About Volume XIX

VCH Volume: 
Wiltshire Vol XIX
Longleat House

Work is now under way on the thirteen ancient parishes which will be included in volume 19. Its focus is the town of Mere and its surrounding parishes, forming Mere Hundred, and the clutch of parishes strung out along the Deverill valley to the north and east of it. These parishes do not comprise a single hundred, but are drawn from across the three hundreds of Heytesbury, Mere and South Damerham.

  • The first six parishes: Kilmington (formerly in Somerset), West Knoyle, Maiden Bradley, Mere, Stourton and Zeals form a block surrouding Mere itself on all sides except the south.
  • Maiden Bradley and Stourton are dominated by significant stately homes, the seats of the Seymour dukes of Somerset and the Stourton and Hoare families of Stourhead respectively.
  • Six of the remaining seven parishes form a contiguous block along the Deverill valley, south-west of Warminster, and have important connections with the modern-day Longleat estate. They are Brixton Deverill, Hill Deverill, and Horningsham (Heytesbury hundred); Kingston Deverill (Mere hundred); and Longbridge Deverill and Monkton Deverill (South Damerham hundred).
  • Longleat House itself was built by Sir John Thynne in the 16th century on former priory lands on the border between Horningsham and Longbridge Deverill parishes. A detailed history of the house and park will be included in a later volume.  (Is this still true?)
  • The seventh parish is Compton Chamberlayne, which lies some 9 miles south-east of the other parishes. It is included here because it, with Longbridge Deverill and Monkton Deverill, completes coverage of South Damerham hundred; the parishes of South Damerham and Martin, which also comprised South Damerham hundred, were transferred to Hampshire in 1895, and so were covered by VCH Hampshire.