The Old Village

When in January 1772 Francis Dugdale Astley Esq. inherited Everleigh he found the main village clustered around the Church and Inn, hard by his front door. This situation apparently suited him for over thirty years, but in 1805 his first wife having died, he married again and shortly afterwards a period of extensive reorganisation took place.
All the buildings within a radius of several hundred yards of the Manor House, including the ancient hostelry the “Rose and Crown” and the Church, were pulled down and re-erected elsewhere, and the area thus made available was enclosed as a park. The main turnpike road from Devizes ran through this area and past the old inn, but was diverted around the park boundary, no doubt to ensure greater privacy.
In dry summers, when as Kipling puts it, “the bones of meadows show” outlines of the old buildings can still be traced on the greensward. An old map shows the position of these dwellings, the course of the original main road, and also another road which used to connect the present village site with the old inn.
The Rev. James Woodforde in his “Diary of a Country Parson” speaks of the inn, in an entry on May 30th, 1774. “I supped and slept at Everley at the Rose and Crown.” It evidently had a reputation for hospitality as he mentions it on several other occasions.
That hospitality was probably extended also to other less respectable members of society, as it is on record that the famous (or infamous) Wiltshire highwayman Thomas Boulter, having stopped three post-chaises near Windsor, all in sight of each other and being hotly persued, made for Poulshot near Devizes. This eighty-mile ride was covered in ten hours, making three stops for his own refreshment and that of his horse, “Sunshine.” The first at Hartley Witney, the second at Whitchurch in Hampshire, and his third at Everley, baiting the mare with toast, soaked in brandy, at each place. No doubt the “Rose and Crown” provided this sustaining fare.
There were, however, some buildings where the village now stands, before the change took place, as the house adjoining the blacksmiths shop bears the date 1732, and what is now the “Crown Inn” was originally the Dower House belonging to the Manor. Until quite recently, traces of a tree lined avenue connecting the two could be plainly followed. Dwellings to house the population were also built further afield, as four cottages known as Windmill Cottages or “Lodge” and four on the old Marlborough Road are shown on the above mentioned map as being built in 1819. Six of these cottages have however now been destroyed, two by fire in 1949.

Just north of the Windmill Cottages and at the western end of the Rectory Glebe there formerly stood an ancient windmill, used for the grinding of corn. This was demolished about 1870 the need for it apparently no longer existing. It was what is known as a “Post” mill, that is the whole building was moved around a central post as necessary, to keep the sails at right angles to the wind.