Durrington (Wiltshire)

Durrington, Wiltshire

Durrington is a village and civil parish in the district of Salisbury, Wiltshire, United Kingdom. It is situated in the east of the Salisbury Plain, about 10 miles (16km) north of Salisbury, 30 miles (48km) south of Swindon and 2 miles (3km) north-east of Stonehenge. The name means "the farm of Deor's people", from the Old English words "Deor" (proper noun), "ing" (people/tribe) and "tun" (farm/settlement).

At the time of the 2001 Census the population was 7,182 This figure includes people living in both the village itself and the military camp at Larkhill, which also lies within the civil parish.


For a village of Durrington's size there are few amenities. For major grocery shopping and banking residents must travel to Amesbury, or to Salisbury.


The village has two small supermarkets: A Sainsbury's Local and a Co-op. It also has a garage with a small shop and repair yard there is a new Tesco built and more shops are being planned.


There are no longer any banks left open in the village. Residents must travel to Amesbury for their banking needs. The Post Office also closed in 2005.


The village has three schools catering for all levels of compulsory education. Durrington All Saints Infant School covers lower primary education (Reception to year 2); Durrington Church of England Junior School covers upper primary education (years 3 to 6); and Avon Valley College (formerly know as Upper Avon School), which was placed in special measures after a damning Ofsted report in 2000 , covers secondary education (years 7 to 11) and sixth form (years 12 to 13).


There are two pubs, The Plough and the Stonehenge Inn, at opposite ends of the village. There are also two licensed clubs. One is a snooker club the other working men's club.


The village boasts a swimming pool and fitness centre, which is located next to the secondary school. There is also a recreation ground with football pitch and skateboarding facilities.


The village's Anglican church is the Church of All Saints. There is also Durrington Free Church, run by the Evangelical Fellowship of Congregational Churches. There was formerly a Catholic church, but this has now closed.


The A345 Salisbury to Swindon road runs along the western side of the village, and the A303 trunk road runs a mile to the south. Durrington is well served by buses, with regular services to Salisbury, Amesbury, Marlborough and Swindon. The village falls into the norther district of Wilts & Dorset, which runs routes 5, 6, 6B, and 16 through the village. The nearest rail stations are Salisbury on the West of England Main Line and Wessex Main Line to the south, and Pewsey on the Great Western Main Line to the north.


The development of the village throughout the 20th century has been shaped by the presence of the military in the area. Through this, the parish population has grown to that of a town, mainly due to the presence of the Larkhill military camp. However, the lack of a cohesive infrastructure means that this cannot be considered an urban development. Without the presence of the military it is probable that the village would have developed into a medium sized village based around the Avon valley.

Physically, the parish is long East-West and short North-South, stretching from the downs west of the River Avon to the watershed of the Avon and Till Rivers in the east. Most of it is chalk downland, although there is some alluvial gravel deposited around the river. The village was formerly in two parts based around two manors: East End and West End. The East End was in the vicinity of Bulford Road, while the West End was based at the High Street. These streets are aligned north and south and the church is set between them, in the north of the village. The distinction between the East End and the West End has now largely disappeared. Today, it would be better to say that the village is divided into a North End and South End: the North contains the old, pre-20th-century village, with expensive, mainly thatched houses, whereas the South contains a large former council estate.


The area had been occupied since Neolithic times, though not necessarily continuously. The parish contains two important Neolithic sites: Durrington Walls and Woodhenge. There is little evidence of Saxon occupation; however this may be because buildings and utensils of this time were made of wood, so little survives. The Doomsday Book says that there were two estates in 1086, having land for one plough team and with five acres of meadow. These two estates may represent the later two manors.

West End manor was part of the King’s estate of Amesbury until 1120 but East End manor had different origins, being privately owned by Patrick de Salisbury. At this time each manor was using the open field system, but over time this system evolved into a two, and then a three, field system. The population also began increasing and in 1377 there were 139 poll tax payers making Durrington one of the most populous villages in the hundred of Amesbury.

In 1399 the West End manor was given as an endowment of the newly created Winchester College, and an excellent collection of documents on its management and usage has been preserved by the College. They have also provided the name for College Road.

In 1405 the 'Durrington Fire' occurred, the cause of which is unknown. It is widely theorised that a lamp falling onto a bale of hay caused it to ignite, or possibly that a house fire got out of control. Whatever the cause, the fire resulted in the destruction of most of the West End because most of the houses were built in an unusually close proximity to one another. Many of the West End families were left homeless, but were generously compensated by Winchester College.

The village remained a prosperous and fairly popular farming community although, apart from the church, there is little visual evidence before the 17th century. In 1610 East End Manor was extended with an east-west range, changing it into an L – shaped building. This new extension was used to shelter Catholic priests during the reformation, with a number of priest holes being found here. There are 17th century houses of timber and cob, with thatched roofs, surviving in College Road, High Street and Church Street. In 1676 the population was said to be 334 people. Despite evidence of a substantial amount of building work, mainly farmhouses, in the18th century the village did not really increase in size and remained concentrated around its two main streets.

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