by A. F. (Arthur Farquarson), 1881 – An extract “HISTORY OF ROADHILL“
ROAD HILL, in the County of Wilts, is a district chapelry of the extensive parish of North Bradley, formed according to the Act 69 Geo. III. Sec. 16, and embraces the third and more distant of the three parts into which the parish is naturally divided by the grouping of the population, viz, North Bradley, (or the part near the Church,) Southwick, and Roadhill.
The adjoining parish of Road, in Somersetshire, gives the name to the district, the greater part of which, together with the Church, Vicarage, and School, being situated on the slope of the hill leading down into the village of Road, and known as Roadhill.
The Boundaries of the district, as determined by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners April 15th 1852, are as follow:-
“The Boundary of the said District Chapelry follows a line drawn up the centre of Chancefield Road, from a point at the South end thereof, at its junction with Poplar Lane, and proceeds up the middle of such road to the North end thereof, where it enters the road called Hogginton Road, up the middle of which latter road it then proceeds in a westerly direction to the Turnpike Road leading from Frome and Beckington to Bradford, and continuing Northward along the middle of such turnpike road, as far as the boundary of North Bradley Parish against the Parish of Wingfield; the district Chapelry is then bounded on the North by the said parish of Wingfield: on the West by the Parishes of Tellisford, and Road, and on the South, by the other part of the said parish of Road which said district chapelry is more particularly delineated on the map hereunto annexed, and is thereon coloured buff.”
The Chapelry is situated in the Hundred of Whorwelsdown, and in the 8th division of the county, as established at the Quarter Sessions in 1880.
The total acreage exclusive of roads is 515 acres 2 roods and 17 perches, and this is divided as follows:
the remainder being made up by houses, gardens, and waste.
At present there are no ancient remains of any kind existing; but within the memory of persons still living, there was an earth-work extending from the site of Roadhill (now Langham) House, to the brow of Mogg-hill. When Langham House was built, the main sewer was laid in this earthwork, which was then levelled, and filled up with the earth which came from the cellars and foundations.
There were also some barrows near the same spot: and the ancient and curious farm house just below, is still known as the “Barrow Farm”.
Adjoining Langham House, and sloping towards the Bridge is a field called “Lanthorn Tun Meadow”. And to account for such a singular name, there are two traditions, one, that a beacon was lighted there on dark nights to guide travellers to the ford across the river ; the other, that the field was so named from the “lanthorn” chimney of one of the houses, which formerly stood where the present mansion now is; and of which “lanthorn” chimneys, good specimens may still be seen in the parishes of Norton St. Philip, and Kilmersdown.
The ancient Manor of Langham, includes nearly the whole of the District; indeed the only part beyond the manor comprises the few fields numbered 219, 220, 221, 238, 289, 240, 241, on the Parish Map.
The Rev. Canon Jackson, of Leigh Delamere, has kindly furnished the following account of the Manor of Langham.
“Langham was anciently spelled Langenham. In 1316 it belonged, together with another manor at Rode, to Lawrence de St. Maur, or Seymour, whose name still survives at Seymour’s Court. About 1480 it passed, by marriage of the heiress of St. Maur, to William Zouche, fifth Baron of Harringworth.
The Estates of Edward St. Maur, Lord Zouche and Cantelupe at “Rode and Langenham”, belonged in 1581 to Sir Walter Hungerford, of Farleigh Castle. Mr. Hungerford paid for Langham Mill a quit-rent of 6s. 8d. a year to ,the Crown, formerly paid to the Abbess of Romsey, as of her Manor of Steeple Ashton.
In 1687 the manors of Langenham and Rode were sold with the rest of the Hungerford Estates, to Henry Baynton, Esq. A few years afterwards Langham Mill and some land about it, were sold by Baynton, to John George, alias Edwards, of Worton, in the Parish of Potterne.
In 1789 the mill and lands were bought by Joseph Houlton, Esq., of Farleigh, and by his descendants, were disposed of to the late Mr. T. W. Ledyard, about the year 1821.”
The rest of the Langham property had previously passed into the hands of the Ledyard family, by exchange with Mr. Houlton.
The next considerable property belongs to Edmund Lewis Clutterbuck, Esquire, of Hardenhuish, Wilts, and is called the Vaggs Hill Farm.
The farm house at Vaggs Hill, bears on one of its chimneys the following initials, and date; P.1615.E; and about the middle of the back of the house, there is a semi-circular projection, from the foundation to the roof, to contain the stair-case.
At the time of the enclosure of the Commons in 1792, part of the present Vaggs Hill Estate was in the possession of Edward Andrews, Esq., John Moger, and John Edwards, from whom the Clutterbuck family seem to have purchased it, and added it to the farm.
The family of Pooll also own property in the district, both near Road Bridge, and near the Parish of Wingfield.
Samuel Lloyd Harford, Esq., possessed in 1792 the land on which the house called Dillybrook now stands, and which house was built early in this century by Mr. Tovey, a shopkeeper and clothier, of Road, having had his house near Road Church destroyed by a fire.
The family of Whittaker also possessed property in the district, which has now passed into the hands of the families of Pooll, and Ledyard.
There are also many other owners of small properties in the district.
The registers only date back to the consecration of the Church in 1824, and the first entry records the baptism, on the day of consecration, September 2nd, of a child of Lieut. Colonel Daubeny, son-in-law to the Venerable Archdeacon Daubeny, the founder of the Church. The baptism was solemnized by the Bishop of Salisbury, (Fisher). The entry is in the handwriting of the Arch-deacon.
The register of burials begins with that of the Archdeacon himself, who was buried within the Church, on the 20th July, 1827; he having died on the 10th of that month, at the age of 82.
The next entry records the re-interment of the remains of the .Archdeacon’s wife, which were removed .from the Abbey Church, Bath, on the day of her husband’s burial.
From the day of consecration of the Church, (September 2nd 1824), the register of baptisms has gone regularly on; but that of burials has no further entry till the year 1887, when a son of a former Incumbent, the Rev. G. R. Orchard, was buried. There is no entry again till 1840, when another son of Mr. Orchard was interred.
The next entry is in 1850, from which period burials have regularly taken place in the churchyard, previously the only burials having been within the Church.
Marriages have only been solemnized since 1852, on the formation of the district.
The various entries in the register books were evidently made when the events which they record took place; and are far better, and more clearly written, than is usually the case.
At the time of tbe Census (March 1851), the population of the District was 430: but at the present time it is rather less.
The number of inhabited houses in June 1858 was 78, and of those that were vacant 12, making a total of 90.
The Census of 1861:
Inhabited. Uninhabited. Building. Males. Females. Persons.
98 21 — 202 209 411
The Census of 1871:
Inhabited. Uninhabited. Building. Males. Females. Persons.
94 12 — 169 197 866
Those houses inhabited by the labouring population, are, generally speaking, good; but many of them would be much improved by the addition of a garden; but being in many cases arranged in the manner of a street, this is impossible. The rent ranges from 1s. to 2s. per week.
The population in former times was much larger than at present, on account of the amount of business then carried on in the clothing trade, and consequently many houses have been taken down.
The registers are of such a recent date, that they are of little use in forming any statistical statements with respect to fluctuations of the population, or the ages at which marriages have taken place.
The district is now drained and exceedingly healthy, and many instances of longevity prevail.
The proportion of deaths per cent (as far aa the Register is a guide) has been about 1½ per cent per annum.
The agriculture of the district is much the same as is generally found where the soil has a substratum of clay, not so perfect perhaps as where it is easier to work. The land, where properly cultivated, produces excellent wheat crops, but less is adapted to the growing of potatoes. The pastures are very rich.
The land is pretty equally divided into arable and pasture: the arable amounting to about 280, and the pasture to 200 acres.
No land appears to have been broken up since the Tythe Commutation Act, indeed the contrary appears to be the case; as several fields once under the plough, are now pasture.
The greater part of the district is absorbed by the two farms of Langham, and Vaggs Hill; the other holdings being of a much smaller area.
The land belonging to these farms, lies pretty well together; though a deep valley, which runs through both of them, renders access to some of the fields rather difficult.
The dairies are not underlet, and are more productive of cheese, than butter. The price of the cheese made in the district at the present date, is about £3 10s. 0d. per cwt., and the butter 1s. 8d, per pound. The cows are almost entirely of the improved short-horn breed.
There was until lately a large one held on the Monday after “Road Revel Sunday” (Sunday on or after the 9th September), in the field called Blundersleigh, for the sale of cheese, and as a pleasure fair. But Frome has now become the great cheese mart of the District.
There was a very large amount of unenclosed land on the borders of what is now the district of Roadhill, which land was enclosed in the year 1792, and the old fence, which divided the cultivated land from the Common, may still be traced.
A few of the inhabitants of the district are employed at a dye-house in the adjoining parish of Road: but the. bulk of the people are now engaged in farm labour, and such trades as are usually found in villages, namely, shoe-makers, tailors, carpenters, &c.
Those who leave the place in search of employment, seem to hold similar views with Whittington of old, seeking in London that prosperity which they fancy cannot be found at home.
As the district is not divided from the rest of the parish, except in matters ecclesiastical, such subjects as the Tythe Commutation, various rates, and local burdens, belong rather to the history of the parish than of the district.
The chief roads in the district, are the two main ones, meeting at the top of Roadhill, one leading from Bradford through Wingfield, and the other from Wolverton over Road Bridge: both were portions of the Trowbridge Trust.
The roads were much altered at the time of the enclosure of the commons: the one from Road to Bradford formerly passed through the field now called Blundersleigh, and crossing the present highway, entered the field called the Cabbage Garden, and passed under the West hedge, beneath a large forked oak tree still standing, and thence by an Inn, called the “Green Man,” or “Fives Court”, now burnt down, and thence on, into the present Bradford Road lower down.
An old road, ;now little used except for farming purposes, enters the district at Tellisford Bridge, and passing Vaggs Hill Farm leads on to Southwick. It was once much travelled by pack horses, and on the Tellisford side of the Bridge, the old paved road down the hill still, in part, remains.
This one seems to have led from Bristol, through Combe Hay, Wellow, Norton St. Philip, Tellisford, North Bradley, and Edington, to the Downs, and so to Salisbury. It is still occasionally used by drovers, for the advantage of the grass by its sides.
The Church is called Christ Church, and owes its erection to the exertions of the late Rev. Charles Daubeny, LL.D. Archdeacon of Sarum, and Vicar of the parish.
In the memoir prefixed to Daubeny’s “Guide to the Church” the erection of the fabric is thus spoken of:
“The great extent and length pf the parish of North Bradley, had always been regretted by the Archdeacon. The parishioners residing at Southwick and Road were nearly 4 miles from the parish church, which precluded the possibility of their attendance at his ministry, or of their deriving proper advantage from his pastoral care. In the fall of 1821, a proposal was made to him, on the part of some of the most respectable parishioners of Road, to erect a church at the extremity of the Parish, where the population was very numerous. The Archdeacon entered with his usual energy into a proposal so consonant with his feelings. The Warden and Fellows of Winchester College, the present Archbishop of Canterbury, Bishops Barrington, Tomlin and Fisher, with other friends to the Establishment, subscribed liberally to the undertaking, and the plans of the church were all drawn, when the Archdeacon was seized with fever, which ” for some time threatened his life.
“His illness does not seem to have long impeded the scheme of building the church, for in his diary we find the following, June 25th 1822: Laid the foundation stone of the new church at Roadhill. God be praised.
“A large company of clergy, and laity attended, upwards of fifty persons dined at the Vicarage, and as many more at Mr. Ledyard’s. Mrs. Ledyard laid the first stone: the day was fine, and every thing went off well.
“The work of building was continued till the 2nd of September, 1824, when the new church was consecrated by the Bishop of
“Salisbury: and the following notice of the fact occurs in the Archdeacon’s diary: “A glorious day but very hot — escorted the Bishop and his family to the new church.”
The Architect of the church was Mr. Henry Gooderidge, of Bath.
The following account of the consecration is quoted from “The Living and the Dead”, by General Daubeny, in his memoir of the Archdeacon:
“To this hour I remember the effect—and I question whether aught but the chilling approach of death will efface it from my recollection, which the Archdeacon’s air and manner produced upon me the last time I saw him officiate. It was at the consecration of his church at Roadhill. I call it his church because to his influence, his exertions, to his judicious and unbounded liberality, it owes its existence; because it was embellished by taste, and completed under his constant and unwearied superintendence.”
The same writer says:
“The Church is a perfect picture, built to the most beautiful style of Gothic Architecture, on the summit of a hill, in the midst of the most enchanting landscape, looking down with an air of protection upon the hamlet that is scattered at irregular intervals below it, and completely isolated from every other object; it forms a feature on which the eye of the most fastidious critic may repose with transport.”
The account which General Daubeny gives of the expenses of the building is as follows: “Including the vicarage house, subsequently built, and various unexpected expenses, the cost was about 12,600; of which rather more than £8,000 were contributed by subscription, Queen Anne’s Bounty Office, the Church Building Society, and the rest by the Vicar.”
The stables and yard, however, not belonging to the living, they were purchased in 1851-52 out of the Parliamentary Grant and the garden likewise was attached to the living, the Incumbent for ever paying .£3 per annum to the Fund for keeping the church in repair.
The position of the church is admirable, the greater portion of the population being within a quarter of a mile of it.
To those who have imbibed the fashionable ideas of church architecture originated by the late Mr. Pugin, and who therefore expect to find in a recently erected fabric, an imitation of all the additions, and alterations, which lapse of years may in many cases have produced, this church may afford but disappointment; yet to those who regard perfect adaptation to its intended purpose, excellent materials, and workmanship, and considerable beauty of design, it will be a source of pleasure; and is universally admired, except by those, to whom some slight departure from the fashionable standard, presents an insurmountable. obstacle to approbation.
The form of the church is a parallelogram, in length 78 feet 8 inches, in breadth 42 feet 8 inches. It does not stand correctly East and West, but rather E by S and W by N. This measurement is made in the interior.
There are two towers with spires, at the west end, one of which contains the bell, and the other the staircase.
The church has four doors, a large double door in .the west end, two smaller ones at each end of the south side, and a small door into the vestry on the north.
Externally, there is no appearance of a chancel, but this is not the case in the interior, as at the east end the church is contracted by a vestry on the north, and by the entrance, formed by an internal porch, on the south. The building is open from end to end, the loft in which the organ was placed being supported on open arches. The organ was removed into the church, in 1876, by the Rev. W. H. R. Brickmann, vicar.
The seats run in blocks, the whole length of the building, with a broad paved pathway between them. The first five rows from the communion rails are distinguished from the rest by being more ornamented, and enclosed by low doors: these are appropriated, and all the rest are free.
The whole number of sittings is 700, of which 550 are open to all. Those who choose to pay for sittings, are charged a rent of 5s. per annum, per seat; these seats are let by the Incumbent, who renders an account of the proceeds to the trustees of the church.
The only monuments in the church are erected to various members of the Daubeny family, and that of the Rev. Q. R. Orchard, a former Incumbent.
Archdeacon Daubeny’s monument stands at the south side of the chancel; it is formed of Bath stone, and represents the Lord’s Table with a roll of a book—the Holy Bible, and a chalice upon it: on either side stands a female figure the size of life; one representing Faith, the other Charity.
Beneath the Daubeny arms, is a black marble tablet with the following inscription:
Sacred to the memory of The Reverend Charles Daubeny, LL.D. Archdeacon of Sarum, Fellow of St. Mary’s College, Winchester, and 52 years Vicar of North Bradley and Southwick, descended from Giles Lord Daubeny, K.G. whose noble ancestor accompanied the Norman Conqueror.
He was still more worthily distinguished by his talents, accomplishments and literary labours, and also by his extensive charitable donations. As author of “A guide to the Church”, he will be remembered with respect and gratitude, by every sincere friend of our Protestant church.
He was the projector and founder of Christ Church in Bath, the first free church ever erected in the kingdom; and likewise of this church and glebe.
Simplicity of heart, and unshaken integrity of mind, were his distinguishing characteristics. To these were joined a native kindness and benevolence of feeling. His piety was of that exalted kind which governs every action, softens even sorrow, and sheds that true peace which no earthly blessings can bestow. His habits of temperance from his earliest youth, were graciously rewarded by the full enjoyment of mental and bodily vigour in old age. He delivered a charge to the clergy, and a sermon to his flock, in this church, within the last week of his life, which terminated on the 10th of July 1827, in the 83rd year of his age, after a very few hours’ illness, releasing him from his labours in the vineyard (we may piously hope) to receive his reward in heaven.
“The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with one in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.” Malachi, 2nd chap. 6th verse.
The remains of his most beloved wife, exhumated from the cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, in Bath were re-interred on the same day, and in the same tomb with her husband, beneath the Chancel of this Church. “They were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided.” 2. Sam: 1 Chap: 23 Ver.
This tribute to their memory was erected by Lieut.-Col. Daúbeny, and Elizabeth his wife, eldest daughter of the deceased.
On the opposite wall of the chancel are two white marble panels, with inscriptions to the memory of various members of the Daubeny family, amongst which is one to General Daubeny, or, as his branch of the family spell the name, Daubeney.
On the north wall of the church is a tablet in excellent taste, to the memory of the late Rev. George Randall Orchard, 25 years vicar of Roadhill, and to two of his sons.
There are three brasses in the stone floor of the middle aisle two recording the deaths of the Archdeacon, his wife, and grandson and the other that of Mr. Orchard and his children.
On a large board affixed to the north wall of the church, near the vestry door, is the following account of the charities of the pansh:—
The Rev. Charles Daubeny, D.C.L., Archdeacon of Sarum, and 52 years vicar of North Bradley, gave the following :—
1798—The Parish Church, and chancel were repaired throughout, the east end rebuilt, nearly the whole of the vicarage house built, and the premises greatly enlarged.
1810—The Asylum was built and endowed, £3000.
1814—The Rectory was converted into a residence for the curate, and nearly rebuilt.
1817—The Vicar’s poor-house was built, which, including the purchase of the ground, cost upwards of £800.
1824—This Church, called “Christ Church”, built and endowed, and the minister’s manse erected, which, exclusive of the sum subscribed generally, cost the Vicar upwards of £4,600.
1827—By his will bequeathed £2,000 Consols, half the dividend to be applied to the further support of the Asylum.
£10 per annum towards the repairs of this church.
£10 per annum towards the support of the school of this church
£10 per annum for the relief of such dwellers in the parish of North Bradley who shall regularly attend divine service in this church.
On the Vestry wall is another board with this inscription:
“The Church called “Christ Church”, in the parish of North Bradley was erected in the year 1824, and consecrated by the Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Sarum, on the 2nd day of September, 1824. It contains sittings for seven hundred persons, and in consequence of a grant from the Society for Promoting the Enlargement and Building of Churches and Chapels, five hundred and thirty of that number are hereby declared to be free and unappropriated for ever.”
CHARLES DAUBENY, LL.D., Archdeacon of Sarum and Vicar of North Bradley,
SAMUEL JEFFRIES, Churchwardens.”
The only stained glass is in the East window, but there is nothing remarkable in the design.
The Holy Table is of stone, and raised by steps above the rest of the chancel.
The Communion plate consists of a chalice, flagon, plate, and two patens, the whole of which are plated. The author of the “Living and the Dead”, says that the Archdeacon, being dangerously ill, “calmly and steadily betook himself to settle his affairs, and especially every particular relating to his church; ‘let the Communion vessels’, said he to his old friend, Mr. Hey, ‘be plated. I have always condemned those who have placed unnecessary temptations in the path of their fellow mortals, and I am anxious that the last act of my life should hold out to others no inducement to sin.” His life, however, was spared some years longer, and no doubt the donor of the plate, (Joshua Watson, Esq., his nephew) was well acquainted with his uncle’s wishes.
The font was placed in a small baptistry at the bottom of the south tower, and was entirely cut off from the body of the church, and out of view of the congregation. It consists of a white marble basin about 16 inches wide by 7 deep, set on a handsome Bath stone shaft, containing a pipe to carry away the water. It was removed into the church, near the West door, fixed, drained, and an oak cover made in 1875, by the Rev. W. H. R. Brickmann, vicar. Stone steps were also placed round it.
The bell weighs about one ton; at least it is said to have been a good load for the horse which drew it from Bath. It bears the following inscription : “DONUM MARTINI S. SMITH, RECTOR DE FLADBUBY IN COM: VIGORN: 1823. J. RUDHALL, FECIT.”
The tower in which the bell hangs is provided with an arrangement of questionable utility, to counteract the vibration caused by ringing the bell, viz., a ponderous stone hung from the highest interior point of the spire by an iron rod and chain. The organ made by Flight and Robson, formerly belonged to the late Duke of York, stood in the gallery, and was fitted with barrels, to be used in the absence of the organist. These were removed, when the organ was taken from the gallery, and thoroughly repaired, and improved.
The churchyard is small, never having been intended for interment. It is fenced by a dwarf wall on the North and East, and by hedges on the South and West.
The expense of keeping the church in repair, and of conducting the services is defrayed by the £10 per annum left for that purpose—the pew rents, and .£5 per annum paid by the Incumbent. The whole expenses, for last six years, before 1858, averaged £10 per annum, they now reach £36.
The services in the church, are as follows :—Full service twice every Sunday, Christmas Day and Good Friday; one on Ash Wednesday, and on every Friday during Lent. Services now always at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., the church being well lighted by lamps. Holy communion twice a month, and on all festivals. The services are well attended, and the communicants are numerous.
In 1877 a lectern was presented to the church by Mrs. Brickmann. The pulpit was removed to the North side, a new prayer desk, and Priest’s Desk erected, texts painted on the walls, dado and corbels painted; an oak alms box was also given by Mrs. Brickmann. In 1878 the reredos and chancel, which were all stone colour, were repaired, and coloured; and new altar cloths (1) purple velvet (2) red cloth, placed in the church.
LIST OF INCUMBENTS.
1824—1825 EDWARD WILTON, M.A., resigned.
1825—1850 GEORGE RANDALL ORCHARD, died.
1850—1874 EDWARD PEACOCK, J.P., resigned.
1875——— W. H. R. BRICKMANN, who is the present Vicar.
The school was built by subscription in the year 1884, and received a grant from the National Society. It is now under Government inspection, being conducted by a mistress and one pupil teacher. Now there is a mistress, paid monitor, and pupil teacher.
The average attendance on week-days is about 60, and on Sundays 75. The lending library is partly made up by a grant from the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, and partly by books purchased from time to time from the list of the above Society, and numbers over 250 volumes.
The Wiltshire Friendly Society has a branch in the district, numbering about 20 members, and some of the inhabitants belong to other Clubs in the adjoining villages. There is a Clothing Club for the children who attend the school, and at Christmas coals are usually given away to the poor. The charitable bequest of the late Archdeacon Daubeny has already been mentioned, and it is distributed at the discretion of the Incumbent. There is also a good Blanket Charity managed at the Vicarage.
The greater part of the district is considerably elevated ; probably nearly on a level with the Mendip Hills; but the west side it elopes very abruptly down to the river Frome, and the greater part of the population reside on the low ground about the brook which divides the counties of Wilts and Somerset.
In the field called Birchenleaze, behind the Vicarage House, the view is most extensive and beautiful, embracing the churches of Studley, Steeple Ashton, West Ashton, Heywood and North Bradley to the East; Tellisford to the West; Monckton Farleigh clump to the North ; Orchardleigh to the South, as well as the high ground about Bromham, Roundway and Chippenham.
The soil is mostly a stiff loam, but in parts stone is found and quarried, and though occasionally used for building, more extensively for lime. The stone is of the Oolite formation, and in it has been found and recognised the following organic remains, and fossils viz:—Pholadomya Marchisonii, Isocardia minima, Terebratula obovata, Terebratula perovalis, Lutraria decartata, Rynconella concinna, Avicula echinata, Lima cardiiformis, Nucleolites clunicularis, joints of Enchrinites, &c.
The River Frome, which rises near Bruton, forms the western boundary of the district, and there are two brooks crossing the district, one from Dillybrook to Langham, and the other dividing the counties of Wilts and Somerset, and falling into the river not far from Road bridge. The river Frome contains trout, perch, roach, dace, gudgeon, and minnows, and otters are occasionally seen.
The wells are of moderate depth, and the supply of good water is abundant.
Road Hill, in the last century, was somewhat celebrated for its medicinal waters.
One of the springs was just above the Vicarage, but it is now exhausted; the other was at the end of Lower, (or Frog) street, and what was formerly the pump room is still standing but occupied by a grocer’s shop. About the beginning of the present century an attempt having been made to increase the supply of water by deepening the well, a spring of ordinary water broke in, in such abundance, as entirely to destroy the medicinal spring.
In an old book called “Tbe Compleat Family Physician”, by Hugh Smithson, M.D., 1781, the water is thus spoken of:—‘ROAD, WILTSHIRE,—The water in this spring is Chalybeate, with a mixture of sulphur perceptible to the smell; it must be drank at the spring, and is prescribed for the same disorders as the Queen Camel water.” And on referring to the Queen Camel water he says: “It has been prescribed in scrophulous and scorbutic cases, and in diseases of the skin.”
The air may be considered as to a slight degree, moist, but fogs are seldom, or never seen. The climate is mild and genial, being sheltered by the high ground, from the North, and North East winds.
There is nothing to be remarked upon in the animal kingdom, but in the vegetable kingdom, the district is richer than many others.
The Genistella Tinctoria is found in the neighbourhood, and is known to the poor people by the name of Woad Wax. They collect it for the dyers, who buy it at 3s. per cwt; but some years since, the poor, who gathered it, could make as much as 6s. per cwt.
The elm flourishes throughout the district, and there are also some fine oaks, two or three of very great age; the oldest, stands in the Limekiln field, near the pathway leading to Langham. There is another standing in the hedge which divides the Birchenleaze from the Cabbage Garden, and is remarkable not only from its peculiar form, but also as showing where the road to Bradford once ran, and which, it then overhung.
In the old maps of the parish, there is a tree set down, called the Romsey Oak, so-called, no doubt, as marking the boundary of the ancient manor of Langham, which formerly belonged to the Abbess of Romsey; the tree, having fallen into decay, was, about 40 years since, set on fire, and destroyed by some wanton boys.
Fruit trees usually thrive well, but there is nothing, worthy of record, to be said about them.
AF states that:
“The ancient manor of Langham, includes nearly the whole of the District (of Roadhill); indeed the only part beyond the manor comprises the few fields numbered 219, 220, 221, 238, 239, 240, 241, on the Parish Map”
The 1792 Road Common Enclosure map shows that these fields were in the manor of Southwick. However it also shows that the fields numbered 100 to 104, 125, 146, 152, 153, 155 to 157, 161, 198 to 207 and 211 to 237 were originally part of the Common.