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VINES HOUSE AT GRITTENHAM





This is the farm house on Vines Farm where Benjamin Vines and wife Elizabeth Holliday raised 8 children after their marriage at Lydiard Tregoze in 1717. Benjamin died in 1763 and the farm, a long term lease from Grittenham Manor, then passed to his son Charles. Several earlier generations of Vines were probably born there too, as Grittenham was mentioned in the will of Robert Vines in 1674. 

No information on the house before the mid 1700s was found. It is believed to have been built in the 1600s and has a rough hewn beam in the entrance porch with 1606 carved in it, perhaps the date of construction. The latch of the porch door appears to have been made by a blacksmith and is obviously very old. The brick section on the left was built at a later date, perhaps early 1700s, and used for production and storage of cheese. 

A coloured map covering the farms in the area, produced about 1760, is held at Trowbridge. It is sewn on to card about 3 feet square, and protected by Melanex. The title names it "Survey of the Tithing and Manor of Grittenham in the Parish of Brinkworth and County of Wilts, Belonging to the Right Honourable Henry Fox Esq."  A section showing part of Benjamin Vines tenancy is reproduced here, map . I regret that the scale of the drawing is illegible in the photographs of the map, but it seems the farm was several hundred acres in extent. In modern times the M4 motorway from London to Bristol and Wales passes through the farm within 300 metres of the house. In the map the laneway ended at the house but now extends on to connect with access to other farms.

The house was used as a meeting place for members of the Moravian or Primitive Methodists church in the latter part of the 1700s. (On 13th Nov 1769 Charles Vines and Mary were received into the Moravian Church at East Tytherton where their children who were born after that were baptised.)
The farm passed out of the hands of the Vines family in the 1800s. Later the house was separated from the farm and became run down. 

It was acquired in a dilapidated condition by Dr and Mrs Mitchell in the 1960s, having been vacant since before the war, and it was restored and modernised. 

Grittenham Manor was owned by the Ayliffe family during the 1600s. "Sir John Ayliffe was surgeon to King Henry VIII and was knighted in 1549. He was granted the manor of Grittenham (in the parish of Brinkworth, Wiltshire) and the family remained in the parish until the 19th century." (Clive Henly 1998
Before it was surveyed and the above mentioned map was drawn, Grittenham Manor had passed into the hands of the Fox family. Henry Fox (1705-1774), first Lord Holland, was the son of Sir Stephen Fox, former steward of Charles II of Britain. A contemporary of William Pitt, he entered Parliament in 1735. In 1744, he created a social stir when he eloped with Lady Catherine Lennox. When Pitt became chief minister in 1757, Fox took over the office of Paymaster. He was conferred with the barony of Holland in 1763 for his work during the Peace of Paris. His son Charles Fox became a prominent parliamentarian and leader of the Whigs at time of the Regency. (Taken from Geoffrey Treasure's Who's Who in Early Hanoverian Britain (1714-1789), 1992)