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St. Michael's parish church and village green
Aldbourne is located in Wiltshire
 Aldbourne shown within Wiltshire
Population 1,833 (in 2011)[1]
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′44″N 1°37′12″W / 51.479°N 01.620°W / 51.479; -01.620

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 km) south near the village of Ramsbury. The 2011 Census recorded the parish population as 1,833.[1]

The parish includes the hamlets of Upper Upham and Woodsend, and part of the hamlet of Preston which straddles the boundary with Ramsbury parish. The small village of Snap was deserted in the early 20th century.


Lewisham Castle

Lewisham Castle is a small medieval ringwork about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) south-west of the village.[2] It is not certain whether it was in fact a castle.[2]

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.[3]

A Baptist chapel was opened in 1841 in Back Lane and rebuilt as New Zoar Chapel in 1868. The chapel was sold in 1914 and demolished at some time after 1931; its burial ground survives.[4]

A Primitive Methodist chapel opened in West Street in about 1840, and a new chapel was built on the same site in 1906.[5] Wesleyan Methodists built a chapel in Lottage Road in 1807, which was rebuilt in 1844.[6] In 1968 both groups of Methodists combined to build Aldbourne Methodist Church[7] in a newly built hall in Lottage Road; the old chapel in West Street was demolished in 1982.

Easy Company of the US Army 101st Airborne Division was based at Aldbourne in 1944, in the months before D-Day and before Operation Market Garden.[8] The company was featured in the HBO series Band of Brothers.

Two disused village pumps survive in the village.[9]

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.[10] 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 a north porch until the building was restored by William Butterfield in 1863-67.[11] 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).[12] Bells cast by the Cor and Wells families survive at parish churches including Alvescot, Ashbury, Berwick St John, Church Hanborough, East Challow, Drayton, East Lockinge, Faringdon, Great Coxwell, Horspath, Lechlade, Marsh Baldon, Seend, Sutton Courtenay, West Hanney and others.


The Crown pub

The civil parish elects a parish council. It is in the area of Wiltshire Council unitary authority, which is responsible for all significant local government functions.

The parish 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.[13]


Aldbourne has two public houses: the Blue Boar[14] and The Crown,[15] and a sports and social club. There is a Co-Op supermarket and a village shop which houses a Post Office and a cafe. Aldbourne has had a village library since the 1930s, which has been in its present location on South Street for nearly 30 years.

The village has a primary school, St. Michael’s C of E (Aided) School.[16] Built in 1963, the school is on the site of a National school which opened in 1858.[17]

Heritage Centre[edit]

Aldbourne Heritage Centre

Next to the Crown Inn is the Heritage Centre, a museum run by the Aldbourne Community Heritage Group. 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.


People from Aldbourne are nicknamed "Dabchicks", after the little grebe.[18]

The Aldbourne Band is an award-winning brass band that has won numerous national competitions.[19]

Aldbourne has been the home of the novelist Mavis Cheek since 2003.[20] Earlier residents include Hilda Beatrice Currie (1872-1939), Liberal politician; Ruth Dalton (1890-1966), Labour politician; Gerald Brenan (1894-1987), author and historian; and Anthony Marreco (1915-2006), barrister and founding director of Amnesty International.

Popular culture[edit]

In 1971, Aldbourne was the location for the filming by BBC Television of the Doctor Who story The Dæmons, starring Jon Pertwee. The village in the story was called Devil's End.[21]

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


  1. ^ a b "Wiltshire Community History - Census". Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Pevsner & Cherry 1975, p. 82
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ "Zoar Baptist Chapel, Aldbourne". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  5. ^ "Primitive Methodist Chapel, Aldbourne". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  6. ^ "Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Aldbourne". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  7. ^ "Aldbourne Methodist Church". Swindon and Marlborough Methodist Churches. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  8. ^ Ambrose, Stephen E. (2001). Band of Brothers. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 43–56. ISBN 0-7432-1638-5. 
  9. ^ "Aldbourne". Village Pumps. RK Williams. Retrieved 21 December 2014. 
  10. ^ Historic England. "Details from image database (310499 )". Images of England. 
  11. ^ "Church of St. Michael, Aldbourne". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  12. ^ Dovemaster (25 June 2010). "Bell Founders". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Central Council of Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  13. ^ "Aldbourne and Ramsbury (Ward): Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  14. ^ "The Blue Boar". Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  15. ^ "The Crown". Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  16. ^ "St. Michael’s C of E (Aided) School". Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  17. ^ "St. Michael's C. of E. (Aided) Primary School". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  18. ^ "Aldbourne". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  19. ^ "Aldbourne Brass Band". Aldbourne Brass Band. 7 September 2010. Retrieved 6 January 2011. 
  20. ^ Singleton, Sarah (September 2010). "The cultured face behind Marlborough's book fair" (PDF). Wiltshire Life (Mavis Cheek). Retrieved 26 November 2014. 
  21. ^ Haining, Peter (1983). Doctor Who - A Celebration. London: W.H. Allen. p. 196. ISBN 0-491-03351-6. 

Sources and further reading[edit]

External links[edit]