Bremhill (St. Martin)

BREMHILL (St. Martin), a parish, chiefly in the union of Calne, but partly in that of Chippenham, hundred of Chippenham, Chippenham and Calne, and N. divisions of Wilts, 4¼ miles (E.) from Chippenham; containing 1550 inhabitants. This parish comprises by computation 6000 acres: the soil is chiefly a sandy loam; the surface is partly hilly, and partly a fine vale. Facilities of communication are afforded by the Wilts and Berks canal. The Roman Watling-street passed through the parish, and in the vicinity is the course of the ancient rampart Wansdyke. At the hamlet of Studley was a Roman station, thought to have been an outpost to the more important station of Verlucio, the site of which was ascertained by Sir Richard Colt Hoare to be near Wanshouse, about four miles distant: numerous coins, chiefly of Constantine, and some British earthenware, have been dug up. Avebury, a celebrated temple of the Britons, supposed to have been raised in honour of Teutates, their chief Celtic deity; and Tan hill and Silbury, two lofty eminences appropriated to the performance of their pagan rites, are situated within a short distance: on Tan hill a fair is held on Aug. 6th. The living is a vicarage, endowed with the rectorial tithes, with the living of Highway annexed, valued in the king's books at £15. 15.; net income, £406; patron, the Bishop of Salisbury. Under an inclosure act in 1775, land and a money payment were assigned to the impropriator in lieu of tithes on certain lands in the parish: there are about 230 acres of glebe, with a residence. The church is a venerable and interesting edifice, with a massive square tower adorned with battlements and pinnacles; between the aisle and chancel is a handsome rood-loft, beautifully carved: the chancel contains several monuments, and in the churchyard are numerous epitaphs written by the late vicar, the Rev. Mr. Bowles, the poet, who in 1827 published a description of the parish. Near the church are the ivy-mantled remains of a portion of the tenements belonging to the grange of the abbot of Malmesbury. At Foxham is a chapel of ease, dedicated to St. John the Baptist.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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