On the 27th July the Corsham Civic Society is visiting Hilmarton, an easily neglected village north of Calne, which has close connections with Corsham that may have been generally forgotten about.
Hilmarton was bought in 1813 by Thomas Poynder, a rich London builder seeking a country estate and happy to find one that could provide building materials. He built quite a few improved cottages and proudly put his initials and the date on them. There is the school (1851) and the Almshouses (1878), and many other fine dated cottages designed by the Poynders’ agent Henry Weaver. The Poynders paid for Weaver to rebuild the church tower in 1840 and for Street to restore much of the rest of the church in 1879.
In the 1850s the Poynders had sought a more imposing country estate in Hartham, as discussed in the previous article, but they obviously had a continuing affection for Hilmarton. In the church we can see many memorial plaques to them, and several generations of Poynders are buried in the churchyard, the most recent being Sir John Dickson Poynder, who after 1910 became Lord Islington.
The church is not usually open, but it was kindly opened for us in July 2012 by Richard Broadhead, one of the members of the very active Hilmarton History Society.
Dr Negley Harte