Kington St Michael

The village of Kington St Michael lies either side of the road between Chippenham and Hullavington. The earliest settlement is attested in documents in the 10th century around the church of St Michael. Recent chance finds clearly show that there was both Iron Age and Romano-British activity around the existing village. The village was originally just called Kington, meaning a royal farm or manor, in 934. After the re-dedication of the church to St Michael the village was known as Kington St Michael in 1279.

Lands in the parish were bestowed upon Glastonbury Abbey between 934 and 987, when a Benedictine priory was endowed by Robert Wayfer of Brimpton in c1155. This was a very small establishment which survived until the dissolution. Some of the buildings still survive as Priory farm.

Records from Glastonbury Abbey clearly show their large holding in the parish, which was very profitable, with a large number of tenants. The existing manor house was rebuilt by Herbert Prodgers in the 1860s after he demolished the earlier 17th century house.

In 1672 Isaac Lyte, who was born in the village in 1612, through industrious hard work became an Alderman of the City of London. In his will he left an amount of money to build the almshouses in 1675, which are the oldest secular buildings still standing in the parish. With the improvements to road transport through the Turnpike Trust in the 1760s the communication of the parish to Chippenham was much improved. The village economy prospered and in the trade directories there are farmers, tailors, two blacksmiths and a carpenter, along with bakers, maltsters and a grocer. There was also a growing number of female home industries with dressmakers and laundresses.

The village is justly famous for having two great Wiltshire antiquarians born within its boundaries. John Aubrey became a founder member of the Royal Society and brought both Avebury and Silbury Hill to the attention of the educated men of the day. The second antiquarian was John Britton who learnt the trades of both baker, maltster, shop keeper and small farmer, he then began to write down his early life in the village before he moved to London to be apprenticed into the wine trade, gradually he moved into literature and his two volume work entitled 'The Beauties of England' became very popular and embarked him on a new career for which he is justly famous.