Coordinates: 51°37′N 1°47′W / 51.61°N 1.79°W / 51.61; -1.79
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Chapel Hill, Blunsdon ca.1920
Blunsdon is located in Wiltshire
Location within Wiltshire
Population2,714 (parish, 2021)[1]
OS grid referenceSU154902
Civil parish
  • Blunsdon
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townSwindon
Postcode districtSN25, SN26
Dialling code01793
FireDorset and Wiltshire
AmbulanceSouth Western
UK Parliament
WebsiteParish Council
List of places
51°37′N 1°47′W / 51.61°N 1.79°W / 51.61; -1.79

Blunsdon is a civil parish in the Borough of Swindon, in Wiltshire, England, about 4 miles (6 km) north of the centre of Swindon, with the A419 forming its southern boundary. Its main settlement is the village of Broad Blunsdon, with Lower Blunsdon nearby; the hamlet of Broadbush is now contiguous with Broad Blunsdon.

Blunsdon is the eastern half of the former Blunsdon St Andrew civil parish. In April 2017, that parish was divided and the western half became a new St Andrews parish.


Blunsdon dates from Roman times: it was discovered that a Roman travellers' resting place existed on the site of the present-day Cold Harbour public house. The main A419 road follow the course of a Roman road known as Ermin Street that linked the historic Roman towns of Gloucester (Glevum) and Silchester (Calleva Atrebatum), via Cirencester (Corinium).[citation needed]

The Domesday Book of 1086 recorded three estates at Bluntesdone, with altogether ten households.[2] The L-shaped manor house, just west of the church, was built and enlarged in the 17th century; it has two fireplaces from c.1600, and a staircase also from that century.[3]

Blunsdon Abbey was a Gothic mansion built near Blunsdon St Andrew church in 1858–1860 for wealthy sportsman Joseph Clayton de Windt, on the site of an earlier house. It was destroyed by fire in 1904 and remains as a ruin, with parts of the stable block – including a square tower – standing.[4][5]

Two areas of Broad Blunsdon village, one encompassing the church, were designated as a conservation area in 1990.[6]


Widhill, land lying north of Blunsdon St Andrew as far as the Roman road and bounded to the west by the River Ray, appears in Domesday Book as two estates at Wildehill with altogether 14 households.[7] The area became a tithing of the parish of St Sampson, Cricklade, and for a time a small chapel served the two small settlements at Lower Widhill and Upper Widhill (sometimes North Widhill and West Widhill respectively).[8] Robert Jenner, who prospered as a silver merchant in London, bought Widhill manor in 1624; the Jenner family remained at Widhill until the manor was sold in 1826.[9]

In the late 19th century Widhill became part of Cricklade civil parish, then was transferred to Blunsdon in 1934; its population at the 1931 census had been 21.[10]

Today, Lower Widhill Farm, Chapel Farm and Upper Widhill Farm survive in the strip of farmland between the north edge of Blunsdon St Andrew and the A419.[11]

Parish church[edit]

St Leonard's church

St Leonard's, the Church of England parish church, is in the north-east of the village. The stone rubble building has 13th-century origins, seen in the four-bay south arcade and a small two-light window in the south aisle. The west tower is from the 15th century; the elaborate wooden screen under the tower is 17th-century. A monument to John Potenger (died 1733), in white and grey marble with cherub heads, is signed by Peter Scheemakers.[12]

William Butterfield carried out extensive restoration in 1870, when the chancel was rebuilt and the south-east chapel and north-east vestry were added. The building was designated as Grade II* listed in 1955.[13]

There is a ring of eight bells, cast in 1913 and 2002.[14] The stone-built former rectory, east of the church, was built in 1867–1868 to designs of Ewan Christian.[15] Today the parish is within the benefice of Highworth with Sevenhampton and Inglesham and Hannington, centred on St Michael's church at Highworth.[16]


Blunsdon's Abbey Stadium (also known as Swindon Stadium) is the home of Swindon Greyhounds, broadcast world-wide three times per week and a stalwart of off course betting shops in the UK all the year round. The stadium has also been the home of a speedway team, the Swindon Robins, since it opened in 1949. The Robins competed in national leagues, including the Elite League in the 21st century, but did not race in 2021 or 2022 due to long-running uncertainty over redevelopment of the site.[17]

The village has a football team, Blunsdon FC, which has youth development squads as well as a senior men's side playing in the Wiltshire League.


Blunsdon parish covers Broad Blunsdon and the area west of the A419. In the southeast, the boundary with St Andrews leaves the A419 and follows the A4311 Cricklade Road, so that the Groundwell industrial estate is in Blunsdon parish.

Until April 2017, the whole area was the civil parish of Blunsdon St Andrew.[18][19] The parish lies within the Borough of Swindon.


After the last privately owned shop in the village closed in 2002, a village public meeting convened and agreed to open a new community shop, which was opened in 2003.[20] Located in the car park of the village hall, the shop was originally based inside a secondhand site office cabin, but in 2009 this was replaced by a brand new structure. Run mainly by volunteers, in 2010 the shop won third place for 'Best Village Shop' at the Wiltshire Life Magazine Awards.[21] In 2023, the shop moved to a new premises at Unit 1, Blunt Rise, Blunsdon, SN26 7DA and expanded to include a cafe.


The Swindon and Cricklade Railway has rebuilt Blunsdon railway station, just outside the parish boundary.

A bypass was built between the autumn of 2006 and spring 2009. This reunited Broad Blunsdon village with the portion that was southwest of the former A419.

Notable people[edit]

Margaret de Windt (1849–1836), daughter of the builder of Blunsdon Abbey, married the White Rajah Charles Brooke and thus became Ranee of Sarawak. Her brother Harry (1856–1933) was an explorer and travel writer.


  1. ^ "Blunsdon (parish): population statistics". Retrieved 23 April 2023.
  2. ^ Broad Blunsdon and Blunsdon St Andrew in the Domesday Book
  3. ^ Historic England. "Manor House (1355999)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 21 February 2024.
  4. ^ "Sunday blazing Sunday brings down Blunsdon Abbey, recalls Barry Leighton". Swindon Advertiser. 9 March 2016. Retrieved 15 September 2023.
  5. ^ Orbach, Julian; Pevsner, Nikolaus; Cherry, Bridget (2021). Wiltshire. The Buildings Of England. New Haven, US and London: Yale University Press. pp. 147–148. ISBN 978-0-300-25120-3. OCLC 1201298091.
  6. ^ "No. 52292". The London Gazette. 4 October 1990. p. 15595.
  7. ^ Widhill in the Domesday Book
  8. ^ Bainbridge, Virginia, ed. (2011). "Cricklade – Outer Cricklade". A History of the County of Wiltshire, Volume 18. Victoria County History. University of London. pp. 70–108. Retrieved 3 December 2022 – via British History Online.
  9. ^ Lancaster, Henry. "JENNER, Robert (c.1584-1651), of Widhill, Wilts. and Foster Lane, London". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 3 December 2022.
  10. ^ "Blunsdon St Andrew AP/CP". A Vision of Britain through Time. University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 3 December 2022.
  11. ^ "Map of Widhill". Retrieved 3 December 2022.
  12. ^ Orbach, Julian; Pevsner, Nikolaus; Cherry, Bridget (2021). Wiltshire. The Buildings Of England. New Haven, US and London: Yale University Press. p. 184. ISBN 978-0-300-25120-3. OCLC 1201298091.
  13. ^ Historic England. "Church of St Leonard (1023286)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 21 February 2024.
  14. ^ "Broad Blunsdon: S Leonard". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 21 February 2024.
  15. ^ Historic England. "The Rectory (1184135)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 21 February 2024.
  16. ^ "St Leonard Blunsdon". Retrieved 21 February 2024.
  17. ^ "Return of speedway at Swindon delayed until 2023". Swindon Robins Speedway. 5 October 2021. Retrieved 3 December 2022.
  18. ^ "Community governance review - next steps". Swindon Borough Council. March 2017. Archived from the original on 22 February 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  19. ^ "The Swindon Borough (Reorganisation of Community Governance) No. 1 Order 2017" (PDF). Local Government Boundary Commission for England. 19 January 2017. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 April 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  20. ^ "Blunsdon village shop". Archived from the original on 29 April 2012. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  21. ^ "Wiltshire Life Awards Initiative 2010" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 June 2014. Retrieved 16 March 2013.

External links[edit]

Media related to Blunsdon at Wikimedia Commons