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History Of Kington St Michael

KINGTON ST MICHAEL'S HISTORY
(Please scroll down to see recent history)

(For a more comprehensive history of the parish, kindly composed by Tim Storer, please click on the icon Emotion)

Kington St Michael was originally called Kington, indicating a royal farm or manor, and was first recorded in a Saxon document in 934 AD. 

The Village is sited on a brash limestone outcrop and remains a Street Village in pattern to this day.  The church of St Michael and All Angels dates back to the twelfth century.  (To read the story of St Michael click on the icon: Emotion )  There used to be a sheep market held in the area in front of the Almshouses, and other markets held in enclosures nearby (the area in front of 77 and 78 Kington St Michael, for example). "The Jolly Huntsman" pub was originally called "The White Horse" and contained the brewery at the back of its premises.  The wells supplying the water are 80 feet deep and are still accessible to this day.  It is reputed that there was a tunnel between "The White Horse" and "The White Hart" opposite (today a private dwelling house).  A smaller hostelry on the main street was located at what is now 75 Kington St Michael.

Please click here for Domesday map details.

An old photo of Kington St Michael's main street
(an old postard showing the Alms Houses, circa 1920s- kindly provided by Tim Storer)

The Manor House was rebuilt in the 1860's by Squire Herbert Prodgers.  He also gave the village its school and schoolhouse, which was used until the late 1970's until the current school was built.  The village undertook a fourteene year battle to save the old school premises for the benefit of the Parish, and is probably one of the very few in the country which retained their premises once they ceased to be used for educational purposes.  The Reversioner for the property, a Mrs Roberts, gave the building back to the Village in the 1980's.  The Parish Council was subsequently able to gain hold of the schoolhouse and the playground land, with a change in the law with regard to charities.  A major fund raising exercise in the village enabled the whole building to be converted into a well-used Parish Hall, which was given charitable status by the Parish Council at that point.  The complex of old and new Parish Halls will be of major benefit to the area in the years to come.  For a history of the acquisition of the village hall please click here.

Herbert ProdgersSquire Prodger's gatehouse 28.10.08
Squire Prodgers and his gatehouse

The old Manor House, demolished circa 1864The old Manor House, KSM
The old Manor House, demolished in the late 1800s     The old Manor House (Circa late 19th century)
(Thanks to David West for providing the picture on the left from the Parish Plan)

Originally Kington St Michael included the the hamlet of Kington Langley, but this became a seperate parish in 1865.  The burial grounds are maintained in the Parish Church, and the two villages retain responsibility for the six Almshouses located in Kington St Michael.  Lands in the parish were bestowed upon Glastonbury Abbey and a house of Benedictine nuns was established at The Priory. For further information visit Wiltshire County Council's website.

Sketch of The Priory, published in The Gentleman magazine, August 1803
Sketch of The Priory, published in The Gentleman magazine, August 1803
Sketched by JB (John Britton?)
(Reproduced by permission of Linda Durno, who owns an original magazine print).

The hamlet of Easton Piercy is now part of the parish of Kington St. Michael but until late in medieval times was a separate village and parish with its own small chapel, graveyard and cross. The chapel was taken down around 1610. The early name was Easton Piers from the Piers family who owned the manor in the mid 12th century.  Easton Piercy was part of the Malmesbury Hundred.

In 1221 a house for paupers was built in the parish at The Priory - click here and enter "Kington St Michael" in the search box for details.

Another interesting website to explore is compiled by Duncan & Mandy Ball and contains 229 photographs of Kington St Michael church & churchyard.  Do have a good look around it, as there are lists of those buried plus photos of gravestones.

To view an image of "The Annunciation to Mary", which was once held in the Benedictine Priory at Kington St Michael, click here.

Visit www.wiltshiretreasures.org and enter "Kington St Michael" in the search box to view artifacts related to the village.

For local historical information visit Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre's website www.wshc.eu

To view Wiltshire Community Histories on Wiltshire Council's website (which includes Kington St Michael) please click here, then select the parish you wish to view.

To view the Wiltshire On-line Parish Clerk's website click here - you will need to log in before searching for Kington St Michael.  This has details of baptisms, marriages and burials from as early as 1791 to around 1911.

To view the Wiltshire On-line Parish Clerk's supplementary pages for Kington St Michael click here.

The Rev J E Jackson wrote about Kington St Michael in the The Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society Magazine No. X, Vol. IV, June 1857, which is available to read on-line.  Please click here to go to the article on the Biodiversity Heritage Library website.

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Kington St Michael World War I Records of the Fallen

Please click here to view the records of war graves of those from Kington St Michael who lost their lives in World War I.


MEMORIES OF KINGTON ST MICHAEL

Memories From KSM WI Members

Coal was delivered once a week. Apparently someone was having some of their coal stolen, so they made a hole in a piece of coal and put some explosive in it. The culprit was soon exposed by the bang when he put it on his fire!

The owner of Kington Manor used to arrange an annual outing for the children of the village and as a treat they were each given an orange to eat.

Wartime (WWII)
Some bombs meant for Hullavington were dropped behind Priory Cottage and people from all around came to see the craters “big enough to put a house in”. Barbara Tinson recalled coming out of school at midday and a German bomber flying low overhead machine-gunning, so she quickly hit the floor. Many unexploded incendiaries were collected up and kept on Mr Lee the shopkeeper’s lawn, which was behind the club!
Italian prisoners of war were held in Chippenham and used to come to the village to join the local men doing vital agricultural work.
The village also housed evacuees during the war.

Winter Memories
1963 was probably one of the most sever winders in recent memory and there was deep snow through the village. Some children walked through snow drifts from behind The Plough to school, only to be told that the toilets were frozen so they must return home! Later when the snow melted, they realized they’d walked on top of the hedges.

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A Bride's Tale from the 1960s

Sylvia Hyland (who now lives in Whitley Bay) has very kindly sent in her memories of her time in Kington St Michael in the 1960s, when she lived at Kington Manor and then at Tor Hill. At that time her husband worked for the Heidelberg Printing Company, which owned the Manor and its grounds. Please click here to read Sylvia's story.

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Memories of Kington St Michael by Charlene Ellis (née Morse)

Many thanks to Charlene Ellis who has sent in her childhood memories of Kington St Michael and a
history of her family's connection with the village. Please 
click here to read her story.


2012

The village celebrated the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in great fashion.
Click here to see the programme of events and click on the Diamond Jubilee page tab for all the goings-on!

2010

George Horatio Sealy Memorial

George Horatio Sealy  George horatio Sealy dedication group 12.07.10
George Horatio Sealy           The group attending the dedication on 12th July, 2010

George Horatio Sealy's memorial stone
 The memorial stone

George Horatio Sealy was born 1846, in Kington St Michael to William and Elizabeth Sealy and together with his wife Annie, raised their  family in the village. In 1904-06 the family emigrated to Canada to start a new life there, homesteading in the southern part of Saskatchewan.  Today, many Sealy families and their descendents live throughout Canada.

On July 12th 2010, twenty-one of his descendants met at the Macrorie Cemetery, Saskatchewan, Canada, to honour him and dedicate the grave marker that had been installed at his resting place.  These descendants had travelled from Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, some to meet for the very first time, others to  renew acquaintances from times past.  Present in the party was Betty Goodwin, granddaughter and oldest living descendant of George Horatio Sealy.

Introductions were made in the Macrorie Rink, followed by a ceremony of prayers, hymns and  Bible readings. Lunch, provided by the village ladies, came next and with it an opportunity to view the displays which Ted and Barb Sealy had made featuring the family tree, many photos of both ancestors and descendants and the picturesque village of Kington St Michael.  It is hoped that many  will visit Wiltshire in the future to experience  for themselves.

Unlike the days preceding and following the event, the gathering was blessed with perfect weather, if a little windy, to make their way to the cemetery where a marble stone had been installed.  Once again this provided an opportunity for people to reminisce, and contemplate the lives of those early settlers to the area, and give thanks that indeed they did settle there.  (With thanks to Ted and Barb Sealy).

Jack Sealy Sealy descendants at Villiers
Pte Jack Sealy.  Jack's grave in Villiers, Frence, with descendants of George Horatio Sealy.  Jack was George's eldest son.
(In the photo: Garth Hampson, great grandson from Canada, with his daughter Diana and grandaughters Jessica, Abby and Chelsea). 

2009

Duckett Family Ancestral Gathering, 17th July 2009

After spotting Robbie Duckett's name on this website, various descendants of Richard John Duckett 1821-1896 & Elizabeth Ayres 1821-1889 e-mailed the website administrator.  Having been put in touch with each other, the family members decided to meet up at The Jolly Huntsman on 18th July for lunch and to share their family trees and other information.

10th March 2009 - the website has received the following information, via Chippenham Museum (which had an exhibition on the village at the beginning of the year), from Mr Gordon Lewis, who believes that he has solved the mystery of the Spanish coins found on the recreation field:

"I've just read about the Kington St Michael exhibition that recently ended, and may be able to give one possible solution to the mysterious central American coins.  It very much depends where they were found as to whether my theory is likely to have any weight.

My 6x great grandfather, Francis White, was born at Kington St Michael in 1726/7 - most likely at Kington Manor as his family were Lords of the Manor until the early 19th century.  Around 1746 Francis White was a Lieutenant in the Colonel Trelawney's regiment and was sent to Jamaica (formerly a Spanish colony until the English took control) to fight against a slave uprising.

His military career was short lived, and by 1748 he had married Elizabeth De Lyon, the daughter of John De Lyon; a Physician and Hispanic Jew living in Jamaica.  De Lyon's ancestors were expelled from Spain around 1495 as part of the Spanish Inquisition, although the period from the late 15th century through to the very early 18th is undocumented as most Spanish Jamaican records were destroyed by the English!

In September 1760, Ayliffe White, the father of Francis, became ill and made his will, stating that Francis would only receive an inheritance on his return to England.  This suggests that Ayliffe was not in support of his son's adventures!  A message was presumably sent to Jamaica that Ayliffe was dying, as Francis together with his own 11 year old son, were back in Kington St Michael by early 1761 when Ayliffe died.  By March of the same year, Francis had also died and was buried alongside his father in Wiltshire.

Henry Boswell White, son of Francis, was placed in the guardianship of his uncle, also named Henry Boswell White, and never saw his mother or baby sister again, as they had remained in Jamaica.  However, there appears to have been some communication between Jamaica and Wiltshire, as Henry's baby sister later named a slave after her brother and Henry was also aware that his widowed mother had remarried.  Henry eventually farmed at The Plough.

With Jamaica formerly being a part of the Spanish empire, this definitely links the village with that part of the world.  The De Lyon's were also very wealthy, as indicated in the will of John De Lyon, and so it is not improbable to suggest that the coins made their way to Wiltshire through one of my ancestors.

Hopefully this will be of assistance to both yourself and the village, and please feel free to forward this as appropriate.

Best wishes,
Gordon Lewis"

Mr Lewis has very kindly said that he is quite happy for any villagers to contact him if they have additional information or wish to know more about his own connections; e-mail gordon_lewis@hotmail.com.

2008

In 2008 the playing field was levelled in order to provide a suitable football pitch.  During the works parishioner Tim Storer carried out metal detection on the site.  Please click here to view his report and photographs taken.  Items found included Roman artifacts, Elizabethan half groat, medieval buckles and spanish coins - causing much thought as to how they arrived in ington St Michael.

2002

KSM Golden Jubilee Fancy Dress 03.06.02

On Monday 3rd June 2002 Kington St Michael celebrated Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee, with a fancy dress parade, a street party, a go-kart race and various tournaments amongst other things.  Click here to view the programme of events for the day and a selection of photos.

1991

In 1991 villagers were notified that their telephone numbers would be changing - click here to read the letter from BT.

1985

In 1985 the late journalist, Miles Kington, visited the village and in particular the church.  Click here to read his ponderings, published in The Times on 17th January 1985.

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The Pond Area, Stubbs Lane

Have you ever why the pond area is called that when it really looks more like a stream?  Years ago the land there and Tor Hill and Home Farm (now Home Farm House) all belonged to Kington Manor.  Home Farm had a herd of Jersey cattle which were led down cobbles to water at the pond.  Subsequently the pond area has reduced in size and, presumably, the cobbles hidden beneath. (Thanks go to Robbie Duckett for this information).

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Excerpt From "A Topographical Dictionary of England"
Author: Samuel Lewis (editor); year published 1848

"KINGTON (St. Michael), a parish, in the union of Chippenham, N. division of the hundred of Damerham, Chippenham and Calne, and N. divisions of Wilts; containing, with the tythings of Easton-Piercy and Langley, 1173 inhabitants, of whom 531 are in the tything of Kington, 3 miles (N. N. W.) from Chippenham. The parish is situated on the road from Chippenham to Malmesbury, and comprises by measurement 4000 acres; the soil is clay, sand, and stone brash, and the surface is flat, but not subject to inundation. There are several quarries of good building-stone. A fair for cattle and sheep is held on the 6th of October. The ancient manor-house near the church was the country residence of the abbots of Glastonbury. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £8. 9. 4½., and in the gift of the Earl of Mornington. The church, of which the tower and north aisle have been rebuilt within the last 60 or 70 years, has some fine Norman details. There are places of worship for Baptists and Independents. Isaac Lyte, alderman of London, who died in 1659, erected six almshouses, which he endowed with £20 per annum; and Mrs. White, in 1821, bequeathed the interest of £200 for their further endowment. In the parish are considerable remains of three religious houses, the principal of which, a Benedictine nunnery, in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was founded before the time of Henry II., as a cell to the abbey of Glastonbury; the revenue, at the Dissolution, was £38. 3. 10.: the remains have been converted into a farmhouse. Mr. Britton, the antiquary, is a native of the parish."

For more information on Kington St Michael's history visit www.british-history.ac.uk
and enter Kington St Michael in the "search" box.

Damerham Hundred

A Hundred was an administrative area, a group of several parishes.  Up to the 15th Century a Hundred had its own court to deal with minor offences.  The courts continued with very few functions until 1886.  The names of the hundreds were often used for Poor Law Unions and for Rural District Councils.  You will find some tax records grouped by hundred in record offices, notably Land Tax.  The Victoria County History, which has individual histories of the towns, parishes and hamlets of a county, is arranged by Hundred.
(
Kington St Michael was in the Damerham Hundred, however Easton Piercy was in the Malmesbury Hundred)

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Village Postbox

The postbox down by Stanton Lane is an Edward VII one.  To find out more visit www.lbsg.org

Edward VII postbox
(Photo courtesy of Niki Willows)

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Emotion Kington St Michael Phonebox Emotion

In July 2007 the Parish Council heard from English Heritage that, following the PC's application, the Secretary of State has decided to list our one and only telephone box (Grade II). The listing took effect immediately and means that it is protected against unauthorised demolition, alteration or extension.  There are now over 25 listed kiosks in North Wiltshire District with over 65 in total in the whole of Wiltshire.   All are the K6 model with similar list descriptions, which do not generally differentiate between the pre-1952 structures and the post-1952 structures.  Kington St Michael's appears to be post 1952 based on the crown.  Nationally, over 2258 kiosks are listed and about 2,100 of these are the K6 type.

Our kiosk hasn't always been situated outside the old village hall - it was previously outside what is now the old post office (85 Kington St Michael) and was moved at some point in the 1950s or replaced by a new one:

Post Office, Kington St Michael (now a private dwelling)

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Kington St Michael's Old Businesses

The village has had three pubs!  At 3 Kington St Michael was the White Hart, which took its name from an earlier White Hart at 76 Kington St Michael.  Now there is The Jolly Huntsman (previously called the White Horse).  The village bakery was located at 85 Kington St Michael and this later became a post office and shop.  There was a blacksmith next to the White Hart at 3 KSM and the village carpenter lived in Wheelwright Cottage (fomerly Woodbine Cottage?), 48 Kington St Michael.  For some years there used to be another shop in the unit next to Kington St Michael Club.
In the early days there were no houses between the Old Chapel (built in 1830 as the Bethesda Baptist Chapel) and Stanton Lane, so the village was divided into "top" and "bottom".

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Nostalgia from the Files of the Gazette Newspaper 

August 1985: "Lead levels on the playground equipment are 12 times the acceptable limit, the parish council has told the company which supplied the equipment six years ago.  In reply, the Kettering-based firm which supplied the slide, swings, climbing frame and rocking horse said there was no legal obligation to reduce lead levels in paint.  The parish council decided to get the equipment stripped and repainted.  It is now obtaining quotes for the work, which is expected to cost nearly £1,000."

May 1911: At the Chippenham Rural District Council on Monday, Dr Briscoe reported a serious outbreak of diptheria at Kington St Michael.  There were eight cases and one death.  As far as he was able to make out, a child attended school for four days whilst suffering from the disease and infected the other children.  Accompanied by the surveyor, Dr Briscoe found at the back of the school [now the village hall] was an open drain and two heaps of stable manure.  The drain ought to be connected with the sewer and the owner was willing to do that.

December 1907:  "A most excellent entertainment was given by the school children on Tuesday.  Although the programme was long and varied, everything went without a hitch, the energy of the children and promoters carrying all before it.  There were some first-rate recitations and dialogues by boys and girls of all ages, including a little girl of three, whose reciting powers were simply extraordinary."

October 1901:  "Kington St Michael - Owing to there being no means of flushing, the village sewer is said to be an elongated cesspool and at every corner of the street there is a horrible smell.  There is no means of flushing in the school lavatories and it is feared the school will have to be closed owing to the want of sanitary arrangements.  The water in the wells is also said to be impure."

Thank goodness times have changed! 

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John Aubrey & John Britton:

Click on the icon to read about these famous sons of Kington St Michael: Emotion
 

John Britton's Cottage (from a book by David Burnett called A Wiltshire Portrait 1568-1856)
(With thanks to Matt Bridger)


Picture of John Britton's front room 1777
The interior of John Britton's cottage in 1777
This stood where the old village hall now stands (next to the 'phone box).

John Britton
John Britton Esq

The interior of the cottage in which John Britton, the Wiltshire topographical writer, was born in Kington St Michael in 1777.  The single downstairs room served as a hall, parlour and kitchen.  Britton’s gather was the village baker and shopkeeper, and Britton was later to explain his rise from such humble beginnings as proof “of what may be affected by zeal and industry with moderate talents and without academic learning.”

Britton was instrumental in the founding of the Wiltshire Topographical Society (now The Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society).  He was also the author of The Beauties of Wiltshire and The History and Antiquities of the Cathedral Church of Salisbury.

Links with Francis Kilvert, the Diarist:
The mother of Francis Kilvert was a member of the Snell family who had bought the manor of Kington St. Michael at the Dissolution of the monasteries.  Kilvert himself was a close friend of Charles Awdry, the vicar of Kington St. Michael, and he deputised for him in 1864-5, living in the village for several months.  In the years 1874 and 1875 Kilvert made several visits to the village which he recorded in his diaries:

‘Around lay the rich undulating country, the emerald meadows in their setting of golden cornfields, and below nestled the King’s town, the home of my forefathers with the grey Church tower embosomed amongst its limes, and the long village street climbing the gentle slope beyond.’
[15th August 1875]

He also relates that when the church bells were rung people in Kington Langley used to say, “A hen has laid an egg at Kington”.  This was a saying, which indicated the local supposition that Kington inhabitants were too ready to ring their church bells without reason.

 

Bibliography:
Kilvert’s Diary edited by William Plomer. Various editions

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OLD VILLAGE PHOTOS

Kington St Michael "At Home" Day 8th September, 1991

Kington St Michael At Home Day, 1991 - respresentatives of St Nicholas Playgroup (now Acorns Pre-school)

Back in September 1991 the village held an "At Home" day to raise money for village organisations.
Please 
click here to view a copy of the programme.
The photo above is of some representatives of St Nicholas Playgroup (now Acorns Pre-School).
(Left to right: Libby Baggett, Linda Amos (now Durno), Alexander Amos, Lauren Amos, Sue Baggett & Christopher Baggett)

Moorshall Cottages

Moorshall Cottages
Moorshall Cottages, derelict in the summer of 1979 (x 2 LH photos) and renevated by 1985 (above)
(Photos courtesy of Linda Durno)

Back in the summer of 1979 Moorshall Cottages, on the road out towards Grittleton, lay derelict but by 1985 had been bought and renevated.

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Please click on the icon to view some old photos, which were kindly supplied by Ivan Balmforth: Emotion.  If you can put a name to a face please e-mail the website kingtonstmichael@btinternet.com.

Former Headmaster visits village

Elfreda & James Frapwell, 3rd October 2008
Elfreda & James Frapwell

Mr James Ivor Frapwell, former Headmaster at Kington St Michael School, visited the village on 3rd October 2008, together with his wife Elfreda and daughter Jane.  Mr Frapwell popped into the village shop, which, together with the village hall, is housed in part of the former school and schoolhouse.  Having admired the community-run shop he was tempted into making several purchases.

Mr Frapwell, who now lives in Chippenham, was Headmaster from September 1954 to May 1956.  Whilst teaching, he was approached by the management of The Heidelberg Printing Company, which used to be situated at Kington Manor, and subsequently left to work for them.  He has fond memories of his time in the village and recounted several names of village families; Duckett, Doughty and Sealy amongst them.

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Kington St Michael's Shop

Old postcard of KSM showing the shop at no. 13
Thank you to Sam Homes of Kington Antiques & Interiors for providing this old photograph that was
given to her of the main street and shows the shop at no. 13 as it was then.


Kington St Michael Shop 1989
The shop at 13 Kington St Michael was next to the Club and was one of two in the village at
the time - the above photos was taken in 1989.  (T
he other being a Post Office & shop at the corner
of Stubbs Lane - look closely in the wall there and you can see where the post box used to be!
This one then closed in 2003 and re-opened in part of the vilage hall in 2004).

After the shop above closed no. 13 became Typegrafix printing company and then offices.
By
2008 it was a catering company and in 2011 Kington Antiques & Interiors :

Baraka Catering 28.10.08Kington Antiques

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IVY COTTAGE

Ivy Cottage in the 1920's
Ivy Cottage, 4 KSM

Ivy Cottage used to belong to Margaret Lawrie's grandfather, William Gainey (the 4th son of Mr & Mrs Jones Gainey).  The Gainey's were an old KSM family.  William married Bertha (formerly Bertha Gale, daughter of the late Mr & Mrs John Gale) also of KSM.  Many thanks to Margaret for providing the photos (the one of Ivy Cottage was taken in the 1920's) and the following information:

"Ivy Cottage was a ramshackled cottage when my Grandfather purchased it for £76 c1911.  He had to go to the Squire at Kington Manor to speak for him to buy the cottage.  I understand that he was the first person to buy a property in the village (apart from the wealthy who already had homes there).  He restored it using the original materials and roof tiles but unfortunately c1940 the rain started to come in and the roof was replaced with modern tiles.  In c1932 he was the first person in the village to have electricity.

From memory I believe there is a photo of my Grandfather with his bicycle.  He was the first person in the village to have a bike and was very proud of it."

Below is a photograph of Bertha Gainey:

Bertha Gainey
Bertha Gainey