A landscape guided tour

A landscape walk around Shrewton, an agglomerate village

Reproduced by courtesy of Michael Marshman, Wiltshire County Local Studies Librarian, and Claire Skinner, Wiltshire Principal Archivist, Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre in Cocklebury Road, Chippenham, Wiltshire SN15 3QN. You can contact Wiltshire Community History on 01249 705510, or visit its website

If you have your own photos of any of the buildings or landscape features mentioned in the guided tour which you be happy to be displayed on this page, or would like to add extra information or memories about the buildings, please email the website editor or the Rector. Any such additions to the original text are shown in purple

Church of St Mary

Remains of churchyard cross – preaching cross, these can be forerunner of church. Church of St Mary – see notes below.

Shrewton Manor House and High Street

Manor house – early C17, rebuilt late C17. Built for Robert Wansborough (d 1630) who bought manor in late C16. North cross wing dated 1602, extended in C18; service rooms at south end of main range replaced in 1900. Was a walled farmyard to east of house (now the garden) with timber framed granary and flint and stone dovecote (both probably C18). This seems to have been the southernmost extent of Shrewton in the C17. Some dispute as to whether it should be called manor house as Wansborough bought manor but not the lands. Was there a Shrewton manor house before 1600?

St Mary’s House

Early C17 – part was smithy, then village shop.

High Street

For much of the street houses only on one side as road runs alongside Till; houses on other side of Till are in Maddington but this boundary is dry in summer. This was the main road through the Till valley until 1761 when road was turnpiked through Maddington Street. Note: Wyndhams was built 1842 after flood – were others nearby built then?

National School

Built in 1868/1869 to replace Shrewton Boys’ School and Maddington Girls and Infants’ School; plus teacher’s house. Opened 5 April 1869.

Chapel Lane

Named after the second Baptist chapel in combined village – Bethesda; could not compete with well-established Zion chapel and seems to have closed by 1851. Row of houses was called Bethesda Buildings in 1889.

Upper Backway

Lane that grew up behind the house plots; had Shrewton developed there would have been earlier houses along here.

Church House

Mid C17 with early C19 bay to left of front. Cob and flint with timber framed 1st floor. C17 lobby entrance plan. Important C17 features retained in interior – fine moulded cross beams, open fireplace with chamfered lintel. Up to 1939 the HQ of the old hawking club (rooks).

The George

Mentioned in 1607 and 1780; known to have been on south side of road in 1840.

London Road

This was the early London to Bridgewater and Barnstaple road (Ogilby 1675) and was major route until 1760s. Note: the 1773 map shows a wide road west of 90º bend by the George.

This area would have been centre of early Shrewton as east-west route crossed by road from Tilshead and Devizes to Salisbury and Amesbury (along High Street and Tanners Lane. Probably one reason Shrewton has been the main village in this conglomerate. Church built near this road junction – was an early manor house also near the church?

Bridge on London Road

Flood level marker – 1841 at 5 pm on 16 January: 2 days after heavy snowstorm and the ground was still frozen when there was a thaw. Water said to be 10 to 15 feet deep in places. People were warned and escaped but cottages destroyed and animals lost. Money raised throughout the county [and nationally] and cottages rebuilt; more money than was needed so 14 cottages built in Till valley villages in 1842 – rent from these used to provide fuel and clothing for the needy each year on 16 January.

Tanner’s Lane

Name suggests that either a tanner lived here, or a family called Tanner. We know this was settled from 17th century and possibly in medieval times. Early route from Tilshead across Maddington Street, past Maddington church and manor house, and along Common, behind Addestone House through Homanton to join the Salisbury road.

Southview – has the roof been raised?

Cottages at right angles between lane and river – what does this suggest? How many rebuilt after flood? Earliest remaining one seems to be Cordery Cottage (thatched, end on to road, flint and brick) 2nd half of C18 – good example of later cottages that were here of one and a half storeys. Also Rose Cottage further along lane is probably C18.

Maddington Street

Maddington is the maidens’ (nuns’) farm from Amesbury Abbey/ Priory

Turnpiked and became main route from Warminster and Devizes to Amesbury and Salisbury in 1761. Must have been a street before that – houses on it pre-date turnpike. Would early chief road have been by church or was church built by manor and slightly apart from road and village?

Maddington House

C17 with C18 additions to east. Limestone and flint bands to C17 part; English bond brickwork to C18 wing. Also C17 projecting rear wing; C19 bay in Flemish bond to north end.

The Grange

Central range is of 1637 with early C19 parallel range to front and mid C19 parallel range to rear. Rendered front range, flint and limestone C17 range. Internal C17 features include fireplaces, panelling, and timbers. Site of the manor farm of Winterbourne Maddington.

Pear Tree Cottage and Berry Cottage

Late C17; good indication of line of street. Note: iron kerbs – [put in place during the Second World War because of the large amount of tracked vehicles, including tanks].

Maddington Manor Lodge

The Lodge is late 18th century. The crinkle-crankle garden wall is C18 and 90 metres long – lime washed cob on brick plinth.

The manor house is off Maddington Street and is more associated with the church we will look at it later.

Walls at Maddington Farm enclosing Abbey Close on 3 sides at Abbey Close; of c.1600 and probably the close walls of the Grange or manor house that was associated with Priory.

Old Priory

Possibly near site of manor house of Maddington Winterbourne once owned by Amesbury Priory – Benedictine nuns later used as farmhouse. This building is c.1600 (brick extension of c.1700) and it was built as stables There was a large building to east, later owned by Drax, and is on tithe map but gone by 1889 – was this early manor house of Winterbourne Maddington? NB – railway lines used as railings.

Maddington Vicarage

Earliest part in chequered flint and limestone built in1704 for curate (no vicar). Enlarged in early C19. From 1868 incumbent called a vicar and right to appoint conveyed from lords of Maddington manor to Ecclesiastical Commissioners then to bishop of Salisbury. Was vicarage house for the united benefice from 1869 to 1974 (then became private house). Large extension in bonded red brick and flint in 1877.

Note: Maddington School (with pointed windows) in grounds. Existed by 1841 and was a National School in 1847. Children from Shrewton attended until 1855 then school used for girls and infants from both villages. In 1868 a new school was built in Shrewton to replace the schools of both Shrewton and Maddington. This opened after the Easter holidays on 5th April 1869 and the girls and infants moved into it to join the older boys from the old Shrewton school.

Maddington Manor complex

Traditional set up with church and manor house, and later vicarage, close together.

Maddington Manor

A house on this site was occupied from 1727 by Sir Stepehn Fox, later Earl of Ilchester. It would seem possible that this house was built by the Hungerfords after they took over the manor in 1564. House burned down in 1742 and replaced with a larger building (on 1773 map but in wrong position, possibly where farm is today, – was site changed in 1833?). That in its turn was replaced by the present building in 1833 (Maton family).

Manor Farm

Presumably built at same time as manor houses – 1830s.

Barn at Manor Farm

Of about 1600 with addition of c1700. Flint with stone quoins and dressings, tiled roof, walls lined with chalk; 2 bay extension to south in brick with stone dressings.

Two weatherboard barns

Early C18

Bourton (Fortified farm)

House platforms and holloway leading to river; another holloway running parallel to river crosses this. Always seems to have been more populous than Addestone and nearly as large as Homanton. Houses here until early C19. Also humps and bumps near Bourton Farm.

Bourton Farm 

Early C19 but must have been a replacement. Earthworks that could have been defensive (fortified farm) around and quite early cob garden walls.


Held by Abbey of St Peter, Winchester – Abbastone. We don’t enter Addestone but cross Till on site of a former ford into Lower Backway.

Addestone Manor House

A 17th century west range and early 18the century north range.

Below manor house 5 paths meet at a river crossing. Was this were the few cottages of Addestone were?

Netton (cattle farm)

Now in vanished settlement of Netton, which had nearly as many tax payers as Shrewton in 1377 (was Shrewton more affected by Black Death than Netton as Netton had only half Shrewton’s tax payers in 1322?)– name remains only in road and down, and earlier in Nettle Bush on London road.

From Homanton Bridge we see Brook Cottage (entry from Rollestone Road). Likely C17 survival from Netton village.


Post-Conquest – huckman’s farm?

Always a reasonable sized settlement.

Homanton House

Mid C17 with various additions during C19.

Homanton Bridge

Presumably fairly early as this was the Salisbury road.

Rollestone (Rolf’s farm)

Always a small settlement except for military camp and successor in C20

Rollestone Road

Continues straight on from Salisbury Road while takes 90 degree turn. Was this part of the Salisbury road the main street of Netton?

Halfway Cottage C18 with C20 rear extension; on stone tablet below stack is ‘T Mogg 1785 I Mogg’

Jasmine Cottage C18 with C19 bay added to west

Are these the only smaller houses that remain of the little settlement of Rollestone?

From Halfway Cottage the road once continued past Rectory (1st ed. O.S. 25’ map) and presumably around Rectory to church and on to the main road. Also in 1773 road shewn leading back to Salisbury road from here – houses around. Earth works in field could indicate that this was where Rollestone village lay.

Rollestone Rectory

Mid C17 with C19 alterations including gabled porch. Few rectors lived here until C19.

Rollestone Manor

Mid C18, extension to south of c.1800, second storey added to this in 1839. Built by either the Rev Samuel Heathcote (bought manor in1827) or his son William. Presumably site of earlier manor house as there is C16 structural timber and paneling inside that is likely to come from demolished house on or near site. Alongside church this is again a traditional grouping.

CHURCH IF ST ANDREW, ROLLESTONE (see also its page on this website)

Origin and dedication

The church is first mentioned in 1291 but was probably built in the early C13 by Knights Hospitaller of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. Commanderie at Rollestone to oversee estates belonging to their Hospital of Buckland in Somerset. Rollestone was always a small community and this is reflected in the size of its church; it is possible that it attracted worshippers from Netton and Homanton at times as both settlements were larger than Rollestone for many centuries and St. Andrew’s was closer than the churches at Shrewton and Maddington. In mid C19 attendance varied between 40 and 150 – far more than residents of parish. The dedication has only been traced to the mid C19 but St. Andrew was a reasonably popular medieval saint and it is possible that this was the original dedication although it could have been changed or the original forgotten.

Priest, curates and rectors

Few rectors lived here until the late C19 and there was much pluralism. From 1301 or earlier to the Dissolution the prior of the order of St. John of Jerusalem in England presented to the rectory – in 1301 the prior William of Totdale presented Andreas de Totdale (presumably a relative). Mid and late C16 living was probably farmed and a curate employed. However a rectory house was built in mid C17 From later C18 Holy Communion celebrated 4 times a year.

Church fabric

Chancel – and chancel arch were apparently rebuilt in 1845 restoration but reset lancet windows indicate an original date of early C13. Very small 9’ 8’ x 9’ 6’ and doubtless the same size as the original.

Nave – is also early C13 with C14, C15 and early C16 windows. Shallow pitched ceiling on C16 cambered moulded beams. Nave refaced in 1845

Bellcote – is presumable c.1860 as the bell dates from then

Porch of 1845 with C19 Tudor-arched doorway


Early C13 cylindrical font with C17 crown cover

C17 pews, communion rails and heraldic stained glass

C17 bench ends were brought here from St. Catherine in Haydon, Dorset, in 1981

Work on church related to owners of estate

  • Early C13 chancel, nave and cylindrical font – ? Roger de Quency or Priory
  • 1400 three light Perpendicular window in nave – Skillings
  • c1500 Perpendicular window with hood mould in nave – John Cawmfield
  • C16 nave re-roofed and window in nave – Skillings or Estcourts
  • C17 font cover, pews, communion rail heraldic glass and rectory – Estcourt family or rector – Christopher Tysdale, Jacob White or Richard Franklyn
  • 1845 restoration and rebuilding of chancel – Rev Samuel Heathcote
  • c1860 bellcote and bell – William Heathcote


Kinclaven – Long windowless wall alongside Chant’s Lane

Chant’s House – ‘H C 1877’ Chant’s Steam Bakery – 1880 Henry Chant, grocer, baker, draper and fly proprietor

Holly Cottage  Rendered rubble and thatched

The Manse  Red brick 1909 – for Zion Baptist

Old Shop Still has blind (awning) by Dean – London firm founded by Tom Dean in C19 and still making blinds and awnings today

Wheatsheaf – Open in 1886 and on 1st ed. O S 25’ map (1889) as a beer house. Believed to have closed soon after 1886.

Flood Cottages  1842 – aagh!

Zion Baptist Chapel  Baptists in parish in 1697, died out but in 1790s Baptists from Imber were preaching here. This chapel (1816) replaced small mud walled house in a garden built as a chapel in 1796/7. Closed in 1990s. Now named Zion House

Royal Oak – Open by 1867

Blind House – Circa 1700 used as lock up for local people awaiting trial but also to lodge prisoners convicted at Devizes who were being walked to Fisherton gaol. Moved back from road and rebuilt in 1945 after being damaged by tanks.

Former Catherine Wheel First mentioned in 1780; probably built soon after 1761 on Warminster – Amesbury turnpike.

CHURCH OF ST MARY’S, MADDINGTON (see also its page on this website)

Church became redundant in 1975.

Origin and dedication

The church may have been built by Amesbury abbey, who held the estate in 1086, and therefore there could have been a Saxon church here if they held it before 1066, which they almost certainly did. The estate was confirmed to Amesbury priory on 1199. The dedication to St. Mary is only known from 1763 and as many dedications fell out of use from the mid 16th century it may not be the original. However dedications to St. Mary were very common in Saxon times and also in early medieval period; also the dedication at Amesbury is to St. Mary and St. Melor and this could point to St. Mary being the original dedication.

Priests, curates and vicars

Until 1538/9 the church was served by chaplains, presumably appointed by Amesbury Priory. The curates were then appointed by the manorial lords. From late 16th century the curates were serving more than one church – e.g. Maddington and Rollestone in 1585. From late 17th century the incumbent of a neighbouring parish often also curate of Maddington. However in 1704 a house built for the curate, perhaps indicating that a resident curate was expected from early 18th century. This house enlarged in early 19th but it wasn’t until 1868 that incumbent was called a vicar – house remodelled with larger extension in 1877 when it became the vicarage for the united benefice of Maddington and Shrewton (1869 – 1974).

Church fabric

The church is mainly C13 but was restored in 1699 by Sir Stephen Fox and in 1846 to designs of T.H. Wyatt and D. Brandon

Chancel – is C13. The east window was removed and decorative plasterwork incorporated in c.1700; this was removed and a new east window put in during Wyatt restoration of 1846. Roof is 3 bays with collars and cusped wind braces – 1699 Sir Stephen Fox.

Nave – narrow nave may be on the plan of the C12 nave. The roof was renewed in 1603 when the north wall was also moved c.0.5m further north and medieval windows reset. 1637 – decorated plasterwork and the west gallery. Rebuilt in 1846.

Aisle  – may be early C13 but 2 part arcade is later – 2 eastern bays may be late C13; 3 western ones early C14 to C15. South wall rebuilt in 1603 and medieval windows reset.

Tower – C13. Upper part and south side was rebuilt in 1637 – probably only the north side is original C13. Double chamfered tower arch on 1637.

Porch – believed to be c1603

Transeptual south chapel  mid C17


There is a pointed piscina on the south wall of the chancel

The communion rails are C17

Pews are of 1843

Font and pulpit date from the restoration of 1846

Work on church related to owners of estate

  • Saxon church – Amesbury Abbey
  • C12 stone church – Amesbury Abbey
  • C13 chancel, nave, aisle and tower – Amesbury Priory
  • C14 alterations to aisle and arcades – Amesbury Priory
  • C15 alterations to aisle and arcades – Amesbury Priory or Hungerfords
  • 1603 rebuilding nave and aisle; building porch – Hungerfords
  • 1637 rebuilding tower; creating transeptual south chapel and west gallery (does gallery indicate population increase – too early for village musicians and choir? – Hungerfords
  • 1699 rebuilding chancel and restoration – Sir Stephen Fox
  • 1846 restoration – Maton family

Only work on chancel in 1699 (probably paid for by Fox) and general restoration of 1846; no rector but parish and chief landowner supporting work

CHURCH OF ST MARY THE VIRGIN, SHREWTON (see also website page)

Origin and dedication

Church is first mentioned in 1236 when the rectory advowson was given to Lacock Abbey – Ela, Countess of Salisbury. However nave is late C12 to early C13, therefore likely building date of c.1200 (date of pointed arcade). Was this a patronal church built by the earls of Salisbury? In C13 column near the font are carved representations of a knight and his lady. From a comparison with an effigy in Salisbury Cathedral it would seem that this is William Longspee, earl of Salisbury, and his wife, Ela. Church dedication to St. Mary is known from 1488 and therefore quite likely to be original one – a vision of the B.V.M. appeared to William Longspee during a storm at sea in 1225 and saved the ship and all in her.

Priests, curates and vicars

Vicarage was to be ordained in 1241 but no vicar was recorded until 1323. Mainly served by non-resident vicars or curates serving 2 parishes.

Church fabric

Chancel – new chancel of 1854 with south vestry and north organ chamber in C16 style; the respond of the old chancel arch, the trefoiled piscina (in the south east corner of the organ chamber), and a small lancet window (all C13) are all reset. Arch-braced scissor roof of 4 bays with good foliated corbels; re-used C17 arcaded screen on north side. Carved fragments from earlier church, including C15 panel of the Crucifixion, are in window ledges on south side.

Nave – in early C13 aisled nave of 2 bays. Clerestoried and extended eastwards by one bay in 1854.

Aisles – Rebuilt in 1854 in C16 style. Aisles existed in C13 and had been widened by the late C15.

Tower – late C15 or early C16 – was tower added because Maddington church had one from C13 and Hussey family (lords of manor) wished their church to be equally imposing?

Porch – gabled porch of 1855.


Pews, pulpits and Romanesque style font are all by T H Wyatt.

Work on church related to owners of estate

  • c1200 chancel and aisled nave of two bays – Earls of Salisbury
  • c14/C15 aisles widened – various
  • c1500 tower – Thomas Hussey
  • c17 arcaded screen – Wansborough family
  • 1854-55 restoration and rebuilding – C R M Smith and Thomas Sheppard
  • 1860 organ installed

There was apparently little work done on the church from the early C16 until the restoration of 1854/5. The church was in quite a poor condition by then and was too small for the increased population ; it required substantial rebuilding and extending. With mainly non-resident vicars can we assume that the chief landowners – Brounkers and Wansboroughs – had little interest in the church between the mid C15 and early C19? However William Goldsborough gave land for the upkeep of the church in 1608.

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