Friday, April 4, 2008

The parish of Mildenhall lies north and south of the Kennet immediately east of Marlborough. (fn. 1) South of the river and closely related to it by name was the Roman town Cunetio. (fn. 2) The parish included the tithings of Mildenhall, the name of which was frequently written and is still pronounced 'Minal', (fn. 3) Poulton, and Stitchcombe. A chapel at 'Selk' is supposed to have been in the north part of the parish and to have given its name to Selkley hundred but evidence of its existence is tenuous. (fn. 4) The probable absence of any church between Mildenhall and Preshute in the Anglo-Saxon period may have prompted the early extension of the parish westwards and southwards to include the lands of Poulton and Stitchcombe. Mildenhall, Poulton, and Stitchcombe were all townships in the 11th century. (fn. 5) The compact, roughly triangular, parish has its western point at Bay Bridge on the river Og. The south-west boundary follows the Og to the Kennet, the Kennet for 1 km., turning south to the London-Bath road which it follows to the Grand Avenue in Savernake forest, and the Grand Avenue for 1 km. before turning east to the south-east point of the triangle on the London-Bath road. From there the eastern boundary is marked by stretches of a lane to Stitchcombe and runs over the downs and up a dry valley to Whiteshard Bottom, the northern point, from where the north-west boundary runs above the valley of the Og and down into it to Bay Bridge.
From: 'Parishes: Mildenhall', A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 12: Ramsbury and Selkley hundreds; the borough of Marlborough (1983), pp. 125-138. URL: Date accessed: 04 April 2008.

The chief evidence of pre-Roman activity in the parish, apart from several barrows and scattered artefacts, is a cemetery, possibly a war cemetery, of the early Iron Age 250 m. south of Mildenhall church. South-east of Mildenhall village in Black Field is the site of Cunetio. The town was a trading centre at the junction of roads from Bath, Winchester, and Cirencester, and possibly from Old Salisbury and Silchester (Hants). At its foundation it was apparently unfortified but in the 4th century it was enclosed by a stone wall, 16 ft. wide at its base, with bastions. The town probably survived as a small local market into Anglo-Saxon times, although only a few finds of that period have been made. The site of a smaller Roman settlement is 500 m. northwest of Forest Hill, formerly Folly, Farm. (fn. 14) The course of the Roman road north from Cunetio is marked by a road from Mildenhall village which becomes a track north of Woodlands Farm and joins the Marlborough-Swindon road at Ogbourne St. George. The roads from Cunetio to Winchester and Old Salisbury are traceable south-eastwards and south-westwards from where they fork near the northern edge of Savernake forest. The road from Bath probably ran south of the Kennet but its course is not known. Part of it may have been the Roman road, identified in the 18th century, which ran north-west and south-east across Black Field. (fn. 15) In the 13th century an east-west road followed a more southerly course through Savernake forest, probably along a route similar to that of the modern London-Bath road. (fn. 16) That road, the main route through the parish since the early 18th century or before, was turnpiked in 1726. (fn. 17) Until the late 18th century the road through Sound Bottom, Dean Lane, may have been part of a main Hungerford-Marlborough road, and it linked Ramsbury with the old SwindonMarlborough road at the Old Eagle in Ogbourne St. Andrew. (fn. 18) In 1982 it was a track only. In 1773 and in the 20th century other principal roads were near the Kennet. North of the river is the Marlborough-Ramsbury road, south of it is that from Marlborough to Stitchcombe. (fn. 19) The two were probably linked by a bridge north of Werg Mill in the late 16th century and there was also a bridge at Stitchcombe in the early 18th century. (fn. 20) The road which leads north-eastwards from Poulton to Aldbourne was called Red Lane in the late 18th century and the 19th. Cock-a-troop Lane, 700 m. east of Forest Hill and only a path in 1982, and a steep and winding lane leading west and south from Stitchcombe linked the Marlborough-Stitchcombe and London-Bath roads. (fn. 21) From the London-Bath road rides lead north and south into Savernake forest. A section of the Swindon, Marlborough & Andover Railway was built across the parish near the Og and was opened in 1881. The line was closed to passengers in 1961 and for freight in
From: 'Parishes: Mildenhall', A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 12: Ramsbury and Selkley hundreds; the borough of Marlborough (1983), pp. 125-138. URL: Date accessed: 04 April 2008.

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