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Corsley Village from Cley Hill (geograph 2463107).jpg
Corsley from Cley Hill
Corsley is located in Wiltshire
Location within Wiltshire
Population681 (in 2011)[1]
OS grid referenceST828467
Civil parish
  • Corsley
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townWarminster
Postcode districtBA12
Dialling code01373
FireDorset and Wiltshire
AmbulanceSouth Western
UK Parliament
List of places
51°13′08″N 2°14′49″W / 51.219°N 2.247°W / 51.219; -2.247Coordinates: 51°13′08″N 2°14′49″W / 51.219°N 2.247°W / 51.219; -2.247

Corsley is a hamlet and civil parish 3 miles (5 km) west of Warminster in Wiltshire, England. The parish is on the county border with Somerset; the Somerset town of Frome is about 3 miles (5 km) to the northwest. The largest settlement in the parish is Corsley Heath, which is on the A362 Warminster-Frome road.

The parish has several small settlements. Lye's Green is between Corsley and Corsley Heath (not to be confused with Lye Green, in Westwood parish near Bradford on Avon). Lane End is west of Corsley Heath on the A362, while the small hamlet of Sturford is to the east. South of the main road are Dertfords, Longhedge, Whitbourne Moor (formerly Lower Whitbourne), Temple (formerly Middle Whitbourne) and Whitbourne Springs (formerly Upper Whitbourne).[2]

Much of the parish was originally part of the Longleat Estate and part of the Longleat Safari Park lies within the parish boundary. Cley Hill, owned by the National Trust, is in the east of the parish.


The Domesday Book says of Corsley "Azor holds one hide in Corselie... Here is ploughed land... and the mill pays 40 pence. And the wood is a furlong in length and half a furlong broad. It is worth 20 shillings."[3] In 1232, Henry III granted the manor of Corsley to Godfrey de Crawcumb, with the right to hold an annual fair on 20 July (the feast of St Margaret) and a weekly market on Fridays.[4]

By about 1250, there were four separate manors, Corsley, Little Corsley, Huntenhull, and Whitbourne.[5]

In 1544, after the monastery at Maiden Bradley had been dissolved, the manor of Whitbourne was sold and the chapel of St John there disappeared.[6] In 1579, Little Corsley was bought by Walter Hungerford of Farleigh Hungerford Castle. In 1539, the manor of Corsley was granted to Edward Seymour, who in 1547 leased it to his steward John Thynne.[7] In 1560 Thynne was himself granted the manor of Corsley; he built or rebuilt a house at Corsley, part of which survives as Manor Farm,[8] and lived there from 1563 to 1568 while rebuilding Longleat House.[9]

After the death of Thynne in 1580, his widow, known as Dame Dorothy, lived at Manor Farm as a dower house. At the same time, Sir Walter Raleigh, who was in disgrace, was living at a farm near St Margaret's parish church, Corsley. He and his brother Carew Raleigh used to visit Dame Dorothy, who married Carew Raleigh.[10]

Corsley House was built for the Barton family in 1814,[11] designed by the Bath architect John Pinch the elder as a Greek revival mansion around a previous house.[12]

Sturford Mead was built in 1820[13] by John Pinch in the Greek revival style for H.A. Fussell, a clothier and dyer from Frome. It was sold to the Longleat estate in 1854;[2] in the 1930s it was occupied by Henry Thynne, 6th Marquess of Bath, then Viscount Weymouth, and his first wife Daphne. The gardens were designed by Russell Page.

The boundaries of the civil parish were redrawn in 1934. The northern part (including Corsley Mill and Huntenhull) was transferred to the new parish of Chapmanslade, while in the south a portion of Longleat's park and woodland was transferred from Warminster to Corsley.[2]

A National School was built at Corsley in 1847 on land owned by Lord Bath, near the church. Children of all ages attended until 1931, when pupils over 11 transferred to the new Avenue Senior School at Warminster.[14] In 1944 the school became a Church of England aided school; it closed in 2007 owing to falling pupil numbers.[15] The building became a conference centre,[16] and was a temporary home for Frome's Steiner School from 2012 to 2014.[17]

Churches and chapels[edit]

There are two Church of England churches in the parish. Both are served by the Cley Hill team ministry.[18]

The parish church of St Margaret, Corsley, was built in 1833 by John Leachman on the site of an earlier church.[19]

St Mary's at Temple was built as a chapel of ease in 1899–1903, in Arts & Crafts Gothic style. Mary Barton (d. 1878) of Corsley House left money in her will to provide the church in memory of her husband and son.[20][21]

Wesleyan Methodists were active from 1769[2] and a chapel was built at Lane End in 1849, with a schoolroom added late in the century. The chapel closed in 1966 and is in residential use.[22]

The parish had a Baptist congregation by the 1780s, and a chapel was built at Temple in 1811.[23] Money to pay for the land and the building was raised by the preacher, Richard Parsons of Chapmanslade, who continued as pastor until his death in 1853. Around the middle of the century the chapel was enlarged, and its height increased; the interior was refurbished in 1882. As of 2016 the chapel remains in use as Whitbourne Baptist Chapel.[24]

Local government and MP[edit]

Corsley elects a parish council. Most local government services are provided by Wiltshire Council, which has its offices in nearby Trowbridge. The village is represented in Parliament by the MP for South West Wiltshire, Andrew Murrison and in Wiltshire Council by Fleur de Rhé-Philipe.


  1. ^ "Wiltshire Community History". Corsley Census Information. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d "Victoria County History – Wiltshire – Vol 8 – Corsley". British History Online. University of London. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  3. ^ Gough 1974, p. 9.
  4. ^ Gough 1974, p. 13.
  5. ^ Gough 1974, p. 11.
  6. ^ Gough 1974, pp. 14–15.
  7. ^ Gough 1974, p. 15.
  8. ^ Historic England. "Manor Farm (1285731)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  9. ^ Gough 1974, p. 18.
  10. ^ Gough 1974, pp. 18–19.
  11. ^ Historic England. "Corsley House (1285687)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  12. ^ "Corsley". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  13. ^ Historic England. "Sturford Mead (1194491)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  14. ^ "Church of England Primary School, Corsley". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  15. ^ "Corsley Church of England Primary School". EduBase. Department for Education. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  16. ^ "New conference centre born out of village school". This is Somerset. 15 January 2009. Retrieved 10 May 2016.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ "Frome Steiner School moves to its permanent site of 'learning and endeavour'". Frome Standard. 31 July 2014. Retrieved 10 May 2016.[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ "Corsley & Chapmanslade Churches". Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  19. ^ Historic England. "Church of St Margaret of Antioch, Corsley (1285744)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  20. ^ "Church of St. Mary, Corsley". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  21. ^ Historic England. "Church of St Mary (1180496)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  22. ^ "Methodist Chapel, Corsley". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  23. ^ "Baptist Chapel, Corsley". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  24. ^ "Whitbourne Baptist Chapel". Retrieved 10 May 2016.

External links[edit]

Media related to Corsley at Wikimedia Commons