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Village News in the Fourteenth Century - From the Courts

Some of the hangings in 1302 at Old Sarum

Delivery of the gaol of Old Salisbury castle before R. de Suthcote and W. Brembelshete, justices assigned for its delivery, at Old Salisbury, Friday after St. Peter’s Chains 30 Edw. I [3 Aug. 1302].


330 Wiltes’. Walter dc Pirho became an approver before Alan de Langeford, Walter de Ponte, Richard de la Lee, and William de la Sale of Bradeford, coroners of Wiltes’, and confessed himself a thief of divers stolen goods. He comes and withdraws. So hanged. No chattels.

337 Nicholas le Bakere became an approver and appealed Andrew Kene of Lynham for stealing in the approver’s fellowship a heifer (juvencam) in Daunteseye field and for other larcenies. Andrew pl. n.g. Jury say n.g. So quit. Nicholas is convicted of his false appeal and hanged. No chattels.

338 Michael Hemery and Ralph Beresorwe, taken by appeal of the same for slaying John de Grundewell and Christine his wife and for divers robberies and larcenies done at Westtockenham, pl. n.g. Jury say g. So hanged. No chattels.

342 Silvester de Ore turned approver. None is attached because none found. But the keeper of the said gaol prosecutes Silvester for breaking the gaol and contriving his and his fellows’ escape. He pl. n.g. Jury say g. So hanged. No chattels.

Some of the hangings in 1303 at Old Sarum

Delivery of Old Salisbury castle gaol before R. de Suthcote and W. de Brembelshete, justices assigned to deliver it at Old Salisbury, Wednesday after a month from Easter 31 Edw. I [8 May 1303].

388 Robert son of William le Keu, of Orcheston, and Walter son of Adam le Tethyngeman, taken by Geoffrey’s appeal because they were in his fellowship at the theft of 44 muttons in Bishop’s Lavynton fields, pl. n.g. Jury say g. So hanged. No chattels.

389 John le Cok, taken by Geofl'rey’s appeal because he was in his fellowship at a robbery done to William Pylk of Bradeford of wool and £9 of silver, pl. n.g. Jury say g. of the larceny and robbery. So hanged. No chattels.

391 Roger le Yonge of Motcoumbe, taken for larcenies, turned approver before Alan de Langeford, coroner, and confessed himself a thief in respect of (de) divers larcenies. He withdraws. So hanged. No chattels.

A Stratford man flees the law, tried in absentia at Wilton in 1306

Indictments of Wiltshire done at Wilton before W. Martyn, H. Spigurnel, and their fellows, justices of oyer and terminer in that county, Friday the morrow of Michaelmas 34 Edw. I [30 Sept. 1306].


DONTON, KNOWEL, UNDERDYCH, BOROUGH OF DONTON, AND OLD SALISBURY                                          

979 Walter Tylie of Stratford slew Richard Godard, shepherd (bercarium) of Ralph Fayryegh.


1129 Order [alias], to the sheriff of Wiltshire to exact the following persons from county to county [to the point of outlawry] if they do not come, and, if they come, to take and keep them in prison and have them here on this day, as he was [formerly] charged to take them and have them here to answer the king for divers felonies and to seize their goods, but had testified that they could not be found in his bailiwick and that none had goods except Walter Tylye, whose chattels, to the value of 5d., he had seized: ………………Walter Tylye of Stratford,




Pugh, Ralph B. 1978 Wiltshire Gaol Delivery And Trailbaston Trials 1275-1306 Wiltshire Record Society  



Trailbaston trials were a peripatetic court in use under Edward I, II, III. Baston was a club or staff. The guilty could be fined, hanged OR BOTH!

'Oyer and terminer' was a commission given to a judge to hear criminal cases at an assizes court.



Kerry O’Connor

February 2021

14h century hangings




A Stratford sub Castle land transfer was acknowledged In October 1321 by the Court (of Common Pleas). Land or property transactions were often taken to court in the guise of a "dispute" to get an official approval and record.

Ft of Fines 1321.jpg

  • 32. Fine 32

  • Aumbresbury. Amesbury

  • Def. Deforciant. Someone who wrongfully holds something from someone else

  • Fine. From the 12th C land disputes when settled in the courts were recorded twice on a parchment, the fine, each party receiving one half. A third copy was added at  bottom of this document and was retained for the public record. It was written at the foot of fine, these copies were the Feet of Fines. Fines continued to the 19th C

  • Fitelton. Fittleton is near Netheravon

  • King’s Order. This meant the crown had an interest in the case

  • Messuages. A house with its outbuildings and lands

  • Mic. The Michaelmas term of the legal year

  • Pl. Plaintiff

  • Tenement. Property held by tenure, by one person from another (superior) person

  • The King’s Writ. A (written) summons, of the court, with Royal authority, to the accused or wrongdoer.

  • To hold. Medieval law observed a distinction between ownership and possession.

  • Virgate. The area of land used for tax assessment that could be tilled by two oxen in one season. It could vary but was roughly ¼  of a hide or 30 acres



Abstracts Of Feet Of Fines Relating to Wiltshire For The Reigns Of Edward I And Edward II Edited By R.B.Pugh An Assistant Keeper Of The Public Records Devizes 1939



Kerry O’Connor

February 2021

copy at foot for archiving.jpg
Porter family 1321

Village News


The full list of taxes paid by Stratford residents in 1332* was

For Stratford (Stratforde) in the Underditch (Wonderdyche) Hundred

Tax paid Stratford 14th century.jpg

* (If you clicked here hoping to see more up to date information the Commissioners for Revenue & Customs Act (CRCA) 2005 has a provision at section 23 that exempts from disclosure under FOI any information relating to identifiable HMRC customers.)



The Wiltshire Tax List Of 1332 Wiltshire The Roll Of Hildebrand De Londone And John De Harnham, Assessors And Collectors Of The Fifteenth And Tenth Granted To The Lord King In The Same County, Of The Assessment And Collection Of The Said Fifteenth And Tenth Made By Them In The Seventh Year Of The Reign Of King Edward, The Third After The Conquest.

Wiltshire Record Society Vol XLV


Kerry O’Connor
9 January 2021

Taxes paid by residents of Stratford sub Castle known as Stratforde Deane and Stratforde Common

in 1576

tax paid.jpg


There were two taxes listed, the two fifteenths and tenths, a fixed charge levy on each county and the Tudor Subsidy, a graduated direct tax.

"Extractes indented made the tenthe daye of June in the eightenth yeare of the raigne of our soveraigne ladye Elizabeth by the grace of God quene of Englande France and Irelande, defender of the faithe etc. Betwene the righte honerable Henrie earle of Pembroke, Edmonde by the sufferaunce of God bisshoppe of Sarum [sic], Sir George Penruddock knighte and Gyles Estcourte esquier, fower of her majesties commissioners amongeste dyvers other within the countye of Wilteshire appoynted for the taxinge seasinge and levyenge of the firste paymente of the subsidye graunted to her majestie in her parlyament holden at Westminster the eighte day of Februarye laste paste before the date hereof within the hundredes of Ambrosburie, Downton, Frustfilde, Chalke, Cawdon and Cadworthe, Underdyche, Elstubbe and Everleighe, Brenche and Dolle, Alderburye, and the boroughes of Wilton, Lurgateshall, and Downton of the one partie and Henrie Bodenham gentleman petye collector appoynted within the saide hundredes and boroughes of the other partie witnesseth that the saide comissioners have assigned and appoynted the saide Henrie Bodenham pettie collector of the saide paymente of the saide subsidye within the saide hundredes and boroughes to collecte gether and levye all and everie the saide some and somes of money uppon everie parson and persons rated and chardged in his saide extracte and the some so levied to paye unto Henrye Bodenham esquier highe collector of the saide hundredes and boroughes at suche tyme and place as the saide highe collector shall appointe within the saide hundredes and boroughes reteyninge two pence for everie pounde for the fees of the saide pettie collector accordinge to the saide acte or graunte of subsidye. In witnes wherof wee the saide comissioners to these extractes have sett our handes and seales. Yeaven the daye and yeare firste above written. Signed: Edm. Sar’, H. Pembroke, George Penruddocke, Gyles Estcourte

Hundredum De Underdich"


Two Sixteenth Century Taxation Lists 1545 And 1576
Edited By G. D. Ramsay 1957



Kerry O’Connor

25 January 2021

Taxes 1332 & 1576

These are some of the 17th century marriages that took place in St Lawrence Church, Stratford sub Castle.

The February ceremonies seem to be of uncertain year.

This is because this register predates the British Calendar Act of 1751. From 12th C till 1752 the official or legal year start date used by the Government was March 25th (Lady Day or Feast of the Annunciation).  But the January 1st date which dated back to the Romans was in popular lay use too. From 1752 January 1st became the official start of the year. For the financial year however the start date moved forward eleven days with the switch from the Julian to Gregorian calendars, to April 5th then in 1800 another day to April 6th.

Source: Register of Marriages at Stratford-sub-CastIe, vol I, 1654 to 1687

Kerry O’Connor

17th century marriages
Seven Drownings 1755-1920
Royal Dragoons.jpg

A Brief Account Of Seven Drownings 1755 -1920 In Or Near Stratford Sub Castle

The river Avon runs a picturesque course through the village and the meadows and alluvial soil around it with the need to cross it, is why a settlement grew here.

But there is a cost.

In Stratford sub Castle

Thomas Rumbolt 1775. June 6th. Stratford sub Castle: drowned; Verdict accidental death. [1] (2423)

William Pretty 1888. On April 21st an inquest was held at the public house in Stratford sub Castle. William, age 5, went missing after school. He was looking for his father, (also William), a shepherd who lived on the Woodford path. PC Halliday searched for him and found the body 150 yards from the bridge. Verdict Found Drowned. [2]

Ellen Lilley 1913. An inquest was held at the Reading Room, Stratford sub Castle. She was a 23 year old spinster whose body was recovered from the river at Stratford sub Castle. There were no signs of a struggle. She was seven months pregnant. Her boyfriend, a chauffeur had left Salisbury two months before, there were no plans for marriage. She left a note in her bedroom “Dear Father and Mother, Try to forgive me, Your loving Nell”. Verdict: The jury found that the girl committed suicide by drowning herself. [2]


William Williams 1920. William Williams was a soldier, age 29, from North Wales, in 109 Battery Royal Field Artillery, whose body was found in the river at Stratford sub Castle May 19, about five weeks after he went missing from Winterbourne Gunner. He suffered from shell shock and nervous debility. The Coroner Mr Trethowan was told by Lt Walker that he used to lose his memory and was strange in manner, but deemed sane to serve. Verdict Found Drowned. [2]


Downstream, between Stratford sub Castle and Salisbury

Edward Wingrove 1878. On Good Friday April 1878 Edwin Wingrove age 16 and Charles Gaisford hired a boat and rowed up the Avon to Stratford Bridge. They met some friends, drank some beer and set off downstream, singing but seated and sober. Near Black Well Mews (Avon Terrace) Edward lost an oar, leant over to retrieve it, tipping Charles and himself into the water. Edward couldn’t swim and drowned. At the inquest the surgeon suggested copies of the Royal Humane Society instructions on resuscitation of the drowned should be displayed at the Boat House. Verdict Accidental Death. [2] The Royal Humane Society started as the Society for the Recovery of Persons Apparently Drowned in 1774 when one of its founders advocated a tobacco smoke enema. It was not unknown for people to be pulled from water and buried presumed drowned but still alive.

Upstream at Little Woodford

John Whitehorn 1755. Aug. 14th Little Woodford, infant: fell into a water-carriage and was drowned. [1] (2126) In the floated water meadows system the carriages were the channels along the tops of the ridges bringing water in, though sometimes the same word was used for the drains at the bottom taking it away. In the 16th C there was one manor of Woodford. In the 17th C there was Great and Little Woodford, matching the Durnfords on the other side of the valley. In the Andrews and Dury map only 18 years after this inquest the three Woodfords as today are shown.



Upstream at Little Durnford

Edward Maunder 1757 Aug 9th. Dragoon in General Hawly’s regiment: drowned
while bathing in a river. [1] (2157). This was the Royal Dragoons [3]


Colonel Henry Hawley was known for his brutality to the fleeing rebels after Culloden.





Coroners' records are subject to closure periods of 30 years for registers of deaths and routine administrative papers, and 75 years for individual inquest files/death reports).  Coroners were paid from 1752 so from then records were better and more survive. Very few Wiltshire Coroners records survive from the first half of the 18th C [1] (xxx).  Before 1752 they sent their records to Assizes judges who sent them on to the King’s bench and so ended up in national archives. From 1752 to 1860 they were filed at Quarter Sessions so ended up in local (County) archives. [4]. Salisbury City Coroner’s inquest files survive for the period 1876-1943 in the County Archive [5]


[1] Wiltshire Coroners’ Bills 1752-1796 Edited By R. F. Hunnisett Wiltshire Record Society, 1981.

[2] BenSloper.  South Wiltshire Coroner's Inquests 1868-1920 © 2010

[3] Morier, David 1748, painting of Dragoons From a larger Portrait                                       


[4] National Archives                                                                                                                                                

[5] Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre. The Work of the Wiltshire Coroner 1194 – 1943 (link updated Apr 2023)




Kerry O’Connor

November 2020


The February 1853 Strike of South Wiltshire Farm Labourers.


On 12 February 1853, Stratford sub Castle appeared in two national news publications:


“The whole of the labourers of the extensive parish of Stratford-sub-Castle, near Salisbury, have turned out, for higher wages”.

Illustrated London News February 12th1853 Vol 22 Iss 608 p131


“The South Wiltshire strike for higher wages has this week extended to Stratford-sub-Castle, near Salisbury. The labourers went in a body, begging from door to door in the city, to obtain funds for their support while on strike. They ask for an advance of two shillings. It is said the recruiting sergeant has carried off a good round number of young men. The Barford and Bishopstone labourers, whose strike we recorded last week, have carried the day, and obtained an advance of one or two shillings”.

The Spectator February 12th1853 Vol 26 Iss 1285 p145



Farm labourers sought a rise in pay from 7 to 9 shillings a week and to be paid on Fridays and not Saturdays. Seven shillings is about £40 today There was little labouring work other than agricultural, and many labourers had moved away from the county to the armed forces, to laying railways or overseas.


A letter in the Daily News of Thursday February 3rd (p5) supported their claim, concerned that for a worker a low wage was:

“diminishing his strength, in depriving him of heart, and in lowering his morals”. It referred to them as Wiltshire “peasants” and “peasantry” yet not pejoratively.


Kerry O’Connor

February 2023

1853 Strike spreads to Stratford

1877 Coachbuilding Apprenticeship awarded to a Stratford sub Castle boy

The Wiltshire Society was set up by Wiltshire gentlemen living in London in the 17th century who at an annual fundraising dinner endowed Wiltshire children with apprenticeships in the 17th and 18th centuries.


In 1817 it was relaunched with the same aim originally for children of Wiltshire poor in London and later those in Wiltshire and in addition awarded grants and loans on completion of training to set up in business. Officers visited the apprentices and the masters whom they funded. As employment trends changed it also awarded scholarships, bursaries and grants. It ran until the 20th century.

498 entry.jpg


The Apprentice Registers Of The Wiltshire Society 1817 - 1922 Edited By H R Henly Trowbridge 1997 © Wiltshire Record Society


John Adlam in the 1871 and 1881 Censuses

Census table.jpg

Kerry O'Connor

March 2021

1877 Coachbuilding apprenticeship



A flash of lightning, when the storm was at its worst, just after two o'clock, struck the roof of the old mill house at Stratford-sub-Castle and set it alight. Within a minute or two the whole roof was blazing furiously, notwithstanding the fact that it was a slate roof.

Many years ago the premises, which are the property of the Ecclesiastical Commission, were used as a flour mill, but for a long time they have been let as part of the farm occupied by Mr F Carey. Recently it has been used as a gristmill and a chaff house, and contained an under- shot water wheel, driving two pairs of stones, and a complete milling plant, as well as a large chaff cutter.

At the end of the building there was a cottage occupied by a man named William Tryhorn, his mother, wife and daughter. He looked after the mill, and sometimes was employed on the farm. On Friday he was away from the house, so that the women were the only persons about the premises when the mill was struck. No one seems to have seen the lightning strike the roof, but, hearing a crash, the occupants of the cottage rushed out only to find the place in flames. The fire spread wonderfully. Within a few minutes parts of the interior were blazing, though at first, not near the cottage.

The alarm was given, and a messenger on horseback was dispatched to Salisbury for the Fire Brigade, while a number of people living near by including the vicar (the Rev. A. S. Carr) did what they could to save the furniture in the cottage, unfortunately not insured. In this they were partly successful. At any rate before the Fire Brigade with the steamer and manual arrived, all the furniture in the rooms had been removed, but upstairs a good deal was left beside some money and jewellery.

The Brigade was called about three o'clock when Captain Fawcett and his men arrived on the scene. Ladders were put up to the cottage window and some of the things were rescued before the flames, increasing in strength every moment, drove the men out. Then the water was brought to bear. There was an abundant supply but the flames were very fierce and resisted every effort for a long time. The whole place was doomed. The roof of the mill had gone in before the Brigade arrived, and the cottage did not last long. The one thing to be done was to get the flames under, and it took several hours to do that sufficiently to allow the fireman to revisit the bedroom. There a search was made and many boxes, some furniture and valuables found uninjured. But a great deal had been damaged beyond repair.

Much sympathy is felt for the evicted folk who have lost most of their property. They took refuge from the rain with their goods in a shed opposite the mill and Miss Waters and Miss Carey did what they could to help them.

Happily there was no danger of the fire spreading, for the only house near was the residence of Mr Russell Davis, which was never in danger. The fire brigade left about seven o'clock having put out a rather stubborn blaze. Mr Carey's loss, estimated between £200 and £300, is covered by insurance. The place was visited by a large number from Salisbury on Saturday and Sunday.

From The Salisbury and Wilton Times and South Wilts Gazette, Friday August 3, 1900†


Francis Carey was 56 and from Coleshill Berkshire and had been married for 31 years. He did not appear in the 1901 census but in 1911 lived with his wife, two daughters, two servants and a farming pupil as a farmer in the village. The Miss Carey was probably Alice or Bertha, daughters. William Tryhorn was age 60 and from Laverstock. He was listed as a journeyman miller in the 1901 census, living with his wife Ellen, daughter, also Ellen and mother Louisa. He and his widowed daughter still lived in the village at the 1911 census. Arthur Bruce Russell Davies, 35 from Blackheath, Kent, was a man of independent means living at Avon Side with two servants (1901 census). The mill was sold by the church twenty-one years after the fire to Reginald Coggan and carried on in use as a mill for a further twelve years after that. ††

Kerry O’Connor

Local History Group 

December 2021

† Accessed via the British Newspaper Archive, © The British Library Board

†† 'Stratford-sub-Castle', in A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 6, ed. Elizabeth Crittall (London, 1962), pp. 199-213. British History Online [accessed 13 December 2021].

Fire at Stratford Mill 1900
Pony & Trap without lights 1903

"Sarum County Sessions - Tuesday

William Churcher, sergeant-major in the Artillery, was summoned for driving a pony and trap without a light at Stratford-sub-Castle, on Sunday, October 18th. Defendant pleaded guilty.

Constable Box said that when on duty on the Salisbury and Amesbury road about 11.20 he met the defendant driving a pony and trap to which no light was attached. He stopped him and took his name. Defendant said that when he left Salisbury his lamp was burning alright, but after he left Old Sarum the candle burned out. He got a cyclist to ride in front and see all was clear.

The magistrates considered that it was not a serious case and fined the defendant 1s., with 7s costs."


Salisbury Times, Friday, 6 November 1903

pony & trap.JPG

Source: Copy from accessed 23/9/18 (on-line parish clerk) 


Image - elsewhere - public domain.

Bore Hole report 1937

Bore Hole report - 1937

A search of the British Geographical Survey website identified this interesting bore hole report that had been hand-written on behalf of F W Ockenden & Son in 1937 (retyped below):

"Site:  Parsonage Farm  J Coggan Esq  Stratford Salisbury

                              Depth (ft)

Gravel                      25

Chalk                       40

Chalk & flint             50

Water level                8      (test for 9 hours)

28ft of lining tubes


"Water is pumped by electric motor through 4" pipe at full rate. Rate per hour unknown. Water level below well approx 10 to 15 ft. Has pumped 96 hours without stopping and still ample supply. The writer believes analysis to be good. "

(Notes added to the end of the report)

May 1954 - Well has not been used since property was requisitioned by Ministry of Food in 1940 

Visited 18-10-58 - Now Parsonage Farm. Sealed. "


Source: British Geological Survey website - Accessed 3 April 2017

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