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St. Michael's parish church and village green
Aldbourne is located in Wiltshire
 Aldbourne shown within Wiltshire
Population 1,833 (2011 Census)
OS grid reference SU265756
Unitary authority Wiltshire
Ceremonial county Wiltshire
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Marlborough
Postcode district SN8
Dialling code 01672
Police Wiltshire
Fire Wiltshire
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament Devizes
Website The Aldbourne Net
List of places

Coordinates: 51°28′N 1°37′W / 51.47°N 01.62°W / 51.47; -01.62

Aldbourne is a village and civil parish about 6 miles (10 km) northeast of Marlborough in Wiltshire, England. It is in a valley in the south slope of the Lambourn Downs, part of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. From here an unnamed winterbourne flows and joins the River Kennet 4 miles (6.4 km) south near the village of Ramsbury. The 2011 Census recorded the parish population as 1,833.[1]

St Michael's parish church[edit]

The Church of England parish church of Saint Michael overlooking the village green is medieval and a Grade I listed building.[2] The nave and aisles were built around 1200, although some earlier Norman arches and other traces remain. There are four arches on the north arcade and three on the south. The chancel is Early English, with north and south chapels, and a sanctuary with lancet windows.

The Perpendicular Gothic three-stage tower was added in 1460. It is ashlar, has angled buttresses and transomed three-light bell openings, with gargoyles above. There are also transepts with three-light windows, a tall south porch – originally two-storey – and a bay between the porch and south transept. There was also formerly a north porch. The external walls are of flint and limestone with some chequer work and sarsen, and are crenellated. The roofs are lead and slate. The interior contains a number of monuments and monumental brasses.

Bell foundry[edit]

For at least 130 years Aldbourne had a bell foundry. Master-founders at Aldbourne included Robert Cor (active 1694–1724), William Cor (active 1696–1722), Oliver Cor (active 1725–27), John Cor (active 1728–50), John Stares (active 1744–46), Edward Read (active 1751–57), Edne Witts (active 1759–74), Robert I Wells (active 1760–81), Robert II Wells (active 1781–93) and James Wells (active 1792–1826).[3] Bells cast by the Cor and Wells families survive at parish churches including St Peter's, Alvescot, St Mary's, Ashbury, St John the Baptist's, Berwick St John, SS Peter and Paul, Church Hanborough, St Nicolas', East Challow, St Peter's, Drayton, All Saints', East Lockinge, All Saints', Faringdon, St Giles', Great Coxwell, St Giles', Horspath, SS Peter and Paul, Lechlade, St Peter's, Marsh Baldon, Holy Cross, Seend, St James the Great, West Hanney and others.


Lewisham Castle

Lewisham Castle is a small medieval ringwork about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) south-west of the village.[4] It is not certain whether it was in fact a castle.[4]

In the English Civil War a Royalist force led by Prince Rupert fought a Parliamentarian force in a skirmish at Aldbourne Chase on 18 September 1643, two days before the First Battle of Newbury.[5]

Two disused village pumps survive in the village.[6]

Easy Company of the US Army 101st Airborne Division was based at Aldbourne in the months before D-Day and before Operation Market Garden.[7] Easy Company was featured in the HBO series Band of Brothers.

In 1971 BBC Television used Aldbourne extensively as a location for the village of Devil's End in its science fiction drama Doctor Who in a series called The Daemons. St Michael's parish church was destroyed at the climax of the series and one viewer wrote to complain about this wanton piece of destruction for the sake of drama, but the BBC had used a model for this special effect.[8]


The Crown pub

Aldbourne is in the Aldbourne and Ramsbury electoral ward, which includes Baydon in the north, Froxfield in the south and Ramsbury to the southwest of Aldbourne. The 2011 Census recorded the ward's population as 5,231.[9]


Aldbourne has two public houses: the Blue Boar[10] and The Crown,[11] and a sports and social club. There is also a Co-Op, a Post Office, an Indian takeaway, a primary school and two pre-schools. Within the Post Office, there is a local produce and general convenience store, delicatessen, wine merchants and cafe offering both sit in and takeaway food and drink. Aldbourne has had a village Library since the 1930s and in its present location on South Street for nearly 30 years.

Heritage Centre[edit]

Aldbourne Heritage Centre

Next to the Crown Inn is the Heritage Centre, run by the Aldbourne Community Heritage Group.[12] It exhibits a changing array of artefacts and displays from Aldbourne's history ranging from Stone Age flints, through copies of mediaeval documents to an extensive collection of 19th- and 20th-century photographs. Special attention is paid to the village's former bell-founding industry and Easy Company's time in Aldbourne in 1944.[citation needed]


People from Aldbourne are nicknamed "Dabchicks", after the little grebe. This is said to have begun as an insult by the residents of nearby Ramsbury, but it has been adopted as a badge of pride.

The Aldbourne Band is an award-winning brass band that has won numerous national competitions.[13]

Aldbourne has been the home of the novelist Mavis Cheek since 2003.[14]

Popular culture[edit]

Aldbourne was the location for the filming of the 1971 Doctor Who story The Dæmons starring Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor. In the story, Aldbourne was called Devil's End.[8]

Aldbourne was also the location for the filming of the 2014 E4 television drama Glue, portraying the village of Overton.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Area: Aldbourne (Parish): Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 26 November 2014. 
  2. ^ Historic England. "Details from image database (310499 )". Images of England. 
  3. ^ Dovemaster (25 June 2010). "Bell Founders". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Central Council of Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Pevsner & Cherry 1975, p. 82
  5. ^ Money, Walter (1881). The First and Second Battles of Newbury and the Siege of Donnington Castle During the Civil War, AD 1643–6. London and Newbury: Simpkin, Marshall and Co. p. 25. 
  6. ^ "Aldbourne". Village Pumps. RK Williams. Retrieved 21 December 2014. 
  7. ^ Ambrose, Stephen E. (2001). Band of Brothers. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 43–56. ISBN 0-7432-1638-5. 
  8. ^ a b Haining, Peter (1983). Doctor Who – A Celebration. London: W.H. Allen. p. 196. ISBN 0-491-03351-6. 
  9. ^ "Aldbourne and Ramsbury (Ward): Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  10. ^ "The Blue Boar". Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  11. ^ "The Crown". Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  12. ^ "Heritage Centre open!". The Aldbourne Net. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  13. ^ "Aldbourne Brass Band". Aldbourne Brass Band. 7 September 2010. Retrieved 6 January 2011. 
  14. ^ Singleton, Sarah (September 2010). "The cultured face behind Marlborough's book fair" (PDF). Wiltshire Life (Mavis Cheek). Retrieved 26 November 2014. 

Sources and further reading[edit]

External links[edit]