The ancient parish of Pertwood, possibly a corruption of Peterswood as the church is dedicated to St Peter, sits at the summit of the Pertwood Downs just three miles north of East Knoyle. Although tiny, it warranted a mention in the Domesday survey of 1086 and has always been wholly agricultural. In 1841 the population comprised just 24 people.
In 1885 the southern portion of Pertwood became a part of East Knoyle parish and the northern portion became a part of Sutton Veny parish. After 800 years, or possibly more, Pertwood ceased to exist as a parish.
St. Peter's Church
The earliest reference to a church at Pertwood is in 1333. Until the beginning of the C19th, St Peter’s church was a small stone building. In about 1812 it was restored by Richard Ricward, and by 1822 there was nothing ancient to be seen apart from a holy water stoop to the south of the altar. A record from 1863 shows one baptism and one burial at St Peter's.
In 1872, through the efforts of Rector Reece, the church was rebuilt in flint, dressed with stone, with a single bell at the western end, a nave, chancel, and north aisle. The rebuilding enabled the pews, previously numbering 25, to be increased by 30. "Although the actual population of the parish was stated to be only 30, yet within a circle of about a mile from Pertwood there is a population exceeding 100 of labourers, and their families, living at lone field farms and in isolated cottages, all far too distant from their parish churches ever to attend them, and who naturally resort to the church nearest to them, viz., Pertwood." Salisbury & Winchester Journal 6 July 1872
There are two memorials in the church to the Mervyn family and a wall tablet to Richard Ricward, both having been lords of the manor in their day.
St Peter’s was annexed to Chicklade as a chapel-of-ease in 1899 and served by the Rector of Chicklade until 1921. When Chicklade with Pertwood were united to the church of Hindon, all three churches were served by the vicar of Hindon. In 1908 the bowl of a 14th-century font was found buried close to St Peter’s and returned to the church. In 1972 St. Peter's was declared redundant and was sold.
The farmhouse stands about 100yds from the church, probably on the site of an earlier house, which was the home of the Mervyns in the 16th century. The present house dates from the C18th and, with additions, has been transformed from what was originally a modest stone farmhouse into a much larger residence. Today, Pertwood Manor is a thriving organic farm.
Newspapers are normally a treasure trove of information for family history researchers and social historians. Very few mentions of Pertwood up to its dissolution in 1885 have been found, not surprising as the parish had so few residents. For more Ploughing Matches held at Pertwood, go to the East Knoyle page.
The Deverills (Brixton, Monkton and Kingston), East and West Knoyle, and Chicklade are all within 3 miles of Pertwood. The nearest towns are Hindon, 2 miles, and Warminster and Mere, both 6 miles. The city of Salisbury is 18 miles distant.
Civil Registration District
July 1837 - January 1978 Mere Registration District, January 1978 - present Salisbury
Parish Registers held at WSHC
BT's 1608, 1625-31, 1712-28, 1787, 1802-1880
Notes: Registers of baptisms and marriages prior to those listed above are lost
Marriages 1608 - 1829
Burials 1802 - 1858
This page is dedicated to Edward Dewey Small, of Pertwood, who lost his life in WW1
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