Parish and People: A Wiltshire Hamlet

Mary Delorme takes the reader on a historical visit to Whaddon-in-Semington.

Whaddon-in-Semington, a tiny Wiltshire hamlet in the Melksham Hundred, has had a church since the twelfth century. In 1428 it was excused the Parish Tax, having less than ten households. Farming and cloth-making were the mainstay of the inhabitants, as usual in that part of the county.

Judging from the 1558 will of Henry Long, the population had grown considerably during the intervening years. Henry bought the manor from Andrew Baynton some years earlier, adding farming to his lucrative trade as a clothier (clothmaker). The extent of his business demanded many more employees than could emanate from ten households.

To his wife he left, ‘ewes, rams, cows, a bull, a plough of eight oxen, and all the corn that is out of the rekes.’ His eight children, plus a ninth as yet unborn, shared over a £1,000 in cash as well as lands and tenements. There was a small sum for each of his weavers, who probably all belonged to Whaddon as the fulling mill was there, having been included in the purchase from Baynton.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email if you have any problems.