Want to get to know Grafton Parish? We think it is a wonderful place and to celebrate HM Queen Elisabeth’s Platinum Jubilee and commemorate the last 70 years, we have drawn together “70 things of Wonder” from around our Parish.
Our aim is to help everyone get to know the Parish better and learn about what a great place it is. So please find questions about 70 fascinating facts, stories, people, or natural wonders which you might find interesting. Answer and be amazed!
|Wilton Windmill is the only working windmill in Wiltshire and one of the most technologically advanced of its kind in the world when it was first built. What are the names of its five floors?
|Dust Floor, Bin Floor, Stone Floor, Spout Floor and Ground Floor
|How quickly do the millstones turn in Wilton Windmill (the ideal speed)
|When did the Swan Inn first open? (Clue, we are getting close to its 300th anniversary…)
|What singer, famous for songs like “The Eton Rifles”, “My Ever Changing Moods” and “You’re the Best Thing” was filmed singing at Wilton Windmill in the summer of 2006?
|Paul Weller, singing “Heaven’s above”, with the Style Council. Watch the “Heaven’s Above” video.
|What was Scotsman John Rennie, best known for building the first Waterloo Bridge and Plymouth Breakwater, doing in Wilton in 1793?
|Surveying the Kennet and Avon Canal
|Which Wilton resident was a regular visitor to Downing Street and was the Political Editor at Channel 4 for seventeen years?
|What does the word Wilton mean?
|From the old English meaning the “settlement” by the “Spring” or by the “Willows”
|Which family in Wilton was responsible for founding Meribel ski resort in France, advised by Arnold Lunn (of Lunn Poly) and Emile Allais, the great French ski champion and instructor?
|The Lindsays through Peter Lindsay
|What car did David Lemon rescue from the middle of Wilton pond? Remarkably although it had been submerged, the car started perfectly and was given a clean bill of health by the garage.
|A Mini Clubman
|Which creature living behind the white gates opposite Manor farm, has a long neck, not one but two sets of eyelids, can sprint at 30mph and is the only bird in the world with calf muscles?
|What is the name of the river that flows through Wilton Water and then onto Freemans Marsh, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)?
|The River Dun
|What faith was the old Chapel in Wilton?
|Which family home in Wilton is also home to Blossom the pig, as featured in the Mirror and Daily Mail?
|Which famous weekly newspaper, read by business people and politicians around the world, is linked to Wilton through its Political Editor?
|The Economist – through John Peet
East & West Grafton
|Who was Henry VIII visiting, with a twinkle in his eye, in our (previously larger) parish in 1535? She became his third wife and queen of England for only two years from 1536 to 1537.
|Jane Seymour at Wolfhall
|The arrival of what made West Grafton hot and steamy 140 years ago?
|The arrival of the train line
|Through its high-fidelity recording equipment, which Grafton company helps connects the world to Lady Gaga, Kaiser Chiefs, Calvin Harris, AC/DC and Bruce Springsteen?
|Crookwood and Crispin Herrod-Taylor
|What does the word Grafton mean?
|From the old English word graf meaning “grove” and ton meaning “enclosure” or “settlement”
|How many trees, to the nearest hundred, were planted in January for the new wood to the East of East Grafton?
|Which summer resident of our parish makes the longest annual journey to get here? It is an incredible 6000 mile migration, covering an epic round trip all the way down to South Africa and back, crossing the Sahara desert on its hunt for insects.
|In what unusual style is St Nicholas Church built? It was designed by the architect Benjamin Ferrey, known for his love of the cathedral of Monreale in Sicily.
|Victorian Norman Revival
|Kinwardstone Farm near West Grafton takes its name from the old Saxon land parcel the Kinwardstone Hundred. What did the word “Hundred” represent?
|The land required for 100 families to live off
|What type of rock, found in many buildings in Grafton, has been one of the most useful kinds of stone to humanity, having been used for starting fires and toolmaking for the last three million years? You’ll find them across the parish in buildings where they are ‘knapped’ to show off their beautiful dark interior.
|Why do so many houses in East Grafton and Wilton just have numbers?
|They were the plot numbers when the estate was sold off by the Marquess of Ailesbury.
|Whose Coronation resulted in the Village Hall being called the Coronation Hall? They were the first member of the Royal family to learn to fly, and suffered from a nervous stammer…
|The coronation of George VI in 1937
|And which member of the Royal Family opened the rebuilt Coronation Hall in 2009? They are a lover of Jack Russell Terriers and distantly related to Prince Charles and Madonna.
|Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
|Which innovative Wiltshire farming family, changed the way the world eats ham, and were so successful they helped fund part of the Great Western Railway line? Their innovation was to introduce the use of ice houses, having seen them in use during a visit to America. They patented the approach… leading to the term “Wiltshire Ham”.
|The Harris family of Calne
|Where in Grafton parish might you have once heard “Ello, ello, ello, what’s been going on ‘ere then?”
|At the Old Police Station in East Grafton, on the road to Wilton
|What ancient monument can you find at the top of Marten down, one of the earliest settlements in the area?
|An Iron age hill fort & Long Barrow in Botley wood and Tumuli
|How many households are recorded at Marten in the Doomsday Book? The earliest public record, commissioned by William 1 in 1085
|Which major Roman towns are linked by the Roman road through Wilton and Marten?
|Winchester to Cirencester
|Where in Marten can you buy the personal billiards table of Joe Davis, known as “the Grandfather of Snooker” and 15 times world champion?
|Sir William Bentley Billiards
|Which Martenite grew up with Paul Simon, Jimmy Page, and Robert Plant and brought Marten to Glastonbury Festival in 2010?
|Which crop grown around Marten and throughout the parish, was first cultivated over 10,000 years ago in the Euphrates valley (in what is now Iraq) and is now the most widely grown commercial crop in the world? It was so valued by the ancient Egyptians that Pharaohs were once buried with it
|Name a rare orchid that can be found on Marten Down that looks a little like the body of a bee, and another that has lovely pyramids of flowers?
|Bee orchids, Pyramidal orchid
|In 871 at the Battle of Meretun (modern day Marten) Wessex king Athelred was slain by the Vikings. Who become the new king of Wessex? As well as successfully defending England from the Vikings, he was famous for burning cakes…
|Alfred the Great
|Which neighbour of Marten commanded the SBS (Special Boat Service) during the Second World War, was a long-standing member of the House of Lords and was President of the Royal Geographical Society?
|George Jellicoe, 2nd Earl Jellicoe
|And on the subject of warfare… Which English poet, educated at Marlborough College and whose writing exposed the horrors of life on the front line of the First World War, lived 20 miles from the parish in Wiltshire?
|Siegfried Sassoon. His poems 878 to 1935 contrasted the romantic notion of the nearby battle of Edington to the horrors of modern warfare.
|Which Marten plastics expert once sold life rafts to the US Navy and car trim to Rolls Royce?
|Brian Taylor CBE, while CEO of Wardle Storeys plc
|Which dramatic hilltop spot, a few miles along the downs from Marten, is where a murderous couple were once hung in 1676? It has thankfully never been used since.
|Coombe Gibbet. The couple were George Broomham and Dorothy Newman, in 1676, who murdered Broomham’s wife and son when she discovered they were having an affair.
|What nocturnal resident of Marten, with a large white face, has special super soft feathers that don’t swoosh as they move, and lop-sided ears (one higher than the other) which helps them pinpoint where tiny sounds are coming from?
|What bird, found in Marten, and across the parish, was Aristotle referring to when he said “For one – does not make a summer”?
|Which Wexcombe farmer invented the Open Air Dairy or Milking Bail, 100 years ago this year, and which was recently featured on BBC Radio 4 in “the Archers”?
|Which Wexcombe resident worked in the British Secret Intelligence Service (known as MI6), dated the double agent George Blake, and was a lady in waiting to Princess Margaret?
|What might you be found pumping for in the middle of Wexcombe? It’s part of a system installed by William Finch, a surgeon from Salisbury, in the late 1800s.
|Water! Using the pump in the middle of the village
|A combe is a short dry valley or hollow on a chalk escarpment but what in the name Wexcombe does the Wex refer to?
|Wax from honey bees – others say “West Combe”
|What is the name of road between the Shears Pub and the pump house near Wexcombe and who helped to build it?
|The Fair mile. Built partly by Italian prisoners of war during WW2
|Which Wexcombe neighbour trains racehorses for HM the Queen and Sir Alex Ferguson and currently has 240 horses in training?
|Richard Hannon – at his stables at Herridge
|How many counties can you see from the top of Wexcombe Down (on a clear day)
|Six = Wiltshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Dorset, Gloucestershire
|When did the ‘pepper pot’ arrive on the Fair Mile above Wexcombe? It marks the site of a reservoir supplying Wexcombe with delicious spring water.
|What were the two names of the old pub between Marten and Wexcombe?
|Tipsy Miller and Nags Head
|What innovative approach to farming is being trialled on Manor Farm in Wexcombe and featured on BBC Radio 4 to help plants gain nutrition through healthy microbes in the soil?
|What chirpy resident of Wexcombe Down did the poet Shelly refer to when saying “Hail to thee, blithe Spirit! …”?
|90% of wild plants and 75% of crops depend on insect pollinators. Which buzzing insect flies the equivalent of three times around the world to make a pound of honey?
|The Honey Bee
|Which fork-tailed hunter, is the subject of the world’s longest-running conservation project, which has run continuously in the UK since 1903
|There are some old roads in the parish which are no longer in use, including one which is a beautiful path from Wexcombe to Scots Poor. If you arrived at Scots Poor 100 years ago, how could you have quenched your thirst?
|At the Bluebell Inn, standing at Scots Poor, which is now a house
|Which local photographer and artist was named “the David Attenborough of the mushroom” in his recent obituary in the Guardian, and was a guru of the foraging movement?
|Where in the parish is there a deserted medieval village and chapel, part of which found inside a 3-metre deep moat?
|Grafton Parish sits in the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Which famous children’s book about rabbits is set on a hill in the far Eastern end of the AONB?
|How many ancient burial mounds (Tumuli and Long Barrows) are there in the parish?
|Fourteen! One in Wilton, four in Marten, and nine in Wexcombe
|To the nearest 1000, how many acres of farmland are given environmental protection under the “Southern Streams” initiative?
|What bird, shown on the Wiltshire Flag and the largest flying bird in the world, was re-introduced on Salisbury Plain in 1998 and spotted on several farms in the Parish last year?
|The Great Bustard
|Which famous agriculturalist who lived close to the parish and helped bring about the Agricultural Revolution? (And inspire a ‘60s rock band…)
|Jethro Tull – at Mount Prosperous Farm. Inventor of the Seed Drill…
|In Nick Harper’s Wiltshire Tale, which rare and giant purple butterfly, found in the Savernake Forest, is featured in the poem?
|The Purple Emperor
|According to the last UK census, is the population of Grafton Parish growing at a faster or slower rate than the UK?
|Faster. Between 2001 and 2011 the parish grew 14% to 686. In comparison, the UK population grew 7% over the same period.
|What does world aviation owe to the hills around Grafton Parish in an event in 1910?
|It was when Geoffrey de Havilland carried out his first successful flight of his homemade aeroplane – at Seven Barrows. Later producing Mosquito and Hornet aircraft in the First world war. And the Comet, which was first commercial jet airliner
|How many of the Kennet and Avon Canal locks can be found within the Parish?
|Where in the parish did there use to be a prison?
|Wexcombe in 1277
|And where a brickworks?
|Dodsdown, near Wilton
|What parish resident, and mascot of the spring, is Britain’s fastest land mammal, clocking speeds of up to 40mph. Particularly mad in March…