For more information on each of the Three Manningford Villages please see the idividual pages for each
Contiguous Parishes (our neighbours)
Everleigh - Pewsey - Wilcot - Wilsford - Woodborough
Websites of Interest
GenUKI - For information on Manningford Abbas.
GenUKI - For information on Manningford Bruce.
Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre - The Wiltshire County Archives for all historical documents and the place to obtain original copies.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 Churches of The Manningford Villages
Manningford Abbots (Abbas) (No Dedication)
There was probably a parish church established in Manningford Abbas in the 10th century and certainly one in 1291, for which no dedication is recorded. The church was rebuilt in 1861-64 to designs by the architect S B Gabriel of Bristol. The church was made redundant in 1980 and remains unused.
Manningford Bohune (All Saints, Old Church)
The Old Church was a chapel of ease, Manningford Bohune being a detached tithing 3 miles from the home Church in Wilsford. The church was built on land donated by Henry Jenner of Chisenbury, being located on the eastern edge of the Parish, next to what was Manningford Bohune Common. The foundation stone was laid on 14 May 1858 and the building work completed on 1 October of the same year. However, due to the death of the wife of the Patron of the living (Rev G. E. Howman), consecration of the Church was delayed until 1 March 1859. The total cost of the building work amounted to £1350, most of which was provided by the Patron. Services at the Church were conducted by the Rector of Woodborough. The Old Church is now a private house.
Manningford Bruce (St. Peter)
The Parish Church in Manningford Bruce is of Norman origin, being built in the 11th or 12th Century, and is a Grade I listed building. It is likely that a church existed on the site before Norman times as there are Saxon elements within the structure of the building. The church consists of a chancel, with a semi-circular apse which has the unusual feature of no east window, and a nave, separated by a large chancel arch. The church was dedicated to St. Peter in 1291. In 1882 J.L. Pearson restored and improved the church. This included the addition of a bell turret with a leaden spire and the removal of external plaster to reveal herring-bone flint walls. In 1991 a joint service with the church in North Newnton was held to celebrate St. Peter's millennium, which was conducted by the Bishop of Ramsbury.
The name Manningford is derived from a ford (belonging to Mana) that was likely situated on the Anglo-Saxon road, now known as Hare Street, which crosses the eastern headwaters of the River Avon that runs from east to west across the Parish.
It is thought that the lands of all three Manningfords were originally one territory, as they are similar in size and shape being long thin strips of land stretching from a common northern boundary on an early (possibly) Saxon road on rich agricultural land in the middle of the Vale of Pewsey up to another common border to the south west on the high downlands on the edge of Salisbury Plain. There has also been speculation that the territory was originally the estate of a Roman villa that was discovered on the eastern side of Manningford Bruce church graveyard, which was partially excavated in 1958 and 1985.
The oldest and more important houses for each settlement lie between the southern bank of the River Avon, which is little more than a stream, and the main Pewsey to Devizes road that also runs east to west across the Parish.
It is known that the territory was divided into at least two parts by 987 when the part later known as Manningford Abbots (or Abbas) was granted by King Ethelred to a man known as Aethelwold. The separation of Manningford Bruce and Manningford Bohune likely occurred a little time later. At the time of the Doomsday Book in 1086, the land at Manningford Abbots was valued at 10 hides with the lands of Manningford Bruce and Manningford Bohune similarly being worth 10 hides in total (6 and a half and three and 3 a half hides respectively). This supports the idea that Manningford Bruce and Manningford Bohune were divided after Manningford Abbots was separated from the territory.
The Civil Parish of Manningford, which amalgamated all three territories, was formed in 1934. Despite the amalgamation, there is no clear centre to the Parish as a whole.
1837- April 1936 Pewsey Registration District
April 1936 - Present Devizes Registration District
Buildings and Land
Crime and Legal Matters
All crime and legal articles will appear under the relevant tab for Manningford Abbas, Manningford Bohune, or Manningford Bruce, unless original sources simply refer to Manningford.
The office of Coroner was formally established in 1194. The early duties of coroners were varied and included the investigation of almost any aspect of medieval life that had a potential revenue benefit for the Crown. Suicides were investigated on the grounds that the goods and chattels of those guilty of the crime would be forfeit to the Crown. Over time the role has developed to focus on the investigation of any sudden, unnatural or unexplained death to ascertain cause, time and manner of death.
Petty Sessions were the lowest tier in the court system and developed at the beginning of the 18th century to take on some of the work previously undertaken by the Quarter Sessions. The court was presided over by one or more volunteer justices of the peace, or stipendiary magistrate, there being no jury. Petty Sessions were abolished in 1971 and replaced by Magistrates Courts.
Quarter Sessions & Assizes
The Court of Quarter Sessions dealt with criminal cases and also other disputes such as poor law disputes, settlement issues and bankruptcy. The Quarter Sessions were presided over by at least two Justices of the Peace, with a jury present, being held quarterly in each county at Epiphany, Easter, Midsummer and Michaelmas. The more serious criminal cases were committed by the Quarter Sessions for trial at the Courts of Assize. In addition to criminal cases, the Courts of Assize included the Nisi Prius where civil actions (private cases) were decided before a judge and jury. The Court of Quarter Sessions and Court of Assize were effectively amalgamated into Crown Courts in 1971.
Emigration and Migration
In 1840 a Colonial Land and Emigration Commission was created, amalgamating two smaller organisations, to administer arrangements for emigration schemes to the Colonies. Many schemes involved assisted, or free, passage from the UK. In December 1847 agents in Devizes and Enford began advertising free passage to New South Wales, South Australia and the Cape of Good Hope in local newspapers. The advertisements claimed there was a particular need for Agricultural Labourers, Shepherds, female Domestic Servants and Dairymaids. This prompted a surge in emigration from the Vale of Pewsey, including a number of families from the Manningfords (details of individuals/families under each tab below).
The native place of the following emigrants is simply recorded as Manningford and it has not been possible to identify which one.
Employment and Business
Non Conformity and Other Places of Worship
There is little evidence of non-conformity in either Manningford Abbas, or Manningford Bruce. However, the absence of a chapel in Manningford Bohune and the distance to the home Parish Church in Wilsford lead to a growth in non-conformity with both Baptist and Methodist Meeting Houses in the tithing (see tab below for further details).
People and Parish Notables
Elections and Polls
Poor Law, Charity and the Workhouse
There was no workhouse in Manningford. Those in need of relief would be admitted to the workhouse located at Worlds End in Pewsey.