Contiguous Parishes (our neighbours)
Beechingstoke - Charlton - Chiseldon - Everleigh - Manningford Bruce - Marden - Market Lavington - North Newnton - Rushall - Upavon - Urchfont - Woodborough
Websites of Interest
GenUKI - For information relating to Wilsford.
Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre - The Wiltshire County Archives for all historical documents and the place to obtain original copies.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. Nicholas
The church of St. Nicholas is built of ashlar and consists of a chancel, nave with south porch, and west tower. A church at Wilsford was first mentioned in the early 12th century but nothing remains except possibly a doorway in the north wall of the nave. The chancel was built in the 13th century, probably after the church's appropriation to St. Nicholas's Hospital Salisbury in 1227. The tower was constructed, and the chancel arch rebuilt, in the 15th century. A clock on the external west wall of the tower was given by William Pierce Hayward the younger in 1882–3. In 1864 the church was said to be in great need of repair, following which the nave roof was reconstructed. The whole church, and the tower in particular, was thoroughly restored between 1959 and 1963. The church had four bells and a sanctus bell in 1553. A peal of five bells, variously inscribed but all dated 1718 and cast by Abraham Rudhall of Gloucester, served the church until the earlier 20th century when the tenor fell. During the restoration carried out between 1959 and 1963 it was used to repair the remaining four bells, which were afterwards rehung.
Parish Register Transcripts
Registers held at WSHC
This parish also included the tithing of Manningford Bohune (items relating to this parish can now be found on the Manningford Parish page)
1837 - April 1936 Pewsey Registration District
April 1936 - Present Devizes Registration District
Buildings and Land
Crime and Legal Matters
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 and 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.
Swing Riots and Special Commission
The Swing Riots, so named because a number of threatening letters were signed in the name of the mythical leader Captain Swing, began in the summer of 1830. The main causes of the uprising were low wages and lack of regular employment, the high price of bread and the introduction of threshing machines which took work away from the men. The riots took on several forms – initially, rick burning and threatening letters but, as the trouble spread, large gangs of local men, under the leadership of a Captain, roamed the countryside demanding money, food and drink, and destroying farm machinery.
A Special Commission was set up for the trial of the men involved. The Special Commission for the riots in Wiltshire were held in Salisbury in December 1830 and January 1831.
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 many agricultural labourers to leave the Vale of Pewsey. In the Parish of Wilsford this was particularly notable in the tithing of Manningford Bohune (see Manningford page).
Employment and Business
Agriculture and Land
Apprentice records published here may not necessarily mean that the apprentice was from the parish but was apprenticed to a master within the parish.
Non Conformity and Other Places of Worship
People and Parish Notables
Census Returns Transcripts
Elections and Polls
Poor Law, Charity and the Workhouse
War, Conflict and Military Matters