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About Compton Chamberlayne

A picture for Compton-Chamberlayne-Information

Compton Chamberlayne is a small village in south Wiltshire, straddling the A30 road some 8 miles from Salisbury. It is bounded by the villages of Dinton and Baverstock to the north, Barford St Martin to the east, Fovant to the west and Broad Chalke to the south. On its southern border there is high chalk downland and on its northern border is the River Nadder. Most of the inhabited part of the village lies within a small wooded valley which lends credence to the origin of the name "Compton" - coombe tun, or 'settlement in a wooded valley'. The 'Chamberlayne' seems to have been attached when a Robert le Chamberlayne, or possibly Geoffrey le Chaumberlang, took possession of the village in the Middle Ages. The village has a small entry in the Domesday Book which shows that at that time the local manor had a mill, some pastureland, meadows and two woods.

St Michael's Church

The church of St Michael stands on a bank overlooking Compton House and a picturesque valley of woods and an artificial lake. The church was built at the end of the 13th Century in the Early English style, at the same time Salisbury Cathedral was being constructed some 10 miles away. The church has a peal of six bells and contains the Penruddocke family vault.

Compton House was from the mid-16th Century until 1930 the family seat of the Penruddocke family. Colonel John Penruddocke was a royalist who took part in a failed uprising against Oliver Cromwell, known as the Penruddock uprising. He was tried and executed in Exeter on 16 May, 1665.

During World War I there were thousands of Australian and Canadian troops encamped in the fields below the chalk downland before being shipped to France for combat. Compton Chamberlayne burial ground has about 20 graves of Australian soldiers who died, believed to be of influenza, during their transit through the local camp. There is still today a field called 'hospital', previously the site of the military medical facility. Nowadays the only tangible sign of the previous occupation is the outline of Australia carved in the surface of the chalk downs (510 03' 30"N, 10 56'W) to the south east of the village. The neighbouring village of Fovant however boasts an impressive display of army regimental badges carved into the chalk downs.

contact : Linda Shipley
Tel : 01722 716699
Email : linda.shipley@montecarlo.org.uk