Old Chitterne Names 5: St Mary’s Footpath and Garston

St Mary’s footpath, Right of Way number 7, was the usual path across Garston field between the old parishes of Chitterne All Saints to Chitterne St Mary. In the past it was flanked by horse chestnut trees, those are mostly gone now, but it is still the most used path across Garston.

st marys footpath-map

The path starts at the kissing gate near the old footbridge opposite The Grange wall and crosses a corner of Manor Farmhouse paddock towards a pair of gates to enter Garston.

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The old footbridge and kissing gate
st marys footpath kissing gates
Two gates to enter Garston from Manor Farmhouse paddock
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Garston straddles the boundary that once divided the two old Chitterne parishes. It was shared by farmers in both parishes at one time, but now it is part of the Ministry of Defence estate leased to Chitterne Farm. I have not been able to discover the origin of the name, which was always pronounced ‘Gasson’ by old time villagers, but the ‘ton’ part usually means ‘farm’. ‘Gars’ could be someone’s name, or it may mean triangular or spear-shaped. The name is not unique to Chitterne, there is a Garston area of Liverpool, and a Garston at Great Cheverell.

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Main drive to Great House which stood in the sportsfield in the distance

Garston must have been part of the estate originally owned by Lacock Abbey when the main drive to the Great House passed through it, but by the 1820s, when the house fell or was burnt down, it was owned by the Michell family. There is a reference to the Great House estate as ‘Milbournes’ in the 1400s and Sir Thomas Milbourne held land in Chitterne at that time, so this may well have been the land he held from the nuns of Lacock. Sir Thomas was attainted for treason by Richard III, fought at the battle of Bosworth in 1485 on the Lancastrian side, and was made Constable of Old Sarum Castle by Henry VII, he died in 1492.

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Great House drive looking away from house towards the old Warminster to Bath coach road

Back to the footpath that passes through this ancient field. It passes by the site of an old barn that belonged to Chitterne St Mary Church farm or Glebe Farm. This is what Ernie George had to say about the barn:

The Chitterne great barn in great, great grandafther Thomas’s time, was on tithe land, farmed by Glebe Farm, as also, was the stockyard and large meadow which lay below. All in the twentieth century has disappeared. The lower walls and foundations of the great barn were still there beside St Mary’s footpath in the 1920s, by the 1940s overgrown with grass but still discernible. In the 1950s the farmers of All Saints Manor Farm broke up the ground all around and amongst the trees for cereal sowing, and so all signs of the barn disappeared, so also did some of the trees (at this time the land was owned by the War Department, and controlledy Durrington Land Agents). The boundary wall and main entrance gateway of the great walled estate were taken down. The stone pillars surmounted with large decorative stone globes were re-erected at the Duchess of Newcastle’s estate in the Wylye Valley.

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A flat area behind 6 St Mary’s Close garden marks the site of the Great Barn in Garston

The site of great barn in Garston is marked by the flat area of ground behind the garden of number 6 St Mary’s Close. Glebe Farm stockyard was directly in front of St Mary’s Church, on the site now occupied by Birch Cottage. The cob wall fronting the stockyard can still be seen. The large meadow on the other side of the road stretched from the B390, alongside Codford Road, to Spot’s Pool in Codford parish. The entrance gate to the meadow was directly opposite the entrance to the stockyard, this led into the triangular part of the meadow known as Tithing Field, now part of St Mary’s Lodge grounds.

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Old postcard of Chitterne St Mary showing the Glebe Farm stockyard in the centre alongside the King’s Head, with the gate into the Tithing Field opposite

St Mary’s footpath joins Churches Path (see last blog) at the pair of gates to St Mary’s Chancel churchyard.



Old Chitterne Names 5: St Mary’s Footpath and Garston

Michell Onslows of St Tudy and Chitterne

sttudychurch Chitterne is mentioned on more than one memorial in St Tudy Church, Cornwall. Why? The Michell and Onslow family members who are buried in All Saints graveyard here in Chitterne had connections with St Tudy village in Cornwall and some of them are remembered in both places. The two families were united in 1773 when Admiral Sir Richard Onslow married Anne Michell, the daughter of Commodore Matthew Michell of Chitterne House. Admiral Sir Richard Onslow, the first baronet, who lived in Wiltshire, received his title for services as second in command at the Battle of Camperdown, 1797.

Memorial tablets to Admiral Sir Richard Onslow 1sr bart. bottom, and Sir Roger Warin Beaconsfield Onslow 6th bart.
Memorial tablets in St Tudy Church to Admiral Sir Richard Onslow 1st bart. bottom, and Sir Roger Warin Beaconsfield Onslow 6th bart. top.

Sir Roger Warin Beaconsfield Onslow, the 6th bart. lived at Hengar Manor, St Tudy. His father had sold the Chitterne estate but, in in one of those strange twists of fate that seem to happen frequently around here, he has a more modern connection to Chitterne. His daughter Ursula Onslow was the first wife of the late John Harris who lived at Anzac House, Townsend Chitterne.

Grave of Sir William Wallace Onslow at St Tudy.
Grave of Sir William Wallace Onslow at St Tudy.

Sir Roger’s father was Sir William Wallace Rhoderic Onslow 5th bart. who is buried in St Tudy churchyard. He inherited the family’s Chitterne estate in 1876 on the death of his father and offered it up for sale in 1895 or 1896.

Memorial to Sir Henry Onslow in St Tudy Church
Memorial to Sir Henry Onslow in St Tudy Church

Sir Henry Onslow 2nd bart. (1784-1853) son of Admiral Sir Richard and Anne Michell is actually buried in Chitterne, but also has a memorial tablet in St Tudy Church.

The side aisle of St Tudy Church. Site of the memorial tablets to the Onslow family.
The side aisle of St Tudy Church. Site of the memorial tablets to the Onslow family.

I apologise for the awful interior photographs, but the sun was streaming through the windows of the side aisle where the tablets are located and I could do nothing about it.

Michell Onslows of St Tudy and Chitterne