Fonthill Gifford

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Fonthill Gifford
Fonthill Gifford Holy Trinity.JPG
Holy Trinity parish church
Fonthill Gifford is located in Wiltshire
Fonthill Gifford
Fonthill Gifford
 Fonthill Gifford shown within Wiltshire
Population 102 (in 2011)[1]
OS grid reference ST925320
Unitary authority Wiltshire
Ceremonial county Wiltshire
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Salisbury
Postcode district SP3
Dialling code 01747
Police Wiltshire
Fire Wiltshire
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament South West Wiltshire
List of places

Coordinates: 51°05′13″N 2°06′32″W / 51.087°N 2.109°W / 51.087; -2.109

Fonthill Gifford is a village in Wiltshire, England, to the north of the Nadder valley, 14 miles (23 km) west of Salisbury.

Population of the parish has fallen from 493 in the 1801 Census[2] to 102 in the 2011 Census.

Detail from Andrews’ and Dury’s Map of Wiltshire, 1773


The Church of England parish church of Holy Trinity was built in 1864–66 to designs by the Gothic Revival architect T.H. Wyatt[3] and is Grade II* listed.[4] It replaced a neoclassical church built in 1747–49 near the parish boundary where the Hindon – Tisbury and Fonthill Bishop – Semley roads cross. This in turn was a replacement of an older parish church that stood near the stream in the north-east quarter of the parish close to the now demolished Fonthill House (see map).

Fonthill House and Estate[edit]

An earlier house was damaged by fire in 1624 or 1625 and was bought by Lord Cottington in 1632, who by 1637 had finished restoring it,[2] and may have used the services of Inigo Jones.

Around 1715, Cottington put a classical facade on the house and removed the formal gardens. Between 1745 and 1753 William Beckford (later a Lord Mayor of London) re-aligned the estate making the main entrances to the north and the south. He added a five arched bridge over the lake, placed a folly on the high ground to the west of the house and demolished the old parish church.[2]

Fonthill House burnt down in 1755 and was replaced with a new one, Fonthill Splendens, built for Beckford to the south of the old one. The design of the house was initially based on Houghton Hall in Norfork. Those involved in the rebuilding project included Robert Adam, Sir John Soane and James Wyatt, Andrea Casali, J. F. Moon, Thomas Banks, and John Bacon the elder. This house was inherited in 1770 by Beckford's son, William Thomas Beckford, who extended the lake and built grottoes on the lakeside.

In the 1790s Beckford began to build Fonthill Abbey, on high ground a mile to the southwest, and he had parts of the house demolished to provide building material. The west portion of the house survived, becoming known as The Pavilion, and was bought around 1829 by James Morrison, the millionaire draper and railway investor. His second son, Alfred, added one storey and an Italianate tower. The house was demolished in 1921 except for the west service wing which was converted into cottages that were demolished in 1975.[2]

In 1904 a new house was designed by Detmar Blow for Hugh Morrison on land to the east in the parish of Chilmark; at first known as Little Ridge, it was enlarged in 1921 and became known as Fonthill House.[5] In 1972 it was replaced by a smaller house, still the seat of the Morrison family. As of 2013 the estate amounted to 9,000 acres (3,600 ha).[6]

Fonthill Abbey[edit]

Main article: Fonthill Abbey

Fonthill Abbey was an enormous mansion (between Fonthill Gifford and the nearby village of East Knoyle) in the style of a medieval abbey. Built by William Beckford between 1796 and 1813, the rest of the building was damaged by the collapse of the main tower in 1825. Only a gatehouse remains.


  1. ^ "Wiltshire Community History - Census". Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 3 February 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d Crowley 1987, pp. 155–169.
  3. ^ Pevsner & Cherry 1975, p. 246.
  4. ^ "List entry - Church of Holy Trinity, Fonthill Gifford". English Heritage. Retrieved 3 February 2015. 
  5. ^ "Victoria County History - Wiltshire - Chilmark". British History Online. University of London. Retrieved 3 February 2015. 
  6. ^ "Fonthill History". The Fonthill Estate. Retrieved 3 February 2015. 


External links[edit]