Buttermere, Wiltshire

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St James's, Buttermere - geograph.org.uk - 243792.jpg
Church of St James
Location: 51°20’49"N, 1°30’40"W
Population: 49  (2011[1])
Post town: Marlborough
Postcode: SN8
Dialling code: 01488
Local Government
Council: Wiltshire

Buttermere is a small village and parish in eastern Wiltshire, adjacent to the borders with Berkshire and Hampshire. The village lies about 4½ miles south of Hungerford and 10 miles south-east of Marlborough. It stands above the steep escarpment of Ham Hill, and at 843 ft above sea level it is reputed to be the highest village in Wiltshire and probably the highest in Wessex.

The parish includes the hamlet of Henley, south-west of Buttermere village and next to the county border with Hampshire. Along with adjacent Ham, the parish is almost cut off from the rest of Wiltshire by Oxenwood - the long finger of Berkshire that protrudes into Wiltshire to the west.


The manor of Buttermere was recorded in the 9th century, and from the 11th was held by St Swithun's priory, Winchester. Henley's land was probably added to the parish in the 11th century, when it was also held by St Swithun's. The parish was part of Savernake forest until 1330.[2]

The population of the parish was steady at around 130 for the whole of the 19th century but declined in the 20th, reaching 39 in 1971.[1]

A small school was built near the rectory in 1872, and closed in 1944 when there were only nine pupils.[3]

Parish church

The Church of England parish church of St James is one of the smallest in Wiltshire.[4] There was a church here in the 13th century, and a watercolour by John Buckler in 1806 shows a simple building with a wooden west turret. In 1855-6 the church was rebuilt on the same footprint, using salvaged materials, with a small central spire.[5][6]

The church is in the ecclesiastical parish of Ham and Buttermere, which is part of the Savernake team ministry.[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Buttermere Census information". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. http://history.wiltshire.gov.uk/community/getcensus.php?id=49. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  2. Crowley, D.A., ed. "Victoria County History - Wiltshire - Vol 16 pp82-88 - Buttermere". University of London. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/wilts/vol16/pp82-88. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  3. "Parochial School, Buttermere". Wiltshire Council. http://history.wiltshire.gov.uk/community/getschool.php?id=1504. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  4. Pevsner, Nikolaus; Cherry, Bridget (revision) (1975) [1963]. Wiltshire. The Buildings of England (2nd ed.). Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. p. 154. ISBN 0-14-0710-26-4. 
  5. "Church of St.James, Buttermere". Wiltshire Council. http://history.wiltshire.gov.uk/community/getchurch.php?id=1571. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  6. National Heritage List 1365465: Church of St James
  7. "Ham & Buttermere". http://www.savernaketeam.org.uk/ham-and-shalbourne/ham-and-buttermere/index.html. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 

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