Broad Chalke

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Broad Chalke
All Saints' Church in snow 2009-02-02.jpg
All Saints' parish church
Broad Chalke is located in Wiltshire
Broad Chalke
Broad Chalke
 Broad Chalke shown within Wiltshire
Population 680 [1]
OS grid reference SU 039 255
Civil parish Broad Chalke
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 Broad Chalke : Information
List of places

Coordinates: 51°01′41″N 1°56′35″W / 51.028°N 1.943°W / 51.028; -1.943

Broad Chalke, sometimes spelled Broadchalke, Broad Chalk or Broadchalk, is a village and civil parish in Wiltshire, England, about 8 miles (13 km) west of the city of Salisbury. The 2001 Census recorded a parish population of 652[2] but as of 2011 it had risen to 680.[1] This civil parish includes the hamlets of Knapp, Mount Sorrel and Stoke Farthing.


Broad Chalke is in the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is halfway along the 13 miles (21 km) Chalke Valley. The parish has two chalk streams, as the River Chalke flows into the River Ebble at Mount Sorrell in the parish, and the main settlement stands on the banks of the Ebble.

The valley road runs from Salisbury in the east to Shaftesbury in the west between chalk downs on either side. The village sits at a crossroads where a road from Hampshire in the south runs down Knowle Hill and another route from Fovant and Tisbury in the north runs down Compton Down via Fifield Bavant and all roads meet near the public house in North Street. There is also a spur road along the River Chalke valley from Bowerchalke and Sixpenny Handley.

Churches, schools and other facilities[edit]

At the heart of the village is the Church of England's All Saints' Church,[3][4] dating from the 13th century. Following a major restoration project leading up to the millennium year, 2000, it boasts a peal of eight bells.

The United Reformed Church chapel[5] (previously the Congregational Church) in High Road was partly converted in 2013 into a Community Hub[6] with shop, post office, coffee shop, office for various village activities (such as the Church benefice and community police) and a village archive.[7] A worship area is retained.

The village has a thriving C of E Primary School[8] and a Playschool.[9]

There has been a village hall[10] since 1914 and a Reading Room (also called the Parish Room) on the same site before the village hall was built.

The surgery in Dove's Meadow is part of the Sixpenny Handley and Chalke Valley Practice.[11]

J E Fry & Son, the village shop and Post Office was in South Street and traded as family butchers under the Fry family for almost 100 years. Since the closure of the old village shop and Post Office around Christmas 1992 the butchers began to sell groceries and everyday items and also incorporated the village Post Office which opened within the butchers on 15 June 1993. The shop was featured on BBC South Today as one of the most unusual locations for a Post Office in the region, and the butcher Robert Fry was the subject of ITV's Country Ways programme some years ago. Robert Fry retired on 31 May 2013 and the shop in South Street closed.

Alterations to create a shop and post office in the URC Chapel meeting area commenced on 25 February 2013. Chalke Valley Stores[12] opened on 3 June 2013 and the official opening by Sir Terry Pratchett took place on 22 June 2013. There is a Coffee Shop in the Chapel worship area and an office for the Chalke Valley Community Hub, Chalke Valley Stores, Police, Church Benefice and URC on the balcony and also a Village Archive on the balcony outside the office.

The local public house is the Queen's Head[13] which enjoys a prime position at a crossroads in North Street adjacent to the shop in the Chapel.

Watercress has been grown in the River Ebble cressbeds for many years and is sold from the packing station[14] at The Marsh.

Local government[edit]

The parish has an elected parish council and is in the area of the Wiltshire Council unitary authority,[15] which is responsible for all significant local government functions.


The Chalke Valley Sports Centre[16] is located in Knighton Road and has a football pitch, tennis courts, skate park and also a Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) for table tennis, short mat bowls, pilates and other indoor functions.

The Chalke Valley Cricket Club[17] is nominally part of the Chalke Valley Sports Centre but has its own management and finances and moved to a new ground at Butt's Field, Bowerchalke[18] in 2010.

The Gurston Down speed hill-climb[19] course is at Gurston Farm in Broad Chalke and attracts many hundreds of visitors every year.

The Broad Chalke Bellringers[20] have an active membership, practising on Monday evenings and ringing a peel of eight bells for weddings and other special occasions.

Current and previous residents[edit]

The village has been home to several notable people, including John Aubrey (1626–1697) and Maurice Henry Hewlett (1861–1923), both authors, and Reverend Professor Rowland Williams (1817–1870), a theologian whose essays and sermons caused him to be charged with heterodoxy. He was later vicar of Broad Chalke and is buried in the church graveyard. Sir Anthony Eden (Prime Minister) also lived in the village.

Sir Cecil Beaton the photographer lived at Reddish House, as did Dr. Lucius Wood, father of the painter Christopher Wood. Sir Cecil Beaton entertained and photographed many celebrities in his conservatory. In 1980 Ursula Henderson[21] bought the house from the estate of Cecil Beaton and lived there until 1987. She was born Ursula von Pannwitz and was once styled Countess of Chichester from her first marriage to John Buxton Pelham, 8th Earl of Chichester, and she kept macaws which flew noisily and freely around the village stripping bark from trees. Later Reddish House was owned by musicians Toyah Willcox and Robert Fripp.[22]

The village was also home to author Sir Terry Pratchett, author James Holland (brother of Tom Holland) and noted musician, bell ringer and conductor Dennis Chalk BEM.[23][24]

Herbert Bundy, a local farmer, was the centre of a landmark case in English Contract Law on undue influence Lloyds Bank Ltd v Bundy.


It is not known when Broad Chalke was first inhabited or what it was called but fragmentary records from Saxon times indicate that the whole Chalke Valley area was thriving.[25]

9th century[edit]

An Anglo-Saxon charter of 826 records the name of the area including Bowerchalke and Broadchalke as Cealcan gemere.[22]

10th century[edit]

In 955 the Anglo-Saxon King Eadwig granted the nuns of Wilton Abbey an estate called Chalke which included land in Broad Chalke and Bowerchalke. The charter records the village name as aet Ceolcan.[22][26]

A charter in 974 records the name as Cheolca or Cheolcam.[22]

11th century[edit]

The Domesday Book in 1086 divided the Chalke Valley into eight manors, Chelke or Chelce or Celce (Bowerchalke and Broad Chalke), Eblesborne (Ebbesbourne Wake), Fifehide (Fifield), Cumbe (Coombe Bissett), Humitone (Homington), Odestoche (Odstock), Stradford (Stratford Tony and Bishopstone) and Trow (circa Alvediston and Tollard Royal).[25]

12th century[edit]

In the 12th century the area was known primarily as the Stowford Hundred then subsequently as the Chalke Hundred. This included the parishes of Berwick St John, Ebbesbourne Wake, Fifield Bavant, Semley, Tollard Royal and 'Chalke'.[25]

A charter of 1165 records the village name as Chalca, and the Pipe Rolls in 1174 record it as Chalche.[22]

13th century[edit]

All Saints' Church was built during the 13th century.

The Curia Regis Rolls of 1207 records the village name as ChelkFeet of Fines, and another of 1242 records it as Chalke.[22] The name Burchelke (Bowerchalke) first appeared in 1225.[25]

14th century[edit]

A Saxon charter of 1304 records the village name as Cheolc and Cheolcan. The Feudal Aids of 1316 uses Chawke, whilst a Saxon Cartulary of 1321 uses Cealce. the Tax lists of 1327, 1332 and 1377 variously record the name as Chalk Magna and Chalke Magna.[22]

Brode Chalk was first mentioned in 1380.[25]

15th century[edit]

The village is recorded in deeds of 1425 as Brodechalke.[22]

16th century[edit]

Circa 1536 Henry VIII granted Chalke to Sir William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. In 1560 Queen Elizabeth I granted Reddish House and farm to William Reddiche who already owned several properties in the village as a 'Free tenant' of the Earl of Pembroke in Wilton.[22][26]

The wills of William King (1545) and John Penny (1555) record the village name as Brood Chalke, whilst the Earl of Pembroke surveys of 1567 and 1590 list it as Brodechalke and Broadchalke.[22]

17th century[edit]

In 1605 the will of Michael Angod spelled the village name as Broadchalk. By 1631 the Earl of Pembroke's survey used the modern form of Broad Chalke, as did the will of John Farrent in 1699. However, the 1671 Dissenters Meeting House Certificates used Broadcholk (They were Dissenters after all).[22]

By 1608 the Pembroke estate had also acquired the manors of Knighton and Stoke Farthing.[22]

18th century[edit]

The spelling of Broad Chalke continued to vary, in 1778 the will of Elizabeth Fifield spelled it as Broadchalk, whilst the 1784 will of Richard Follit used Broad Chalk.[22]

19th century[edit]

Chalke was a comparatively large, disconnected estate that was divided into the two ecclesiastical parishes of Broad Chalk and Bowerchalke in 1880.[25]

The spelling of Broad Chalke continued to vary, in 1804 the will of Josiah Gould spelled it as Broad Chalke, whilst the 1830 will of Colt Hoare used Broad Chalk.[22]

20th century[edit]

In 1919 the Pembroke family started to sell the individual farms.[27]

The spelling of Broad Chalke continued to vary, the Ordnance Survey maps and village road signs spelled it as Broad Chalke, whilst the Electoral Register used Broadchalke.[22]

Notable people[edit]


External links[edit]