East Knoyle

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East Knoyle
The Green - geograph.org.uk - 458205.jpg
Looking north towards the Fox and Hounds pub
East Knoyle is located in Wiltshire
East Knoyle
East Knoyle
East Knoyle shown within Wiltshire
Population 681 (in 2011)[1]
OS grid reference ST881305
Civil parish
  • East Knoyle
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Salisbury
Postcode district SP3
Dialling code 01747
Police Wiltshire
Fire Dorset and Wiltshire
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament
Website http://www.east-knoyle.co.uk
List of places
51°04′26″N 2°10′16″W / 51.074°N 2.171°W / 51.074; -2.171Coordinates: 51°04′26″N 2°10′16″W / 51.074°N 2.171°W / 51.074; -2.171

East Knoyle is a village and civil parish in Wiltshire, in the south west of England. The village lies just west of the A350 road about 9 miles (14 km) south of Warminster and 5 miles (8 km) north of Shaftesbury, Dorset. It is the birthplace of Sir Christopher Wren.

The parish includes the hamlets of Holloway, Milton, The Green, Underhill and Upton.


East Knoyle was part of the ancient Hundred of Downton.

Unusually for England, parish registers survive from 1538 and are kept in the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre.[2]

John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-1872) notes two tythings in East Knoyle: Milton and Upton.[3]

East Knoyle's population has risen and fallen in recent centuries, with a period of growth in the 19th century. In 1801 the population was 853, and by 1831 it had reached 1028, but in 1901 it was down again to 814. In 1951, the population was still at 821, but by 1971 it was only 699.[2][4]

The market town of Hindon was established in the northeast of East Knoyle parish in the early 13th century; Hindon became a separate civil parish in the later 19th century.[5] In 1885 the southern part of the former parish of Pertwood was added to East Knoyle.[6] Most of this portion was transferred to Chicklade parish in 1986.[7]

Primitive Methodists built a chapel, later called Ebenezer chapel, at The Green in 1843; this closed sometime before 1977.[5] Charles Jupe, a silk manufacturer of Mere, built a Congregational chapel and schoolroom in the village in 1854, replacing an earlier chapel.[8][9] By 1987 the church had fallen into disuse.[10]

The school next to the Congregational church became a British School.[5] A National School was built on land provided by Alfred Seymour, near the church, in 1872-3 to designs of George Aitchison Jnr, with windows in Moorish style.[11] The British School closed in 1881[5] and the remaining school continued in use until 1984 when it merged with the school at Hindon.[12]

The Warminster-Shaftesbury road ran through East Knoyle village.[13] In the 20th century this became part of the A350 primary route between the M4 motorway and the south coast, and took a straighter course to the east of the village.

Notable buildings[edit]

Parish church[edit]

St Mary's Church

The Church of England parish church of St Mary began before the 1066 conquest.[5] Pevsner described its chancel as "Norman in its bones" and wrote that its 17th-century plaster decoration, a "surprise and delight", "ought to be the purpose of a visit from every Wiltshire tourist".[14]

The church was extended in the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries, with a large tower added in the 15th. Plasterwork in the chancel, depicting biblical scenes, was designed by Dean Christopher Wren (father of prolific architect Sir Christopher Wren) c. 1639.[15] Five of the six bells are from the 18th century.[16] The building was further extended in the 19th century, along with restoration in 1845 by Wyatt and Brandon, and interior alterations in 1875-6 by Sir Arthur Blomfield.

The church was designated as Grade I listed in 1966.[15] Since 2008,[12] the parish has formed part of the benefice of St Bartholomew, a grouping of six parishes.[17]

St Mary's had a chapelry at Hindon from the 13th century. Hindon became a separate vicarage in 1869.[18]

Knoyle Place[edit]

Knoyle Place served as the rectory until the 1940s. A 14th-century range, rebuilt in the 17th, stands next to a larger five-bay 18th-century range faced with ashlar.[19]

Clouds House[edit]

Clouds House, a Grade II* listed country house northwest of East Knoyle village, was built in 1886-91 to designs of Philip Webb for Percy Wyndham[20] and is one of Webb's grandest designs. It is now occupied by the Action on Addiction charity as a treatment centre for drug and alcohol dependence.[21]


East Knoyle elects a consultative parish council, while Wiltshire Council have their offices in Trowbridge. The village is represented in Parliament by the member for South West Wiltshire, Andrew Murrison.

The village falls in the 'Nadder and East Knoyle' electoral ward. The ward stretches east-west starting at Burcombe Without and crossing to East Knoyle before stretching south to Donhead St Mary. The total ward population taken at the 2011 census was 4,257.[22]


East Knoyle has a village hall, between the church and the former school. It was created in 1908 by the Seymour family, using a 14th-century hall house for one part.[23]

The village has a community-owned shop and post office. There is a pub at The Green, the Fox and Hounds.

Notable people[edit]

The architect Sir Christopher Wren was born at East Knoyle on 20 October 1632.[24]

A branch of the Seymour family held land at East Knoyle, including three Members of Parliament: Henry (d. 1807), Henry (d. 1849) and Alfred (d. 1888). They had a 17th-century house, Knoyle House, east of the church and beside the Warminster-Shaftesbury road; the house was demolished in 1954.[5]

The author Joan Wyndham (1921–2007) was born in the village.

Further reading[edit]

  • Anthony Claydon, The Nature of Knoyle: East Knoyle, the people and the place (Hobnob Press, East Knoyle, 2002, 208 pp., ISBN 0-946418-13-6)


  1. ^ "East Knoyle Census Information". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  2. ^ a b East Knoyle, Wiltshire, England at genuki.org.uk
  3. ^ Descriptive gazetteer entries for East Knoyle at visionofbritain.org.uk
  4. ^ A vision of East Knoyle AP/CP at visionofbritain.org.uk
  5. ^ a b c d e f Baggs, A.P.; Freeman, Jane; Stevenson, Janet H (1980). Crowley, D.A., ed. "Victoria County History – Wiltshire – Vol 11 pp82-103 – Parishes: East Knoyle". British History Online. University of London. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  6. ^ "Victoria County History: Wiltshire: Vol 8 pp58-61 – Pertwood". British History Online. University of London. 1965. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  7. ^ Freeman, Jane; Stevenson, Janet H (1987). Crowley, D.A., ed. "Victoria County History: Wiltshire: Vol 13 pp105-114 – Chicklade". British History Online. University of London. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  8. ^ Historic England. "United Reform Church (1131149)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  9. ^ Historic England. "Manse and schoolroom at United Reform Church (1198256)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  10. ^ "No. 50843". The London Gazette. 25 February 1987. p. 2534.
  11. ^ Historic England. "Primary School (1131171)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  12. ^ a b "Parish Plan" (PDF). East Knoyle Parish Council. December 2008. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  13. ^ "Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 maps of Great Britain, sheet ST83". National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  14. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus; Cherry, Bridget (revision) (1975) [1963]. Wiltshire. The Buildings of England (2nd ed.). Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 231–2. ISBN 0-14-0710-26-4.
  15. ^ a b Historic England. "Church of St Mary (1131168)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  16. ^ "East Knoyle, St Mary". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  17. ^ "Benefice of St. Bartholomew". Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  18. ^ "No. 23509". The London Gazette. 22 June 1869. pp. 3544–3545.
  19. ^ Historic England. "Knoyle Place (1284124)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  20. ^ Historic England. "Clouds House (1131142)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  21. ^ "Clouds House". Action on Addiction. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  22. ^ "Nadder and East Knoyle ward 2011". Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  23. ^ Historic England. "Former Billiard Room at Village Hall (1284149)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  24. ^ 'Wren, Sir Christopher', in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004)

External links[edit]

Media related to East Knoyle at Wikimedia Commons