Friday 17th April - Changing Chitterne
Two stalwarts of the village scene for the last twenty years or so are moving out today. M & O are leaving one of our "big" houses, Clump House", to go I know not where. Clump House is an ex-farmhouse, built about 200 years ago, and named after the hill in whose shadow it stands. Across the road is the village sportsfield where, I am becoming more and more convinced, once stood another "big" house: Milbournes Court, which I believe was the Manor House of the old parish of Chitterne All Saints. Shame I don't have a picture of it, but it was demolished in about 1820 so if I did it would have to be a painting or drawing.
This growing certainty is due to fantastic research done at Kew by JW during her Easter hols. Sometimes I feel a sham sitting here with all this new knowledge arriving without me lifting a finger. But I think of all the information I put on the websites as a result, so if people are grateful and want to help in return who am I to refuse? I see myself as a sort of hub drawing it all together and trying to make sense of it all. Completing the jigsaw.
Thanks to JW I know a lot more about her ancestors the Flower family from a typewritten book she discovered about them. They hailed from Potterne and Worton and once lived in Milbournes Court which they leased from the Duchy of Lancaster. Sir Thomas Milbourne of Salisbury fought at Bosworth Field in 1485 on the winning Lancastrian side and was made Constable of Old Sarum by the victorious King Henry VII. Connections. John Flower (d. 1592) was the first of the family to rent bits of Chitterne in the mid-1550's, besides Milbournes he rented Morgan's, the other manor in Chitterne St Mary. A descendant, Edward Flower, almost lost the lot through gambling debts in the following century. I digress.
Why do I think Milbournes Court was the house on the present day sportsfield? First, although Chitterne All Saints was a manor, there is no manor house. Secondly, the manor farmhouse was once called "Little Manor" (1841 census), and that begs the question: where was Great Manor? Thirdly, the coach house, all that is left of the house on the sportsfield, was known as Great Houses at one time, so is this a remnant of an earlier name that stuck? Lastly, in the new information provided by JW, the house in question is described as "the Manor of Milbournes Court".
Comment: We have a Clamp house! gg
Wednesday 8th April - Run a Pub Anyone?
Well if you do want to run a pub you should have been here today at the King's Head's Open Day. It's refit is done and now it desperately needs a new landlord. This pub is the last of our depleted village facilites, if it goes we will be left with a just a church, a village hall and a sportsfield. We are moving slowly but surely towards dormitory village status: the school closed in 1967, the garage and the post office stores in 2000. Over the last few years a succession of landlords have tried to make the pub pay, but all have given up in the end. What is the answer? The successful village pubs round about are those with good reputations for the food they serve, but they are all in larger villages than Chitterne. One plus here is that the pub sits alongside a very busy road. But it's busy with working folk coming from or going to London via the A303/M3 and they aren't likely to stop for a meal, so the only answer is to attract the evening dining out crowd. And then the locals feel left out...it's a conundrum right enough!
A new bench has been positioned in the village sportsfield in memory of Geoff Carter who died in 2007. He was a member of the village cricket club and his memorial bench is perfectly sited under shady willow trees for a good view of future cricket matches.
I have been exchanging emails recently with CW in South Africa about her ancestor Louisa Langford, which has polished off another piece of the historical puzzle that is Chitterne. Louisa was the younger sister of Alice Langford who once owned our house for 20 years until the First World War. Alice's sad story is to be found on the Round House website at: www.round-house.demon.co.uk/history/alicelangford.html but I hadn't known what had happened to Louisa apart from the fact that she married a farmer named Coles and lived in Winterbourne Stoke. Now thanks to CW I know that Louisa had seven children, two boys and 5 girls. CW, who is descended from their eldest son, is organising a Coles family reunion in Cape Town next month for descendants scattered around the world.
Comment: maybe you should enquire about the history of the "Compass Inn" in Chicksgrove, which was transformed in the 70s by an enterprising new landlord (Burroughs) from a very primitive and decaying local pub into a thriving restaurant pub with a wide catchment area reaching even to Salisbury! I wonder if it continues to be that way. Maybe your new landlord, if any, should advertise lunches for visitors to Stonehenge! It's closer than Amesbury. MJ