Great Bedwyn, Wiltshire Family History Guide

Great Bedwyn is an Ancient Parish in the county of Wiltshire.

Other places in the parish include: Wexcombe, West Grafton, Martin, Crofton and Wolfhall, and Wilton.

Alternative names: Great Bedwin

Parish church:

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1538
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1585

Nonconformists include: Wesleyan Methodist

Adjacent Parishes

Parish History

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

BEDWIN, or Bedwyn (Great), a small old town and a parish in the district of Hungerford and county of Wilts. The town stands on the Kennet and Avon canal, Adjacent to the Hungerford and Devizes railway, near Wans Dyke, 5 miles SW of Hungerford; and has a station on the railway. It is supposed to have been the Leucomagus of the Romans; and it was the Bedgwyn or Bedewind of the Saxons. It was the residence of Cissa, the Saxon viceroy of Wilts and Berks; and the scene, in 675, of a desperate battle between the forces of W essex and those of Mercia. It enjoyed the privileges of a city under the Saxons; and retained them after the Conquest. It was a borough by prescription; and sent two members to parliament from the time of Edward I. till disfranchised by the act of 1832. It has an old-fashioned market house, which has ceased to be used, an ancient church, and a dissenting chapel. The church is cruciform, mixedly Norman and English, and built of flint; was restored in 1854; has a fine central tower; shows curious sculpturings on its round pillars, and rich Norman decorations on its obtusely-pointed arches; and contains interesting monuments of the Stokes and the Seymours. The town has a post office under Hungerford, and fairs on 23 April and 26 July. Dr. Willis, a physician of the 17th century, who founded a philosophical society at Oxford, the germ of the Royal Society of London, was a native. The parish includes also the tythings of Crofton and Wolfhall, East and West Grafton, Martin, Wexcombe, and Wilton. Acres, 10,420. Real property, £10,965. Pop., 2,263. Houses, 435. The property is divided among a few. The manor belonged once to the Earl of Clare, and belongs now to the Marquis of Ailesbury. Castle Hill, about a mile S of the town, takes name from an ancient entrenchment in which large quantities of Roman bricks and tiles have been found. Chisbury, on Wans Dyke, 1 ¼. mile N by E of the town, is a very fine Saxon camp of 15 acres, with rampart 45 feet high; and encloses an ancient chapel, in decorated English, now used as a barn. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Salisbury; and, till 1864, was united with another charge. Value, £212. Patron, the Marquis of Ailesbury. The vicarages of East Grafton and Savernake-Forest are separate benefices. There is a Wesleyan chapel at Wilton. Charities, £37.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

Parish Records

FamilySearch Catalog


Census returns for Great Bedwin, 1841-1891

Church Records

Baptisms, 1861-1967 Author: Church of England. Chapelry of Savernake Forest (Wiltshire)

Bishop’s transcripts for East Grafton, 1844-1880 Author: Church of England. Chapelry of East Grafton (Wiltshire); Church of England. Parish Church of Great Bedwin (Wiltshire)

Bishop’s transcripts for Great Bedwin, 1585-1880 Author: Church of England. Parish Church of Great Bedwin (Wiltshire)

Hungerford, Marlborough & Wantage : Wesleyan Methodist Circuits historic roll 1899-1904 Author: EurekA Partnership

Parish register transcripts, 1538-1900 Author: Church of England. Parish Church of Great Bedwin (Wiltshire)

Parish registers for East Grafton, 1844-1927 Author: Church of England. Chapelry of East Grafton (Wiltshire)

Parish registers for Great Bedwin, 1538-1955 Author: Church of England. Parish Church of Great Bedwin (Wiltshire)

Court Records

Court and visitation papers, 1623-1640 Author: Church of England. Peculiar Court (Savernake Forest)

Court rolls of the pleas of Savernake Forest held at Morleigh (Leigh Hill), Wiltshire, 1371-1381


Great Bedwyn families in the 19th Century Author: Hodgson, John Dryden


Estate survey in Burbage Savage, Wiltshire, 1760 Author: Manor of Burbage Savage (Wiltshire)

Estate survey in Collingborne, Wiltshire, 1706-1776 Author: Manor of Collingbourne-Ducis (Wiltshire); Manor of Collingbourne-Kingston (Wiltshire); Manor of Shalbourn (Wiltshire); Selkley (Wiltshire : Hundred)

Estate survey in Pewsey, Wiltshire, 1552-1730 Author: Manor of Pewsey (Wiltshire)

A valuation of lands in the parishes of Great Bedwin, Little Bedwin and Preshute in the county of Wilts : the property of the earl of Ailesbury Author: Pryce, B.

Poorhouses & Poor Law

Hungerford Union : workhouse births and deaths 1866-1914, pauper’s service book 1877-1917 Author: EurekA Partnership

Overseers rate book and miscellaneous parish records, 1786-1887 Author: Great Bedwin (Wiltshire)

Probate Record

Index to wills, 1639-1799 Author: Church of England. Prebendal Court (Lord Warden of Savernake Forest)


Land tax assessments in Great Bedwin, Wiltshire, 1780-1881 Author: Great Britain. Court of Quarter Sessions of the Peace (Wiltshire)

Vital Records

Hungerford Union : workhouse births and deaths 1866-1914, pauper’s service book 1877-1917 Author: EurekA Partnership


Vision of Britain historical maps


  • County: Wiltshire
  • Civil Registration District: Hungerford
  • Probate Court: Court of the Peculiar of the Dean of Salisbury
  • Diocese: Salisbury
  • Rural Deanery: Pre-1847 - None, Post-1846 - Marlborough
  • Poor Law Union: Hungerford
  • Hundred: Kinwardstone
  • Province: Canterbury