Saturday 25 March 1989

Boreham Talk Repeated By Request


Wet and windy weather did not deter local residents from venturing to the meeting room at Warminster Library on the evening of Monday 20th March 1989.

The reason for the gathering was a slide show given by local historian Danny Howell, who on behalf of the Warminster Branch of the British Heart Foundation, spoke for two hours about Boreham, the ancient hamlet on the eastern side of town.

The history of Boreham he said can be traced to the 13th century. The name was recorded in 1251 as Buriton Delamere; the suffix coming from the Delamere family, who lived at Nunney Castle, near Frome. They owned several pieces of land in Wiltshire and Somerset, including the village of Fisherton Delamere in the Wylye Valley.

The mediaeval village of Boreham was situated in what is now a field, north of the Boreham Road, between Grange Lane and the road to Home Farm. When the field was ploughed in 1977, the late Robert Smith of the county council's archaeology department was able to walk it. He discovered thousands of potsherds which are now deposited at the Dewey Museum. The pots are thought to have been made at Crockerton but none date after the 14th century, which suggests the village of Boreham had expanded outwards before that time.

The house known today as Boreham Manor (200 Boreham Road) is not the original manor house which stood on the same site. When William Temple bought the manor in 1821, he did not like the house and because he had already built a new residence for himself further east (Bishopstrow House in 1817) he had the old manor house demolished. Four cottages were built on the roadside but these were replaced by the present house in Victorian times. The only reminders of the previous house are the old manorial fishponds between the road and the river Wylye.

Mr. Howell's s slides took the audience on an 'armchair' tour of Boreham, looking at many of the houses. He also spoke about Boreham Mill and some of the millers, particularly Edward James Bradfield and Neville Marriage. Mr. Marriage sold the mill to a syndicate in 1929 and it became part of the Marshman's set-up. One slide showed members of Marshman's staff on a charabanc outing to Cheddar Caves during the 1930s.

The site of the Warminster Wheel and Wagon Works is now occupied by a modern garage. They were established by Robert Exten in the 1850s. Mr. Howell read out a letter written in 1862 by Robert Exten's children. It was discovered hidden in a bottle in the wall of the Exten's home, Wheel Cottage, during demolition work in 1966. The works were later acquired by Alfred Edwin Down, who was also landlord of the Yew Tree inn and a sub-postmaster.

Other highlights included the forge at 215 Boreham Road. The Fitz family, who hailed from the Nadder Valley, were blacksmiths there from 1865 onwards.

Another smith at Boreham was Thomas Slade, who died in 1847. He was known as "the intelligent blacksmith" and could play several musical instruments. He was often appointed bandmaster at local festivals and acted as umpire during disputes among musicians. Thomas Slade made the railings which can still be seen around the grounds of Bishopstrow House.

A vote of thanks was given by Jean Pike. There was no admission charge but a collection for the British Heart Foundation raised £65.