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Berwick St John

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"BERWICK ST. JOHN, a parish, village, and township in the hundred of Chalk, in the county of Wilts, 6 miles to the E. of Shaftesbury, and about the same distance from Titbury station, on the Salisbury and Yeovil and Exeter line. Salisbury is its post town. It is situated within the limits of Cranbourne Chase, on the border of Dorsetshire, at the foot of White Sheet hills, which form part of Salisbury Plain, and command an extensive view over Dorsetshire, the Downs, and part of Hampshire, as far as the Needle rocks in the Isle of Wight. There are three pretty and commodious villas built by the late Mr. Foote, whose family still retain some property here, and have some fine specimens of oak carving. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Salisbury, of the value of £562, in the patronage of the Warden and Fellows of New College, Oxford.

The church, dedicated to St. John, is built in the form of a cross, with a richly ornamented tower of the time of Henry VII. It has recently been almost entirely rebuilt, from designs by Mr. Woodyer, and was reopened on the 1st of May, 1862; but the old form was strictly adhered to, and the walls occupy the same lines, with an increase of length of nave of some eight feet. The tower was restored, as far as decay would allow, stone by stone. The cost of the restoration was £2,400. Some very curious distemper paintings were found on the old walls. In the interior are two ancient effigies, clad in mail, of the time of the crusades, supposed to be those of Sir John Husee and Sir Robert Lucie, former owners of the manor; and several monuments of the Grove family. The register commences with the year 1556.

The Baptists have a chapel here, and there is a National school, built in 1835, lately enlarged. There are some small charities. Lord Rivers is lord of the manor. On the neighbouring hills are some ancient British remains, and an extensive entrenchment covering an area of about 12 acres, called Winklebury, or Vespasian's Camp, from which there is a view of Wiltshire and Cranbourne Chase."

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) - Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]



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