Sunday 2nd July 1989. Twenty members of Warminster History Society
visited three Wylye Valley villages - Tytherington, Corton and
Sherrington - for a Sunday afternoon stroll. Their guide was member
Danny Howell, who has written several books about the area's history.
Tytherington was the first stop, with its thatched cottages and
two farms. In 1980 Sir Francis Holmes A'Court, of the Heytesbury
Estate, sold the farms to Legal and General Insurance Ltd., who bought
them as an investment.
A hundred years ago the population of Tytherington was about 150,
much greater than today. There were many more cottages in the village,
although most would have been only crude affairs with mud walls and
thatched roofs. Some of these cottages were situated east of the
village street, between St. James' Church and Littlecroft.
Milestone Cottage, at the western end of Tytherington, is mid-17th
century and is built of rubble stone with square panelled timber
framing, and a thatched roof. The west part was rebuilt in 1747 and
features a datestone "TA 1747" below the first floor casement window.
The milepost which gives the cottage its name is made of iron and
was cast by Carson and Miller at the Wiltshire Foundry, East Street,
Warminster, in 1840. Its legend reads "Warminster Town Hall 4 miles,
Chilmark 6 miles." In days gone by a road connected Tytherington with
Chilmark, where there was an important stone quarry.
While in Tytherington members took the opportunity to view the
dovecote built in 1810 at Church Farm, and also Ashby's Cottage,
Dyallpits, the Bacon and Tea Tree, and the Church. By this time an hour
had passed and everyone decided to move further east to Corton.
The Fane Hall at Corton was formerly the Church Of England
National School. It was built in 1872 and was the gift of Sir E.D. Fane
for the children of Boyton. The deed of gift makes a reference to the
manufacturer's children, a link with the former cloth factory at Upton
Lovell on the opposite side of the river Wylye.
The County Council wanted to close the School in 1923 but
residents and scholars rallied around the headmistress Miss Shaw. The
Council lost their case but the school only stayed open for another ten
years. The building then reverted to Major Fane's estate and he offered
it to Corton for use a clubroom for a yearly rent of one shilling.
Sundial Farmhouse dates from the late 17th century but was altered
100 years later. It is built of limestone and rubble stone, has a tiled
roof, and features a pedimented porch on doric columns. The sundial
above the door records "Tempus fugit" (time flies), the date 1775 and
the initials RWS. The drawing room inside the house has a marble
fireplace and an 18th century landscape painted on the wall.
The Dove Inn at Corton was formerly known as the New Inn. A
previous inn there was also called the New Inn but it caught fire one
night in September 1889. The landlord, Mr Soloman, was roused from his
sleep by smoke and escaped via a window with a couple of apple-pickers
who were staying at the inn. The whole village was stirred and someone
ran to Warminster to get the fire brigade. The firemen could not find a
horse to tow the tender and a Warminster man, Mr Butcher, loaned them
his steed. Captain Burchall Helme of Bishopstrow House despatched his
tender as well. By the time the brigade arrived the whole of the
building was gutted. It was made entirely of wood with chalk walls and
was said to be 300 years old. It was a Lamb Brewery, Frome, house.
Other points of interest in Corton included a "hat and boots"
wall, White Horse House, the former Royal Oak Inn, the old Baptist
Chapel, the former Baptist Hall; and the Church of England Chapel now
converted into a private residence.
The members last port of call was Sherrington, which takes its
name from "Sharenton", meaning a watery farmstead. The quality of the
spring water and efficient cultivation made for successful watercress
growing in the village.
Sherrington cress owes much of its fame to the Case family, who
succeeded brothers Tom and Fred Imber as the leaseholders of the beds
from the Boyton Estate. The first cress growers at Sherrington were
Londoners who established the beds in the late 19th century. The last
cress producer at Sherrington was Jack Hurd, from Hill Deverill, but
new EEC regulations put paid to the use of Sherrington beds about 1970.
The leisurely stroll about the village included members'
observations and comments on Cress Cottage, the Old Rectory Cottage,
the Norman castle mound, and the church which is dedicated to the
Middle Eastern sauints Cosmos and Damian. The footbridge over the river
Wylye, next to the ford, allowed everyone to appreciate the beauty of
what is one of the finest chalkland trout streams in south-west England.
Sherrington Mill, north of the river, is now a desirable
residence. It occupies the site of one of two water mills owned by the
Lamberts in the 17th century. In 1885 Mr. E.D. Fane, of Boyton Manor,
bought a field near the Mill, which contained several springs, with the
idea of supplying water to Boyton. He had the water raised by a
powerful pump, worked by the water wheel at Sherrington Mill. A two
inch pipe laid by John Wallis Titt and Co., of Warminster, carried the
water to the highest point on the Boyton Estate, from where it was fed
by gravity to supply the farms and houses of Boyton.
The walkers ended their enjoyable afternoon by calling at Linda Beagley's house in Sherrington where tea and cakes were served.