History of the Parish

The civil parish of Calne Without was only created in 1890 and covered all the outlying parts of the ancient parish of Calne. These included the tithings of Blackland, Calstone, Stock, Stockley, Studley, including much of Derry Hill and Sandy Lane, Whetham, Whitley, and the liberty of Bowood. This area made up about one third of the area of Calne Hundred and, in Saxon times, was owned by the King but by 1086 much of it had been granted to others.

Key Milestones

Early History

In the western part of the Parish, around Studley, Bowood and Whetham there was major settlement in the Roman period. The London to Bath Roman road forms the southern boundary of the parish and Verlucio, at Sandy Lane, was a trading centre or posting station. Villas have been found at Bowood, Studley and to the east of Sandy Lane (Nuthills Villa); it is likely that there were substantial farming estates based around these. Romano-British houses have also been found at Studley. Other finds include Romano-British pottery at Calstone and Whetham Farm, and coins at Derry Hill.

Saxon Period & Domesday Book

Saxon settlements grew up based on the earlier Roman settlements. At the time of the Domesday Book (1086) there were four estates not owned by the King, but for the estates he still retained (Blackland, Stock, Stockley, Studley and Whetham), no details were provided. The major settlement that was privately held was Calstone, in three estates. On these three there was sufficient land for nine plough teams and there were four mills. The only other estate for which there are details in Whitley where there was land for two plough teams.

Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages the major settlements were at Blackland, Calstone, Stock, Stockley, Studley, Whetham and Whitley and while the area in the west, later the liberty of Bowood, remained wooded, farming was based on the open field system throughout the rest of the area. Land was gradually enclosed, and much settlement was in scattered farmsteads, particularly in the Stock and Stockley areas. There was a major Cistercian Abbey at Stanley on the north west edge of the Parish, the abbey lands would have extended into the parish. The Abbey was founded in 1151 but destroyed following the dissolution of the monasteries in 1537.

18th & 19th Centuries

By the 18th century there were hamlets at Broad’s Green, Mannings Hill, Ratford, Sandy Lane and Cuff’s Corner, along with many more isolated farms and small pockets of settlement. In the 19th century settlement became nucleated at Derry Hill to the south at the early site of Studley. In 1840 the church was built at Derry Hill, close to Bowood, instead of in the ancient settlement of Studley. In 1810 the Wilts and Berks Canal was opened to the west of the parish with a link to Calne that followed the course of the river Marden. The Calne branch line from Chippenham through the western part of the parish was opened in 1863 and remained open for freight until 1963, and for passengers until 1965. It is now a cycleway connecting Calne and Chippenham.

20th & 21st CENTURIES

More recently there have been extensive housing developments at Derry Hill and in the north of Stock, on the southern edge of Calne, but the remaining area has very few new houses and remains a rural community.

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