Alton, Wiltshire Information (Geography)

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Alton Barnes
The Church of St Mary, Alton Barnes - geograph.org.uk - 1428665.jpg
The Church of St. Mary the Virgin
Alton Barnes is located in Wiltshire
Alton Barnes
Alton Barnes
Location within Wiltshire
Population249 (in 2011) [1]
OS grid reference SU1062
Civil parish
  • Alton
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Region
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post townMarlborough
Postcode district SN8
Dialling code01672
Police Wiltshire
Fire Dorset and Wiltshire
Ambulance South Western
UK Parliament
Website Alton Barnes, Alton Priors and Honeystreet
List of places
UK
England
Wiltshire
51°21′32″N 1°50′46″W / 51.359°N 1.846°W / 51.359; -1.846
ALTON PRIORS Latitude and Longitude:

51°21′32″N 1°50′46″W / 51.359°N 1.846°W / 51.359; -1.846

Alton is a civil parish in Wiltshire, England. The parish includes the adjacent villages of Alton Barnes and Alton Priors, and the nearby hamlet of Honeystreet on the Kennet and Avon Canal. It lies in the Vale of Pewsey about 6 miles (10 km) east of Devizes.

The north of the parish is on the Marlborough Downs and includes part of Milk Hill, which is the highest point in Wiltshire at 295 metres (968 ft). The Woodborough Stream, a tributary of the Hampshire Avon, rises at Alton Priors and separates the two villages as it flows south. [2]

History

The area has prehistoric sites including the Knap Hill earthwork and Adam's Grave, a Neolithic long barrow. A hoard of Roman coins was discovered at Alton Barnes. [3]

The boundaries of Alton Barnes parish were established in the early 10th century, and the ancient parish became a civil parish in 1866. Alton Priors was a chapelry of Overton parish, now West Overton, and became a separate civil parish in 1866. In 1934 the civil parishes of Alton Barnes and Alton Priors were abolished and merged to form the new civil parish of Alton. [4]

In 1086, Domesday Book recorded two landholdings within Swanborough Hundred at Awltone: one corresponding to Alton Barnes, held by Edward of Salisbury, with 14 households and a mill; [5] and another held by Winchester Abbey with 50 households and two mills. [6] The association of the latter with the abbey led later to the name Alton Priors. [7] The Wiltshire Victoria County History traces the later ownership of the manors: Alton Barnes was granted in 1385 by William of Wykeham to New College, Oxford which he had recently founded, and it remained in their ownership in 1970. [4] Alton Priors remained with the abbey until the dissolution, then passed through several hands until the estate was bought by New College in 1912. [7]

The Ridgeway, an ancient trackway, passes through Alton Barnes [8] (although this section is not part of the Ridgeway National Trail, which begins further north). The Wansdyke, an early medieval earthwork, crosses the north of the parish on the Marlborough Downs.

Alton Barnes Manor Farmhouse (18th-century) [9] and the Manor House at Alton Priors (c. 1830) [10] are Grade II listed.

Local government

Alton is a civil parish with an elected parish council. It is in the area of the Wiltshire Council unitary authority, which is responsible for all significant local government functions, and is represented in the council by Paul Oatway, who succeeded Brigadier Robert Hall in 2013.

Parish churches

Both villages had a Church of England parish church; Alton Barnes church continues in use.

St Mary, Alton Barnes

The Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Alton Barnes is partly Saxon, [11] built in the 10th and 11th centuries, [12] although Domesday Book mentions no church. It has only a chancel, nave and west tower. The nave has characteristic Anglo-Saxon features: typically tall, narrow proportions and (visible at the west end) long-and-short quoins. [11] The round-headed north doorway, now blocked and glazed, is another early feature. [13]

The south door was added in the 14th century. [12] The original chancel was as wide as the nave, but it was demolished and replaced with a brick one in 1748. [11] The two bells are dated 1626 and 1788, and were rehung in the west gable in 1904. [4]

There was a Saxon chancel arch but this was removed in 1832. [11] There was a Victorian restoration in 1875, and a further restoration in 1904 directed by the local architect Charles Ponting. [11] Pevsner assesses the nave as "over-restored" but praises its roof. [11] The building was designated as Grade I listed in 1964. [12]

All Saints, Alton Priors

Alton Priors' church was built in the 12th century and retains its original Norman chancel arch. [14] [15] The nave has two 14th-century ogee-headed windows and the west window is 15th-century. [14] As at Alton Barnes, the original chancel has been demolished and replaced with one built of brick. [15] There is a distinctive brass plaque to local landowner William Button (1526–1591), with complex artwork and inscription. [16] All Saints was declared redundant in 1972 [17] and was placed in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. [14] [18] It is a Grade II* listed building. [14]

Parish

Alton Priors was anciently a chapelry of Overton parish. [7] In 1913, Alton Priors was annexed to Alton Barnes to form the parish of Alton Barnes with Alton Priors. [19] The benefice was united with Stanton St Bernard in 1928, [20] with the parsonage house at Stanton St Bernard to be sold, taking effect on the next vacancy (which occurred in 1932). [4] At the same time, Honeystreet hamlet was brought into the parish from Woodborough and West Stowell hamlet was transferred to Wilsford. [20]

A team ministry was established for the area in 1975, [21] and today the parish is part of the Vale of Pewsey group, alongside 15 others. [22]

Notable buildings

The former Alton Barnes glebe house, now called the Old Rectory, stands west of the church. Built in vitrified brick with dressings in red brick and stone, it has two storeys with an attic. The five-bay east range is from the 1720s or 1730s, the rear block was added in 1785 and further alterations were made around the 1830s. [23] Augustus William Hare, orator and writer, lived here c.1829 to 1833 during his rectorship, until his early death. [24]

At Alton Priors, the limestone T-plan house known as the Manor House was built c.1830 in the north of the village; [25] it is surrounded by an earlier walled garden and probably replaced an earlier house. [7] The original manor house, now The Priory, stands by the stream that separates the two Altons; built in Flemish brickwork in the late 17th century, it was much reduced in size in the early 19th century. What remains is a four-bay block of two storeys with attic, and a single-storey kitchen wing. [26]

Canal

The Kennet and Avon Canal, opened in 1810, crosses the parish. A wharf at Honeystreet served the local area and a rural industrial area developed around it, including a firm of barge builders – Robbins, Lane, and Pinniger – who continued until the 1950s. [27] [28]

The Barge Inn was built at Honeystreet in 1858, replacing an earlier building, to cater for those living and working on the canal. It was designated as Grade II listed in 1987. [29] In 2010, following the closure of the business, local volunteers successfully applied for funding to aid its reopening from the Village SOS lottery fund. In 2011 the project was the subject of episode 2 of Village SOS on BBC One. [30] The group ceased to run the pub in October 2012. [31]

Notable people

William Button (by 1503–1547, landowner) is buried in Alton Priors church, as is his son, also William (1526–1591). Both were Members of Parliament, as were two more family members: Ambrose (c.1549–c.1608) and Sir William Button, 1st Baronet (c.1584–1655). [32]

Distinguished rectors of Alton Barnes include Richard Steward (c. 1593–1651, royalist churchman), rector from 1630; William Crowe (1745–1829, poet) from 1787; and Augustus William Hare (1792–1834, writer) from 1831.

In popular culture

The Barge Inn at Honeystreet was a filming location for a 1998 episode of Inspector Morse, an adaptation of The Wench Is Dead. In 2013 the white horse, Adam's Grave and the Barge Inn featured in an episode of Walking Through History, presented by Tony Robinson on Channel 4. [33]

Amenities

The Barge Inn at Honeystreet is the sole pub in the parish. Alton Barnes has a village hall, the Coronation Hall, which was built in 1953 and extended in 2000. [34]

The nearest primary school is at Woodborough. A Parochial school was opened at Alton Barnes in 1837 and closed in 1976 owing to falling pupil numbers. [35]

Alton Barnes white horse

Alton Barnes white horse from the southwest
Aerial photo of the Alton Barnes white horse

There is a chalk hill figure of a horse dating from 1812 ( 51°22′21″N 1°50′52″W / 51.37255°N 1.84789°W / 51.37255; -1.84789), a little more than 1000 m north of Alton. It is based on another white horse hill figure in Wiltshire, the Cherhill White Horse.

The figure is the third largest white horse in Wiltshire. The Pewsey White Horse can be seen from Milk Hill (the location of the horse). The figure is featured in Staying Out for the Summer, a music video for a song of the same name by Dodgy.

For April Fool's Day in 2003 and 2014, the horse was temporarily transformed into a zebra, on the latter occasion by applying black stripes, made from plastic sheeting, across the horse. [36]

Crop circles

Since the late 1970s Wiltshire has become known for crop circles (patterns created by flattening a crop, usually of cereal). In 1990 a pattern at Alton was used on the cover of the Box Set compilation by rock band Led Zeppelin. [37]

References

  1. ^ "Wiltshire Community History – Census". Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  2. ^ "Hampshire Avon (East) and Woodborough Stream". Catchment Data Explorer. Environment Agency. Archived from the original on 19 August 2018. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  3. ^ "Roman coin hoard goes on display". Wiltshire Museum. 22 July 2009. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d Baggs, A.P.; Crowley, D.A.; Pugh, Ralph B.; Stevenson, Janet H.; Tomlinson, Margaret (1975). Crittall, Elizabeth (ed.). "Victoria County History – Wiltshire – Vol 10 pp8-13 – Parishes: Alton Barnes". British History Online. University of London. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  5. ^ Alton Barnes in the Domesday Book
  6. ^ Alton Priors in the Domesday Book
  7. ^ a b c d Baggs, A. P.; Critall, Elizabeth; Freeman, Jane; Stevenson, Janet H. (1980). "Parishes: Overton". In Crowley, D. A. (ed.). A History of the County of Wiltshire, Volume 11. Victoria County History. University of London. pp. 181–203. Retrieved 2 May 2021 – via British History Online.
  8. ^ "The Altons – Village Design Statement" (PDF). Wiltshire Council. 2008. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  9. ^ Historic England. "Alton Barnes Manor Farmhouse (1364708)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  10. ^ Historic England. "The Manor House, Alton Priors (1192555)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Pevsner & Cherry 1975, p. 87
  12. ^ a b c Historic England. "Church of St Mary, Alton Barnes (1364707)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  13. ^ "St Mary the Virgin, Alton Barnes, Wiltshire". The Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain and Ireland. King's College London. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  14. ^ a b c d Historic England. "Church of All Saints, Alton Priors (1364710)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  15. ^ a b Pevsner & Cherry 1975, p. 88
  16. ^ "The mystery plaque of Alton priors". Crop circle wisdom. Archived from the original on 6 October 2010. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  17. ^ "No. 45736". The London Gazette. 28 July 1972. p. 9040.
  18. ^ "All Saints' Church, Alton Priors, Wiltshire". Churches Conservation Trust. Archived from the original on 19 October 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  19. ^ "No. 28728". The London Gazette. 13 June 1913. pp. 4208–4211.
  20. ^ a b "No. 33369". The London Gazette. 23 March 1928. pp. 2106–2108.
  21. ^ "No. 46552". The London Gazette. 22 April 1975. p. 5166.
  22. ^ "Churches". Vale of Pewsey Churches. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  23. ^ Historic England. "The Old Rectory (1035673)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 5 May 2021.
  24. ^ Hare, Augustus John Cuthbert (1885). Hare, Augustus William (DNB00) . Vol. 24. Smith, Elder & Co – via Wikisource.
  25. ^ Historic England. "The Manor House (1192555)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 5 May 2021.
  26. ^ Historic England. "The Priory (1035677)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 5 May 2021.
  27. ^ "Honey Street". Pastscape National Monument Record. English Heritage. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  28. ^ "Victoria County History – Wiltshire – Vol 19 pp214-224 – Parishes: Woodborough". British History Online. University of London. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  29. ^ Historic England. "Barge Inn, Alton (1365969)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  30. ^ "BBC One - Village SOS, Honeystreet". BBC.
  31. ^ McLean, Patrick (4 August 2016). "Concerns raised over another sale of the Barge Inn". Gazetter & Herald. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  32. ^ Baker, T. F. T. "BUTTON, William I (by 1503-47), of Alton Priors, Wilts". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  33. ^ "Walking Through History: Stonehenge". Channel 4. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  34. ^ "Alton Barnes Coronation Hall". Wiltshire Village Halls Association. Community First. Retrieved 12 June 2022.
  35. ^ "Parochial School, Alton Barnes". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  36. ^ Hinman, Niki (3 April 2014). "April fool pranksters turn Alton Barnes horse into zebra". The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald. Archived from the original on 24 October 2020. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  37. ^ "Alton". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 26 August 2015.

External links