The History of Bulkington
In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described the village as follows:
"BULKINGTON, a tything in Kevil parish, Wilts; 6 miles E of Trowbridge. Acres, 973. Pop., 240. Houses, 54"
The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5
described the village as; - Bulkington, a parish in Wilts, 6 miles E of Trowbridge. Post town, Devizes; money order office, Seend; telegraph office, Potterne. Acreage, 974; population, 172. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Salisbury; gross value, £74. There are the remains of an ancient bull ring in the village, where bull-baiting took place up to modern times. There is also remaining a fine pedestal of a large wayside cross. There is a Methodist chapel.
The Parish of Bulkington
and its surrounding land was part of the manorial estate of the Gaisford family from Keevil whose family name is recorded on the War Memorial erected by them after the Great War. The Gaisford Estate was sold in 1919 and bought by a consortium from the village. It was further dismantled and sold off at a later date. There were seven farms in the village at the time together with a bake-house and a shop, which closed circa 1993. The base of the Cross , prior to having a War Memorial placed on it, is rumoured to be a medieval market stand where produce and sheep were sold and quite possibly used for ‘the hiring’ of seasonal labour for the farms. The pond, which was situated near the Cross, was filled in in 1932-33 as it was deemed unsanitary and unsafe for the children, and a set of swings was erected.
The first church in the village
burnt down and the present one was built and consecrated in 1860. It remained in the parish of Keevil and Bulkington until 1971 when the church became part of Seend Parish. The vicar at the time paid nearly all the school expenses. The school remained until 1896, but it is unclear what
happened to the children until 1901 when six started at Keevil School. Most of today’s children still go to Keevil.
The village also supported a cobbler, a gravedigger and a garage which sold petrol and repaired farm machinery and cars until the late 1980’s. ‘Poplars Farm’, now replaced by houses had a flourishing dairy, which sent milk to London daily, even through the Blitz. They also made cheese, butter and cider, as there were several cider apple orchards in the locality.
Dick Turpin's Memorial Stone
This odd piece of stonework can be seen on the road to Keevil just east of Pantry Bridge as it crosses the Semington Brook. The inscription is badly eroded and only a few words can be made out but it is believed to have said:
'Dick Turpin's dead and gone
This stone's put here to think upon.'
The exact meaning of the words is unknown but may have been a warning to local youths who thought of becoming highwaymen.
:The Wiltshire Village Book
, written by Michael Marshman and published by Countryside Books
Copyright: Philip Reed
until recently known as the Tipsy Toad, but now called The Well at Bulkington, used to brew its own beer. It burnt down and was replaced by the current building around 1920. Before being known as The Tipsy Toad it was variously called ‘The Bell’ and even previously ‘The Well’. Owners Tim and Sam Taylor carried out a major refurbishment including a great new restaurant, and the Well Inn re-opened it’s doors in October 2009.
has recently added a brief history of Bulkington to its website. Read more here...
West Wiltshire 1530-1680 by John Gaisford
In July 2007 I was contacted by John Gaisford, at the time undertaking his PhD thesis on West Wiltshire 1530-1680 at London University and this finished work is now accessible on the website of Birkbeck College (University of London) at http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/143/
Like most PhD theses it contains a lot that of information and background detail that is not relevant to our community, but each chapter does have a short section on Bulkington, describing some of the families and how village society evolved from the Dissolution of the Monasteries to the reign of Charles II. These sections could be interesting for some villagers today, and certainly for any A-level history students wanting to do a project on the village. John Gaisford has very kindly given his permission to show the link to his thesis on our Bulkington website so that others can review and read his work.