Chitterne’s Lost Cottages

Here’s an early 20th century shot of Bidden Lane (Shrewton Road) photographed by Marrett of Shrewton sourced from Wylye Valley Photos.

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It shows a very different scene from today as the cottages on the right were knocked down to widen the road in the 1960s. The cottages on the left still exist. Where once the inhabitants of the demolished cottages grew vegetables and dried their washing there is now only a sloping chalky bank.

Twelve cottages were demolished, they were known collectively as Red House. In 1936 the end wall of the first cottage collapsed, as reported in the Warminster Journal on Friday 17 January 1936:

“As a result of the heavy weather experienced for some weeks previously, and during the middle of last Thursday’s gale, the end of a house in Chitterne collapsed. The house was that tenanted by Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Grant, who were married last August. Ominous cracks had appeared in the end wall of the house – which is at the end of a rank of cottages – and at the height of the storm the entire wall collapsed, completely exposing the scullery and one of the bedrooms, and leaving a great gap under the roof. The cottage is the property of Mr. Wilfred Dean, and is situated opposite the home of Mr. W.F. Brown, a former chief of the ‘Big Five’ at Scotland Yard.”

Wilfred Dean was the eldest son of Joseph Dean of Imber who had lived and farmed at Chitterne Farm in 1890. William Fred Brown lived at Syringa Cottage.

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Stan Grant 1940s

Stan Grant (1906-1997), the village lengthsman (Parish Steward), had married Hilda Knight in August 1935. He and Hilda moved to 5 Council Houses (Abdon Close) after the collapse of the wall. There is a paragraph in Ferdinand Mount’s book ‘Cold Cream’ that sums up Stan very well:

“By then (September) Stan Grant will have scythed the roadside banks. He does this scything in a smart white collarless shirt and grey waistcoat and trousers. He inclines slightly to finish each stroke and the sun catches the silken sheen of his waistcoat backing. It is as though he came down the road in his immaculate three-piece suit and suddenly took it into his head to take off his jacket and hang it on a branch and do a little scything. He is equally nonchalant when fielding at cover point for the village cricket team which my father captains for a couple of seasons. I remember him standing there in his waistcoat, kneeling gracefully to stop the ball and return it to the keeper, all as though he is not actually part of the team but just happens to be passing when the ball comes his way – but this must be nonsense because now I think harder Stan wears flawless whites, is famous for them in fact, and anyway the pitch is tucked high up on the sloping field some way from the road.”






Chitterne’s Lost Cottages

Dick Parker found: Update to Maria 11

Dick Parker, or properly Richard Parker, mentioned in my last blog, was in plain sight all the time, had I only looked more closely at my records. I don’t know how I missed him but luckily J & R did have their eyes open and spotted him in the Chitterne Burial Records for 1877.

Parker, Richard 1877 burial

The record shows that he died aged 45 years suddenly in fits and was buried on August 12th 1877. In the census records of 1871 he and his wife Katherine née Davies, were living in the twelfth house from the bottom of Bidden Lane on the All Saints side (the left side) next door to the shop. This would put them about where number 61 is today, except that 60 and 61 (Chestnut Cottages) were not built until 1874. So were they living in the new number 61 in 1877 or had they moved elsewhere? We will probably never know, except that their neighbours George and Sophia Bartlett, who ran the grocer’s shop in 1871, moved into the new shop at number 60 after 1874 so perhaps the Parkers moved into the new house alongside too, and that was the house Maria’s widowed mother hoped to get if Katherine moved out.

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Bidden Lane early 1900s. On the left Steps Cottages nos 48-53 (48-52 demolished), 54 and 55 behind the telegraph pole, thatched 56 and 57 (demolished), 58 and 59 (demolished), the gable of 60 is just visible with 61 beyond and a barn in far distance.

That leaves the reference to Townsend, a possible destination for Maria’s mother in my last blog, as a bit of a mystery. I had assumed that Richard Parker and family lived there.

Richard Parker was the eldest son of James Parker of Chitterne St Mary and Maria White of Chitterne All Saints. He was baptised in 1833, worked as a farm labourer and married Katherine Davies in 1860. Katherine was born about 1840 in Benguinlais, South Wales. Their two eldest children David James and Eliza Jane both died in 1872 aged 10 and 8 years. Richard Edward 1867, Sarah Florence 1870 and a second David James 1872 survived. After her husband Richard’s death in 1877 Katherine moved away, the family do not appear on the Chitterne census of 1881.

Note for new blog readers: Bidden Lane is the correct, but rarely used name for the Shrewton Road.

Many thanks once again to J & R, always a pleasure to have your input, which puts me to shame this time.


Dick Parker found: Update to Maria 11

Cottages at Chalk Hill

I like to get the facts right, so after my last blog about Georges Terrace, which I admit I got wrong, I have been wondering where the cottages referred to in Bill Windsor’s information were.

An 1882 Conversion of Corn Rents Map and Schedule for Chitterne All Saints was recently discovered in the church vestry. It shows that the cottages owned by the Atkins family were further up the part of Bidden Lane once known as Chalk Hill. It was when I studied this map and schedule that I realised I was mistaken about Georges Terrace.

Here is a section of the 1882 map showing the plots and houses on the All Saints side of Bidden Lane (to orientate you: Number 159 at the top is Elm Farm). Notice halfway down a turning off to the right, which is the Dring, a track that nowadays leads to the allotments and the back path behind the houses. Below the Dring are two plots numbered 146 and 147, these plots are now the site of Georges Terrace, but in 1882 they were ‘gardens’, not owned by anyone called Atkins, but by Lord Long and rented from him by Benjamin Carter and John George. 68, 69 and 70 Bidden Lane did not exist in 1882.

Part of the 1882 map showing Bidden Lane, All Saints side

John Atkins’ plot in 1882 was number 140 a little further out of the village and described as a house and 24 perches of land, rent 10 pence per annum, occupied by Thomas Grant and others.

The part of the schedule that refers to John Atkins house and land at 140 on the map

Below, in italics, is the section I have cut from the original Georges Terrace blog that perhaps refers to number 140:

Thanks to some old documents shown to me by the late Bill Windsor we know quite a lot about the history of these cottages. One cottage in the centre was built first, date unknown, but before 1851. The old documents dating from 1871 described it as:

Cottage with 25 perches of land E of the road from Chitterne to Shrewton. Bounded on the E by garden formerly of William Whatley, but now of John Parham, N by garden formerly in the occupation of James Noyes but now of James Dyer, W by garden in occupation of John Polton (Polden).

Ann Payne (1812-1855) owned one cottage in 1851 and lived there with her three children and lodger Joseph Poolman. Ann was a dressmaker. In 1852 Ann and Joseph had a daughter together named Lucy Green, and Ann sold the cottage to Henry Atkins of Warminster for £35. The following year Joseph and Ann married and bought the cottage back from Henry Atkins.

Joseph Poolman, who was also known as Joseph Green, was born in 1827. He was an engine driver on a farm. Between marrying Ann in 1853 and her death on 31 January 1855, Joseph had built two more cottages on the site, one each side of the original building. On 17 March 1855 he sold the: “three cottages at Chalk Hill, Chitterne All Saints” to Joseph Miles for £140.

Joseph Miles, a shopkeeper from Corton, let the properties out to tenants Betty Feltham, Thomas Grant and Mary Ann Dewey. He sold the cottages to John Atkins, auctioneer of Warminster, for £80 on 25 March 1871.

One of the cottages was found to be on fire by some men working in the fields on 22 March 1884. A report in the Warminster Journal said:

Efforts were made to extinguish the flames, but it being thatched and no water near, it was a hopeless task. By the united exertions of the villagers, two adjoining cottages were saved. The cottages belonged to Mrs. Atkins of Warminster. The property is insured. The cause of the fire is unknown and will probably remain a mystery.

The mention of John Atkins in 1871 and Mrs Atkins in 1884 clinches the identification for me. The only problem left is identifying the building or site today. Where was plot 140? I believe Chalk Hill was the part of Bidden Lane from numbers 71 to 80. Comparing the 1882 map with a current planning map of Bidden Lane, plot 140 appears to have been in the area of numbers 75 – 78. Looking at the 1881 census for this area Thomas Grant, who is mentioned in the schedule as occupying plot 140, in the census lives seven houses from the top of the lane. Unfortunately we have no way of knowing if some old houses have been demolished and replaced with new, apart from numbers 77 and 78 which are definitely missing. So the answer eludes me at the moment.

Part of Bidden Lane formerly known as Chalk Hill?

If anyone has any thoughts on where plot 140 might have been, please comment, your information would be welcome. If someone from Bidden Lane has the Atkins family mentioned in their deeds that would be perfect.

Cottages at Chalk Hill

Jack Smith of Mount Pleasant

Mount Pleasant, Bidden Lane. Jack Smith’s house far right.

Henry John ‘Jack’ Smith 1864-1939 lived at Mount Pleasant, which was the top part of Bidden Lane on the Chitterne All Saints side. Jack Smith, the son of Jacob and Elizabeth Smith in my last blog, lived in the last house on the left, number 80. Numbers 77 and 78, next door to Jack’s house, were also part of Mount Pleasant, but have since been demolished.

Jack Smith’s trap being pulled by Gee Gee Tom in 1933. The child is Jack’s great nephew Peter.
Jack Smith 1938

In 1890 Jack Smith was a general dealer and carrier living in Townsend with his parents. He ran a cart to Salisbury on Tuesdays, Devizes on Thursdays and Warminster on Saturdays. By 1901 he was living at Mount Pleasant and a tenant farmer; in 1919 he bought 10 acres of arable Glebe farm land from the church authorities for £190, and in 1932 his farm was known as Mount Pleasant Farm. He had a barn, a dairy and a dewpond on the other side of the road from his house, as well as a shelter alongside the road to Codford where his cows grazed the old meadows.

He was twice married, first to Elizabeth Dewey in 1897. She died in 1906 aged 50 years. He married again in 1907 to Mary Holloway of Erlestoke, a relative of his mother’s. Mary predeceased him in 1934 aged 69 years. There were no children from either marraige.

Like his father Jack was a Baptist; he was a lifelong member of the local chapel and lay preacher. He was baptised at Corton in 1884, made secretary and Baptist pastor in 1889 and deacon in 1905. He was also a Parish Councillor. He collapsed and died just up the road from his house on Boxing Day 1939 while taking a walk.

Jack Smith of Mount Pleasant

Jacob Smith – entrepreneur

Jacob Smith, centre, threshing with some of his sons in 1897, said to be at Glebe Farm. Arthur Smith extreme left, Jack Smith third from left with jacket and cap, Sidney Smith extreme right.

Jacob Smith, the man behind the shop at 17 Townsend, arrived in Chitterne with 16 shillings in his pocket, a basket of carpenter’s tools and an ambition to better himself. This is how he worked his way towards his goal.

He was born in 1837 at Bushton, north Wiltshire, and came to Chitterne sometime before 1860, because that’s when he married assistant school mistress Elizabeth Holloway at her home village of Erlestoke.

In 1861 Jacob and Elizabeth were living in Bidden Lane, Chitterne St Mary, next door to James Polden, a mason and the Parish Clerk. Jacob was working as a carpenter, so he may have been working with James Polden on the new church. We know that Jacob helped install the church clock in the tower. Elizabeth was a new mother to one-month-old baby Herbert at the time of the census.

By the 1871 census Jacob and Elizabeth had moved to Flint House in Chitterne All Saints, and Jacob had taken over the carpenter and wheelwright’s business from the Abery family.  This business was later run by the family of Jacob’s daughter Alice’s husband, Frederick Carter, and then by Polden and Feltham. The Smiths established a grocer’s shop at Flint House and Elizabeth was listed as a shopkeeper. The couple had their four children and an apprentice carpenter living with them.

10 years later in 1881 the Smith family have moved up again and are living at number 17 Townsend with seven of their eight children. Jacob, 43, is a wheelwright and grocer, Elizabeth, 44, is a ‘grocer’s wife’ and their second son John, or H J Smith later known as Jack Smith, 17, is a baker. Jack Smith, as we saw in the last blog, went on to own the shop and bakehouse after his parents’ deaths. The two cottages next door, on the site of number 16 Townsend, are listed as uninhabited in 1881. The couple’s eldest son Herbert was apprenticed to a grocer at Maldon in Essex and later emigrated to British Columbia, Canada.

In the 1891 census Jacob is said to be a wheelwright, grocer, baker and farmer, so he has added yet another string to his bow, farming. He may have been leasing Glebe Farm from the church by this time, as we are told he did by the time our photo was taken in 1897, but he was still living at Townsend with Elizabeth in the Grocer’s Shop, though by this time his children were helping out. Two daughters, Jeanette and Margaret, were shop assistants and son Sidney was assistant  wheelwright, whereas son Jack had branched out on his own as a carrier and dealer.

Jacob seems to have been able to create businesses at the drop of a hat. He and Elizabeth bred a family of entrepreneurs, to start with anyway. Son Herbert became a grocer in a new land, daughter Alice married a wheelwright and was set up at Flint House, son Jack became a dealer, a carrier and later a farmer, and daughter Margaret married and ran a grocer’s shop in Tilshead. The only children who didn’t follow this trend were the youngest two unmarried sons, Sidney and Arthur, who were left running the shop and bakery business. According to Jacob’s great grandson PD, Sidney fell in with a bad crowd and lost the lot. Is this when Jack Smith stepped in, bought the business and paid off the mortgage? We may never know.


Jacob Smith – entrepreneur

Found or Brittan?

Some of the Found family, middle row left: Mary Found Floyd with her husband Tom Floyd behind; back row middle: George Found with his wife Harriet Haines Found in front of him; front row: Minnie Found Grant, daughter of George and Harriet, and her husband Ernest Frank Grant – I think, not sure about Minnie and Ernest; the couple on the right are unknown, any ideas? Mary and George were children of, and Minnie was grandchild of Edmund and Elizabeth Found. Thanks to CG for the photo

The legend in the Found family is that the name was originally given to a ‘foundling’ child. But perhaps there could be some doubt in this case.

My sleuth friends have been sidetracked from their own researches to the benefit of our Chitterne family history yet again. This time they have been looking into the origin of Edmund Found’s family name with surprising results.

Edmund Found came from Imber. His grandfather was William Brittan, born 1764, son of Jane Brittan. Jane later married Thomas Found and her son William became known as William Found, except in 1794 when he married Mary Cannings at Chitterne All Saints and used his birth name: William Brittan.

William and Mary Found moved back to Imber and had a son Thomas in 1795, who married Sarah Brown. Thomas and Sarah had a son Edmund Found in 1834 who married Elizabeth Payne, the woman in last week’s photograph, and lived in Chitterne. Edmund and Elizabeth were the parents of Susie Found, who also featured in last week’s blog.

So, should the name of the family be Brittan?








Found or Brittan?

Bidden Lane Mystery


Does anyone recognise this woman or the cottage? JB sent the picture last week with two bits of information:

1) The cottage is number 67 Bidden Lane

2) The woman was the school cleaner for many years

However, these two statements present a problem, because Susie Found was the school cleaner for years and years but she lived at number 65 Bidden Lane. So, if one of the statements is correct, the other is wrong.

If the cottage is indeed number 67, who is the woman? Abdon Thomas Poolman and his wife Martha Annie nee Cooper lived at 67 from before 1891 to Abdon’s death in 1928. So the woman could be Martha, who was a housemaid before she and Abdon married in 1887 and produced five daughters.

If the woman pictured is Susie Found, then the cottage is number 65, because Susie lived in that cottage from before 1911 until she died in 1949.This was before 65 was combined with  66 and the larger porch added. Susie was unmarried and a general servant, she cleaned the Baptist Chapel as well as the school.

Any ideas anyone? Comments and suggestions welcome!



Now we have the reverse of the postcard thanks to SB who found it. More clues here. It is dated 1907, posted in Boscombe, Bournemouth, signed by S Found and  addressed to Miss E Found in Bristol, presumably S Found’s niece as she signs off ‘your loving Auntie’. It reads as if the sender is the subject of the photograph because she says: ‘Hope you will all like it’. This all points to the cottage being 65 Bidden Lane and the writer being Susanna Found, known as Susie.

However, some parts do not add up. First the added notes: ‘Grandpa Found’s mother’ and ‘Mrs Found’, as we know that Susie Found was a spinster all her life.

Update 2:

I think we may have solved the mystery! My two sleuthing gurus have set their minds to it and together we have come up with this explanation.

Susan or Susanna Found, born 1869, lived in Bidden Lane, Chitterne St Mary most of the time with her parents, Edmund Found and Elizabeth nee Payne, until Edmund died  in 1899, and then with her mother and brother James who moved across the road to number 65 Bidden Lane, Chitterne All Saints, between 1901 and 1911. Except that in 1891 Susie is away from home boarding in Pokesdown, Hampshire with several other Chitterne girls, and later we found her in Hastings, Sussex working at the Queen’s Hotel as a laundry-maid. This means that the postcard she sent to Miss E Found in 1907 from Boscombe near Bournemouth was probably posted while Susie was working away.

The Miss E Found, or Dear Edie, we have discovered is Edith Dora Elizabeth Found 1885-1969, the daughter of Susie’s eldest brother William who lived in Bristol and worked as a guard for the Great Western Railway. The Archie referred to is Edith’s brother Arthur Archibald Found born 1894.

Next we come to the added notes on the postcard: ‘Mrs Found’ and ‘Grandpa Found’s mother’. If Susie was working away from home before and during 1907 then it follows that she is not the person in the photograph. Again, bearing in mind her age of 38 in 1907, we think the woman pictured is probably older than that, so, could the person be Susie’s mother Elizabeth Found nee Payne? We think so. Elizabeth would have been in her late 60s in 1907. If it is her then the two notes added to the postcard in another hand make sense, Elizabeth was certainly Mrs Found, and if William is the ‘Grandpa’ referred to, then she was certainly his mother.

One more thing: the school cleaner comment made to JB by the late Bill Windsor. Susie was the school cleaner, but could her mother have been the cleaner before Susie took the job on?

Just to round the whole story off: Elizabeth Payne was born in Chitterne St Mary in 1838 to John Payne and Sarah Ashley and married Edmund Found from Imber when she was 17 in 1855 at her local church. Elizabeth and Edmund had 12 children, 6 boys and 6 girls, 10 of whom survived infancy, Susie was the seventh child. Elizabeth died in 1911 aged 73 years and is buried in the graveyard at Chitterne St Mary.

Bidden Lane Mystery

Georges Terrace

100 years ago a row of three cottages in Bidden Lane was known as Georges Terrace. The cottages built facing up the hill at ninety degrees to the road are numbers 68, 69 and 70.

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The three cottages once known as Georges Terrace

Some time between before 1912 William Poolman, the landlord of the White Hart Inn, acquired the cottages known as Georges Terrace. He also owned six more cottages next door, numbers 62 to 67. When he died in 1912 his widow Harriet inherited these properties and in 1913 conveyed his entire estate to her step-daughters, William’s daughters Lydia Polden and Rosa Dewey by his first wife.

Arthur Spratt (1907-1992) was the owner of Georges Terrace in about 1964 when a tragedy happened. A lorry ran out of control in Bidden Lane and smashed into number 68 demolishing a corner of the cottage. Arthur’s brother Bill and his wife Daisy were inside at the time but luckily were unhurt. Bill Windsor told me how he rebuilt the end wall and chimney stack, but was amazed that the rear wall of cob had remained intact throughout the accident and rebuild.

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Number 68 after the accident in c1964

Since I first wrote this blog I have realised that I made some wrong assumptions! A recently discovered map of 1882 shows that these three cottages did not exist at that time and the gardens on the site in 1882 were owned by Walter Hume Long and used by John George and Benjamin Carter.

I hestitate to venture further opinion on who had the cottages built, but we know that Thomas George, previously the carrier at the White Hart, was a landlord of cottages too, so he may have owned these, which neatly explains the name Georges Terrace. But I stress this is only an idea! Thomas died in 1889 and maybe that’s when William Poolman acquired them, as mentioned above.

Georges Terrace

1950s Nostalgia

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PC Douglas Boddington with daughters Pat and Mary outside the Police House

The village bobby from 1950 to 1954 was PC Douglas Boddington. On Wednesday his daughter Mary paid a visit to Chitterne and brought her memories and some photographs taken here during those years. I find that people who have stayed in Chitterne for a short time often have clearer memories of that slice of their lives than those of us who have lived here a lot longer. Mary was no exception, she was 9 years old when the family left in 1954, so still a child, but with a good memory.


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Annie Boddington with Pat and Mary 1950

Douglas Boddington, his wife Annie and their two daughters lived in the Police House, 46 Chitterne, (now one half of Woodbine Cottage). Their neighbours were the Poldens in The Poplars and the Windsors (Bill’s parents) in 45.

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Mary’s grandmother surrounded by her grandchildren outside the Bridge Cafe and B & B. The petrol pumps are just visble on the left.

“Everything looks so small,” she said, “I remember my father had a car and spent most of his time patrolling the Plain villages along with PC Beeves, he was from Wylye I think. The car was kept at the White Hart and we had to make sure we had filled up with petrol before leaving the village (the petrol pumps were at the Bridge Cafe B&B). We had a telephone and villagers came to use it sometimes. We pumped water from the old well for use in the house, (the pump is still outside number 46), and the toilet was an earth closet outside. My sister and I loved it here but I don’t think my mother did.”

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Post Office at 65 Bidden Lane

“The Post Office was up the Lane at number 65. We were allowed to go there from the top of our garden across Back Road and through the bullock field (Back Path) to the back door of the Post Office. We used the shop at 25 Townsend too. My grandmother stayed at the Bridge Cafe bed and breakfast when she came to see us. There was a military vehicle that looked like a tank parked up in the Chalk Pit.”

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Chitterne School 1953. Mary is end of back row on the right, centre of second row with missing tooth is Clifford Mould, in front of him is Lyn Polden with Pat Boddington to the right of Lyn.

“At school my teachers were Miss Hiscock and Mrs Veale and my best friend was Pamela Feltham. I can remember Lyn Polden, Jean Wain, Clifford Mould and Vera Miles too.Vera Miles broke an arm or a leg sledging in the snow on the field behind our house. I think she went to Salisbury Grammar School. My mother played the harmonium in the church and gave piano lessons to some village children. She also stood in for Miss Hiscock at school sometimes and was told not to worry too much about it because most of the children were destined for farm work.”

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Abdon Close numbers 3 to 8, before the flats were built

Mary was interested to see The Round House again because she remembered going there with her mother and sister to a sewing circle for village women run by a lady who worked at the Vicarage.

“The Round House is so small compared to how I remember it. To us it seemed a like a big tower overlooked by tall dark trees. We found it quite scary. The sewing circle was held in the sitting room. There was a big table in the middle of the room surrounded by straight-backed chairs. There were no armchairs or sofas. The women embroidered things like tray cloths using transfer designs given away with women’s magazines and ironed onto the fabric. Meanwhile my sister and I played hide and seek behind the long curtains.”

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The Green with the WW2 water tank.

In a twist of fate Mary told me that as an adult teaching in Warminster she met Ray Feltham, who was supply teaching at the same school. They had many discussions  about Chitterne. At first I thought Mary’s friend Pamela Feltham was Ray’s sister, but later realised Ray’s sister Pamela was born in 1923 and couldn’t possibly be the same person. So if anyone knows of Pamela Feltham the younger, and to which Feltham family she belonged, I would love to know as I have no record of her at all.*see below

Thanks to Mary for these great photos of 1950s Chitterne. If anyone can identify more of the schoolchildren please let me know by leaving a comment.

Added 12 June 2016: Pamela J Feltham is the daughter of Herbert Feltham (1892-1968) & Dorothy Lucas (1906-1960) who lived at 7 Abdon Close. Thanks to my intrepid research gurus J & R R, aka Holmes and Watson, for this new information.

1950s Nostalgia

Old Chitterne Names 16: Bidden Lane

Bidden Lane is the original name of the road that divides the two old Chitterne parishes of Chitterne All Saints and Chitterne St Mary. The civil parish of Chitterne did not exist until the two were united in 1907. Before that such was the fierce rivalry between the two that inhabitants of one parish referred to their near neighbours across the lane as ‘vurriners’*. Bidden Lane was the one and only ‘Lane’ to old Chitterne folk and for that reason some strongly objected to Back Road being changed to Back Lane a few years ago, but I digress.

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Photograph annotated by the late Ernie George 1921-2012. The Spratt boys were Bill 1903-1974 and Arthur 1907-1992.

Sadly the use of Bidden Lane as the name of the road has declined in the last 100 years. The less poetic Shrewton Road is more widely used now, but for this blog I have been looking into the origin of Bidden Lane.

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1822 map showing Betham Lane Field

An old map of both parishes dated 1822 names some of the fields. On this map a field on the St Mary side of the lane, lying between Chitterne Dairy road and Harvest Road, is called Betham Lane Field. Could Betham have become Bidden?

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Betham Lane Field from Chitterne Dairy road

In 1841 the lane is noted on the census of that year as Biden Lane. In 1871 it is Bidden, in 1881 Bitten and from 1891 to 1911 Bitton Lane. The census takers, who were not always locals, would have spelt the name used by the villagers phonetically, hence the different recorded spellings, and Wiltshire folk pronounce their Ts and Ds almost identically by swallowing the hard sound when it occurs in the middle of a word, hence Bidden or Bitten.

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Another early photograph annotated by Ernie George
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Another of Ernie’s photographs. The cottages on the left 83-87 were demolished for road-widening, number 56 on the right has gone, but 54 and 55 beyond remain.

By 1925 Rev. John Canner referred to the lane as Shrewton Road in his Church Visiting Book. Since then Bidden Lane has been gradually superceded by Shrewton Road, and yet Bidden Lane is named on up-to-date Ordnance Survey maps of the village.

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Old Chitterne Names 16: Bidden Lane