Fire at Chitterne St Mary 1831

An early 1900s view of the area of Chitterne St Mary affected by the fire. The Manor is top centre, Glebe House can just be seen far left centre. The church farm buildings are to the left of the King’s Head, fronted by a wall.

A newspaper report of a fire in a Chitterne St Mary farmyard describes in great detail just how easily fire can spread once it takes hold. The farmyard belonged to the lord of the manor and was leased from him by William Wallis, who lived at The Manor, while his widowed mother, Mary Buckeridge Wallis, lived in what is now Glebe House.  When the fire was first spotted it was no more than a small blaze in a rick. The date was 26th February 1831.

Report of the fire from the Evening Mail of 1st March 1831

Some explanations seem necessary. The ricks of wheat and barley were kept in an enclosed yard known as a rick-barton. The house and cottage that were burned on the other side of the road would have been in the vicinity of present day St Mary’s Lodge, number 104 and Glebe Farmhouse. The farm mentioned “to the leeward” of the fire was George Parham’s Clump Farm, a site now occupied by St Mary’s Close. Other farm buildings owned by the church stood on the site of present day Birch Cottage.

The “late disturbances” refer to the Swing Riots of 1830. When groups of farm workers worried for their livelihoods travelled around the neighbourhood wrecking the new threshing machines. There had been no wrecking in Chitterne, unlike in Heytesbury, Upton Lovell, Knook and Corton where several machines were wrecked and as a consequence 20 men transported to Australia for terms of seven years.

Thanks to the eagle eyed J & R for this, who spotted it when looking for something else!

Fire at Chitterne St Mary 1831

Glebe House 2


Who remembers this photograph of Glebe House from my blog of 20 May 2013? A lot has changed since then. Glebe House now looks quite different and has new owners.

When meeting one of them today I remembered that somewhere I should have a copy of an extract from William Edgeworth Sanders Recollections, sent many years ago by one of his descendants, in which he referred to a visit he made to this house as a boy, about 1802. Amazingly, I found the copy straight away!

It appears that in those days the house was inhabited by the farm bailiff who ran the farm attached to The Manor next door. In 1800 a gentleman by the name of Christopher Fricker (1755-1815) lived at The Manor, which he leased from the Methuen family, lords of Chitterne St Mary. William Sanders tells us that his father’s cousin, Thomas Sanders (1769-1802), was the previous inhabitant of Glebe House or Holmcroft as it was then. It must have been about this time that the two black barns attached to The Manor were constructed. Farming business was booming and yet only a quarter century later the Methuens put the Chitterne St Mary estate up for sale.

I digress, what of William Sanders (1792-1880), his recollections and his visit to the house above? He says:

“When I was about eight or nine years old my dear father (Benjamin Sanders 1761-1836) took me riding with him on a horse, but with stirrups. Which I was not allowed to use until I was over twelve years of age. We went to Abbotts Ann where I slept at Aunts some ten miles distant from Bullington where my father farmed about 280 acres of his own land, and about 80 at (Barehill) Andover.

On my journey to Chiltern, (the village name was often spelt this way in those days) which was distant about 21 miles, I was not fatigued in the least, but much attracted to the new sights to me. Passing through Amesbury, I was much astonished with the large stones of Stonehenge, and about seven miles after Chiltern is reached, which was a large village. The house of Mr Frickers if I recollect right was the best house in the village.

My father having administered to estate of his cousin, Thomas Sanders. We went to his late residence, which was a small farm house. The Bailiff who managed the farm, put our horses into the stable. The winnowing of corn was going on in the barn. I was much struck. I can remember with the appearance of two young women with very large brimmed silk bonnets and low crowns, which had long since been out of fashion in Hants.

The Sanders family lived many years in Chiltern, Grandfather (William Sanders 1716-1791) had I believe two brothers living at Chiltern and one at Andover. Jordan Sanders (1729-) who kept the shop where Parker lived in my time and occupied by Dowling. John (1721-) I believe died unmarried. Thomas had one son to whose effects my father administered. His property fell to his mothers relatives.

My Grandfather rented land from the Marquis of Winchester at Amport, which he occupied many years until Mr Paulet came to the title and estate, and then much of the land was required for the Park. During his life he was very intimate with Grandfather, and told him there was a plate always laid on the table for him whenever he chose to dine with him.”

The Sanders family are remembered on several memorials on the walls of Chitterne St Mary Chancel.

Note: The Paulet family preceded the Methuens as lords of the manor at Chitterne St Mary.


Glebe House 2