This page is in the process of being revised Dark Ages to Domesday  The Salisbury Family  The Manor and the Village  Post Dissolution to 1700 The School  EARLY DAYS   The parish of Hinton Charterhouse lies on a plateau, much of it over 400ft above sea- level, sloping steeply to the north-west to the level of the Wellow Brook and to the East to the River Frome. When man and his animal contemporaries first arrived in this land, the slopes of the valleys would have been strewn with weathered boulders, the tougher remains of the Great Oolite which in far distant geological times stretched unbrokenly over the whole area. This would have all been drained by the infant tributaries of the primeval Avon. The Stoney Littleton Long Barrow which dates to the Neolithic period (2500-1800 BC) suggest the earliest occupation of the Hinton area. The Rev. John Skinner, antiquarian Rector of Camerton, who frequently walked and rode over the Hinton fields in the early years of the 19th century, recorded the existence of the remains of two similar barrows in the Wellow valley lying in Hinton parish. These, then known locally as Giants' Graves, can no longer be identified with any certainty. There is evidence too of occupation during the Bronze age (1800-500BC) with a number of barrows lying in the fields to the north of the village. Skinner also noted the existence of `celtic fields'. These traces of ridge and furrow have disappeared as a result of modern cultivation but may well have been visible in earlier days. Perhaps Skinner's greatest legacy to Hinton's local history is his numerous descriptions of a ditch and bank lying to the north east of the road to Freshford, and then known locally as The Bulwarks. He considered this to be a continuation of the Wansdyke. This now seems unlikely and it was generally felt by A.J. Wicks and others who contributed to the 1953 Village History that this feature had disappeared when the new Branch road was built. However it has now been rediscovered to the north of the road lying on private property and has as yet not been archaeologically surveyed. It may perhaps be either an early fortification or possibly a cattle enclosure similar to that discovered in Hayes Wood in Freshford parish. Recent archaeological work has made it clear that Hinton and the surrounding area were farmed from the Iron Age through the Roman occupation (44AD - 410AD) and beyond. A number of Roman/Romano- British sites have come to light in the parish over recent years. These villa farms in Hinton and the surrounding area would have found a ready market in Bath where religious and medical visitors would have needed a steady supply of food. THE DARK AGES TO DOMESDAY  Almost nothing is known about Hinton in the Saxon era - which at present still remains a `dark age'! As yet no Saxon Charter has come to light, however there are stories of Vikings raiding up the Frome while Alfred's defeat by Guthram at Chippenham, his escape to Athelney and subsequent victory at the battle of Edington in 878 AD, would have had local repercussions. A recent archaeological exploration behind the houses along the High Street confirmed that the area had been inhabited from early mediaeval times and the same may well be true for Green Lane. Human remains found some years previously, lying up to two metres below the present ground level, may suggest an even earlier date. It is not until 1086, when `Henton' is mentioned in Domesday Book, that there is a description of an existing settlement: Edward of Salisbury holds Henton from the King. Wulfwen held it at the time of King Edward: it paid tax for 10 hides. Land for 10 ploughs. In Lordship 3 ploughs; 9 slaves; 5 hides. 12 villagers and 15 smallholders with 6 ploughs...2 mills which pay 34s; meadow, 12 acres; woodland 1 league long and ½ league wide; in Bath 2 houses, one which pays 7 ½d & the other dwelling empty. 3 cobs; 40 cattle; 200 sheep; 90 pigs; 60 goats. [Value] formerly £10; now £12. At this date it was more valuable than Norton St. Philip, then only worth £7, and the herd of pigs is almost twice as big as any recorded in the surrounding villages. To the north of Hinton Priory lies Hog Wood, now much diminished by clearance over the centuries but perhaps one of the areas where the pigs were fed. There are a number of complaints in the 17th century surveys of the village concerning tenants illegally cutting down oaks. Were these descendants of the oaks that fed the pigs so long before? The area would certainly have been more wooded than it is now and even to-day there are still few venerable oak trees scattered over the fields. There is no mention of a church in Domesday but this is not unusual and there may have been a small Saxon Church. The south aisle of the Parish Church of St. John Baptist has distinctive Saxon stone work in its south west corner and the whole shape of the south aisle (without the porch) could well have been an early church
THE SALISBURY FAMILY Hinton's new owner was Edward d' Evereux, one of William the Conqueror's knights. As well as the relatively minor manors of Hinton and Norton he acquired large estates in Wiltshire and other counties. The family prospered and became Earls of Salisbury, serving Kings in wars and also administering large areas of the country on their behalf. The last in the line of Edward d'Evereux was Ela, Countess of Salisbury, a great heiress. As a child of about 10 or 11 she was married in the 1190's to the half-brother of King Richard and King John. This was William Longespee, a tough soldier and leader who spent much of his life in wars in France and along the Welsh borders. On his marriage he received the then vacant title of Earl of Salisbury. THE MANOR & THE VILLAGE  In the days of the Salisbury's ownership the Manor of Hinton would have had a Manor house - perhaps by this period used as a hunting lodge or lived in by a tenant. It is thought that this was somewhere on the site of the present Hinton House and later became the Carthusians' Grange farm and the centre of their farming activities in the parish. It remained the dominant farm in the neighbourhood until the 18th century. The site is near to the Church and it is reasonable to surmise that a Norman village would have grown up in the area. It is known that a fair was held by the church for a number of years before it was moved to Norton in 1345 - the Priory complaining of the noise. This part of the village, known as The Green, has probably decreased in size since early times. The present park on the east side of Hinton House shows many hillocks and dips but only a survey could confirm whether houses once stood there. Until 1826 there were still a few cottages on an old road which ran from the area of the Green near the church across in front of Hinton House to connect with an old road to Freshford, (replaced in the 1840's by the present Branch Road). Traditionally a village is thought to have once existed in Shepherd's Mead to the west of the High Street. Two interesting sites can be securely dated to the time of the Priory's lordship; the remains of one of these forms the front part of the Memorial Hall cottage. This was once the end of a hall house which would have stood parallel to the road and has been dated to the 15th century. The other was a substantial house that once stood at the far end of Shepherds' Mead near to the Wellow Lane. Ridge tiles and pottery associated with it were found during a field walk by Bath and Camerton Archaeological Society in the l990's and a photograph taken then showed its outline in the corn. Similar high-grade glazed tiles have been found on both sites and confirm that these would have been houses of relatively high status
VILLAGE HISTORY