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.
West Wiltshire 1530-1680 by John Gaisford
In July 2007 we 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)
Like many PhD theses it contains some information and background detail that is not particularly 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 today, and certainly for A-level history students wanting to study 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.
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.
Souce:The Wiltshire Village Book, written by Michael Marshman and published by Countryside Books. Copyright: Philip Reed
Highwayman stone attacked 28th July 2005In 2005 the parish council had the stone renovated after it was accidentally damaged by a hedge-cutting machine. But a month after the restoration vandals have struck. The surface of the stone has been badly scratched and the word "think" has been chiselled out.
Although Dick Turpin never visited Wiltshire, Bulkington was one of the haunts of Poulshot-based highwayman Thomas Bolter, who had a horse called Black Bess. It is thought the stone showed mileage to London.
Dick Turpin's Memorial Stone
The Well at Bulkington
Until recently known as the Tipsy Toad, and renamed The Well at Bulkington in 2009, 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.
There are some interesting historical buildings in Bulkington.
An old thatched cottage
A tudor house
The Old Post Office
Historical Buildings Of Interest in Bulkington
As well as being surrounded by stunning scenery, Bulkington has some old and attractive buildings. Below you can see just a few of these - an old thatched cottage, a stunning Tudor brick-built house, and the Old Post Office. All are located close to the village green in the centre of the village.
Education in Bulkington
A day school started in Bulkington in 1827. There were eleven pupils and their education was paid for by their parents. In 1859 twenty children were being taught by an elderly woman in her cottage. Warburton's Census of Wiltshire Schools stated 'There is a new church building in this hamlet, and when it is completed it is to be hoped that attention will be turned to the school necessities of the place'.
Nothing was done, and in 1871 the possibility of sending the children to Keevil school was investigated. 21 children attended the Church of England school there, but places for 45 would be needed under the 1870 Act. Keevil residents were unwilling to contribute to a school large enough to include the Bulkington children. A School Board was suggested, and discussion continued until 1880, when it was finally decided to keep the children in their cottage school. At some point the authorities must have realised that there was room for both sets of children in the current Keevil building. By 1894 they were all attending the Keevil school, which had accommodation for 91 children. The average attendance was 68.
Today the children have the choice of attending Keevil or Seend Primary Schools.
This information was sent to us by Sally Bennett.
The Dairy Magazine September 1936.
This article tells the story of how the business came about. The Farm referred to is Lawn Farm. My mother (Sheila Rose 1929 – 1985) always said it wasn’t 100% true but they were all in the forces during WWI. My grandfather (George Herbert Rose 1893 – 1945) was wounded in the war and may well have been to Rouen as the town was a large clearing station for the wounded. Still, it’s a good story.
There are lots of family stories surrounding Ernest Rose (1889 – 1989). One was that he never actually went to France and his equipment was hidden on the farm under the hay! Another was that he had a ticket for the Titanic but didn’t make it as his train broke down. There may be some truth in him trying to go America/Canada as he fathered a child and the woman went to Medicine Hat in Canada. Apparently she was the Doctors daughter and it was all a big scandal.
2. The Dairy Magazine November 1936 – 2 pages.
This is about the London end of the operation – 103 Lancaster Rd, Notting Hill. The article refers to their farm in Somerset when it should have said Wiltshire. Apparently Ernest was very cross about that. This building is now a shop but I have visited a couple of times and you can still see some of the remains of the dairy in the ceiling and out the back. And apparently there is a well/borehole in the basement that is still known as ‘Roses Dairy’ on the council maps. I think it is a lovely art deco design. It was an OKA shop until recently but it now says ‘permanently closed’ on their website. The other photo is a sign on the outside of the building around the corner – it is now very faded. Rose’s for Better Milk
They also had a shop and small restaurant/café in Brooke St London (of the famous Brooke St bureau). All that has been demolished now. They also had outlets in Chiswick and Woolwich.
My mother also said they had the very 1st refrigerated milk tankers that enabled them to take the milk up to London for processing. In her diaries she refers to them always as ‘the tank’. Tuesday 6 January 1942 ‘Aunty Marge unexpectedly came by tank’. Aunty Marge lived just outside Reading (Woolhampton) on the A4 so was on the tanker route. She was a Hector from Trowbridge – another family with lots of tales! Her father Samuel hector was famous locally as a bell ringer and was landlord of The Swan in Trowbridge
3. The Milk Bottles.
I have three of these – I found them on eBay. They are generally found in old
London rubbish tips in Essex. I’ve put coloured water in it so it’s easier to see
the writing. They say ‘Rose’s Direct Milk Supply, 103 Lancaster Rd, W.II and branches’.
One has a serial number on it and the date 1933.