Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire


Wingfield Church


Wingfield seems to be included within the bounds of the land that was given with the Manor of Bradford to Shaftesbury Abbey in 1001. It continued to be part of the Hundred of Bradford and is still in the Bradford South constituency of Wiltshire Council and part of the recently-created Bradford on Avon Area Board.

The setting
Wingfield is an area of flattish land on Oxford Clay, rising to the west on older Middle Jurassic limestones and bounded on that side by the River Frome and in the south by the Swanbrook stream. To the east are Trowbridge and Southwick, to the north Bradford and Westwood; the rest of the border is with parishes in Somerset.

The settlement may have originally been around the church, which is at the end of a lane that goes nowhere else. The rest seems to be arranged around a large area of what was originally common land, inclosed in 1822-3, that is crossed in the north by the ancient London to Wells highway and by the north-south Bradford to Frome Turnpike road.

The area of theparish is 8.18 square km and its population was 298 in the Census of 2001, 321 in 2011 and estimated to have grown to 342 in 2020.

Today there is no shop, although there is a Shop Lane, no post office and little public transport, but the village retains its (shared) primary school and a public house, The Poplars.

The name may be derived from the field belonging to an early and otherwise unknown Saxon settler called something like Wine or Wina. It was at times written as Winfield or Winefield; the g in the present form of the name has inserted itself later; another version, Winkfield or even Winckfield, frequently appears until the 19th century.

There is a reference in a charter of King Edgar of adjacent Westwood in 954 and places in Wingfield appear to be within the Vill or Manor of Bradford that was granted by Æthelred II to Shaftesbury Abbey in 1001, but by the time of the Domesday Book in 1086 it was in other hands, notably ending up with Keynsham Abbey in Somerset in the 13th century. Wingfield consisted of a number of small manors or holdings with individual and complicated histories.

There was formerly a small settlement and manor at Rowley (also known as Wittenham), of which traces survive as earthworks. It became depopulated with the growth in importance of Farleigh Castle and the ecclesiastical parish of Rowley was united with Farleigh in Somerset by Act of Parliament in 1428, although the land itself remained in Wiltshire as part of the Bradford Hundred until 1882.

Pomeroy was mentioned in the bounds of Bradford in 1001 and later became a separate manor of scattered parcels of land. Another small estate called Freshaw, somewhere to the northeast of the crossroads, is now entirely lost.

Stowford is on the River Frome, on the border with Somerset. The first written forms of the name are as Stanford, meaning a stony ford. It is the focus of a number of paths and roads on the Wiltshire side, although none is preserved on the Somerset side. It has a late medieval and Tudor manor house and mill and perhaps declined after Farleigh Castle was built, but it had a career in the woollen cloth industry in the 19th century.