St Michael's parish church
|Little Bedwyn shown within Wiltshire|
|Population||250 (in 2011)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Fire||Dorset and Wiltshire|
|EU Parliament||South West England|
Little Bedwyn (also spelt Little Bedwin, and sometimes called Bedwyn Parva) is a village and civil parish on the River Dun in Wiltshire, England, about 3 miles (4.8 km) south-west of the market town of Hungerford in neighbouring Berkshire. The parish includes the hamlet of Chisbury.
The Kennet and Avon Canal and the Reading to Taunton railway line follow the Dun and pass through the village. Little Bedwyn is served by Bedwyn railway station, which is about 1 mile (1.6 km) south-west of the village at Great Bedwyn.
About 0.62 miles (1 km) west of Little Bedwyn is Chisbury Camp, an Iron Age hillfort consisting of earthworks which enclose some 14 acres (5.7 ha). Within the camp is the former St Martin's chapel, a Decorated Gothic building of flint, now a farm building. Bedwyn Dyke, an early medieval fortification with similarities to the Wansdyke, stretches some 2.8km southeast from the hillfort.
Most of Little Bedwyn was part of a larger estate called Bedwyn which in the early Middle Ages was held by the kings of Wessex and of England. Anciently the whole parish was within Savernake Forest.
The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland of 1868 says of Little Bedwyn:
BEDWIN, (or Bedwyn, Little), a parish and village in the hundred of Kinwardstone, in the county of Wilts, 1 mile to the N.E. of Great Bedwyn. It was anciently a part of Great Bedwyn; but was made a separate parish at the beginning of the 15th century. It is situated on the Kennet and Avon canal, and includes the hamlets of Chisbury and Timbridge. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Salisbury, of the value of £280, in the patronage of the prebendary. The church, an ancient edifice, partly in the Norman style, is dedicated to St. Michael. Chisbury Camp is in this parish. Within the entrenchment are the remains of an old chapel, now converted into a barn. The Wansdyke passes through Little Bedwyn.
In the mid 19th century there was some uncertainty as to whether the parish included about 150 acres (61 ha) of Savernake Forest lying at the parish's western end, but by the 1880s it had been decided that the land was part of the parish. From then until 1987 the total size of the parish was 4,343 acres (1,758 ha). In 1987, an area of 120 acres (49 ha) was transferred to Great Bedwyn.
The population of the parish has fluctuated in recent centuries. Between 1801 and 1871 it rose from 428 to 579, but since then it has fallen gradually and in 2001 stood at 280.
The Church of England parish church of St. Michael at Little Bedwyn is at the north end of the village, on the bank of the River Dun. It had been built by 1158 and was originally a dependent chapelry of Great Bedwyn. The nave is of three bays. The tower may have been built in the latter part of the 13th century. The chancel and aisles were rebuilt about 1400 with Perpendicular Gothic windows. In the 15th century the tower was rebuilt, the spire was added and so was the porch. The north aisle roof dates from about 1500.
In 1841 the nave and chancel were re-roofed. In 1868 the vestry was added and St. Michael's was restored under the direction of the Gothic Revival architect T.H. Wyatt. The spire was dismantled and rebuilt in 1963 after being struck by lightning.
St. Michael's parish registers are in the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre and cover the years 1722-1857 (baptisms), 1722-1959 (marriages), and 1722-1919 (burials). The church is a Grade I listed building.
- "Wiltshire Community History - Census". Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
- Pevsner & Cherry, 1975, page 174
- Frank R. Heath, The Little Guides - WILTSHIRE (7th edition, 1949)
- Lennon, Ben (2010). "The relationship between Wansdyke and Bedwyn Dykes: a historiography". Wiltshire Archaeological & Natural History Magazine. 103: 269–288. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
- Crowley, 1999, pages 50-69
- The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
- Statutory Instruments 1987, no. 619: Kennet (Parishes) Order
- Population census figures at wiltshire.gov.uk
- Pevsner & Cherry, 1975, page 296
- Pevsner & Cherry, 1975, page 297
- Little Bedwin, Wiltshire, England, at genuki.org.uk
- Crowley, D.A. (ed.); Baggs, A.P.; Freeman, Jane; Smith, C.; Stevenson, Janet H.; Williamson, E. (1999). A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 16: Kinwardstone hundred. Victoria County History. pp. 50–69.
- Pevsner, Nikolaus; Cherry, Bridget (revision) (1975) . Wiltshire. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 174–175, 296–297. ISBN 0 14 071026 4.