Sunday, February 19, 2012

The parish of Lydiard Tregoze

The ancient parish of Lydiard Tregoze appears on Victorian maps as a T shaped area to the north of the county, west of the smaller parish of Swindon.

Lydiard Tregoze probably never had a traditional village centre clustered around a central green. A village, or more likely, a collection of farmsteads, once existed in the Wick Farm area of the parish and a hollow way, the remains of a medieval high street, runs through Lydiard Park to the church indicating a steady stream of traffic. It is thought that the village was abandoned sometime during the 13th century, possibly as the result of the plague, and by the 17th and 18th centuries the main population of the parish had moved across to Hook Street.

There have been many different spellings of the name Lydiard Tregoze. It is possible that the name Lydiard was an Old English word Lydan-geard which translates as ‘Lyda’s girded or enclosed place.’ The parish nestled in the former ancient Royal Forest of Bradon, which covered an area of some forty miles. In 1222 King Henry III ordered a perambulation (a survey) of Bradon Forest and it was then estimated to measure 30,000 acres. Lydan-geard, the enclosed place, could possibly refer to a fenced-in part of Bradon Forest.

In the Domesday Book of 1086, Lydiard Tregoze is described as comprising 7 hides (an area one team of oxen could plough in a year, approximately 120 acres) and 7 ploughs. Three hides were in demesne or privately owned, the remaining four hides were farmed by tenant farmers. There were 40 acres of meadow, 30 acres of pasture and woodland measuring about three miles long by 1½ miles wide. Before 1066 the land was valued at £10 but by 1086 it was worth £6. The Domesday Book records that there were 8 villagers and 10 cottagers with 4 ploughs and that Alfred of Marlborough owned 3 slaves.

Following the Conquest the parish was known as Lydiard Ewyas or Ewias after the family who had taken possession during the great Norman land grab.

In 1084 the Blackgrove hundred comprised Swindon, Wroughton, Lydiard Tregoze, Wootton Bassett and Tockenham. The three royal hundreds of Blackgrove, Thornhill and Kingsbridge were grouped together for administration purposes by 1236 and by the 16th century were finally merged under the title of Kingsbridge.

In the 12th century the estate passed to the Tregoz family who took their name from a village called Troisgot in Normandy and by 1268 the area was known as Lydyerd Tregos.

The jewel in the crown was the Lydiard Park estate. In the 14th century the Grandison family owned the manor and then through a series of marriages it became the property of the St. John family.

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