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Barford St Martin
Barford St.Martin is a small, picturesque village in South Wiltshire located 2 miles/3 km from Wilton, the ancient capital of Wessex and some 13 miles/20 km from Shaftesbury. It is located on the junction of the A30 and the B3089. It is within the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the River Nadder runs through the village. Its history can be traced back to the 11th Century and there was reference to Barford in the Domesday Book compiled in 1085/1086.
Barford's 500 inhabitants include nearly 100 from the mobile homes at Heath Farm. Those not retired find work in Wilton and Salisbury; but few now remain agriculturally based. Barford St. Martin's coaching house - the Barford Inn - provides a welcome heart to the village and acts as its main employer, together with the Tinkerbell shop and filling station and the Black and White shop at East End Farm. The village still possesses a Tudor river mill and rectory, a post office, a Victorian Methodist chapel and a police house; all of which have been converted to domestic use. The village school with its "Feed my lambs" logo was built in 1854 but closed at the end of 2006, although it continues to be used for a preschool playgroup. Much of the surrounding farm land is owned by the Wilton Estate.
Barford St. Martin's recorded history pre-dates the Norman Conquest. Extending along the River Nadder, the village nestles under the lea of Grovely Wood. Bordered by Burcombe to the east and Baverstock to the west, the parish's northern limits follow Grim's Ditch and the Roman road to Old Sarum and Winchester; its southern frontier runs along the drove road from Shaftesbury to Harewarren. The Bronze Age settlement at Hamshill Ditches on the southern slope of Barford Down falls within the parish boundary.
St Martin's 13th century church, at the centre of the village, is older than Salisbury Cathedral, with an even earlier stone preaching cross that was used by itinerant priests before the church was built. This Early English and Perpendicular church has a tower with six bells, of which the four heavier bells date from the middle of the 18th century and the two lighter ones are from the turn of the 20th century.
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