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St Peter's Church, Britford - - 466991.jpg
St Peter's parish church
Britford is located in Wiltshire
 Britford shown within Wiltshire
Population 592 (2011 Census)[1]
OS grid reference SU1628
Civil parish Britford
Unitary authority Wiltshire
Ceremonial county Wiltshire
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Salisbury
Postcode district SP5
Dialling code 01722
Police Wiltshire
Fire Wiltshire
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament Salisbury
Website Britford Parish Council
List of places

Coordinates: 51°03′11″N 1°46′23″W / 51.053°N 1.773°W / 51.053; -1.773

Britford is a village and civil parish beside the River Avon about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) southeast of Salisbury in Wiltshire, England. The village is just off the A338 road. The 2011 Census recorded a parish population of 592.[1]


Little Woodbury, 0.5 miles (800 m) southwest of the village, is the site of an Iron Age settlement.[2] Excavations in 1938–39 revealed the sites of granaries, storage pits and a circular house nearly 50 feet (15 m) in diameter.[3]

Great Woodbury, 1 mile (1.6 km) from the village, is the remains of an Iron Age hill fort.

Parish church[edit]

The nave of the Church of England parish church of Saint Peter is Saxon, built probably in the 9th century.[4][5] On each side of the nave there is a round-headed Saxon arch into a porticus (small space for a side-chapel).[4] The arch to the south porticus is plain, but that to the north porticus is supported by decorated stone slabs.[4] The carving on one slab seems to be developed from the style of decoration of the Bewcastle and Ruthwell crosses at the beginning of the 8th century; the style of the other seems to be 9th century.[4]

In the 14th century the north and south transepts were added, making the church the cruciform building it is today.[4] Each transept is next to the Saxon porticus on its corresponding side and includes the east wall of that porticus. The arches where the transepts meet the nave are Decorated Gothic, as is the east window of the chancel.[4] A 15th-century tomb chest monument in the church is supposed to be that of Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham who was executed in Salisbury in 1483.[2] Also 15th-century is a small, iron-bound wooden chest in the north transept.[2]

The finely-carved pulpit is late 17th century.[2]

The west wall of the nave was rebuilt in 1764.[5] Over the crossing is a central tower, which was rebuilt in 1764[5] or 1767.[2] John Robartes, 1st Earl of Radnor had a mausoleum added to the northwest corner of the north transept in 1764[5] or 1777.[2] The building was restored in 1873 to the designs of George Edmund Street, who had the Radnor mausoleum Gothicised or rebuilt.[5][2] The west window of the nave has stained glass made by Ward and Hughes of London in 1882.[5] St Peter's is a Grade I listed building.[5]

In the second quarter of the 13th century Britford had an anchoress called Joan.[6] In 1215 King John granted her an income of one penny per day.[6] She received royal gifts of oaks in 1226, 1231 and 1245.[6] In 1237 the sheriff of Salisbury was ordered to ensure that the courtyard around her house was securely enclosed with a wall.[6]

St Peter's has a ring of six bells. Five including the tenor bell were cast in 1765 by Robert Wells I[7] of Aldbourne.[8] The treble bell was cast in 1899 by Thomas Blackbourn[7] of Salisbury.[8]

St Peter's is now one of 13 parishes in the Benefice of Chalke Valley.[9]

Secular history[edit]

Rectory Farmhouse,[10] northwest of St Peter's, is a 17th-century house with a symmetrical front of three bays.[2] At the front the two ground-floor windows have four lights and a transom;[2] the first floor windows have ovolo-moulded mullions.[10] It is a Grade II* listed building.[10]

Moat House, southwest of St Peter's, is a 17th-century house surrounded by a moat.[11] The house was remodelled in 1766 and again in the 19th century, so that externally it looks early 19th century Georgian.[2] It is now divided into two houses.[11]

There are Georgian cottages on the main A338 road, built for the Longford Castle estate.[2]

In 1664 an Act of Parliament authorised the conversion of the River Avon into a navigation between Salisbury and the English Channel at Christchurch.[12] Canalised channels were dug to straighten sections of the river, including one about a 1 mile (1.6 km) long through Britford parish. The river had ceased to be navigable by 1737[12] but bridges over it and remains of locks still survive around Britford.[2]


Britford has a Church of England primary school. On 1 April 2010 it merged with the primary school in Odstock to form Longford C of E Primary School,[13] named after the Longford estate. Both sets of buildings remain in use: the Britford site teaches Key Stage 1 and the Odstock site teaches Key Stage 2. A free bus transports pupils between the sites at either end of the school day.

Salisbury District Hospital is in the parish about 1 mile (1.6 km) southwest of the village.[citation needed]

There is a Park and Ride bus service between the village and Salisbury.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "Area: Britford (Parish); Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Pevsner & Cherry 1975, p. 143.
  3. ^ Pevsner & Cherry 1975, p. 144.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Pevsner & Cherry 1975, p. 142.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Church of St Peter and attached Radnor Mausoleum". National Heritage List for England. English Heritage. 23 March 1960. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d Pugh & Crittall 1956, pp. 362–364.
  7. ^ a b Dawson, George (21 December 2006). "Britford S Peter". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Central Council of Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Dovemaster (31 October 2012). "Bell Founders". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Central Council of Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  9. ^ Archbishops' Council (2010). "Benefice of Chalke Valley (Team Ministry)". A Church Near You. Church of England. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c "Rectory Farmhouse". National Heritage List for England. English Heritage. 23 March 1960. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "Moat House". National Heritage List for England. English Heritage. 23 March 1960. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Cross 1970[page needed]
  13. ^ "About Longford School". Longford C of E Primary School. 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 


External links[edit]