Aldbourne Heritage Centre
1617 An inn was recorded in or near Grasshills.
Aldbourne was settled for 99 years on trustees for Charles, prince of Wales (Charles I)
Right to hunt deer over the 1,400 a. of the chase was, as part of Aldbourne manor, settled for a term of 99 years on trustees for the prince of Wales
c1614 William and Edward Walrond die. They had lived in the house of the Fraternity of St Mary the Virgin and have an elaborate tomb in the Lady Chapel
1624 James I settled Aldbourne Manor on Prince Charles (Charles I)
c1626 Charles I sells the Manor to the City of London
1629 Charles I gives Aldbourne special market rights
1631 The City of London sold to Edward Nicholas demesne lands of Aldbourne manor in the south part of the parish, later Pickwood or Laines and Stock Close farms.
Aldbourne warren was part of Aldbourne manor. In 1631 the City of London sold it to Philip, earl of Pembroke and Montgomery.
1632 The City of London sold the lordship of the manor to Thomas Bond
1637 Population of Aldbourne circa 800
18 Sep 1643 Skirmish of Aldbourne Chase. A parliamentary army marching from Gloucester to London was attacked by Prince Rupert’s cavalry north of Dudmore Lodge, then driven into Aldbourne village
11 April 1644 A muster of some 10,000 royalist troops was held in Aldbourne Chase, and there is said to have been another skirmish near the village a month later [a]
May 1644 Parliamentarian horsemen (300) lodged in the church
1648 Plague in Aldbourne
1652 Philip, earl of Pembroke and Montgomery, who held the right of warren, and the tenants of Aldbourne manor agreed that Dudmore and Southwood walks should be diswarrened. The earl was compensated with a several holding of 571 a. and parts of the warren were ploughed soon afterwards. By 1657 the agreement had broken down; the earl again claimed rights of warren and the resulting litigation continued until 1671 or later
1659 There were hunting rights over 1,400 a. of woodland and pasture, extending from the southern boundary to Snap and from Priors Wood to Southward Down
1660 Ed Witts introduces fustian manufacture into the village
1665 18 died of the plague
1666 26 died of the plague
1667 Thomas Fairchild, gardener, and pioneer of the hybridisation of plants, is born in Aldbourne
1669 A congregation of 200–300 non-conformists met at Court House to hear preachers such as Christopher Fowler and Noah Webb
1672 The house of Charles Gilbert, a Presbyterian, was licensed for meetings and another conventicle was held at Gabriel Martin’s house at Upper Upham in 1681
1674 20 parishioners were presented for failure to attend church
1676 There were 28 nonconformists in the parish
1680s Daniel Burgess, a dissenting minister, preached at Upham and at Aldbourne
1694 William & Robert Corr start the manufacture of bells and wooden buttons at Court House
1706 William Wild dies at age of 116
1713 Robert Corr buys Court House from Elizabeth Bond, daughter-in-law of Thomas Bond who had bought the Manor from the City of London
1715 Aldbourne has an Independent Church; S.Oldfield is the Minister
1720 Rabbits were prized for both their flesh and their fur. There was then a stock of 8,000 rabbits, increasing annually to 24,000. They grazed on the poor grass of the downs in summer, and in winter were fed on hay and hazel cuttings
1724 24,000 rabbits are counted on the Warren
1732 The Market Cross is fitted with an iron lamp
1735 Crown Inn first recorded
1737 Presbyterians met in a newly built house in West Street
1739 J.Corr, E.Gould and 100 villagers stone and harass the Constable, Adye Ayres for three nights
1741 John Starrs and Edward Read take over and run the Bell Foundry at Court House from the Corr family
1760 Fire destroyed 72 buildings, losses totalled circa £20,000.
Market cross restored
1761 Another fire
1764 Market Cross restored (slanted cross dates from then)
1772 Houses were licensed for Methodist meetings in 1772, 1798, and 1802. In 1783, however, there was said to be no meeting house and ten or twelve people who met regularly to hear readings by a Methodist weaver all attended the parish church
1777 Second Great Fire: August 24thA great fire destroyed 80 houses and 20 barns to a value of £10,000 plus £3, 000 covered by insurance. Towns, villages far and wide (including Oxford colleges and London Livery Companies) donated money to the relief fund
1778 Two fire engines, Adam & Eve, were obtained for the village fire brigade
1787 No. 1 bell given to the church by Robert Wells and J.Pizzie and W. Gwynne give No. 2 bell
1790 Straw plaiting prospers in the village
1801 Population of Aldbourne was 1280
1802 Aldbourne workhouse built at junction of Oxford St and South St (Aldbourne Workhouse and Overseers act was passed in 1800)
1805-09 Enclosure: The four open fields are surveyed and plots held by all landowners and tenants are consolidated into fields and farms
1807 A Wesleyan Methodist chapel was built in 1807 probably on the site of that in Lottage Road said to have been built in 1844
Lousa Poor, a slave, is baptized & buried in Aldbourne
1809 Enclosure Act. The open fields and downs, 3,933 a., were enclosed. That area included c. 2,200 a. of open fields, 800 a. in the North walk of the warren, and 1,000 a. of common pasture on Southward Down and within the former chase
The Bell opened junc of Castle & Marlborough Rd closed 1958
The vicar was allotted Court House by exchange.
1811 A waterspout accompanies severe flooding in South Street
May 1817 Fire destroyed 15 cottages, 2 malt houses, 3 barns, a carpenters shop, a smiths shop and corn
1822 Blue Boar opened, closed 1911, reopened 1931
1826 Robert Wells, Bell-founder, declared bankrupt, last bells cast by Wells family
1830 Protesters, mainly from Ramsbury, smashed newly introduced threshing machines in Aldbourne
In the 1830s the vicar’s net annual income was £367, about average for Salisbury diocese
1832 Population was 1385 according to William Cobbett’s Geographical Dictionary
1833 Strict Baptist prayer meetings were started by Thomas Barrett, whose house was licensed for meetings
There were five day schools in Aldbourne attended by 84 children; none was free and most had recently opened. One may have been the dame school taught by a dissenter which survived until 1858 or later. It was attended by fifteen children in 1858
1835 A brass and reed band was formed in Aldbourne by Richard Bunce
Aldbourne became part of Hungerford poor-law union
1837 The rectorial tithes were replaced by a rent charge of £1,475 in 1837
There were eighteen farms of over 100 a. in the parish, Warren, 790 a., Dudmore Lodge, 637 a., Lower Upham, 627 a., Upper Upham, 577 a., and North, 515 a., were compact farms on each of which more than half the land was arable. Aldbourne farm, 480 a., East Leaze, 410 a., and Snap, 412 a., were also principally arable, and on most remaining farms, including Stock Close, 354 a., Hillwood, 346 a., Laines, 184 a., and Leigh, 120 a., there was very little pasture. The exception was the vicar’s glebe, 421 a., of which 321 a. were pasture in the former chase. The only extensive meadow land was that near Snap and surrounding Upper Upham House, 90 a., parts of Snap and Upper Upham farms
Queen Inn between Back Lane & Castle St opened (between 1837 and 1848)
Two large crotal bells, the nearest made by Edne Witts
Some of the bells in our collection


a – “The King marched out of Oxford Aprill the tenth 1644, being Tuesday. That night he lay at Childerley [Childrey,] … Wednesday, the King’s army appeared at the rendesvouz neare Awborn, five miles short of Marlborowe.” [from: Diary of the Marches of the Royal Army by Richard Symonds. Camden Society 1859]