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Friday, 10 February 2012 10:33

Potterne - The OPC is John Pope

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Potterne - St. Mary the Virgin|Potterne - Wesleyan Chapel Potterne - St. Mary the Virgin|Potterne - Wesleyan Chapel ©John Pope|

Potterne Photo Gallery

Contiguous Parishes (our neighbours)

Devizes - Etchilhampton - Great Cheverell - Keevil - Little Cheverell - Market Lavington - Poulshot - Rowde - Southbroom - Stert - Urchfont - West Lavington - Worton & Marston


Websites of Interest

British History Online - Study of the Parish history.
Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre - The Wiltshire County Archives for all historical documents and the place to obtain original copies.
Wiltshire Community History - Historical information for parishes within the Wiltshire County jurisdiction.


The Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin

St. Mary the Virgin Gallery                  St. Mary the Virgin Interior           Cemetery Gallery

The church (St. Mary) is well-placed upon rising ground dominating the village street. It is a noble cruciform building and a splendid example of early English at its simplest and best. It was probably erected contemporaneously with Salisbury Cathedral , certain similarities of detail indicating the same builder , while the founder of the cathedral, Bishop Poore, may well have been the founder of this church too. It was built upon a new site , the 'old churchyard'  indicating where its predecessor stood. The chancel, transept , and nave are 13th century work, and exceedingly well preserved and unspoiled, ornamentation being lacking, and carving too for the most part, while the moulding is by no means conspicuous, but the fine proportion and the noble dignity of line amply atone. The south porch is somewhat later. The fine, stately , square central tower is early 14th century , the middle portion being early decorated with some fine perpendicular lattice work in the beautiful windows. The battlements are later and early perpendicular, and the whole, mellowed by age and blending harmoniously, is both majestic and impressive. The font in use was probably introduced when the perpendicular additions were made, but when the church was restored in 1872, by Mr Christian, a great, plain, round tub-shaped bowl was found buried beneath it. This is now placed against the west wall, and round its rim is inscribed in very early characters:


The quotation is the well-known one from Psalm xlii. 1: ' As the hart panteth', etc., but the Latin is not from the Vulgate but from an alternative reading, found in a version of St. Jerome and used in the Saxon baptismal offices. The characters resemble those of a copy known as St. Cuthbert's Gospels, now in the British Museum, of probably the 8th century, and the font probably belonged to an old Saxon church that stood in the 'old' or lower churchyard. Note also (1) royal arms, including those of France and Hanover, of the period 1714-1801: (2) on the west wall, paintings of Moses and Aaron, dating from 1723, formerly part of a reredos;(3) original oak north door, restored to the church after a period of alienation; (4) hexagonal oak pulpit with some good 15th century carving; (5) on south wall of nave, marble monument to John Spearing (1821) by Baily, a pupil of Flaxman. In the churchyard , outside the north doorway, is a dole table.  [source: The Little Guide, Methuen 1949]

Churchyard Memorial Survey            Church News 1700-1799               Church Collection For Sunday & Daily Schools 1846          Cemetery Memorial Survey

Parish Register Transcripts


1575-1599          1602-1639          1640-1681           1682-1719           1720-1759           1720-1759          1760-1789          1790-1812




1575-1644          1654-1812


1574-1597           1603-1653          1661-1699          1700-1758           1759-1812


Between 1575 and 1599 the baptism, marriage and burial parish register pages were found to be in decay. They were rewritten by Robert Benson Esq, MA Barrister at Law, Middle Temple, London, between 1823 -1824. I have suffixed his additional actions / comments by RB    Bishop Transcript entries included where necessary.

Parish Registers held at WSHC

Baptisms 1556-1999
Banns 1754-1833
Marriages 1556-1988
Burials 1556-1992
Bishops Transcripts 1622-1880 (incomplete, many missing years)


Parish History

Potterne (old English pot-aern = pot-house or pottery) is mentioned in Domesday Book, and was a manor of the Bishops of Salisbury in 1338.

Parish clerk around 1722 was Jonathan Haselden.

John Aubrey's North Wilts 1659

Civil Registration

1837 - Present Devizes Registration District


St Mary the Virgin Church is one of the most attractive village churches in Wiltshire can be found at Potterne, just south of Devizes.

Worton and Marston

These two tythings are situated in the parish of Potterne and have their own parish page which can be accessed here

Recommended Reading

Memories of Old Potterne - by R Brinkworth. (Published & Printed by Printex, Melksham 1982)

Inheriting the Earth: The Long family's 500 year reign in Wiltshire - by Cheryl Nicol. Describes the rise and fall of one of the most powerful landowning families in England from the 15th to the 20th century. The Long family's various branches were centered in Wiltshire, and included politicians, statesmen, courtiers and traitors.  This book is published by Hobnob Press 2016. Visit Cheryl's website for more information.

Books, Newspapers & Publications

The following list shows newspaper coverage for the parish from 1737 - Present. Copies can be viewed at The Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Cocklebury Road, Chippenham. Some may be available via the British Newspaper Archives online.

Devizes & Wiltshire Gazette - 1816-Present Devizes Advertiser - 1858-1933 Devizes News - 1979-1985
Salisbury Journal - 1738-1819 Sherborne Mercury - 1737-1867 Wiltshire Independent - 1836-1876
Wiltshire Telegraph - 1877-1935    

The Bath Chronicle also carried news items that were of significance.

Potterne Postcards

Do you hold pre 1930 postcards which you are willing to contribute?. They would be much appreciated.  Thank youPotterne coloured postcards


Buildings and Land

Domesday Book Extract Manor Court Book 1647 Manor Court Book 1652
Manor Survey 1657 Yearly Value of Leaseholds at Potterne 1669 Manor Court Book 1672
Manor Court Book 1681 Robert Pope - Release of Land 1684 Buildings News 1700-1799
John Pope - Release of Land 1720 John Pope - Release of Land 1727 Axford - Release of Land 1772
Enclosure Awards 1824 Commutation of Tithes 1838 Tithe Awards 1839
John Hookins - Conveyance of Land 1854 Marriage Settlement - Manning with Powell 1909  

Housing Developments

Build Houses on Grazing Land near Mead Close 2019

Listed Buildings


British Listed Buildings in Potterne


Ordnance Surveyor's Drawings 1808-1811


Feet of Fines 1541 - 1573

Property for Sale by Auction

Property Sale by Auction 1837         Property of Coleman 1839         Property of North 1848         Farm effects of Charles Wiltshire 1886  

Public Houses

Public Houses Gallery

George & Dragon
Kings Arms

Kings Arms for Sale 1858

The Porch House

The Porch House Gallery

A 15th century, half-timbered house,is supposed by some to have been originally a church house and by others is identified with a former inn known as the 'Pack Horse'. It may have been both at one time, since the church 'Ales' played no inconspicuous part in the 'Veasts' and festivals for which the district is noted. It had the good fortune to fall into the hands of the late George Richmond R.A., in 1872, and by him it was carefully restored. It has a lofty dining hall with an oriel , and a tracery lookout from the chamber of dais is reminiscent of the stone masks at Great Chalfield through which a view of the hall was gained from the upper chambers. There are some good 15th century cottages, half timbered, with projecting upper stories, that with the porch House give a very attractive appearance to the village.          [source: The Little Guide, Methuen 1949]

The Porch House is one of the finest half-timbered buildings in the country.

The Porch House, Eastwell Road

Ye Olde Houses

Ye Olde Houses Gallery


Crime and Legal Matters

Animal Crime

Cruelty to a Pony 1847            Cruelty to Sheep 1933


Arson at Byde Mill 1775


Bastardy Examinations 1835-1877


Crime Reports 1800-1849           Summoned for Non-Payment of Poor Rates 1853          Exhibiting disgusting effigies 1857

Prisons and Prisoners

Inmates of Gloucester Gaol 1815-1879


Riotous Assembly 1780


Stealing a Hat 1836



Trade directories provide information about the parish and the people that live and trade in that parish.  They are not a complete list since they were in many cases subscribed to

Post Office 1855                   Kellys 1915



Education Gallery

The History of Potterne School 


Emigration and Migration

Strays Index                Potterne People in Australian Newspapers                Emigration Home Contact Requested 1800 - Present     


Employment and Business

Agriculture and Land

Game Licences 1834               Game Certificates 1839            Gaming Notices 1846            Game Certificates 1849                        


Apprentice records published here may not necessarily mean that the apprentice was from the parish but was apprenticed to a master within the parish

William Alexander 1729

Wiltshire Society Apprentices

George Shipman 1850


Aviator Certificates - Stephen Medlicott 1915

Community Services


Metropolitan Police Pensions Record - George Thomas Banks 1868-1893


General Medical Council Registrations 1859-1959          


Miscellaneous Documents


Non Conformity and Other Places of Worship

Potterne Strict Baptist Chapel

In 1813 the chapel and dwelling house of Jacob Gale was licensed for Baptist meetings. This seems to have been in Lower Street, Potterne but by 1863 the congregation had declined as the Chapel book below narratesIt would appear that by 1907 the capital bequeathed by Mr John Cooper and the accumulated interest was transferred to Maryport Street Baptist Chapel,Devizes Chapel Book[selected entries]Mr John Cooper by his Will [dated 7 Mar 1805, proved 25 May 1842] bequeathed £200 to the Chapel at Potterne. After paying legacy duty and other expenses there remained £170.00, This was invested in consolidated annuities in the joint names of Thomas Carter, George Randell, Richard Mullings, Trustees, on 14 Mar 1843.Henry Holloway (chosen preacher) in 1843 and for several years past.

Persons preaching at the Meeting House in 1852

04 Jan - John Gieles
11 Jan - John Gills
18 Jan - Samuel Slade
15 Feb - Samuel Slade
14 Mar - Samuel Slade
21 Mar - William Dark
9 May - Samuel Slade
30 May - Samuel Slade
06 Jun - Samuel Slade
03 Oct - John Gieles
17 Oct - William Dark
28 Nov - William Dark

From the year 1863 there has not been any religious services held in this place of worship, the congregation that usually attended the worship of God here having dwindled away. There being no preacher to receive the dividends, the Trustees invested the same in the Devizes Savings Bank in the names of Thomas Carter, George Randell and Richard Mullings.   26 Oct 1865 invested in Devizes Savings Bank £10 7s 5d      [source: WSHC, ref 1215/42]

Indenture dated 15 Apr 1843Declaration of the trust of a Legacy given by the will of Mr John Cooper deceasedThomas Carter, Gentleman, George Randell, Baker, both of Devizes in the County of Wilts Richard Mullings of Cirencester in the County of Gloucester,Gentleman, and Henry Holloway of Devizes aforesaid Minister of the Gospel severally send greetings.Whereas John Cooper late White Hart Row Kennington Lane, Lambeth Surrey by his Will bearing date the 27 March 1805 after curtain bequests gave as follows "after the death of my wife Mary Cooper I bequeath to Jacob Gale a Gospel preacher of Potterne Parish the sum of two hundred pounds that he may have the use of it as long as he liveth and after his death it shall remain for ever that the Gospel may be preached to the poor for ever by some man that they shall chuse to hear for there teacher and there guide it shall be in a Meeting House that is appointed for the Gospel to be preached in for the poor and the poor in spiritin preyer to (God) that he will bless the Gospel that is Christ to all thre souls that they may know what the love of (God) can dow then will you all know what was the cause of this being left to the poor the love of (God)"

And Whereas the said John Cooper soon afterwards departed this life and his said Will was duly proved by his Widow the said Mary Cooper the executrix in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury on the fifteenth of June 1808 And Whereas the said Mary Cooper departed this life on the twentieth day of December 1840 having by her will dated twenty first day of March 1838 appointed William Pool of Andover in the County of Southampton Coal Merchant her sole executor who proved the same in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury on the sixth day of March 1841 And whereas the said Jacob Gale died in the year 1826 and the said Henry Holloway is now the Minister at the duly licensed Meeting House or Chapel at Potterne ......


Births and Deaths 

Wesleyan Methodist Reform Chapel

Potterne Wesleyan Methodist Photo Gallery

A Methodist society existed in Potterne in 1782 and was part of the Bradford Circuit although by 1811 it had moved to the Melksham Circuit. In 1832 it became Wesleyan Methodist.By 1852 a group, seceded from the Wesleyan Methodists, set up a separate chapel.  They first met in a disused and dilapidated malthouse.   The same year a license was issued to hold meetings in a building in the possession and occupation of Samuel Marshman, a Devizes photographer.
The chapel, in Mill Road Potterne, was erected in 1859 and is now a private house.  [Source: Wiltshire Community website]


People and Parish Notables

People Photo Gallery

Bankruptcy and Debt

Debtors Notices 1700-1799

Census Returns Transcripts

1841          1851           1861           1871           1881

The Census for 1841 and 1871 links to my website North Wiltshire Online Census Project

Bishop Compton's census 1676

Aged over 16 years - 994 conformists, 6 non-conformists.

Elections and Polls

Poll of Freeholders 1772          Poll Book 1818           Voters List 1832               Voters Lists Revisions 1843                County Council Election Notice 1925                MP Nominations 2015   

Family Notices

Family Notices 1700-1799 Family Notices 1800-1849 Family Notices 1850-1899 Family Notices 1900-1949


Inquests at New Sarum 1563           Inquest Report on Martha Franklin 1844             Obituary & Funeral of Canon Kewley 1950

Parish Notables

Ruth Pierce

The inscription on the Market Cross in Devizes records the sudden death of Ruth Pierce of Potterne on Thursday 25th January 1753.  From a rare leaflet, which is shown in the photo gallery, it can be seen that as early as 1760, the narrative of the event (copied from a monumental stone in the market place and verified by the signature of Ralph Good, Mayor of the Borough) was circulated as a warning to deter all persons from calling down the vengeance of God or taking His Holy name in vain.       [Source: W. N & Q Journal June 1909]

Mary Ford

The source states that she is buried at Potterne but at this time I can find no evidence of a burial. Her Epitaph readsHere lies Mary, the wife of John Ford.
We hope her soul has gone to the Lord.
But if for Hell she has changed this life
She had better be there than be John Ford's wife
[source: from Verse and Worst - A Private Collection by Arnold Silcock]

People News

People News 1700-1799         People News 1800-1849

Personal Research Items

Tuck Family Research Burial Extracts - These items were donated by Ken Tuck and contains entries that may or may not relate to the Tuck family however they have been published as such.  Many references to Quaker entries may be found from across the county.

Wedding Reports

Medlinott to Long 1838

Your Help Required

In the people photo gallery are 5 images also shared with the Worton people gallery.  These images are of members of the Cooksey family and branches of that family.  Margaret the donor of these images would love to hear from anyone who can help identify the people in the images and confirm where the image may have been taken and its date.  To contact Margaret please contact the Teresa Lewis (Administrator) via the Contact Us Tab at the top of the page

Do you have early photographs or engravings of family members who were born Potterne?  These are not only of great interest to researchers in the UK and worldwide who cannot get to the parish in person, but they really do help the Potterne pages 'come alive'.  If you would like to share photographs of your ancestors (copyright credited and retained by contributor)  please email me via he Contact Us Tab at the top of this page under Administrators. Thank you


Poor Law, Charity and The Workhouse

Poor Commission Election 1837         Poor Law Union Bread & Flour Contracts 1838



Probate Index 1558-1881

Inquisitions Post Mortem of Lands Held

John Flower 1624         Giles Tooker 1627

Parishioners Wills

William Barley 1501 John Grubbe 1653 Margarett Grubbe 1749/50 Thomas Grubbe 1631 Walter Long 1730
Thomas Longe 1570 William Longe 1592 John Lye 1591 Mary Manning 1760 John Poape 1618
John Pope 1722 (Admin Bond) Robert Pope 1717 Margrey Poop 1647/48 John Rooke 1587 Richard Rooke 1723/24 
William Rooke 1649 William Rooke 1701 Nicholas Strangnidge 1629 William Underwood 1760 James White 1810
Thomas White 1658        

War, Conflict and Military Matters

War Memorials & Military Gallery

Why the Poppy Military News 1700-1799 Parishioners Who Served or Died in Two World Wars Potterne War Memorial
Diocese of Salisbury Memorial Book 1914-1918 Civilian Casualties 1939-1945 Servicemen & Families with the 1st Wilts. Regt. in South Africa 1911  


The Great War Devizes District Soldiers - a book by Richard Broadhead. It includes details of Lance Corporal John Martin, of Potterne.    To see the article about Richard and this book see Wiltshire Gazette & Herald newspaper of 23 June 2011

War Memorial

The War Memorial stands on the west side of St. Mary's Churchyard, overlooking the The Butts road (A360). It was dedicated in 1921.

War Memorial Erection 1920          War Memorial Dedication 1921


British Red Cross/VAD Service

V.A.D. & Red Cross Hospitals 1914-1918

Rhoda Anstey 1917-1919 Elizabeth Bond 1914-1919 Lucy Bristowe 1916-1919 Sarah Butler 1914-1916
Florence Collier 1914-1919 Arundel Theophila Copland-Griffiths 1914-1919 Mary Cummings 1914-1916 Mary Davis 1914-1919 
Jane Erwood 1914-1919 Margaret Ewart 1914-1919 Edith Fisher 1914-1919 Maria Fowler 1914-1919
Elsie Gale 1916-1919 Arundel Augusta Gwatkin 1914-1916 Arundel Augusta Gwatkin 1914-1919 Louisa Hamblin 1916-1919
Louisa Hampton 1914-1919 Irene Hayward 1916-1919 Betsy Hills 1914-1919 Kate Mary Hix 1914-1919
Annie Hughes 1914-1919 Ada Hunt-Grubbe 1914-1919 Margaret Hunt-Grubbe 19171919 Amy Jeffrey 1917-1919
Mary S. Kewley 1918      
WWI Casualties
Frank E. Bailey 1917 Herbert Bridewell 1916 Alec George M. Burbidge 1917 Thomas Chaplin 1916 Albert E. Clack 1918
Frederick A. Clack 1918 John D. Davidson 1919 Reginald P. Davis 1916 John Doe 1918 Tom Edwards 1918
Albert W. Fiddler 1914 Harry W. Godden 1915 Robert T. Gwatkin 1917 Wilfred J. Hand 1917 James Harris 1917
Arthur G. Huntley 1917 John Lampard 1919 Stephen Medlicott 1915 Stephen H. Merrett 1915 Alfred J. Moxham 1916
Walter Offer 1914 Frank A. Palmer 1918 James Tully 1918 Albert E. Underwood 1916 Henry J. Underwood 1918
Jesse Underwood 1917 William A. Wheeler 1917 Frank Yarde 1915    


WWII Casualties

WWII Casualty Biographies


Read 19222 times Last modified on Saturday, 18 January 2020 21:37

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