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Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre - The Wiltshire County Archives for all historical documents and the place to obtain original copies.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
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:
SICVT - CERVVS - DESIDERAT - AD - FONTES - AQVARVM - ITA - DESCERAT - ANIMA - MEA - AD - TE - DS - AMEN
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]
Parish Register Transcripts
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
Bishops Transcripts 1622-1880 (incomplete, many missing years)
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.
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
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.
Do you hold pre 1930 postcards which you are willing to contribute?. They would be much appreciated. Thank you. Potterne coloured postcards
Buildings and Land
Property for Sale by Auction
George & Dragon
The Porch House
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.
Ye Olde Houses
Crime and Legal Matters
Prisons and Prisoners
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
Emigration and Migration
Employment and Business
Agriculture and Land
Apprentice records published here may not necessarily mean that the apprentice was from the parish but was apprenticed to a master within the parish
Wiltshire Society Apprentices
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 ......
Wesleyan Methodist Reform Chapel
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
Bankruptcy and Debt
Census Returns Transcripts
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
|Family Notices 1700-1799||Family Notices 1800-1849||Family Notices 1850-1899||Family Notices 1900-1949|
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]
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]
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.
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
Inquisitions Post Mortem of Lands Held
War, Conflict and Military Matters
|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
The War Memorial stands on the west side of St. Mary's Churchyard, overlooking the The Butts road (A360). It was dedicated in 1921.
British Red Cross/VAD Service