately Harold was killed in WW1. Charles Bazell rented the farm from Robinson, who later sold to the Webster family who later still sold it to the Stratton family, who still own the land today.

The last part of the estate is the most intriguing. A patch of riverside meadow at Little Langford in the Wylye Valley. How odd! I have no idea how this came to be part of the Chitterne estate, but if anyone knows please tell all. Perhaps it’s not for sale at this time, as there is no thick line around it. On that mysterious note I finish with this map. Next up is a much earlier map, about 1815, with lots of the field names marked.

Pics of Pam

This village is amazing! I only had to mention that I had no photos of Pam Jones in my last blog and within a few days some appear on my doorstep. Pam is the lady in pink in the centre with the lovely smile. I think this pic was taken at the King’s Head one Christmas as there are crackers on the table and you can just see the fireplace on the right. Could it be the previous Women’s Institute members, under the chairmanship of Kath Babey? No doubt someone will let me know.

The ladies are from the left AC, ex-villager RF, Pam Jones, AP, the late Jeanne George, the late Kath Babey and VR. One lady missing.

Here she is, the photographer, the late Val Henry. With thanks to the anonymous donor of the photos.

Times are Changing

Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday cropped up in a village zoom quiz recently. He’s been one of my favourite wordsmiths since student days. A group of four of us travelled to Leicester in 1965 to see him live at the de Montfort Hall. How times change, but we move on.

Friday night quizzes were once a regular feature at the King’s Head before the pub closed. Now in the current restrictions we quiz via zoom instead. This has meant that non-villagers and ex-villagers are able to join in, bringing a whole other dimension to the experience. Things change, as they must if we don’t want the village to stagnate or die.

Folks move on or move in. Lately, we have lost one of our oldest villagers. Pam Jones, nee Poolman, who was born in the village, went to the village school and married in the village church. A lovely lady, a big loss. Probably the last Poolman in the village descended from John Poolman who married Betty Eyles at Chitterne All Saints Church on 20 May 1757, that’s 264 years that descendants of the Poolman family have lived in the village. Pam is also the last remaining connection to the Brown family, William Brown headmaster at the school from 1867 to 1906 and his son Bill Brown the Big 5 detective at Scotland Yard, who came back to Chitterne in retirement, and incidentally was the reason Pam’s parents moved from 48 Bidden Lane to Abdon Close. Bill bought up the row of cottages numbered 48 to 53, knocked most of them down, kept 53 where he’d lived as a child and turned it into his new home. Pam’s grandmother was Annie Brown, Bill’s sister.

We hear another big change is happening at Chitterne House, sold recently by the family who have owned it since 1947.

As Bob reminded us: Times they are a-changing. I don’t have any pictures of Pam, so here’s one of Bob.

Anyone for Tennis?

Here are some photographs of the Chitterne Tennis Club in action in the late 1920s for your delight. If you recognise where the tennis court was, let me know.

This photo dated 1928. The man in the centre facing the camera is Evelyn Feltham.

Mixed doubles 1929 same court.

They appear to be playing on a court outside the village. This is not the court at the Gate House or the one that used to be in the grounds of the Vicarage, so where?

Ladies of the tennis club 1920s.

Evelyn Feltham back left, Nora Feltham back third left, Ernie Polden standing back far right, in front of him seated is Arthur Williams and to the left of him seated on the ground is his future wife Polly Polden.

Grateful thanks to TH for this fascinating glimpse into the local tennis scene almost 100 years ago. Copyright and ownership remain with TH.

Stable to Nest

As we start a new venture at the Round House I’ve been thinking about the ways we have used the old stable since we came here 45 years ago this month. Now I wish I had taken more photos of the building as it was, because the stable only appears in the background of a few early shots.

In 1976 the stable had a doorway, but no door, and three windows. Two downstairs and one in the gable-end, but no glass and no frames. Three of the sturdy stone walls were bricked outside and one was left as stone. The slate roof was good. Inside were three bays for horses and a cobbled flint floor with a hayloft high above of rotten elm boards. We first used it as storage space for our house renovating equipment.

An early photo taken summer 1976 showing the stable in the background. We were camping out at weekends in that very long, hot summer while renovating the house. My Dad, recently retired, in the foreground, was helping us. Kate was 4 and Jess 2.

A photo from 1981 and no change to the stable except for the beech hedge planting. This photo better shows the weak brickwork above the doorway, still no door! Jess and GT from the village enjoying the snow. Soon after this we started work to bring the building up to scratch.

My Dad’s health was deteriorating by 1982 so we briefly considered renovating the stable for him and my Mum to live in. Dave drew up plans but we didn’t follow it through. The space was very small for two people and on reflection it was a crazy idea to move two elderly people who had lived in a bungalow for 40 years into a two storey building. Dad died in 1985.

I love these old drawings in ink on drawing film.

In 1986 downstairs became a depository for some of my father’s engineering equipment, after my mother sold up and moved in with us later that year. We brought Dad’s huge bench, pillar drill and suchlike over from Westbury and installed it in the stable. Thank goodness his big metal-turning lathe was sold with the bungalow.

In 1988 Kate held her 16th birthday party upstairs in the stable. After the party I used the room for sewing for a few years and in 1990, when Dave gave up his day job and became self-employed, he used it for his drawing work. During the next 20 years drawing board and ink plotter gave way to computer and printer, until an accident in 2010 forced him to work downstairs in the house leaving the upstairs stable room empty.

In about 2012 Amy needed some space for silk screen printing and sewing. The upstairs room accommodated both, it became a studio for Christian to print and a sewing area for Amy to sew the printed items for sale.

In 2015 it was empty again. After several attempts to get planning permission for a conversion to accommodation for ourselves we finally succeeded in 2018, but with a much reduced extension. We were unsure whether the resulting conversion would be big enough for the two of us, but decided to go ahead with the project anyway. Building work started in June 2019 and was completed in January 2020. Fitting it out, with many interruptions due to the pandemic, took until September, by which time we had decided not to move in ourselves but to rent it out for holidays. The Nest at the Round House was born.

Before and after, the south facing end.

Before and after, east side.

Before the conversion the stable was a favourite nesting place for jackdaws and sparrows, hence the choice of name for the holiday cottage. Besides that, there was already a Stable Cottage and a Stables complex in the village so we had to choose something different!

Feltham Hoard: Maria Cockrell Feltham

Maria Feltham (right) with possibly Constance Dennistoun Hamilton c.1867. Constance was widowed the previous year, both women appear in mourning dress.

The second amazing find from the Feltham hoard of photographs is a tintype of Maria with possibly Constance Hamilton. I am inclined to agree with TH, this must be Maria. Tintype photos were popular from about 1856 to 1867. Maria was hired by Constance Hamilton as a nurse to her two young daughters in 1867. The woman with Maria here looks very like the elder of her two daughters in another identified photograph taken later.

Beryl (left) and Eva Hamilton, Maria’s two charges

TH found another photo to clinch the matter; a fabulous cabinet portrait of a very definitely identified Maria taken in London, at a studio just around the corner from where the Hamiltons and Maria stayed in Kensington in the 1870s.

Maria Feltham nee Cockrell c.1870

So here we have another of Chitterne’s stalwart womenfolk of yesteryear. Who’d have thought it? These photos of Maria have been stashed away in the attic at 98 Codford Road for over a hundred years and just now come to light. Almost as if waiting for the right moment when her story could be told and her portrait shared.

See my previous series of blogs on Maria Cockrell’s story Maria Cockrell – Part 1: a life of extremes

With thanks to TH, who retains copyright and ownership of the photos.

Feltham Hoard – Annie Compton

I’ve had some great news! More treasure from Ray Feltham’s old home has come to light. Who says hoarding isn’t rewarding!

Thousands of photographs found at 98 Codford Road by his family are now being carefully catalogued and preserved. Given that Ray’s family had occupied the same building for over 100 years, this is very good news for anyone interested in village history.

TH, Raymond’s great nephew, has taken on the task and is kindly allowing me to share some of the photos with you in future blogs. I found the first samples to come my way astonishing. Photos of two Chitterne women I’ve longed to find are among them, the first is Annie Compton.

Annie Compton 8 June 1929 aged 90

When Ann Compton died in 1931, aged 91, the Warminster Journal described her as “A unique Chitterne character” and “England’s Oldest Councillor”.

The Local Government Act of 1894 had vested control of the village under the new Warminster Rural District Council. Of its 25 members, Ann Compton, who represented Chitterne St. Mary, was the only woman. She was one of only 140 lady councillors in England and Wales. Her role as a councillor also made her a member of the Board of Guardians of the Warminster Workhouse. Serving with her were Miss Maxfield and Lady Pelly, elected from the Warminster Parish. These indomitable ladies were 3 of only 875 Women Guardians, out of a total in England and Wales of 29 000.

The name of Compton appears for many centuries in the parish records, but Ann seems to be the last of her line in the village of Chitterne. She is buried with her parents, George and Elizabeth Compton, and a sister, Elizabeth Mary, in the churchyard of St. Mary’s.

Often referred to as Annie, she was still serving on the Board of Guardians when it was disbanded in 1930 and attended the final meeting in Warminster at the age of 90. At that time, she was living in Bridge Cottage, next door to the King’s Head Public House.

I am very grateful to TH for allowing me access to this long-sought-for photograph and for his careful preservation of the Feltham hoard. TH retains copyright and ownership.