South Wraxall

Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire


St James' Church, South Wraxall


The parish church of St James, South Wraxall


South Wraxall was a part (tithing) of the Ancient Parish of Bradford on Avon, as well as of the Manor of Bradford and of the Bradford Hundred. The church of St James was a chapel of the mother church of Holy Trinity in Bradford.

It became a separate Civil Parish in 1884, at which time Bradford Leigh and part of Woolley (which were formerly in the Tithing of Leigh and Woolley) and Cumberwell were detached from Bradford Without and added to Wraxall.


The setting

South Wraxall lies on undulating land that rises towards the limestone hills of the neighbouring parishes of Box and Monkton Farleigh. Its northern boundary is a straight east-west line, following the former Roman road from Londinium to Aquae Sulis (Bath); traces of Roman buildings have been found in the parish.


The settlement

The village consists of three distinct groups of buildings: Upper Wraxall, which is grouped around the church, public house and village hall; it is separated by a field from the larger Lower Wraxall to the south; separated too is a group of buildings around the Manor House, to the north-east, which may have developed around another small manor. To the north, towards Corsham, is Norbin -just a couple of farms, with buildings converted to housing and horses. Cumberwell, to the south, could be an ancient place, perhaps preserving in its name a memory of pre-Saxon occupation. The parish since 1934 now also includes the hamlet of Bradford Leigh.

It is connected by roads that go to Bradford, Atworth, Monkton Farleigh, Box and Corsham.

The name Wraxall (South to distinguish it from North Wraxall, near Castle Combe) may derive from a lost Old English word for a buzzard, or it might recall the hall of a Saxon settler called Wrocca, Wracca, or similar; the Old English word wræcca means an exile or foreigner, perhaps a new settler. There are other Wraxalls elsewhere, notably near Nailsea in Somerset.


Today there is no shop or post office in the village and the former school has become the Village Hall. The only amenities are the Longs’ Arms public house, the South Wraxall Club and the Cumberwell Park Golf Course; the Plough public house at Bradford Leigh to the south closed in 2015. Several farms are still active, otherwise all is residential, with many second homes. The population recorded at the time of the 2001 census was 453, falling to 438 in 2011.

The most notable group of buildings is that of the Manor House, a late medieval mansion with later additions. There are old houses and the pub near the church in Upper Wraxall, while Lower Wraxall is a tight grouping of mostly old houses with some intrusive modern bungalows.

South Wraxall Wiltshire history.