Aldbourne is a village and civil parish about 6 miles (10 km) north-east of Marlborough, Wiltshire, England, in a valley on the south slope of the Lambourn Downs – part of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. From here an unnamed winterbourne flows south to join the River Kennet 4 miles (6 km) near Ramsbury. The 2011 Census recorded the parish population as 1,833.[1] It includes the hamlets of Upper Upham and Woodsend and part of the hamlet of Preston, which straddles the boundary with Ramsbury. The village of Snap became deserted in the early 20th century.

St Michael's parish church and village green
Aldbourne is located in Wiltshire
Location within Wiltshire
Population1,833 (2011 Census)
OS grid referenceSU265756
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townMarlborough
Postcode districtSN8
Dialling code01672
FireDorset and Wiltshire
AmbulanceSouth Western
UK Parliament
WebsiteThe Aldbourne Net
List of places
51°28′44″N 1°37′12″W / 51.479°N 01.620°W / 51.479; -01.620Coordinates: 51°28′44″N 1°37′12″W / 51.479°N 01.620°W / 51.479; -01.620


Lewisham Castle

Lewisham Castle is a small medieval ringwork about a mile and a half south-west of the village.[2] It is not certain whether it was in fact a castle.[2]

In the English Civil War a Royalist force led by Prince Rupert fought a Parliamentarian force in a skirmish at Aldbourne Chase on 18 September 1643, two days before the First Battle of Newbury.[3]

A Baptist chapel opened in 1841 in Back Lane and was rebuilt as New Zoar Chapel in 1868. It was sold in 1914 and demolished some time after 1931; its burial ground survives.[4]

A Primitive Methodist chapel opened in West Street in about 1840 and a new chapel was built on the same site in 1906.[5] Wesleyan Methodists built a chapel in Lottage Road in 1807, which was rebuilt in 1844.[6] In 1968 the two congregations combined to build Aldbourne Methodist Church in Lottage Road.[7] The old chapel in West Street was demolished in 1982.

During the Second World War (1939–1945), U.S. Army paratroopers of Easy Company (part of the 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division) were based at Aldbourne from late 1943 to mid-1944, in preparation for the Normandy landings in June 1944 and Operation Market Garden in September.[8] Both Easy Company and the village featured in a 2001 HBO miniseries, Band of Brothers.

Two disused village pumps survive in the village.[9]

St Michael's parish churchEdit

The Church of England parish church of Saint Michael overlooking the village green is medieval and a Grade I listed building.[10] The nave and aisles were built around 1200, although some earlier Norman arches and other traces remain. There are four arches on the north arcade and three on the south. The chancel is Early English, with north and south chapels, and a sanctuary with lancet windows.

The Perpendicular Gothic three-stage tower was added in 1460. It is ashlar, has angled buttresses and transomed three-light bell openings, with gargoyles above. There are transepts with three-light windows, a tall south porch – originally two-storey – and a bay between the porch and south transept. There was also a north porch until the building was restored by William Butterfield in 1863–1867.[11] The outside walls are of flint and limestone with some chequer work and sarsen, and are crenellated. The roofs are lead and slate. Inside are a number of monuments and monumental brasses.

Bell foundryEdit

For at least 130 years Aldbourne had a bell foundry. Master-founders at Aldbourne included Robert Cor (active 1694–1724), William Cor (active 1696–1722), Oliver Cor (active 1725–27), John Cor (active 1728–50), John Stares (active 1744–46), Edward Read (active 1751–57), Edne Witts (active 1759–74), Robert I Wells (active 1760–81), Robert II Wells (active 1781–93) and James Wells (active 1792–1826).[12] Bells cast by the Cor and Wells families survive at parish churches including Alvescot, Ashbury, Berwick St John, Blewbury, Church Hanborough, East Challow, Drayton, East Lockinge, Faringdon, Farnborough, Great Coxwell, Horspath, Longworth, Marcham, Marsh Baldon, Northleach, Uffington, Seend, Sutton Courtenay, West Hanney and others.


The Crown pub

The civil parish elects a parish council. It is in the area of Wiltshire Council unitary authority, which is responsible for all significant local government functions. The parish is in the Aldbourne and Ramsbury electoral ward, which includes Baydon in the north, Froxfield in the south and Ramsbury to the south-west of Aldbourne. The 2011 Census recorded the ward's population as 5,231.[13]


Aldbourne has two public houses, the Blue Boar[14] and the Crown,[15] and a volunteer-run sports and social club.[16]

There is a Co-op supermarket, and a village shop which includes a post office and a cafe. Aldbourne has had a village library since the 1930s, located for the last few decades in South Street.

The village primary school, St Michael's C of E (Aided) School.[17] was built in 1963 on the site of a national school that opened in 1858.[18]

Aldbourne Heritage Centre

Aldbourne Heritage Centre, next to the Crown Inn, is a museum run by the Aldbourne Community Heritage Group. It displays a changing array of exhibits from Aldbourne's history, ranging from Stone Age flints, through copies of medieval documents, to 19th and 20th-century photographs.


People from Aldbourne are nicknamed "Dabchicks", after the little grebe.[19]

Aldbourne Band is an award-winning brass band that has won numerous national competitions.[20]

Aldbourne was the home of the novelist Mavis Cheek from 2003 into the 2010s.[21] Earlier residents included Hilda Beatrice Currie (1872–1939), a Liberal politician; Jankel Adler (1895–1949), a Jewish Polish painter and printmaker, who lived and died at Whitley Cottage, where he created a studio; Ruth Dalton (1890–1966), a Labour politician; Gerald Brenan (1894–1987), an author and historian; and Anthony Marreco (1915–2006), a barrister and founding director of Amnesty International.


In 1971, Aldbourne was the location for the filming by BBC Television of the Doctor Who story The Dæmons, starring Jon Pertwee. The village in the story was called Devil's End.[22] In 1992, Reeltime Pictures filmed a direct-to-video documentary called Return to Devil's End in Aldbourne, featuring Christopher Barry (director of the 1971 story), Jon Pertwee, Nicholas Courtney, Richard Franklin and John Levene.[23]

Aldbourne was the location for the filming of the 2014 E4 television drama Glue, portraying the village of Overton.[citation needed] The village was also used as the filming location for Vodafone's Christmas advertisements in 2018 and 2019.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Area: Aldbourne (Parish): Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  2. ^ a b Pevsner & Cherry 1975, p. 82
  3. ^ Money, Walter (1881). The First and Second Battles of Newbury and the Siege of Donnington Castle During the Civil War, AD 1643–6. London and Newbury: Simpkin, Marshall and Co. p. 25.
  4. ^ "Zoar Baptist Chapel, Aldbourne". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  5. ^ "Primitive Methodist Chapel, Aldbourne". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  6. ^ "Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Aldbourne". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  7. ^ "Aldbourne Methodist Church". Swindon and Marlborough Methodist Churches. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  8. ^ Ambrose, Stephen E. (2001). Band of Brothers. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 43–56. ISBN 0-7432-1638-5.
  9. ^ "Aldbourne". Village Pumps. RK Williams. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  10. ^ Historic England. "Church of St Michael  (Grade I) (1034152)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  11. ^ "Church of St Michael, Aldbourne". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  12. ^ Dovemaster (25 June 2010). "Bell Founders". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Central Council of Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  13. ^ "Aldbourne and Ramsbury (Ward): Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  14. ^ "The Blue Boar". Archived from the original on 12 July 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  15. ^ "The Crown". Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  16. ^ "Aldbourne Sports & Social Club". Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  17. ^ "St. Michael's C of E (Aided) School". Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  18. ^ "St Michael's C. of E. (Aided) Primary School". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  19. ^ "Aldbourne". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  20. ^ "Aldbourne Brass Band". Aldbourne Brass Band. 7 September 2010. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
  21. ^ Singleton, Sarah (September 2010). "The cultured face behind Marlborough's book fair" (PDF). Wiltshire Life. Mavis Cheek. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  22. ^ Haining, Peter (1983). Doctor Who - A Celebration. London: W.H. Allen. p. 196. ISBN 0-491-03351-6.
  23. ^ "Return to Devil's End (1993)". IMDb. Retrieved 5 November 2016.

Sources and further readingEdit

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