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This Hundred comprises no less than three of the ancient hundreds of Wilts. Thus, in the Hundred of RUGeberg were Tilshead, Potterne, and the two Lavingtons :--in that of STODFALD were All Cannings, Erchfont, Etchilhampton, Allington, Stert, and Chirton:-in that of SWANBOROUGH were Rushall, Alton Barnes, Alton Priors, Stanton, North Newnton, Marden, and the Manningfords. All these, with the exception of Potterne, which, as belonging to the Bishop of Sarum, was afterwards joined to the Hundred of Cannings Episcopi, are now merged in the large Hundred of SWANBOROUGH.
Originally, no doubt, the whole of what is now comprised in the two parishes of All Cannings and Bishops Cannings formed but one estate, belonging most probably to the King of Wessex. An early grant assigned the latter to the Bishops of Wiltshire, and by one or other of them it was at some period previous to Domesday, severed from its own hundred, (most likely that of Stodfald,) and formed into an independent and "free hundred" belonging to their see. At a later date probably, what we now call All Cannings was bestowed by some royal benefactor on the Abbey of St. Mary, at Winchester. Unfortunately there is no chartulary or register of this abbey known at present, so that our information on this point is defective. The Abbey, which was also called Nunna-Minster, was founded by Alfred the Great and his Queen Ethelswitha, and completed by their son Edward the Elder. It was subsequently refounded and restored by Bishop Ethelwold in 932. The estate at
1 These names of the Hundreds, pointing as they do to remote times when there were no towns or even villages of note from which they might take their appellations, show us incidentally the antiquity of their institution. RUGEBERG means the rough, (or hoar,) barrow; a modern form of the name exists in RY-BURY, and in Andrews and Dury's map of Wilts we have the form ROUGHBRIDGE, a nearer approach to the original. STODFALD (the Anglo-Saxon Stódfald), means the fold for horses (or steeds); we still have the expression a stud of horses. SWAN-BOROUGH is possibly a corruption of Sand-beorg, that is literally Sand-hill, from a large tumulus bearing that name, which is mentioned in an Anglo-Saxon charter relating to North Newnton. Cod. Dipl. 1109.
In the Hundred Rolls, II., 231, Cannings Episcopi, is described as a free hundred of the Bishop of Sarum, appertaining to the Church of Sarum, from an ancient grant," (de veteri feoffamento).
All Cannings belonged to the abbey in the days of Edward the Confessor, but for how long previously it is impossible to say.
Many and various have been the conjectures as to the meaning and derivation of the name of this parish. If our suggestion be true, and it certainly has the air of probability about it, that the portion granted to the Bishops of Wiltshire was the first severed from the extensive estate known by the name of Caninges, the remainder as part of the original manor might well have been described as Eald-Caninges (that is, Old-Caninges), and easily in the course of years corrupted into All-Cannings. In Sir Thomas Phillips' Wiltshire Institutions, under the year 1492, however, we meet with the entry "Ecclesia Cannyngs Omnium Sanctorum" (i.e. Cannings All-Saints); as though it derived its specific name from the dedication of the church,-All Saints'-Cannings, abbreviated at last to All-Cannings. Beyond this single entry, we have as yet no evidence that the church was so dedicated. It is said now to be dedicated to St. Anne, but this opinion is based simply on vague tradition, or on a theory which, as we shall endeavour to shew, has but little really to support it. And even if it be true that the church is now dedicated to St. Anne, it by no means proves that such was the case originally. Churches, in olden times, were not unfrequently re-dedicated, especially after any kind of desecration. Moreover the patron saint of a chantry chapel connected with a church, was without doubt sometimes substituted for that of the church itself.
Those who are curious in such matters, may read in the late Archdeacon Macdonald's Memoir of Bishops Cannings, the various conjectures that have been made as to the derivation of the name "Cannings." Without doubt, the most probable derivation is the one indirectly suggested by the late J. M. Kemble in his Saxons in England. He has collected together, in an appendix to his first volume, a large number of names of places similarly formed, which he clearly shews to be patronymics; the former portion of the word containing in an abbreviated, and often very corrupt, form,
1 Wilts Magazine, vi., 121.
the name of some old settler or chief of a clan, and the latter portion or termination,-ingas, afterwards ings,-denoting his descendants, or those who formed part of the same settlement under him as their chief. Many instances may be adduced from the Codex Diplomaticus of places in Wiltshire, the names of which are clearly so formed. Thus (No. 336), we meet with the Col-ingas, from which comes the name Colling-bourn; in No. 379 the Teofuntingus, which we retain in the abbreviated form Teffont; in No. 778 Uggaford-ingas, from which we have Ugford. In like manner, from local names still remaining in England, he infers the existence of many other old clans in ancient times. Thus in the Manningfords and Hornings-ham, he concludes that we still have in Wiltshire memorials of the clans which called themselves Man-ingas and Horn-ingas, or, as we should say in modern times the Mannings, and the Hornings. So we may fairly believe that Can-ingas (or Cannings), was originally a patronymic, denoting a clan, or tribe, who derived their name from some old chieftain, who settled with his dependents in this locality. From being the name of the tribe, the appellation, by an easy transition, became that of the place of their settlement. At no great distance from Cannings, is a name which seems to be a traditionary memorial of the same chieftain or principal land-owner, whatever his precise designation may have been, for the hill at the entrance to Devizes from Melksham is still called CANE HILL.1
The portion of the parish which belongs to ALL CANNINGS proper, is bounded on the north-west by Allington and Beckhampton; on the east by Stanton Berners; on the south by Patney. Its length from north to south is between four and five miles, and its average breadth nearly two miles. The acreage is as follows:
1 We meet with the same name in composition in other counties. Thus we have CANNING-TON, in Somerset, and KENNING-TON, in Surrey. And in the name KEN, one well known and valued by all lovers of devotional hymnody, we seem to have the word in something like its primitive form.
The earliest notice in any document that we find of All Cannings is that contained in the Domesday Record. We give the extract together with the translation. It is registered under the lands belonging to the church of St. Mary, at Winchester. The extract1 refers simply to All Cannings proper.
Ipsa Ecclesia tenet CANINGE. Tempore Regis Edwardi geldabat pro 18 hidis et una virgata terræ et dimidio. Terra est 15 carucatæ. De hac terra sunt in dominio 4 hidæ, et ibi 5 carucatæ, et 8 servi. Ibi 27 villani, et 17 bordarii, et 6 cotarii, cum 10 carucatis. Ibi molinus, reddens 13 solidos, et 108 acræ prati. Pastura una leuca longa et 3 quarentenis lata. Silva 4 quarentenis longa et 2 quarentenis lata. Valuit 20 libras; modo 30 libras.
The Church itselfholds CANING E. In the time of King Edward it paid geld for 18 hides, 1 virgate and a half. The land is 15 carucates. Of this land there are in demesne 4 hides, and there are 5 carucates and 8 serfs. There are 27 villans, and 17 bordars, and 6 cottars, with 10 carucates. There is a mill paying 13 shillings, and 108 acres of meadow. The pasture is 1 mile long, and 3 furlongs broad. The wood is 4 furlongs long, and 2 furlongs broad. The estate was worth £20; it is now worth £30.
A few general inferences may be drawn from the above extract from the Domesday Record. It will be observed, first of all, that "the land" (terra) by which is meant "the arable," or that which was under the plough, was, in all, some 15 carucates. This would probably represent six to seven hundred acres of land under tillage, exclusive of course of meadow and pasture. In those early days, when so much of the land was still uncleared, this indicates an advanced state of cultivation. Again, about one third of this land
1 Domesday for Wiltshire, by Rev. W. H. Jones, p. 52.
thus under the plough, with of course a corresponding amount of meadow and pasture, belonged to the demesne, or inland as it was termed; that is, was in the hands of the Abbess, as Lady of the Manor or her representative; the other two-thirds, or the outland, was tilled by some 27 "villans,"-(by which name were designated the chief of the under tenants)—and their dependents In estimating the extent of the pasture, (which included all the down land,) and of the wood, it must be remembered that the "leuca," by which it was measured, represented a mile and a half. It may be observed moreover, that the value of the estate, which in the time of King Edward was £20, had in the time of the Domesday Survey increased to £30, or at the rate of some 50 per cent. Meagre therefore as the notice in the record may appear, it would seem to indicate a state of quiet progress, and an immunity from many of those disturbing causes with which, at the Norman Conquest, other parts of the kingdom were agitated. The Conqueror professed to respect the rights of the Church, and as far as Wiltshire was concerned, he scrupulously adhered to his pledges.1
But though the Domesday Record is the earliest notice that we now have of All Cannings, there are, within the limits of the parish, several memorials of a much greater antiquity. There are some ancient works which join it with the shadowy past, and proof that on its surface strange events have occurred, and that a race of men, differing widely in their habits from those now employed in the peaceful pursuits of agriculture, once roamed over its downs. Among the range of hills to the north of the Devizes road, whose rounded forms, deep hollows, and wavy outline, are of singular beauty, especially toward sunrise and sunset when the lights and shades are strongest, the eye is arrested by a well marked circular fosse which crowns the summit of Rybury Hill. Sir R. C. Hoare 2
1 See on this subject, Domesday for Wiltshire, introduction, p. xxiii.
2 His words are, "A point of land projecting from St. Anne's hill affords another specimen of ancient fortification, in an earthenwork that bears the mark of great antiquity: it has a single vallum or ditch, with an out-work, which are much worn down. The area is evidently excavated for a species of white stone that is used for lining the inside walls of chimneys. This earthen-work is