Monkton Farleigh

Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire

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St Peter, Monkton Farleigh

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Monkton Farleigh (the name was frequently written as Farley in the past) lies in the northwest corner of the Bradford Hundred area. Also it includes its highest point, rising to 200m. On the western and northern sides, steep wooded slopes go down into the valley of the Avon and its tributary, the By Brook, which are both in Somerset. It has boundaries with Bathford, Somerset on the west, Box on the north, South Wraxall on the east and Winsley on the south.

It was outside the boundary covered by the Manor of Bradford and was not part of the ancient parish of Bradford. However, it was part of the Hundred and its people attended the Court of the Abbess of Shaftesbury until this obligation was exchanged for a monetary fee.

 

The site

The settlement grew up where several springs break out at the junction of the limestones and the clay that covers them. It lies close to the London-Bath Roman road and a large hoard of Roman coins was found in the village. Many of the fields around show signs of Iron Age farming. The hamlet of Farleigh Wick lies on the Bradford to Bath turnpike road (now A363), which bypasses the village itself.

Etymology

The Monkton of the name refers to the monks of the 12th century Priory of Farleigh. The old Saxon name Farnlege means a ferny clearing -the soil of the top of the Cotswold Hills here, on Farleigh Down, can be slightly more acidic than the surrounding land despite being on limestone, allowing the growth of bracken.

Economy

The 2001 Census recorded 469 inhabitants, dropping to 460 in 2011. Agriculture is carried out on the undulating land that slopes towards the east. Quarrying was formerly a major employer here, but it no longer exists; the vast underground quarries became huge armaments stores during World War 2  and today have some use as storage. There are two public houses: the King’s Arms in the village (although its future is in doubt) and Fox & Hounds in Farleigh Wick. A small shop and post office near the church unfortunately closed in December 2014 and is advertised for sale. There is a primary school, which is operated jointly with that at Atworth; secondary school pupils attend St Laurence School in Bradford.

Local bus services connect the village with Bradford and Bath.