Yesterday I had one of those ‘of course!’ moments that cleared up all sorts of anomalies in the version of the Chitterne history in my head. I think it’s worth passing on in case anyone else is as confused as I was.
There were two places associated with bushes near Chitterne in the old days. One was part of Chitterne parish and the other was part of Maddington parish (now Shrewton). Bush Barn was one of the outlying Field Barn settlements that was once just north of the present Copehill Down Training Village. If you look towards the bushes to the right of the road to Tilshead after the second sharp bend at the top of Breach Hill, that is where Bush Barn stood, inside the Chitterne parish boundary. To further confuse the poor historian Bush Barn is referred to as ‘The Bushes’ in the 1901 census, which states that it was part of Joesph Dean’s Chitterne Farm, and as Bush Farm by the Rev. Canner in his Visiting Book of 1925, when Gamekeeper Harry Burton and family lived there. No wonder I was confused!
Bushes Farm, on the other hand, was in Maddington parish. It stood to the right of the road to Shrewton after the sharp left turn at the top of the hill, across a dry valley amongst some bushes. The dry valley marks the boundary between Chitterne and Shrewton. Bushes Farm appears to have been demolished by the War Department in the 1940s, when they needed more land for training.
This revelation occurred when we were looking into the Diaper and Cox families. The Diaper family lived at Bushes Farm in 1932, and by 1939 just inside the Chitterne boundary at New House Farm, which has since also been demolished except for the wooden shed at the top of Shrewton Hill. We could not understand why the children of George Diaper were born and baptised in Maddington but went to school in Chitterne, now we know, it was closer.