Chilton Foliat lies on the River Kennet a mile or so north-west of Hungerford. Since 1895 the civil parish of Chilton Foliat has been in Wiltshire, but prior to this, parts of the ecclesiastical parish – Leverton, Calcot and Hayward – extended into Berkshire. These settlements lie on the north bank of the river Kennet, immediately west of Hungerford, to which (for local government purposes) they were transferred in 1895.
The Wiltshire part of the parish contained Chilton Foliat village, and the hamlets of East and West Soley.
The whole parish became part of Hungerford Rural District in 1872. From 1895 (after the creation of civil parishes) the Wiltshire portion was taken into Ramsbury Rural District (Wilts), and in 1974 transferred to Kennet District (Wilts), leaving the Berkshire portion in Newbury District.
Berkshire part: 1,292 acres (523 hectares)
Wiltshire part: 2,202 acres (891 hectares)
479 in 1851 [said to be for the "whole parish", this figure is suspect, given that the population in 1841 was 717, and 1861 was 691]
Poor law union
As part of a separate county, Calcot and Leverton tithing, which included Hayward, levied separate poor rates, but shared overseers with Chilton Foliat.
Present-day local authority
Leverton, Calcot and Hayward, as part of Hungerford, fall within West Berkshire unitary authority.
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See Berks FHS Books for coverage of this parish in the society’s range of CDs.
See also Berkshire Record Office holdings.
Anglican church and parochial organisation
The Berkshire part of the parish was exempted from the transfer of Berkshire from Salisbury diocese to Oxford diocese in 1836 and, although transferred to Hungerford civil parish in 1895, it remains part of Chilton Foliat ecclesiastical parish.
The church of St Mary is twelfth-century in origin, restored in 1845.
Sir Bulstrode Whitelocke, who lived at Chilton Lodge 1663-75, held conventicles at his house, and in 1672 a room in his house was licensed as a Congregational meeting place. These meetings are thought to have ended on Whitelocke’s death. In 1676 there were said to be no more than two nonconformists among the adult males of the parish, and in 1683 possibly no more than one reputed Quaker. A Quaker and eight members of his family lived in the parish in 1783.
In 1794 a house was licensed for Methodist meetings, and in 1796 a Methodist chapel was built. In 1820 a licence was also granted for Methodists to meet in a courtyard, and a meeting house for Independents was certified in 1832. The rector said in 1864 that there were only about 24 Wesleyans or Independents in the parish. The chapel closed between 1988 and 1994.
A charity school for poor children was set up in 1770. It closed in 1816, but reopened in 1817. In 1818 a mistress received £20 for teaching eight boys and eight girls, and there were another 12-14 pupils on the roll. About 40 children were taught at two other schools in the parish, and 40 attended the National school recently opened at Hungerford.
In 1833 there were still three schools in Chilton Foliat with a total of 41 pupils, and about 16 children still attended Hungerford National school.
A National school opened in Chilton Foliat in 1835, for which a new building was erected in 1847. In 1857 this had 60-70 pupils, and 20-30 children were taught in two dame schools. There were 87 pupils and two teachers at the National school in 1902.
In 1970 a new primary school was built in Stag Hill, and the old one closed. The school had 99 pupils on the roll in 1995.
There was an inn in the village in 1620, and an inn called the Red Lion possibly stood there in 1679. An inn called the Wheatsheaf stood in 1767 and 1773, but had been demolished by 1792. The Stag’s Head was open in 1813, and gave its name to Stag Hill, but the inn closed around 1955. A new Wheatsheaf had opened by 1815, and survived another inn, the New Inn, which was open in the 1840s and 1850s. Today the Wheatsheaf is Chilton Foliat’s only pub.
Other local history
The BBC TV programme The Victorian Kitchen Garden was filmed at Chilton Foliat featuring the head gardener at Chilton House, Harry Dodoson (1919 – 2005). The TV series Band of Brothers also had associations with the village.