Contiguous Parishes (our neighbours)
Alderbury - Bramshaw (HAM) - Charford (HAM) - Fordingbridge (HAM) - New Forest (HAM) - Nunton & Bodenham - Landford - Odstock - Whiteparish - Whitsbury
GenUKI - For information relating to Wiltshire and Downton
Downton Village - Includes a variety of useful information past and present
Downton Parish Council - Activities and work of the Parish Council
Downton Families Research Website - Various items of interest
Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre - The Wiltshire County Archives for all historical documents and the place to obtain original copies
Wiltshire Community History - Historical information for parishes within the Wiltshire County jurisdiction.
The Parish Church of St. Lawrence
In the south-east of the county near the Hampshire border is the massive town church of the ancient borough of Downton. Its nave is 12th century which has been enlarged eastwards on several occasions, firstly by extending the nave itself and during 13th century by setting up a new east end with a sturdy central tower raised on a pleasantly designed crossing and a stately chancel later lightened by tall 14th century windows. This fine church has benefited greatly from the patronage of the Bishops of Winchester, one of whom laid out the town in about 1205 as a model borough.
Parish Register Transcripts
Parish Registers Held at WSHC
This parish also includes the areas known as Morgan's Vale with the church of St. Birinus and the hamlet of Redlynch. Also includes Charlton All Saints.
In February 1832 cholera hit the village; a temporary hospital was set up in the Borough and various provisions were made:- Help with food, bedding, fuel and clothes The cottages surrounding the hospital were white washed to help reduce further infections. Inhabitants were to 'remove from their dwellings filth of every description, particularly dung and ashes; to cleanse their drains and to burn all decayed items such as rags, papers and old clothes.' If it was not done a team of men would do it anyway.
1890 - Street lighting (oil lamps) was provided in the village, paid for by subscription payments.
1916 - Downton started a trend - it claims to be the birthplace of the first Wiltshire Women's Institute.
1837 - 1896 Alderbury Registration District
1896 - Present Salisbury Registration District
Buildings and Land
Crime and Legal Matters
|Crimes at Downton Fair 1786 & 1791||Crime Reports 1800-1849||Convicts sent to Prison Hulks 1823-1842|
|Crime Reports 1850-1899||Alleged Torture of a Cat 1857||In the Courts - Henry Humby 1868|
|Manslaughter at Downton 1869||Labourer Shoots At Boy 1870|
The definition of a bastard for the period when examinations were carried out by parish overseers and local justices is as follows:- any child born out of wedlock including those where the mother and father later marry, children of a second marriage whilst the first wife is still living; the issue of divorced couples; children born where the husband is known to have been abroad for some year; A child born after the father has died. The definition has evolved since the Act of 1732/33 where a “single mother” was by law obliged to declare her pregnancy and state the name of the reputed father. Some parish registers may record the words base-born against a baptism record and some may even name the reputed father. Below are some of the surviving bastardy examination reports transcribed from various sources such as court books and overseers accounts. It is interesting to note that only the mother’s and witnesses’ oaths seem to be recorded even though the defendant would have been summoned to the hearing. Perhaps their evidence was pre-delivered for the examiners to peruse before the mother was required to prove her case. It is also interesting to read the language used to describe the situation the mother found herself in and the circumstances in which the child was conceived. It would appear that the examination itself would not have been a pleasant experience for plaintiff or defendant no matter what the outcome. Bastardy Examinations
Emigration and Migration
7th April 1836 - 10% of the population left Downton due to hard times; they hoped that their lives would improve once they stepped onto Canadian shores from the King William. More information at The Downton Story.
Published in tables from the Poor Law Commissioners Annual Reports for 1835, 1836 and 1847-1848 the following may be of use for tracing missing ancestors. 220 paupers emigrated to Quebec, Canada under an assisted emigration programme between July 1835 - July 1836. (See the also the Downton Story above). Strays Index
From Wiltshire to Wales by Ray Palmer
Employment and Business
Apprentice records published here may not necessarily mean that the apprentice was from the parish but was apprenticed to a master within the parish
In 1698 there were 336 villagers making lace, this carried on for a number of years, but sadly by the end of 19th century this once very popular trade had died out.
Non Conformity and Other Places of Worship
People and Parish Notables
Associations, Clubs, Organisations, Societies & Sporting Events
Elections and Polls
Harold John Fleming - England International Footballer
Marriage Extracts - These items were donated by Ken Tuck and contains entries that may or may not relate to the Tuck family however they have been published as such. Many references to Quaker entries may be found from across the county.
Poor Law, Charity and the Workhouse
War, Conflict and Military Matters
During WWII land mines were dropped in the Water Meadows and an aircraft crashed in Barford Lane.