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    Ni14 Robert Nicholas

    Ni14 Robert Nicholas Esq. of All Cannings was the second son of  John Nicholas Esq. (Ni15) of Roundway and Ashton Keynes and his second wife, Agnes Gore, daughter and coh. of John Gore of Hinton.

    Born: about 1498 (this date seems about 20 years to early to be having children in the 1560's and 70's, or their dates are incorrect)
    Married: ?
    Buried: 12 November 1592 in All Cannings

    Map of All Cannings 1773
    From the history at the bottom it is clear that Robert Nicholas was not granted the rights to the manor directly after the abbey was depossessed of it in 1539 by Henry VIII, but that it was granted directly to Sir Edward Seymour, created earl of Hertford and duke of Somerset, brother of Queen Jane néeSeymour. The listing in the Heralds Visitations does, however, make it clear that he was in possession of it and hence must have been a vassel to Sir Edward Seymour.

     Robert Nicholas had children:
    (Ni13) Robert Nicholas
    (Ni13-2) Edward Nicholas of Maningford and Brockenborough, bap. 1579 at AllCannings, married Elizabeth, daughter of James Tutt of Chilbolden South. and had issue
    (Ni13-3) Thomas Nicholas of Coate in Bishop's Cannings, will proved 1600, married Edith daughter of John Burden of All Cannings, and had son, Robert Nicholas, heir.
    (Ni13-4) John Nicholas of Winterbourne Earles, bap. 21 July 1566
    Robert Nicholas must have acquired All Cannings for his own services between 1520 and 1560 or his father's service before him. However, we see that it had been a Church possession and it was about this time that Henry VIII separated from the Roman Catholic Church and dispossessed many monasteries, so a look in this direction may get details.

    For the All Cannings Nicholas family there is possibly already a change in the Crest over the Coat of Arms (the change definitely does apply for the Maningford Bruce and Brockenborough branch and for the Coate in Bishop's Cannings branch):
    Arms: Quarterly: 1 & 4, Azure, a chevron engrailed between three owls or; 2; Gules, a chevron between three sand-boxes reversed, issuing sand or SANDON; 3, Azure, three roach nainl in pale argent DE LA ROCH.
    Crest :--A human eye surrounded by clouds proper. (Obliterated in 1 C. 22 by a piece of paper on which is drawn On a chapeau azure, turned up ermine, all owl rising or). (The comment in parentheses seems to read that in the Herald's notes there is a piece of paper obliterating the new crest with a repetition of the original crest "On a chapeau azure ... owl rising or", which does not make much sense, unless the All Cannings branch applied for a new crest and later changed back to the original one. More likely is the crest change to distinguish this branch from the original branch. This conforms with only vigilance and constancy can maintain the fortunes of a family in the troubled times of the Tudors, which brought disaster for those too quick to support Lady Jane Grey or not quick enough to deny Mary I or Mary Queen of Scots their support, or too quick again in supporting opposition to Elizabeth I) 

    As a direct male descendant of the Nicholas Families of Alcannings and Roundway he was entitled to bear the Nicholas Coat of Arms, as were his sons and theirs etc.
    Nicholas of Roundway and Ashton Keynes,
    Motto: Vigilantia et constantia
     As seen by maj. Griffin Nicholas the original crest for the Roundway branch is "On a chapeau azure ... owl rising or" except for the head of the family, for which "On a chapeau gules ... owl rising or" applies. As the Roundway branch is the senior branch this specialty will only occur in that line and only for the most senior branch. Assuming that Maj. Griffin Nicholas was correct about other more senior lines being without male heir, his line would be entitled to a gules chapeau, if not the Barony "de la Roch of Bromham."1 
    The crest in the 1565 Visitation is a quatrefoil on stalk raguly or charged with a raven sable: cf. Vstt'. G/oucestershire.1623 (Harl. Soc.), p. 117.

    Source: Wiltshire Visitation Pedigrees, 1623.
    With All Cannings you are in a very ancient landscape, where farming has taken place for the last 5,000 years. The parish contains areas of both the Vale of Pewsey and the Marlborough Downs, and some notable archaeological sites, while one of the two highest points in Wiltshire, Tan Hill at 294 metres above sea level, is within its boundaries.

    The geology reflects the varied landscape to be seen here; there is alluvium and greensand in the Vale of Pewsey, and this was used solely as pasture land until around 1800. Middle and lower chalk is to be found at the edge of the Marlborough Downs and this was the arable land to about 1800. The higher up we find middle and upper chalk, stretching to Rybury. Tan Hill is covered with clay with flints and the Wansdyke cuts across the northern parts of the parish.

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    Apart from the village of All Cannings there were settlements at Allington and Fullaway in the ancient parish, which seems always to have been well populated. Until the early 20th century nearly all the population was concentrated in the villages. All Cannings itself is a long street village that has maintained its original structure. The main street is parallel with the minor road that runs southwards from All Cannings Cross to Patney and is connected to it by two west to east roads at the north and south of the village. Most of the earliest buildings, many of them former farmhouses, lie between these roads. When standing in the village you have the impression of being in the bottom of a bowl, with hills enclosing all the horizons . An unusual situation in Wiltshire.

    Within the parish there is evidence of occupation from most periods of prehistoric man. Evidence for Neolithic occupation comes from Rybury, All Cannings Cross and Tan Hill. Much of the area would have been cultivated at this time but traces in the lower areas have been destroyed by later use of the land. From finds of domestic animal bones it would seem that cattle predominated with some sheep and arable. In the Bronze Age there was activity in the early and middle periods on Allington Down and Tan Hill. The settlement at All Cannings Cross (650-400 B.C.) was excavated by the Cunningtons and is well documented. At this time the animal bone evidence suggests a livestock composition of 50% cattle, 25% pigs and 25% sheep and goats, along with corn grown in small fields.

    This farming continued through the Iron Age and objects from this period have been found on Allington Down. A field system from the later years of this period can still be seen on All Cannings Down and the banks of these fields enclosed the growing corn. A more obvious feature is the hill fort of Rybury Camp. It is unlikely that the Roman invasion caused great changes in this part of Wiltshire. The existing field systems probably continued in use, while new ones were created, but the area was some distance from the large villa estates and the population probably remained British. Objects from the Romano-British period have been found on All Cannings Down and on the Downs above Allington, probably indicating farms in these, and other areas.

    In Saxon times Cannings, including both Bishop’s and All Cannings, was a royal estate. It was given to the nunnery of St Mary at Winchester (Nunnaminster) and remained in their possession until 1536. By the early 10th century a fair sized settlement called Cannings existed and it reasonable to suppose that this was on the site of the present village. Its origins are likely to have been some centuries earlier. A village at Allington, on both sides of the Moor Brook, existed by the early 11th century and again it is reasonable to assume that its origins were at least a century or two earlier. The area is recorded in the Viking invasions as in 1010 the Danes reached Cannings Marsh, but then retired eastwards. The Marsh was the low lying area to the north of the village.

    At the time of the Domesday Book (1086) there was a large village at All Cannings and a smaller one at Allington. At All Cannings there was land for 15 plough teams, five operated by serfs for the Abbey of St. Mary, and 10 owned by the Abbess’s tenants. Meadow land covered 108 acres, there were large areas of pasture and small amount of woodland. The Moor Brook supported a water mill and the whole estate had increased by 50% in value since the reign of King Edward, from £20 to £30. The population is likely to have been between 230 and 270. Allington was held by Alured of Marlborough who kept four plough teams on 7½ hides. The tenants had only one ploughteam between them and a knight, who held 2 hides, had another. There were 20 acres of meadow and a smaller amount of pasture than at All Cannings. The population would have been between 70 and 85.

    In early medieval times there were houses on both sides of the village street, and there had probably been houses on these sites since Saxon times. Some of these were occupied by the tenants who had land in the common fields, and working farmhouses remained on these sites into the 19th and 20th centuries. By the early 14th century taxation returns indicate a reasonable sized village, while in 1377 there were 192 poll tax pages in All Cannings (a large number for the Vale of Pewsey) and 68 at Allington (an average number). A windmill seems to have been built by the early 15th century, possibly because the amount of water power available was insufficient for the watermill to grind all the grain growing in the area. Until the early 18th century part of the South Field was known as Windmill Ball. An important event at the end of the early 15th century was the granting of the right to hold a fair on Chalborough Down to the Abbess of St. Mary in 1499. The annual fair was to be held on St. Ann’s Day and the day following (26th and 27th July). By 1541 the hill had become known as St Ann’s Hill, corrupted to Tan Hill by the late 17th century. From 1792 the fair was held on 6th August. It was a large sheep and horse fair that is described by Ida Gandy in Wiltshire Childhood (1929).


    In the 16th century there were brewers, butchers and a miller, apart form many other trades, and we know of the existence of an inn or ale house from the fact that the owner was prosecuted for allowing gaming tables in his house, probably backgammon. Rustic Farm dates from the end of the 16th century while Cliff Farmhouse is 17th century as are some timber-framed cottages and a timber-framed yeoman’s house at Allington. In 1642 the rectory was built by Dr. Robert Byng on the site of an earlier one. At some point in the 17th century the mill, on the site of the one recorded in 1086 near Etchilhampton Water, feel into disuse. Despite the number of farmhouses in the street there was only one large farm, eventually known as Manor Farm, in All Cannings until the 18th century. Open fields seem to have been enclosed throughout the 17th and 18th centuries; most being already enclosed by the time of the enclosure of common land in 1799.

    An open area of land near the church had been gradually encroached upon but continued to be used for village events. The maypole remained here until the early 19th century; the last one being erected in 1819 and was blown down in a gale in 1829. In 1839 this open area did become the village green. The pound for detaining straying animals was here, as were the village stocks for the punishment of local malefactors; both were removed after 1850.

    Allington remained an average sized village for the Vale of Pewsey, but after its population reached a peak of 188 in 1841 it fell into a decline and by 1921 only 55 people lived here. As the population fell many houses were demolished in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; those that remain tend to be the more recent from the 18th and 19th centuries. The 19th century was a time of change in both villages. The parish was affected by the agricultural Swing riots of 1830 and a threshing machine was destroyed by a number of labourers at Allington on November 21st. The school was built alongside the village green in 1833 and the King’s Arms was rebuilt in 1880 and commemorated by a date stone.

    Numbers of village shops and trades remained fairly steady during the latter half of the 19th century, except at Allington, and decline did not set in until after the First World War. All Cannings in 1867 could boast three shop keepers, one of whom was also a beer retailer, and a grocer and beer retailer. The miller, James Maslen was also a farmer, a butcher and received all mail for the Post Office. There were a carpenter, a saddler and harness maker, and two shoemakers, while the landlord of the King’s Arms was also the blacksmith. Apart from the Miller there were seven other farmers, one of whom was a maltster. At Allington there was a grocer, who was also a carpenter, a tailor and a bricklayer. A higgler (a general dealer who bought and sold produce and items in the area) lived here, while of two farmers one was also a cattle dealer.

    By 1903 there were now four shops in All Cannings besides the grocer, who now also ran the post office. One of the shopkeepers was also a builder and there were also a carpenter, thatcher, blacksmith and shoemaker. A carrier took goods and people to and from Devizes and while there were now only six farmers there was a horse trainer at Bridge House and the farmers were supported by a cow keeper. At Allington, apart from 3 farmers, the only craftsman was a carpenter,

    Until the early 20th century most of the land of All Cannings was owned by the All Cannings estate but in 1909 this was split up and auctioned in lots. During the First World War there were few younger men left in the village and those commemorated on the war memorial, erected in the church yard in 1920, did not return to their families and jobs. At the end of the war, in 1918, Mary Watney left the former grocery store and telegraph office for a parish reading room, which was the village social centre for many decades. It was converted into the village hall in 1971. Tan Hill Fair attracted fewer and fewer animals in the early 20th century, although it was still a very important date in the local calendar, and the final one was held in 1932.

    All Cannings was still surprisingly self sufficient at the end of the Second World War and villagers had the service of a baker, butcher, general stores, cobbler, carpenter, blacksmith and builder. By 1970 the only shops were a general store and sub post office, and an antiques shop, although the villages were visited by a baker, coalman, butcher, milkman, a hardware and paraffin supplier, a laundry van, domestic gas supplier and a mobile library. In the 1970s a mains sewerage system was provided for the 139 dwellings, about half of which were owner occupied.- 25% of the employed men were still working agriculture.

    Various individual houses were built from around 1950 to the 1980s but from 1988 onwards several small developments were constructed; The Glebe in 1988, Mathew’s Close in 1989 and Chandler’s Close in 1990, while Grangefields and Walnut Cottage were also built. By 1994 there were 210 houses in All Cannings


All Saints Church at All Cannings

Concise History: Wiltshire: A History of its Landscape and People
This community has been included in John Chandler's on-going series and the full text is available here.
County Council Wiltshire County Council
Web Site www.wiltshire.gov.uk
Email localstudies@wiltshire.gov.uk
District Council Kennet
District Web Site www.kennet.gov.uk
District Email kennet@kennet.gov.uk
Parish Council All Cannings Parish Council
Parish Web Site  
Parish Email  

Churches: Information on both current and disused churches and chapels.

Schools: Information on both current and closed schools.

Population 1801 - 2001

Photographs: If images have been added for this community they are available here.: We hold a collection of over 50,000 photographs of places in Wiltshire in the County Local Studies Library. These may be viewed at this library and copies of out of copyright material may be purchased. We can search for a picture of a building or event if you e-mail us with details.

Historical Sources: A select list of books and articles is listed in 'Printed material'. You may go directly to the actual text from some of these.

Printed Material: This is a select book-list for the community but in the case of a town there may be hundreds more books, pamphlets and journal articles.

The full text of some items is available to view on this site.

The Victoria History of Wiltshire is a partnership between local authorities and the Institute of Historical Research at London University. The History of Wiltshire is now the largest county history in the country and is still growing. The volumes are divided between general and topographical with Volumes One to Five covering subjects such as prehistory, ecclesiastical, economic and political history. The Volumes from Six onwards are topographical and will ultimately provide a comprehensive and systematic history of every single town and parish in the county.

Newspapers from 1738: These newspapers covered this community at different times. Newspaper titles in bold text are either the ones you should check first for information about this community. 

Maps: listed below are maps on which you can find this community. All maps are Ordnance Survey maps. 

Archaeological Sites: A Sites and Monuments record is maintained by the Archaeological Section of Wiltshire County Council Libraries and Heritage covering 13,000 sites. 

The Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society was formed in 1853 and have been publishing an annual journal since 1854. The journal contains both substantial articles and shorter notes on archaeological excavations, finds, museum objects, local history, genealogy and natural history.

History of Buildings: The collections of the Wiltshire Buildings Record are housed in the County Local Studies Library.

Listed Buildings: The number of buildings, or groups of buildings, listed as being of architectural or historical importance is 26. There is 1 Grade I building, the Church of All Saints, and no Grade II* buildings.

English Heritage and National Monuments Record

Local Authors: There could be an author who was born or has lived in this community.

Manors and other Estates.
T.R.E. All Cannings belonged to the abbey of St. Mary, Winchester (Nunnaminster). (fn. 38) The manor of ALL CANNINGS remained among the abbey's possessions until 1536 when, at the time of the abbey's refoundation, it was granted to Sir Edward Seymour, created earl of Hertford and duke of Somerset. (fn. 39)
Somerset was succeeded in 1552 by Edward Seymour, created earl of Hertford 1559, his son by his second marriage, and then a minor, but his lands were forfeited under an Act of attainder passed in that year. (fn. 40) All Cannings remained with the Crown until at least 1557. (fn. 41) It was apparently granted as dower to Anne (d. 1587), Somerset's widow and the wife of Francis Newdigate, but in 1582 the manor, or the reversion in it, was restored to the earl of Hertford. (fn. 42) Seymour was succeeded in 1621 by his grandson William Seymour, marquess of Hertford, after whose death in 1660 All Cannings was conveyed to satisfy uses expressed in his will of 1657. In 1667 the manor was conveyed to Seymour's widow Frances for 21 years, but, since she died in 1673 without giving instructions for its disposal, it passed to a succession of trustees before being sold to Edward Nicholas of Hitcham (Bucks.) in 1687 to raise money for the legacy of Seymour's granddaughter Elizabeth, countess of Ailesbury. (fn. 43)
Edward Nicholas was succeeded by his son John who died without issue in 1738. (fn. 44) The manor then passed to John's sisters Bridget (d. 1741), wife of John Nicholas (d. 1742), and Elizabeth (d. 1766). Both moieties passed to Bridget's daughter, Penelope Riggs, and in 1768 were settled on Penelope's nephew, Nicholas Heath, who assumed the name Nicholas. After Nicholas Nicholas's death in 1808 the manor passed, again in moieties, to his daughters Mary, subsequently wife of Henri de Polier Vernand, and Georgiana, wife of Philip Gell. Both moieties were sold in 1818 to Alexander Baring (d. 1848), created Baron Ashburton 1835. (fn. 45)
The manor passed with the Ashburton title until 1896 when it was sold to Ernest Terah Hooley, (fn. 46) a fraudulent financier declared bankrupt in 1898. (fn. 47) In that year it was sold to Sir Christopher Furness. He conveyed it to the Cavendish Land Company which sold it in lots from 1909. (fn. 48) The largest farms, Manor farm and All Cannings Cross farm, belonged to Mr. J. Curnick and Mr. H. W. Daw respectively in 1971. (fn. 49)
Alfred of Marlborough held Allington in 1086 and the manor of ALLINGTON passed through the Ewias and Tregoze families in the same way as the manor of Lydiard Tregoze until the death of John Tregoze in 1300. (fn. 50) John was granted free warren in his demesne lands at Allington in 1285. (fn. 51) When his lands were partitioned in 1300 the manor was allotted to John la Warre, Lord la Warre (d. 1347), and descended with the la Warre title until the early 16th century when it was apparently settled on the marriage of Anne, daughter of Thomas West, Lord la Warre (d. 1525), and Sir Anthony St. Amand, the illegitimate son of Sir Richard Beauchamp, Lord St. Amand. (fn. 52) Anthony and Anne apparently had a daughter Mary, wife of Richard Lewknor, on whom it was settled in 1551. (fn. 53)
Mary and Richard Lewknor sold the manor in 1568 to James Paget who sold it to William Wright in 1584. (fn. 54) Wright sold it in 1586 to the trustees of Jane Lambert, the mistress of William Paulet (d. 1598), marquess of Winchester, and subsequently the wife of Sir Gerard Fleetwood. (fn. 55) In 1601 Sir Gerard and Jane settled it on John Paulet, the second of Jane's four sons by the marquess of Winchester. (fn. 56) Sir John Paulet died after 1629, apparently without issue, and Allington passed to his nephew William Paulet who in 1631 settled it on his wife, Anne Cole. Joan Cole, Anne's mother, entered the manor after William's death, but gave it up after a suit in Chancery by Essex Paulet (d. 1653) to whom William his brother had devised the manor in 1646. The manor passed to another Essex Paulet (d. 1682) who in 1676 sold it to Stephen Fox (d. 1716). (fn. 57) Fox was succeeded by his son Stephen (d. 1776), created earl of Ilchester, and the manor passed with the Ilchester title until 1907 when it was sold in lots. (fn. 58) The largest farm belonged to Mr. G. K. Forster in 1971.
Peter of Membury held ½ hide in All Cannings in 1258. It was held of him by Margery, widow of Bartholomew of Upavon, to whom he surrendered all his rights in the land. (fn. 59) The subsequent descent of Margery's land is not clear, but her estate may have been that held by John Giles in 1431. (fn. 60) John probably had sons William and Robert. William's heirs were apparently two daughters, Joan, wife of William Dowling, and Isabel. In 1488 the land, then reputed a manor, and later called the manor of GILES, seems to have been settled on Joan and William. (fn. 61) William held it until at least 1528, when it was said to include 5½ virgates, (fn. 62) but by c. 1540 it had passed to John Burdon. (fn. 63) It subsequently passed, probably by purchase, to a member of the Ernle family. In 1562 it was settled on William Ernle and his wife Joan, formerly Joan Unwin. (fn. 64)
Ernle may still have held the manor in 1576 but its subsequent descent is again obscure until the 1680s when it was bought from John Long on behalf of Joseph Haskins Stiles. (fn. 65) Stiles held it until after 1710 but apparently sold it before 1753. (fn. 66) It belonged by 1780 to a Mr. Read, perhaps Richard Read of Devizes, but was sold c. 1788 to Henry Hitchcock whose son Simon Pile Hitchcock held it from 1825. (fn. 67) It passed after 1839 to Henry Hitchcock (d. 1878) and to William Charles Hitchcock (d. 1897). (fn. 68) Much of it was subsequently sold to Mr. M. J. Read who owned it in 1971. (fn. 69)
The Grange, a large house in the north-east of the village with a mid-19th-century east front, passed for a time with the estate. (fn. 70)
A hide in All Cannings and Allington was held by Peter of Podington in 1217. (fn. 71) Peter held it of the honor of Ewias in 1242 and it was held of him by William Druce. (fn. 72) By 1301 it had passed to Stephen Druce who was probably succeeded by his son Robert. (fn. 73) Stephen Druce, possibly Robert's son, held it in 1370, but it belonged to John German in 1428. (fn. 74) It passed to John Clevedon (d. between 1428 and 1443) and apparently descended like the manor of Woodborough to John Bartlett who died in 1585 holding the estate, called Hillersdons after a late-15th- or early-16th-century owner, of the manor of Ewias Harold. (fn. 75)
John Bartlett was succeeded by his son William but his land in All Cannings was probably sold. It seems to have belonged to Richard Lavington c. 1638. (fn. 76) It was held by Thomas Lavington in 1710 and by Nicholas Lavington in 1780. Nicholas was succeeded c. 1786 by Ann Lavington, presumably his daughter, who died unmarried c. 1830. (fn. 77) Mary Millard held the land (154 a.) in 1839, (fn. 78) but it subsequently passed, presumably by purchase, to members of the Hitchcock family, owners of the reputed manor of Giles. (fn. 79)
An unnamed knight held two hides in Allington in 1086. (fn. 80) It was possibly the estate including land in Allington and All Cannings, reckoned at more than a carucate and six bovates in 1316, later called Provenders and probably held in the late 13th century by John Provender in the right of his wife Gillian. (fn. 81) After John's death before 1316 Gillian apparently married John Clarice, but part of the land was settled on John Provender, presumably Gillian's son, and his wife Agnes. (fn. 82) After the deaths of Gillian and John Clarice the whole estate probably passed to John Provender and was held by Agnes in 1327. (fn. 83) It was held in 1333 by Joan Provender, presumably the daughter of John and Agnes. (fn. 84) Joan possibly married John of Rushall and died without issue before 1345. In 1345 reversion in the land after John of Rushall's death was settled by Geoffrey Provender, possibly the son of William Provender, and Joan's cousin, on the marriage of Hugh Provender, perhaps his son, and Margaret Pleistow. (fn. 85)
Hugh Provender held the land until the 1390s. (fn. 86) He was succeeded by his third son Nicholas who was succeeded by his son Robert and grandson Richard. (fn. 87) The land apparently passed to a William Provender who was succeeded by his son Richard (d. c. 1500). (fn. 88) It was held by Geoffrey Smethwick, who married Richard's widow, until his death after 1531 when it reverted to Richard's son John. (fn. 89) John died c. 1540 leaving his son Geoffrey a minor. (fn. 90) Geoffrey entered the land c. 1545, held it until his death in 1593, and was succeeded by his son George (d. 1617). (fn. 91) George's heir was his son George who died without male issue in 1644 when the estate was divided. (fn. 92)
All the land in Allington apparently passed to George's grandson Richard Franklin, the son of Elizabeth Provender (d. before 1644) and John Franklin. (fn. 93) Richard sold part of it in 1651 to Stephen Mills who, by his will proved 1663, devised it to Paul Weston. In 1697 Weston sold it to Robert Stevens. The rest of the land in Allington was settled by Richard Franklin on Sarah Franklin in 1661. It passed, presumably after Sarah's death, to John Franklin, probably her son, who, with another John Franklin, perhaps his own son, sold it to Robert Stevens in 1697. Stevens, who added Workmans living, bought by John Stevens from Essex Paulet in 1675, to the Allington part of Provenders, devised the land to his nephew William, the son of Paul Weston, by his will proved 1713. By his own will proved 1756 William Weston devised it to his stepdaughter Margery, wife of John Drewett, who devised it to her son Edward in 1771. Drewett sold it to John Giddings in 1775. James Giddings held it from c. 1821 to at least 1839. (fn. 94) In 1878 it was sold by the trustees of W. E. Tugwell and Aaron Giddings and in 1907 belonged to G. S. A. Waylen. (fn. 95)
The descent of the All Cannings part of Provenders after 1644 is not clear. Most of it was apparently held by Edward Hope c. 1710. (fn. 96) Part of it was bought by Gifford Warriner from Benjamin Hope in 1753 and added to his other land in All Cannings, (fn. 97) but the rest passed to Richard Hope (d. c. 1729) and was held in 1780 by John son of John Hope. (fn. 98) John was succeeded by his brother Edward who sold part of the land to John Clift c. 1816. It was held by William Clift from c. 1823 to at least 1831. The other part was sold by Hope to the trustees of William Hayward. (fn. 99)
Land in All Cannings belonged to Henry Anst in 1710. (fn. 100) It was bought by Sir John Ernle and settled on his daughter Elizabeth and Gifford Warriner on their marriage in 1739. (fn. 101) Warriner was succeeded in 1787 by his son Gifford (d. 1820) who held the land in 1799 when it was called South farm. (fn. 102) It was sold to Alexander Baring in 1834 under the Act for the settlement of Gifford Warriner's lands (fn. 103) and passed with All Cannings manor.
The estate called Fullaway farm, held freely of the manor of All Cannings, belonged to John Burrey from at least 1518 to 1540. (fn. 104) It apparently passed to William Burrey, whose daughter and heir Elizabeth, wife of William Hedges, sold it to Thomas Noyes in 1563. (fn. 105) Thomas was probably succeeded by his son William but a Thomas Noyes (d. 1675) apparently held it c. 1638. (fn. 106) Another William Noyes possibly held it in 1695. (fn. 107) Some of the land was sold by Anne Noyes in 1739, and the rest acquired by Benjamin Wyche in 1747. (fn. 108) It passed to Samuel Wyche who leased it out in 1771, but by 1780 apparently belonged to a Mr. Sutton, probably James Sutton of Devizes who held Stert at that time. (fn. 109) It was acquired c. 1788 by Jacob Giddings and passed c. 1796 to Richard Giddings who held it in 1839. (fn. 110) It was sold in 1876. (fn. 111)
By the late 13th century a portion of the revenues of All Cannings church was taken by Nunnaminster to endow a prebend (fn. 112) and until the Dissolution belonged to successive prebendaries, usually presented by the abbess. (fn. 113) The prebendal estate, worth £13 6s. 8d. in 1260 and 1291, was said to include 12 a. of land in 1260 and pasture worth £1 and other land worth 9s. in 1341 but consisted largely of great and small tithes. (fn. 114) The prebendary paid a pension of £4 to the abbess of Winchester in 1341, £1 in 1535, and £1 a year thereafter to the lord of All Cannings. (fn. 115)
In 1536 the advowson of the prebend was granted to Edward Seymour (d. 1552) who presented prebendaries in 1540 and 1545. (fn. 116) As part of an exchange of lands with Edward VI in 1547 Seymour conveyed 'the late prebend' to the king who granted it to the dean and canons of Windsor in the same year. (fn. 117) The dean and canons followed the practice of not presenting prebendaries and of taking the prebendal revenues themselves. The prebendal tithes arose from land in All Cannings and Allington. They were said c. 1560 to be customarily leased with, and to have been accounted better than, the rectorial tithes. Both sets were leased to Sir John Thynne who c. 1553 assigned his leases to Sir Edward Baynton, but both Thynne and Baynton sub-let the tithes. (fn. 118) Baynton's lease of the prebendal tithes expired c. 1560 and, although earlier agreements had apparently been reached by the farmer of All Cannings, the rector, and the prebendary over the taking of the tithes, (fn. 119) disputes began before 1562 over which lands were tithable to the prebend, and which to the rectory. At that time the prebendal barn was said to be no longer standing. In 1562 the prebendal estate was said to include some 8 a. of land. (fn. 120)
In 1593 Edward Seymour, earl of Hertford (d. 1621), tried to deprive the dean and canons of the profits of the prebend by claiming the advowson on the grounds that it had not been granted by his father in 1547 but had descended to him. At Hertford's instigation the Crown collated by lapse and presented the rector of All Cannings to the prebend. That presentation, and Hertford's claim to the advowson set out in 1597, was contested by the dean and canons and in 1600 a commission to decide the issue was set up by the Chief Justices of King's Bench and Common Pleas. (fn. 121) The commission's findings, in which the prebendal estate was allowed to the dean and canons of Windsor and no provision was made for the presentation of prebendaries, were ratified by decree in 1602. The commissioners also defined the prebendal and rectorial estates. They allotted all the tithes of Allington tithing and only 2½ a. of land in All Cannings to the prebend, and all the other tithes of the parish to the rectory. (fn. 122) The dean and canons were required to keep a bull and a boar on behalf of the inhabitants of Allington, for which in 1799 they were allotted 1 a. of down for feeding the bull. (fn. 123) The prebendal tithes were leased for £13, 26s., and a fat sheep in 1640 but were probably sub-let and were valued at £80 in 1649. (fn. 124) Their gross value was put at £134 in 1775 and at £292 in 1811. (fn. 125) The dean and canons were allotted a rent-charge of £264 in 1839 when the great tithes and customary payments in place of the small tithes were all commuted. (fn. 126)
Economic History.
The evidence of continuous occupation over a long period at All Cannings Cross and of many upland linchets shows that much of All Cannings tithing was cultivated in prehistoric times. (fn. 127) T.R.E. All Cannings was assessed at 18 hides and 1½ virgate. In 1086 the demesne amounted to 4 hides on which there were 8 serfs and 5 ploughs, but most of the land was apparently in the hands of tenants. The 27 villeins, 17 bordars, and 6 cottars in the tithing shared 10 ploughs. There were 108 a. of meadow, pasture a league long by 4 furlongs broad, and woodland 4 furlongs long by 2 furlongs broad. By 1086 the value of the estate had increased from £20 to £30. (fn. 128)
For a long period before the 16th century arable cultivation in All Cannings was probably in two commonable fields, North field and South field. (fn. 129) In 1540 the farmer and tenants of All Cannings manor held a total of 633 a. in North field and 419 a. in South field. Other land in the two fields was almost certainly held by the tenants of other estates in the tithing. Such tenants held a little over 200 a. of arable land at inclosure in 1799, (fn. 130) so that in the early 16th century North field perhaps amounted to some 750 a. and South field to some 500 a. By the early 16th century at least some of the meadow land was cultivated in severalty. The farmer of the demesne of All Cannings manor held 20 a. of inclosed meadows and the customary tenants of the manor and the tenants of other lands in the tithing held both several and common meadows. In the early 16th century and perhaps earlier there was a number of upland pastures, West down and East down comprising the upland in the north of the tithing, including the scarp face and the dip slope north of Wansdyke, and the Hill and Little down, perhaps Clifford's Hill and Rybury Camp. The demesne flock, 874 wethers in 1450 and not leased until 1480, probably fed on all the downs. Tenantry flocks of 690 and 570 sheep and herds of 47 and 45 other animals, could be fed on the West and East downs respectively, and the flocks were probably joined by some of the freeholders' sheep. A flock could also be kept by the holder of Giles's farm on Little down, said to be 40 a. in 1488, (fn. 131) and a copyholder could keep 131 sheep on the Hill. The customers could feed 868 sheep on the common fields and other farmers presumably kept sheep there as well. In 1540 there was a common lowland pasture south-west of the village called Fairfield, later Farrell. It measured 45 a. in 1799, (fn. 132) but was possibly more extensive in the 16th century. Most of the tenants, especially those with smaller holdings, had pasture rights on it. In 1540 it could be depastured by 16 sheep and 121 other animals in summer, and by 108 sheep and 46 other animals in winter. There were also small areas of several lowland pasture.
In 1540 three types of customary holding from All Cannings manor were recognized. There were some 30 yardlands, then disparate but on average consisting of some 25 a. of land in both arable fields, some 2 a. of meadow land, and pasture rights. There were eight 'cotsetlands', usually merged with other holdings, each including about half the arable of a yardland, some meadow land, common in the arable fields and in Farrell, but no common on the upland. There were also six 'acremanlands' comprising on average some 10 a. of arable, land in a common meadow, probably Acremans mead, and common in the common fields and Farrell. Some 35 customary holdings were shared in 1540 among 27 tenants. Their rents totalled £38 12s. 6d. The demesne farm, which remained comparatively small, was leased with its stock, but not with its sheep, probably in the earlier 15th century for rents in kind. William Philip was lessee in 1449 but by 1498 the demesne of All Cannings, like that of Urchfont, was held by William Harvest. (fn. 133) The demesne flock was leased for £8 in 1480 and, when the farm was leased to John Burdon in 1523, it was for a cash rent of £26 6s. 8d. In 1540 the farm included 212 a. of arable, 20 a. of meadow land, 31 a. of inclosed pasture, and presumably feeding rights on the upland pastures.
In 1535 the last abbess of Nunnaminster leased the demesne to her relative Edward Shelley for 40 years from 1554, but, lawfully or otherwise, John Burdon continued to occupy it after that date and it passed to his son-in-law Geoffrey Provender who surrendered it in 1573. (fn. 134) It was then leased to Robert Nicholas (d. 1592) and passed to Edward Nicholas, presumably his grandson (d. 1623), who was succeeded by his son Robert. (fn. 135) The farm was still held by Robert in 1639 when a lease was granted to his kinsman Sir Edward Nicholas (d. 1669), then a clerk to the Privy Council and later Secretary of State to Charles I and Charles II. (fn. 136) Robert Nicholas apparently gave up his interests in the farm to a Mr. Goddard, (fn. 137) from whom it was sequestered in 1648, (fn. 138) but members of the Nicholas family perhaps retained their interests in it until the manor was bought by Sir Edward's son Edward. (fn. 139)
In the 16th and 17th centuries there was apparently some fragmentation of the arable fields of All Cannings. West field was mentioned in 1540. (fn. 140) It was possibly part of the third field, called Allington field, later Westbrook field, apparently taken from South field in the 16th century. (fn. 141) By 1608 Westbrook field had been split into Great and Little Westbrook. (fn. 142) There was a Limborough field in 1649 and an East field in 1739. (fn. 143) The meadow land, much of which was cultivated in common in 1540, was inclosed to form very small fields, possibly in the 16th century. New arrangements were also made for the use of the upland pasture. The farmer of the manor of All Cannings apparently gave up his rights, if such rights existed, to feed sheep on the East down and on Clifford's Hill and Rybury Camp, together known later as West down. The other tenants, except perhaps the holder of Provenders, (fn. 144) gave up rights to the West down, subsequently called Farm down. (fn. 145)
In the 17th and 18th centuries All Cannings demesne remained the only large farm in the tithing. It was leased to Henry Miles in 1739 and later to John Manning. (fn. 146) Giles's farm, more than 400 a. at inclosure, Hillersdons farm, more than 150a. at inclosure, but both then including much down land, and South farm, some 100 a. of mainly meadow land at inclosure, were the largest of the other farms. (fn. 147) In the early 18th century the 43 copyhold farms, worth some £26 a year in rents, were shared among 29 tenants, all of whom clearly had relatively small farms. There were also several small farms in the tithing held freely. (fn. 148)
Much land in the tithing was already inclosed by the later 18th century. Most of the demesne farm was several. West of the road from Patney to All Cannings in the southernmost part of the tithing were some 96 a. of demesne water-meadows. North of them, in an arc around Farrell and the southern part of the village, were 100 a. of arable and pasture lands, and east of the pastures were two arable inclosures, together 51 a. Great Westbrook field, 77 a., was several to the farmer who also had Farm down, some 550 a. Some of the tenantry and freely held lands were also inclosed. Part of Little Westbrook field, part of an arable field in the southeast of the tithing, and All Cannings meadows, still cultivated in very small pieces, were all inclosed. (fn. 149) The rest of the arable and pasture land of the tithing was commonable. The pasture consisted of Farrell and two upland pastures, East down, some 500 a., and West down, some 210 a. south of Wansdyke. The arable was broken up into a number of fields. Land probably in the former South field and commonable in the 18th century included that part of Little Westbrook field not inclosed, Lains field, bounded on the north by the Devizes-Pewsey road, on the south by Mill Way, and on the west by Marlborough Way, and south of Mill Way a field bounded in the west by the road from Patney to All Cannings. Commonable land probably in the former North field included Woodway field, below the Devizes-Pewsey road between Moor brook and the path to Tan Hill, an eastern and a western field above the road, and the land in the two coombs north-east and south-west of Rybury Camp. All the commonable arable fields included compact areas of demesne arable ranging in size from 7 a. to 43 a. Before inclosure there were 1,243 a. of arable, 1,264 a. of upland pasture, and 728 a. of lowland pasture and meadow in the tithing. (fn. 150)
The commons of All Cannings were inclosed in 1799 under an Act of 1797. All the commonable arable land was inclosed and allotted. All Cannings farm, the demesne farm, acquired the arable in both coombs, Farrell, and part of the west tenantry down including Rybury Camp. Another part of the same down, some 35 a., and part of the East down, 55 a., was allotted as part of Hillersdons, and part of the East down, 235 a., was allotted as part of Giles's. Specific rights were allotted to the rest of both downs, 55 a. of West down including Clifford's Hill and 216 a. of East down adjoining Farm down in the west, but both were fed in common by the sheep of farmers holding the allotments, 123 sheep on the small West down and 659 sheep on the East down. (fn. 151)
After inclosure All Cannings farm amounted to 1,121 a., tenants of the manor held 1,313 a., and other landowners held some 900 a. (fn. 152) Allotments were made to more than 40 owners and tenants in 1799 but by 1839 the number of farms in the tithing had declined. Charles Hitchcock then held All Cannings farm, 1,524 a., Simon Pile Hitchcock farmed 1,000 a. including Giles's, Hillersdons, and South farms and much former copyhold land of the manor, and John Clift farmed 234 a. There were, however, still a few small farms. By 1839 there had also been conversion of upland pasture to arable and lowland arable to pasture. There were then 1,530 a. of arable, 916 a. of upland pasture, and 925 a. of lowland pasture and meadow. (fn. 153)
By the end of the 19th century there were seven farms in the tithing. Sidney Crees held Manor farm, 529 a. in the south of the tithing, and Bridge House farm, 1,408 a. including Bridge House with Wycombe's yard opposite it and All Cannings Cross farm, which together made up All Cannings farm. Cliff farm, 273 a., was leased to D. and J. Wiltshire; South farm, 233 a., was held by Henry Nutland; and there were other farms of 49 a., 15 a., and 68 a. besides Hitchcock's farm, some 600 a., later forming part of Church farm in Stanton St. Bernard. (fn. 154) The reduction in the number of farms in the 19th century made possible the elimination of common rights on the former tenantry downs which were both parts of Bridge House farm by 1898. At the same time the lands were rearranged to make compact farms in the various parts of the tithing resulting in the subsequent enlargement of some of the arable fields and some of the meadows. (fn. 155) The process of converting upland pasture to arable and some lowland arable to pasture was continued as cattle replaced sheep in the tithing.
Agriculture has continued on a similar pattern at All Cannings in the 20th century. Tillage has continued on as much as possible of the upland and on the Lower Chalk between the downs and the village, and pasture for cattle and some arable cultivation has continued on the Lower Chalk and Upper Greensand south of the village. Battery hens were also kept on Manor farm in 1971.
Allington was assessed at 11½ hides and 5 a. T.R.E. when it was worth £12. There was said to be land for 7 ploughs in 1086. The 7½ demesne hides had 4 ploughs and 7 serfs, the 6 villeins and 7 bordars shared 1 plough, and the knight with an estate in Allington also had 1 plough. There were 20 a. of meadow, and pasture 6 furlongs long and 3 furlongs broad. The whole estate was worth £15. (fn. 156)
All the cultivable land of the tithing was apparently under cultivation by 1300. The manorial demesne, comparatively large in 1086, was still so in 1300. It was said to comprise 340 a. of arable and 10 a. of meadow land with pasture rights for 400 sheep, probably on the upland, and for 24 sheep, probably on the lowland. A virgate of land, later reckoned at 18 a. of arable and 3 a. of meadow with pasture rights but probably including no more than about 12 a. of arable in 1300, was held by each of eleven customers for cash rent and daily work, and another eight customers each held 8 a. for produce rent and daily work. There were said to be a few free tenants paying rents totalling 16s. a year, and four cottagers. The total value of the manor was reckoned at more than £25 a year. The demesne was worth more than £18 and £5 was the value of labour services. (fn. 157) In addition to Allington manor Provenders comprised six bovates, later assessed at 58 a. of arable and 10 a. of meadow with pasture rights. (fn. 158)
The structure of Allington manor had apparently changed considerably by 1427. Its value, said to be £16 a year, was much less, and it was made up from the various sources in different proportions. The demesne was assessed at only £7, free tenants paid £1 a year in rents, but other tenants paid rents worth £8. The demesne was said to comprise only 200 a. of arable, indicating that some of it had perhaps been added in parcels to customary holdings, (fn. 159) and that the importance of the manorial demesne in the economy of Allington declined appreciably in the 14th century.
Allington demesne was possibly leased as a single farm until the later 16th century, (fn. 160) but by the early 17th century it was broken up and leased in yardlands, often to existing tenants. (fn. 161) In the 18th century the manor comprised some 30 yardlands, each reckoned at 18 a. of arable and 3 a. of meadow, about 15 held by copies for 15s. a year, and about 15, the former demesne lands, held by leases at 18s. a year, all shared among some 25 tenants. (fn. 162) There was also a farm held freely of the manor and Provenders farm. The manor was worth £26 a year in rents but the lord's income from it came primarily from fines. (fn. 163) By the time of inclosure in 1799 much copyhold land had been converted to leasehold and a few comparatively large farms had emerged. Thomas Parry held 138 a. after inclosure, Joseph Parry held 176 a., and Daniel Parry held 154 a. Provenders, 195 a. at inclosure, was the other substantial farm in the tithing. (fn. 164)
Before inclosure there were two almost equal common arable fields at Allington, East field to the east and north of the village, and West field, which included the Knoll, to the west and south of the village. (fn. 165) In 1725 it was agreed to inclose an area of the common fields called Hasletts field, probably the southernmost part of West field. (fn. 166) At inclosure in 1799 East field comprised 230 a. and West field 215 a. Hasletts had apparently been inclosed, divided into small allotments, and converted to meadow land. It seems to have been added to Allington meads, the copyhold parts of which were cultivated in common in the 17th century (fn. 167) but subsequently converted into very small several pieces, possibly when Hasletts was inclosed. In 1799 Allington meads consisted of 44 fields covering about 86 a. (fn. 168) Before Allington demesne was broken up the upland pasture of the tithing was apparently divided almost equally between a western demesne and an eastern tenantry down. The two downs remained separate until inclosure when they amounted to about 270 a. and 300 a. respectively and provided stints for 900 and 750 sheep. (fn. 169)
The common arable fields of Allington were inclosed and allotted in 1799 under the Act of 1797, and arable cultivation was for a time carried out in much smaller fields. Rights to specific parts of the upland pasture were allotted at the same time but most of it was not inclosed. A several down pasture of 156 a. in the extreme north of the tithing was allotted to John Giddings for Provenders, but the rest of the upland continued to be pastured in common. The allotments to the three members of the Parry family, 239 a. mainly of former demesne upland, could be used by 930 sheep, and the other allotments, 182 a. mainly of the former copyhold down, could support a flock of 532 sheep. (fn. 170)
The number of farms in Allington decreased rapidly in the early 19th century. There were at least fifteen farms in 1800 but by 1839 Joseph Parry had accumulated a farm of 850 a., called Allington farm, and Thomas Giddings occupied the only other substantial farm, 208 a. (fn. 171) In 1907 Valentine Burry held Allington farm, 814 a., there was a farm of 55 a., and Provenders remained about 200 a. The growth of Allington farm resulted in a return to arable cultivation in large fields and the elimination of common rights on the upland pasture. (fn. 172) By 1839 some 100 a. of Giddings's several upland was converted to arable, (fn. 173) and by the end of the century more downland had been converted to arable and some lowland arable to pasture. (fn. 174)
In the 20th century Allington farm remained the only large farm which in 1971 specialized in sheep as well as in dairy and arable farming.
Although deemed part of All Cannings manor much of Fullaway was held freely and the detached tithing played no significant part in the economic life of All Cannings. The free land, Fullaway farm, comprised much of the tithing in the 16th century, and perhaps earlier, and the farm apparently included some land in the parishes of Urchfont and Stert. (fn. 175) In 1540 Thomas Noyes leased the land of All Cannings manor in Fullaway, including pastures called Frithes and Undercliffs, previously part of All Cannings farm. It comprised 12 a. of meadow, 37 a. of pasture, and only 6 a. of arable. (fn. 176) When he subsequently acquired Fullaway farm (fn. 177) Noyes therefore held most of the tithing, which was almost entirely pastoral. In 1771 the farm was leased by Samuel Wyche to Charles and Jacob Giddings who divided it in 1773. (fn. 178) It was reunited after it was bought by Jacob Giddings and amounted to 65 a. in 1839. (fn. 179) At that time 80 a. of the 105 a. of the tithing were pasture and concentration on cattle farming has continued since then.
Mill. There was a mill paying 13s. at All Cannings in 1086. (fn. 180) A water-mill in All Cannings was bought by the abbess of Nunnaminster from Edith, widow of Robert Druce, probably in the later 13th century. (fn. 181) The mill thereafter remained part of the manor and was leased with the demesne farm in the 15th and 16th centuries. (fn. 182) It stood in the south of the tithing just north of the road to Etchilhampton near Etchilhampton Water where it was driven by the water of Moor brook. It probably fell into disuse in the 17th century. In the later 18th century only the pond could be located. (fn. 183)
Land in the eastern part of South field was known from at least the 15th to the later 18th century as Windmill Ball, later the Ball, suggesting that perhaps a windmill once stood on the site. (fn. 184)
Fair. In 1499 the abbess of Nunnaminster was granted the right to hold a fair on Chalborough Down, near Wansdyke, on St. Anne's and the following day (26 and 27 July). (fn. 185) Chalborough Down was called St. Anne's Hill by 1541 (fn. 186) and Tan Hill by the late 17th century. (fn. 187) Tan Hill fair was not held in 1637 because of pestilence. (fn. 188) In 1792 and later the fair was held on 6 August. (fn. 189) It was a large sheep and horse fair incorporating the usual amusements, including horse racing, and attended by people from the whole county and beyond. (fn. 190) It was held until the Second World War. The fair was held on the land of Allington but the profits from it were leased by the abbess and succeeding lords with the demesne of All Cannings manor. (fn. 191) They were sold with Bridge House and Cross farms in 1909 and were bought by the Maidments of Wilcot. (fn. 192)
Local Government.
The village of All Cannings was comparatively large in the Middle Ages. Perhaps because of that it was divided into four tithings, and four tithingmen of All Cannings attended the hundred court until at least 1439. (fn. 193) In 1710 the tithings, called the two great and the two little tithings, were recognized areas of the village. (fn. 194) If the tithings were thus territorial in the Middle Ages such a division of a single village, in which there was no multiplicity of rights of jurisdiction, was most unusual in Wiltshire. In 1443 the abbess of Winchester was granted view of frankpledge and the assize of ale in All Cannings. (fn. 195) The grant was repeated in 1468 and again in 1476. (fn. 196) Records of the abbess's view exist from 1518 to 1530. (fn. 197) It was held with the court twice a year. Both private and public jurisdiction were exercised in it. Offences punishable under leet jurisdiction and the assizes, including assault and brewers', butchers', and millers' offences, were apparently presented by the tithingmen; tenurial matters and breaches of manorial custom, including misuse of common pastures and the deaths of tenants, were presented by the homage of the manor; and a body of twelve jurors endorsed both sets of presentments and sometimes added some of their own. The four tithingmen each paid 7s. cert-money, presumably collected from their tithing. Admissions were performed and, at the Michaelmas court, manorial officers chosen. Those holding freely in All Cannings, however, could not be compelled to attend.
Court records for the manor of Allington, which exist for 1710–16, refer primarily to tenurial business. (fn. 198)
Road surveyors' accounts for 1768–1812 and churchwardens' accounts for 1768–1872 exist for the parish.
All Cannings and Allington tithings became parts of Devizes poor-law union in 1835. (fn. 199) The civil parish of Fullaway joined the union in 1861. (fn. 200)

From: 'Parishes: All Cannings', A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 10 (1975), pp. 20-33. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=102776  Date accessed: 29 January 2009.