Pictures of Downton
Downton has a wide main street and was once a market town. It is one of Wiltshire's loveliest villages, with the River Avon forming a division between the ancient village and the new.
The village grew to great importance during Anglo-Saxon times, and interestingly there is evidence of an ancient Iron-Age Camp to be found a couple of miles to the north of Downton, this is known as the Clearbury Ring.
St. Lawrence's Church is the villages most spectacular feature, this is in fine cruciform design of flint and stone. Most of its features date between the 12th and 15th centuries, with the central tower and intricate stained glass being of a later period. The chancel is in the 14th century Decorated style. There are many fine monuments to be seen, these include one of Margaret, Lady Feversham, leaning gracefully over an urn. Other monuments in the church commemorate the same family.
An interesting phenomena took place in Downton in April of 1836. Almost ten percent of its agricultural workforce said goodbye to the village and left for the wilds of Canada. Harvests had been poor, and they were perhaps lured by promises of work and a better standard of living from friends and relatives who had emigrated earlier.
A paper mill was working in the area at the early part of the 18th century, weaving and production of linen have been important to village economy, and later lace making. In the 20th century Downton Engineering began, they later became world renowned for their Cooper version of the Mini car - the Mini Cooper. As recently as 1992 the Hopback brewery became established in the village, and the historic Cuckoo Fair was re-introduced towards the end of the last century, providing yet another colourful annual event. This is held in May and includes such things as dancing round the Maypole, street performers, Morris dancing, with a grand procession and the crowning of the Cuckoo Princess. The fair has a lively "medieval" atmosphere, attracting people from far and wide.
The village offers a wide range of activities for visitors; Fishing is of major importance, this was once considered to be one of the best course fishing regions in England - this still continues to this day with many fishermen using the village as a base.
This is also a wonderful area for walking, explore a little and you will quickly find delightful forests and water-meadows full of interesting wildlife.
Downton has several interesting pubs, these include the White Horse Inn, and the atmospheric Kings Arms, parts of which are believed to date back to the 13th century.
This pretty place lies on the borders of Wiltshire and Hampshire, as such it is ideal for exploring the beauty of the New Forest National Park, historic Salisbury, Romsey and Southampton.