Thursday, 10 April 2008

Historic Purton

The Manor House and Tithe Barn at Purton date back to the eighteen hundreds and are to be found in the historic conservation area of Purton. This part of Purton dates back to Saxon times and there is a Saxon cemetery nearby, see below for the history of Purton.
(See also the post on St Mary Church which stands next to the Manor House).

The Tithe Barn
While doing some research on the local quarry which provided the stone for the Manor House, Tithe Barn, Church and some of the old cottages, I came across the 'History of Purton' at the Communigate web-site. Much fascinating history on Swindon's doorstep.
Purton is first mentioned in writing in Saxon times, but Ringsbury Camp, at the southwestern end of the village, was fortified Iron Age camp.
Later, the Romans were in Purton and their relics have been discovered in many parts of the village. There was at least one Roman villa within the village and a Romano-British cemetery was discovered in 1987, during redevelopment at Northview Hospital. In the late 600s it is recorded in the charters of Malmesbury Abbey that Chedwalla, the Saxon King called the village 'Piriton', 'Periton', Puriton' or 'Pirton', all of them various ways of spelling the 'Peartree Village'.
At this time there was probably a small Saxon church on the site of the present 13th century Parish Church and a Saxon cemetery existed at 'The Fox'.
After the coming of the Anglo Saxons there were two further invasions. First in about 789AD the Danes, when Purton, on the borders of Alfred's Wessex, may well have been the scene of a battle still commemorated in the names 'Restrop', Battlewell and Battle Lake', and next in 1066 the Normans. William I, ordered a survey of the whole country to make it easier to raise taxes. In 1086, the year that the Domesday survey was made, the records show that there were at Purton a mill, a wood three miles square, sixty acres of meadow and many acres of plough land, which suggests a large village and population.
Originally built round the parish church, manor and Tithe barn, at some time in the past, perhaps as a result of the Plaque or a fire, the village moved to spread out along the Bristol and Oxford coach road.