Bishops Cannings

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"Coate" redirects here. It is not to be confused with Coates, Coat, or Cote.
Bishops Cannings
Bishops Cannings, The Crown Inn - - 1406871.jpg
The Crown Inn in Bishops Cannings with the church of St Mary the Virgin behind
Bishops Cannings is located in Wiltshire
Bishops Cannings
Bishops Cannings
Bishops Cannings shown within Wiltshire
Population 1,784 (in 2011)[1]
OS grid reference SU038642
Civil parish
  • Bishops Cannings
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Devizes
Postcode district SN10
Dialling code 01380
Police Wiltshire
Fire Dorset and Wiltshire
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament
List of places
WiltshireCoordinates: 51°22′37″N 1°56′49″W / 51.377°N 1.947°W / 51.377; -1.947

Bishops Cannings is a village and civil parish in the Vale of Pewsey in Wiltshire, England, about 3 miles (5 km) northeast of Devizes. The parish includes the village of Coate and the hamlets of Bourton, Horton and Little Horton.


Streams which become the Salisbury Avon flow through the parish. The northern part of the parish lies on the Marlborough Downs, including Morgan's Hill and part of Roundway Hill.

Bishops Cannings village is about 0.5 miles (0.80 km) south of the A361 road which links Devizes with Avebury and Swindon.


The manor of Cannings was recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book as held by the Bishop of Salisbury.[2][3]

Horton is first attested in 1158. The place-name is a common one in England and derives from Old English horu 'dirt' and tūn 'settlement, farm, estate', presumably meaning 'farm on muddy soil'.[4]

In the 16th and 17th centuries, Bourton manor was an estate of the Ernle family.[3] The manor included the hamlet of Easton; today the name survives only at Easton Farm and Easton Down.

The Wansdyke medieval earthwork crosses the north of parish. The Kennet and Avon Canal (opened in 1810) was built through the parish, passing between Bishops Cannings and Horton.

The parish is now the third largest in Wiltshire, but was formerly larger. It lost a large area to the nearby town of Devizes when there was a change of boundaries in 1835. Bishops Cannings had previously reached as far into Devizes as the Crammer, a large pond on the edge of the town centre. This may explain how Bishops Cannings comes to lay claim to being the place of origin of the legend of the Moonrakers.[5][6] Next to the pond is the 15th-century church of St James,[7] which was a chapelry of Bishops Cannings.[3]

Historically, the parish was part of the Potterne and Cannings hundred of Wiltshire. A detailed parish history was published in 1953 by the Wiltshire Victoria County History.[8]

Local government[edit]

Bishops Cannings is a civil parish with an elected parish council. It is in the area of Wiltshire Council unitary authority, which is responsible for almost all significant local government functions.

Religious sites[edit]

The Church of England parish church of St Mary is Grade I listed.[9] Originating in the 12th or 13th century, with many Early English features surviving, it was altered in the 14th and 15th centuries and restored in the 19th.[10] Pevsner writes that it has "uncommon size and nobility", being part of a bishop's estate.[11]

A Wesleyan Methodist chapel was opened at Horton in 1832 and closed in the second half of the 20th century.[12]

At Coate a Brethren chapel was built in 1848 and closed in 1973.[13]


Bishops Cannings has a primary school which serves the parish and the eastern side of Devizes.[14] A National School was built in 1830 and transferred to the present site in 1907.[15] The chapel at Coate was used as a school from 1848 until 1876,[16] when a new school was opened nearby; this school closed in 1929.[17]

The parish has three pubs: the Crown Inn at Bishops Cannings, the Bridge Inn near Horton and the New Inn at Coate. Part of North Wilts Golf Club, on the downs, is within the parish.[18]

Notable people[edit]

Around 1613 George Ferebee, vicar of Bishops Cannings, was appointed chaplain to King James I.


  1. ^ "Bishops Cannings census information". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 5 October 2015. 
  2. ^ Bishops Cannings in the Domesday Book
  3. ^ a b c "Victoria County History – Wiltshire – Vol 7 pp 187–197 – Parishes: Bishop's Cannings". British History Online. University of London. Retrieved 16 October 2015. 
  4. ^ Victor Watts (ed.), The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names, Based on the Collections of the English Place-Name Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), s.v. HORTON.
  5. ^ "Smugglers myth lives". Wiltshire Gazette and Herald. Retrieved 2 September 2009. 
  6. ^ "Bishops Cannings". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 8 November 2010. 
  7. ^ Historic England. "Church of St James, Devizes (1263715)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 October 2015. 
  8. ^ A History of the County of Wiltshire, Volume VII: Bradford hundred and Potterne and Cannings hundred (1953)
  9. ^ Historic England. "Church of St Mary the Virgin, Bishops Cannings (1193298)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  10. ^ "Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Bishops Cannings". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  11. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus; Cherry, Bridget (revision) (1975) [1963]. Wiltshire. The Buildings of England (2nd ed.). Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 111–114. ISBN 0-14-0710-26-4. 
  12. ^ "Horton Methodist Chapel, Bishops Cannings". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  13. ^ "Coate Chapel, Bishops Cannings". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  14. ^ "Bishops Cannings Church of England (Aided) Primary School". Retrieved 18 October 2015. 
  15. ^ "Bishops Cannings C. of E. (Aided) Primary School". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 18 October 2015. 
  16. ^ "on-Conformist School, Coate, Bishops Cannings". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 18 October 2015. 
  17. ^ "National School, Coate, Bishops Cannings". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 18 October 2015. 
  18. ^ "North Wilts Golf Club". Retrieved 18 October 2015. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Bishops Cannings at Wikimedia Commons