Thursday, 27 August 2009

Fyfield/Fifhidan: Place in Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Series ****

Fyfield is a village in the English county of Wiltshire

Local government
Fyfield forms part of the civil parish of Fyfield and West Overton, which has an elected parish council. It also falls within the area of Wiltshire Council. Both councils are responsible for different aspects of local government.

Position: grid reference SU147687
Nearby towns and cities: Marlborough, Swindon, Devizes
Nearby villages: West Overton, Lockeridge

Fyfield Down (grid reference SU136709) is part of the Marlborough Downs, about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) north of the village of Fyfield, Wiltshire.
The down has the best assemblage of sarsen stones in England. The stones are known here as the Grey Wethers, for their likeness to sheep when seen from a distance. They support a nationally important lichen flora.
The down is a 325.3 hectare biological and geological Site of Special Scientific Interest, notified in 1951.
The site is to be distinguished from another Fyfield Down also in Wiltshire, on the edge of Salisbury Plain, near another place called Fyfield. The two places are only about 9 miles (14 km) apart.

Dry Valley on Fyfield Down

From Delling Copse, looking south east it shows a shallow dry valley literally choked with Sarsen Stones

Lockeridge Dene, a conservation area in the village
At the time of the Domesday Book of 1086, Lockeridge was owned by Durand of Gloucester and is described as follows: Durand himself holds LOCKERIDGE. Almær held it TRE, and it paid geld for 2 hides. There is land for 1 plough. Of this 1 hide is in demesne. There is 1 villan and 2 bordars with 1 slave, and 1-acre (4,000 m2) of meadow, and 12 acres (49,000 m2) of pasture and 6 acres (24,000 m2) of woodland. It was worth 40s ; now 30s. These two late anglo-Saxon estates are held to be linked to the cluster of houses at Lockeridge dean at the southern end of the village, and the Eighteenth Century Lockeridge House at the northern end. Lockeridge House is adjacent to Piper's Lane, remnant of a Roman Road.
Building took place between the two Saxon settlements in 12th Century on the order of the Knights Templar who acquired one of the estates between 1141 and 1143. In 1155-6 it acquired land in Rockley to build a Preceptory. Lockeridge is therefore something rare in Britain, namely a planned Templar village. The collapse of the nearby settlement of Shaws as a result of the Plague may have triggered growth as Lockeridge was situated at an intersection of a major east-west route (now the A4) and a crossing of the Pewsey Downs. The Templar link explains the absence (rare in Wiltshire villages) of a Church

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