Kington Langley

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Kington Langley
St. Peters, Kington Langley - - 144266.jpg
St Peter's, Middle Common, Kington Langley
Grid reference: ST926770
Location: 51°29’31"N, 2°6’29"W
Population: 841  (2011)
Post town: Chippenham
Postcode: SN15
Dialling code: 01249
Local Government
Council: Wiltshire
North Wiltshire

Kington Langley is a village in Wiltshire about two miles north of Chippenham. The wider parish includes the hamlet of Bowldown.

This is an example of a 'squared' village with approaches from Chippenham, Swindon and Malmesbury. It has three greens; the largest is the Common, which is the focal point of the village.

The village is a mile and a half long, separated from Kington St. Michael (to the west) by the A350 road which links Chippenham with the M4 motorway and Malmesbury.


A settlement of 25 households at Langhelei was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1068, when the land was held by Glastonbury Abbey.[1]

Kington Langley was part of the parish of Kington St Michael until 1865.[2] The 'Kington' prefix serves to distinguish it from another nearby village, Langley Burrell. The hamlet was known as Langley Fitzurse in the Middle Ages, although other spellings such as Langeleghe (11th century), "Langley Fearne" (c.1513), "Langley Fernhill" (1660) have been used.[3]

The book Wiltshire Village, published by Collins in 1939 with text by Heather Tanner and illustrations by her husband Robin, is a thinly disguised description of local village life.


Great House, Kington Langley

The Greathouse, beside the B4069 road, was built in about 1690. In the 1699 marriage settlement of William Coleman and Elizabeth Hastings it is described as "All that capital messuage or tenement lately erected by William Coleman deceased (d. 1691) late Father of William Coleman".[4] It is a country house]] of nine bays]] and two storeys.[5] Between 1783 and 1832 Greathouse was leased to Isaac Salter and his son Simon Salter (1766–1832) and used as a clothing factory specialising in woollen goods.[4] The third generation, Simon Uncles Salter and his brother Isaac, moved to old Burton Hill House, near Malmesbury, and continued the manufacture of woollen goods at a new site near the bridge.[6]

Greathouse became a farmhouse, tenanted by Mr Anstey, and it was during this period (1875) that Kilvert visited, noting "the perishing remains of a fine old china cupboard with a shell porch corresponding to the shell porch of the house".[7] It was restored and extended between 1907 and 1913 for Charles Garnett, a stockbroker from London, who had moved from Vasterne House, Wootton Bassett. The architect was Douglas Stewart of London, and the contractors were James Long & Son of Bradford-on-Avon.[4] Greathouse Estate was sold in 1957 and in 1972 there was an auction of antique effects on behalf of Leonard Cheshire, who used the premises until 2018.

The house is a Grade II* listed building.[8]

The Manor

The Manor was formerly an Inn called The White Horse. It was converted to the Manor House by Walter Coleman (1778–1845) on his coming of age and inheritance of much of the land and cottages in the Tything of Kington Langley.[4] The house is a Grade II listed buiding.[9]

Fitzurse manor and farm

This manor was on the north side of Parkers Lane and is described by John Aubrey:- "In Langley is another little Mannour called Langley Fitzurse. The Hill that leades up to Langley from Kington, is to this day called Fitzurse-hill. The Estate is now Mr Bampfield Sidenham’s who bought it of the heirs of Ralph Hopton, 1st Baron Hopton. It is a very ancient-built howse with a great Hall, and moted about". There were vestiges of the moat remaining in the late 19th century, by which time the farm had been converted to Eli Holder's sawmills, on the Draycot Estate (until 1920). Most of the sawmills were demolished in the late 1930s and only the barn remained by the late 1950s.[10]

There is no evidence that Reginald Fitzurse, one of the Knights who murdered Thomas Becket, was ever resident in Kington Langley. But Urso held land, from the Church, according to the Domesday Book, and Jordan Fitzurse was in dispute with Glastonbury Abbey in 1243.[11]


A National School was built by John Darley & Sons of Chippenham in 1856/7 for 50-60 children[4] and enlarged in 1886; after protracted negotiation and fundraising, by subscription, a school house was added in 1859-60. Land for both was donated by William Pole-Tylney-Long-Wellesley, 5th Earl of Mornington of Draycot House, Draycot Cerne. By 1919 there were around 90 pupils. Children of all ages attended until 1940 when those over 11 went to secondary schools in Chippenham.[12]


Parish church

Parishioners used to have to travel more than a mile from Kington Langley to worship at Kington St. Michael. In the 1670s a chapel of ease was created by converting a cottage at Kington Langley.[13]

In 1857, a purpose-built chapel of ease was completed, which was made the Church of England parish church of St Peter in 1865.[13] The building was designed by C.H. Gabriel with lancet windows in an Early English Gothic style.[14] St Peter's is in the Diocese of Bristol.

Since 1954 the vicar of Kington Langley also served the former parish of Draycot Cerne, which lost its church in 1994 when St James' was declared redundant. Today the parish is part of the Draycot benefice, which covers five neighbouring parishes.[15]

Union Chapel

The earliest known record of Protestant Dissenters' meeting for worship in Kington Langley is dated 1742. They met in private houses until 1834, when the house registered for their meetings was that of James Pinnegar, a builder. Pinnegar built Union Chapel on the Common, completing it in 1835.[5] The name refers to its foundation as a union of Dissenters of the Baptist, Moravian and Independent traditions.[16]

The chapel choir met in the middle of the nineteenth century at a chapel-goer's house on Sundays. The chapel also had a band that used instruments such as flutes and violas.

Union Chapel remains independent, and as of 2015 is active under the title of Union Chapel Christian Fellowship.[17]

About the village

Kington Langley had two public houses: the Hit or Miss Inn (17th century)[18] and the Plough Inn (17th and 18th).[19] now both closed. The primary school continues as Langley Fitzurse CofE Primary School.

There is a village hall, a playing field, a tennis court and a park.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Kington Langley)


  1. Langley Kington Langley in the Domesday Book
  2. Wiltshire Community History: Kington St. Michael
  3. Langley Kington: Wiltshire Community History
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre
  5. 5.0 5.1 Nikolaus Pevsner: The Buildings of England: Wiltshire, 1963; 1975 Penguin Books ISBN 978-0-300-09659-0page 281
  6. A History of the County of Wiltshire - Volume 14 pp 127-168: Parishes: Malmesbury (Victoria County History)
  7. Badeni, Wiltshire Forefathers, p90.
  8. National Heritage List 1022321: The Greathouse (Grade II* listing)
  9. National Heritage List 1363854: Manor House (Grade II listing)
  10. Meers 1956. Historical Notes.
  11. Aubrey (Ed. Jackson) Wilts Topographical Colln, WANHS, 1862
  12. Langley Fitzurse Church of England Primary School: Wiltshire Community History
  13. 13.0 13.1 Temple-Fry, Nick (April 2010). "Kington Langley   St Peter's". theChurchPhotographer. Nick Temple-Fry. Retrieved 18 June 2010. 
  14. National Heritage List 1283658: Church of Saint Peter (Grade II listing)
  15. "St Peter's - Kington Langley". Retrieved 30 November 2017. 
  16. Union Chapel, Kington Langley: Wiltshire Community History
  17. Union Chapel: Kington Langley Parish Council
  18. National Heritage List 1283664: The Hit or Miss Inn (Grade II listing)
  19. National Heritage List 1283620: The Plough Inn (Grade II listing)