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Help and advice for Purton

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"PURTON, a parish in the hundred of Highworth, county Wilts, 6 miles N. W. of Swindon, its post town, and 4 N.E. of Wootton Bassett. It is a station on the Cheltenham branch of the Great Western railway. The village is situated on an eminence near the Wilts and Berks canal, and is chiefly agricultural. Red-street, in this parish, is the site of a battle between the royalists and parliamentarians. At a short distance from the village are traces of a double-ditched Danish camp. The parish includes the hamlet of Braydon, once a forest, but disafforested in the 5th of Charles II. The Cricklade union poorhouse is situated in this parish.


The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol, value £690. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a commodious structure with two towers, one of which is crowned with a lofty spire, and contains five bells. The interior of the church contains monuments to the families of Ashley Cooper and Maskelyne. The parochial charities produce about £97 per annum, of which £17 goes to Stephen's school. There is a National school for both sexes. The Independents and Primitive Methodists have each a place of worship. Dr. Maskelyne, the Astronomer Royal, was buried here in 1811."

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) - Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]

Purton is 3 miles N of Wootton Bassett, 3 miles NW of Swindon. Grid Ref SU094876. Population 1,778 in 1831, 2,678 in 1951.


Archives and Libraries



  • The Bulletin, A4 approx. 22 pages, Published twice per year. Articles and features on items of historical interest to the Purton area. October 2001 issue includes: Purton's war defences - the anti-tank ditch, Evacuated to Purton - memories of a wartime evacuee, History of the Purton Twinning Association.

  • Robbins, Alec - The Workhouses of the Wootton Bassett & Cricklade Union. Published 1992, A4 152p. ISBN 0 95171421X. Subjects: A history of the treatment of the poor in former days on Purton. The administration of the Poor Laws. The development of the Purton Alms Houses and the Workhouse. The Purton Charities.

  • Robbins, Alec - Records & Recollections of Purton & District. Published 1994, A4, 218p. ISBN 0 952484307. This book looks at the considerable changes of the 20th century upon the lives of the people of Purton and the neighbouring villages, thowing light on the social history of the villages of North Wiltshire.

  • Dixon, Rick - Purton's Past: 2nd Edition, in preparation for 2003/4. The 1st edition of this book covering the history of the village has been out of print for some years. A 2nd edition, much up-dated is in preparation. Subjects: Ringsbury Camp (c 50 BC), the Romans in Purton, Purton's Saxon cemetery, Purton in the Domesday Book, Medieval Purton, Edward Hyde 1st Earl of Clarendon, Anne Hyde and the House of Orange, Nevill Maskelyne and the Longitude story, the development of the modern village.


Church Records


Description and Travel

You can see pictures of Purton which are provided by:



Ask for a calculation of the distance from Purton to another place.

Click here for a list of nearby places.



  • Richard Carruthers is the On-line Parish Clerk for Purton - see the Wiltshire OPC site for more details.


Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Purton has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.



You can also see Family History Societies covering the nearby area, plotted on a map. This facility is being developed, and is awaiting societies to enter information about the places they cover.