Contiguous Parishes (our neighbours)
Blunsdon St. Andrew - Brinkworth - Charlton (Malmesbury) - Cricklade St. Sampson - Lydiard Millicent - Rodbourne Cheney
Duncan and Mandy Ball's - Website for images of St Mary Church
GenUKI - For information relating to Wiltshire and Purton
Museum & Historical Society - Local Museum and Information about Purton's History
Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre - The Wiltshire County Archives for all historical documents and the place to obtain original copies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. Mary
Between Swindon and the northern borders of the county stands the church of Purton, an impressive structure having both a central tower and another at its west end. Externally it seems quite a late building but its nave shows early origins and considerable modification as the centuries passed. The crossing is a pleasant assembly of arches; the tower above is caped by a spire. The west tower is tall with a good belfry stafe. The church has several windows showing tracery designs and there are a number of carved niches for statues. In the south transept is a fourteenth century wall painting.
In the church vestry is a notice dated 1778 that the rents and profits of the late Hiscocks lease on the common shall be given to the poor every Good Friday
Parish Register transcripts
Parish Registers held at WSHC
BTs 1837-1876 are held at the Bristol Record Office
Purton is 3 miles North of Wootton Bassett and 3 miles Northwest of Swindon. This parish also includes the hamlets of Braydon and Pavenhill. Purton is twinned with Heric, France
1837 - April 1936 Cricklade Registration District
April 1936 - Present Swindon Registration District
The Manor of Purton
The earliest known written record of Purton dates from AD 796 when Saxon king Ecgfirth of Mercia gave 35 hides from Purton to the Benedictine Malmesbury Abbey. The Abbot continued to be the chief landlord of Purton throughout Saxon and Norman times.
Buildings and Land
Purton seems to have been well served by public houses but all of these have closed over the years.
Blue Pig - At the Brinkworth to Minety and Purton to Garston crossroads closed a couple of decades ago.
The Forester's Arms - Was next door to the Royal George in Pavenhill and closed in 1904.
Another Forester's Arms - was on the parish boundary at Common Platt but closed in 2010.
The Railway Hotel - renamed The Ghost Train after the railway station was closed in 1963 and the pub closed in 2008.
The Hope Inn - at the Collins Lane junction closed in 1995.
The Live & Let Live - in Upper Pavenhill closed in 1967.
The Mason's Arms - in the Upper Square closed in 1945.
The New Greyhound - in Pavenhill closed in 2008.
The Queens Arms - was near the sub-post office in the High Street.
Crime and Legal Matters
Prisons and Prisoners
Steven’s Charity - Miriam Stevens in her will of 1723 charged her estate in Purton with an annual payment of £17-10s for ever, £16 for a schoolmaster to teach 20 children reading, writing and accounts
Emigration and Migration
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. 38 paupers emigrated to Upper Canada under an assisted emigration programme between July 1835 - July 1836, 21 to Canada between July 1836 - July 1837 and 14 to Canada in 1844.
Employment and Business
Metropolitan Service & Pension Records
Non Conformity and Other Places of Worship
People and Parish Notables
Associations, Clubs, Organisations, Societies and Sports
Elections and Polls
|Poll of Freeholders 1772||Poll Book 1818||Voters List 1832||Voters Lists Revisions 1843||Poll Book 1868|
|Electoral Lists Revision Court 1902||MP Nominations 2015||MP Nominations 2017|
Entertainment, Fairs and Fetes
In the Tudor period the Maskelyne family were significant land owners and landlords in Purton having inherited rights granted by the last Abbot of Malmesbury Abbey to the Pulley/Pulleyne family. The Maskelynes were involved in Purton life for more than four centuries from the 16th.
The Rev. Dr. Nevil Maskelyne (1782-1811) lived at Down Farm and is buried in Purton churchyard. He was appointed Astronomer Royal in 1765.
The Royalist statesman and author Edward Hyde who was the MP for Wootton Bassett in the 1630s lived at College Farm in the centre of Purton. It is likely that his daughter Ann, the first wife of James II, also lived there for a while. Hyde became Lord Chancellor of England and was ennobled as Earl of Clarendon. Hyde’s Whig arch-rival, Sir Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury, also had a property in Purton .
In 1859/1860 Dr. Samuel Champernowne Sadler FRCS of Purton had built the Pump House at Salt’s Hole, a natural mineral water spring said to have medicinal healing properties. His son, James Henry Sadler DL. JP. (1843-1929) although a Purton native lived in Lydiard House. A strict but generous benefactor, Sadler gave the cricket ground and Working Men’s Institute to the village.
Neville Maskelyne, Astronomer Royal Desmond Morris, Zoologist, Ethologist and Writer
Personal Research Items
Tuck Family Research Burial Extracts - This item was 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 refer to Quaker burials found across the county
Poor Law, Charity and The Workhouse
Nevil Maskelyne, who died about 1679, charged Privy Pasture with a yearly payment of £5 to the poor of Purton and a further 10 shillings to a minister to preach on Good Friday. The Privy Pasture contained 9 acres and was part of the Down farm, later it was called Wilde’s Pry. The money was paid to the poor of the parish who attended church on Good Friday in shillings and sixpences.
Gleed’s Charity - Frances Gleed gave £200, rents and profits, to the poor housekeepers of the parish not receiving weekly alms, 10s once a year but the relatives of the benefactor received preferential consideration. The £200 was invested in about 13 acres of land at the Cross Lanes on the north side of Hawks Moor Lane called Poor’s Ground.
Purton Stoke Poor’s Land - Charles I by letters patent gave 25 acres to the poor of Purton Stoke in lieu of their right to feed cattle and collect wood in Braydon Forest. The benefits between £1-15s. and £4 were distributed annually in January.
The Cottage Hospital was erected in 1877 by the generous kindness of Mr. And Mrs. Wykeham-Martin. It was open to all classes of the inhabitants of Purton and surrounding area and supported by voluntary subscriptions.
Inquisitions Post Mortem of Lands Held