The ancient name of White Cleeve (or "Clive" in the Domesday Book) refers to the chalk escarpment that crosses the parish. The ancient parish had five tithings: Clyffe Pypard, Broad Town, Bushton, Thornhill, and Woodhill (which included Bupton). In 1884, Broad Town and Thornhill were transferred to the newly created Broad Town civil parish.
A Free School was established at Thornhill, funded in 1782 by a bequest in the will of Thomas Spackman, a local carpenter who prospered at his trade in London. The parish church has a large sculpted memorial to Spackman who is portrayed with his tools. The school continued until 1875.
A National School was built at Clyffe Pypard in 1850, and in 1954 became a voluntary controlled school. Pupil numbers declined and the school closed in 1978, with its 24 children transferred to schools at Broad Town and Broad Hinton.
Bupton can be found in the southwest of the parish and its name appears to arise from land owner William Bubbe, since variations of the name include 'Bubbeton' and 'Great Bupton'. Bupton today consists of farms and farmland, but in the 14th century it was a medieval village with many more homes than today.
There was a small chapel and windmill at Woodhill in the 14th century. The name Woodhill derives from a corruption of 'woad', as the location is a 'hill where Woad grows' – woad being a plant which gave a blue dye for fabric. Woodhill Park is a Georgian country house built in the 18th century. Richard Pace added the southeast range in 1804. Northwest of the house is the site of the medieval village, including evidence of a moated manor house. The site is a scheduled ancient monument.
There has been a church at Clyffe Pypard since the 13th century. The present nave and west tower of the Church of England parish church are 15th-century. In 1860 the chancel and aisles were rebuilt to designs by William Butterfield, who oversaw further restoration for the Goddard family in 1873–74. The organ installed in 1873 is by Eustace Ingram. In 1955 the church was made Grade I listed.
Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, the German-born British scholar of history of art and, especially, of history of architecture, described St Peter's as "in a lovely position below a wooded stretch of the cliff". Pevsner and his wife are buried in the churchyard.
RAF Clyffe Pypard
The airfield opened in 1941 with grass runways about 1300 yards long and temporary accommodation under RAF Flying Training Command. It closed in 1947 but was used after this date by RAF Lyneham for accommodation and by the British Army for battle practice until 1961. The airfield is currently farmland with only a small number of buildings left standing.
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