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Visiting Chirton


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Chirton for Newcomers

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Chirton, a village with a population of about 450, lies in the Pewsey Vale, midway between Pewsey and Devizes. The village has been enlarged over the past 30 or so years with some 60 houses having been built. The shop and the garage, which grew from a blacksmith's business, both closed recently. However there are still several businesses run in or from Chirton and the 'Wiltshire Yeoman' pub has just been refurbished. The village has a thriving Church of England primary school.

Chirton means 'farm by the Church' and there is still a working farm in the village. Chirton boasts a fine Norman Church believed to have been built about 1170. The font and the Norman arch over the door are particularly special. On some pillars inside can be seen crosses carved with sword points by men when going on the crusades and again if they returned safely.

The hamlet of Conock is part of the parish of Chirton and has two fine houses, the Manor and the Old Manor. Lt- Colonel Robert Smith-Barry, who set up the first organised method of pilot training in the Royal Flying Corps, lived in the Manor between the wars. He kept an aeroplane in a hangar south of the main road, a small building, (his aircraft had folding wings), which still exists. From there he would fly to Bath to see his dentist. Later, Major-General Sir Frederick Sykes, the first commander of the Royal Flying Corps lived in the Manor. There is a memorial to him in the Church.

Chirton lies in an area of outstanding natural beauty, with Salisbury Plain just to the south and the Marlborough Downs to the north. It has won the 'Best Kept Small Village in Wiltshire' award twice in recent years.