Leigh Village

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Archaeology

Because Leigh’s farmland has not been exploited for gravel extraction little archaeological evidence of prehistoric, Roman or Saxon activity in the parish has been discovered.

The earliest records of people living at The Leigh date back to 1244. This time in history ties in with the construction of the original village church – now known as the Chancel.

The location of this church does not make sense when compared to today’s positioning of houses in the settlement. This would suggest the central hub of the Leigh in the later Medieval period was closer to Ashton Keynes than it is now. Studies would seem to back this up:

Earthworks suggest a complex of closes in the crook of Ashton Road opposite Grove Farm, and a fieldname, Black Piece, on a slight knoll to which several footpaths lead east of Upper Waterhay Farm, may also denote occupation.

Only a handful of old buildings remain within close proximity of The Chancel; the majority of buildings are now sat alongside the Malmesbury – Cricklade Road, and on Swan Lane.

Intermittent settlement had occurred along Forest Lane (the previous name for the B4040 Malmesbury Road) before 1769, and a row of houses called the Woodrow in 1671 may refer to buildings in this area.


The Chancel at dusk


Reference:

Italicised text: ‘A History of Wiltshire XVIII’ used with kind permission © University of London


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