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St. Michael's parish church and village green
|Population||1,833 (2011 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Fire||Dorset and Wiltshire|
|EU Parliament||South West England|
|Website||The Aldbourne Net|
Aldbourne is a village and civil parish about 6 miles (10 km) north-east of Marlborough in Wiltshire, England, in a valley on the south slope of the Lambourn Downs – part of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. From here an unnamed winterbourne flows to join the River Kennet 4 miles (6 km) south near Ramsbury. The 2011 Census recorded the parish population as 1,833. It includes the hamlets of Upper Upham and Woodsend, and part of the hamlet of Preston, which straddles the boundary with Ramsbury parish. The small village of Snap became deserted in the early 20th century.
A Primitive Methodist chapel opened in West Street in about 1840, and a new chapel was built on the same site in 1906. Wesleyan Methodists built a chapel in Lottage Road in 1807, which was rebuilt in 1844. In 1968 both groups of Methodists combined to build Aldbourne Methodist Church in a newly built hall in Lottage Road; the old chapel in West Street was demolished in 1982.
During the Second World War (1939–1945), U.S. Army paratroopers of Easy Company (part of the 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division) were based at Aldbourne from late 1943 to mid-1944, in preparation for D-Day in June 1944 and Operation Market Garden in September. Both Easy Company and the village were featured in the 2001 HBO miniseries Band of Brothers.
The Church of England parish church of Saint Michael overlooking the village green is medieval and a Grade I listed building. The nave and aisles were built around 1200, although some earlier Norman arches and other traces remain. There are four arches on the north arcade and three on the south. The chancel is Early English, with north and south chapels, and a sanctuary with lancet windows.
The Perpendicular Gothic three-stage tower was added in 1460. It is ashlar, has angled buttresses and transomed three-light bell openings, with gargoyles above. There are also transepts with three-light windows, a tall south porch – originally two-storey – and a bay between the porch and south transept. There was also a north porch until the building was restored by William Butterfield in 1863-67. The external walls are of flint and limestone with some chequer work and sarsen, and are crenellated. The roofs are lead and slate. The interior contains a number of monuments and monumental brasses.
For at least 130 years Aldbourne had a bell foundry. Master-founders at Aldbourne included Robert Cor (active 1694–1724), William Cor (active 1696–1722), Oliver Cor (active 1725–27), John Cor (active 1728–50), John Stares (active 1744–46), Edward Read (active 1751–57), Edne Witts (active 1759–74), Robert I Wells (active 1760–81), Robert II Wells (active 1781–93) and James Wells (active 1792–1826). Bells cast by the Cor and Wells families survive at parish churches including Alvescot, Ashbury, Berwick St John, Blewbury, Church Hanborough, East Challow, Drayton, East Lockinge, Faringdon, Farnborough, Great Coxwell, Horspath, Longworth, Marcham, Marsh Baldon, Northleach, Uffington, Seend, Sutton Courtenay, West Hanney and others.
The civil parish elects a parish council. It is in the area of Wiltshire Council unitary authority, which is responsible for all significant local government functions. The parish is in the Aldbourne and Ramsbury electoral ward, which includes Baydon in the north, Froxfield in the south and Ramsbury to the south-west of Aldbourne. The 2011 Census recorded the ward's population as 5,231.
Aldbourne has two public houses, the Blue Boar and the Crown, and a volunteer-run sports and social club. There is a Co-op supermarket, and a village shop which houses a Post Office and a cafe. Aldbourne has had a village library since the 1930s, located for the last few decades in South Street.
Aldbourne Heritage Centre, next to the Crown Inn, is a museum run by the Aldbourne Community Heritage Group. It displays a changing array of exhibits from Aldbourne's history, ranging from Stone Age flints, through copies of medieval documents, to an extensive collection of 19th and 20th-century photographs.
Aldbourne was the home of the novelist Mavis Cheek from 2003 until the 2010s. Earlier residents included Hilda Beatrice Currie (1872–1939), Liberal politician; Jankel Adler (1895–1949), a Jewish Polish painter and printmaker, who lived and died at Whitley Cottage, where he created a studio; Ruth Dalton (1890–1966), Labour politician; Gerald Brenan (1894–1987), author and historian; and Anthony Marreco (1915–2006), barrister and founding director of Amnesty International.
In 1971, Aldbourne was the location for the filming by BBC Television of the Doctor Who story The Dæmons, starring Jon Pertwee. The village in the story was called Devil's End. In 1992, Reeltime Pictures filmed a direct-to-video documentary called Return to Devil's End in Aldbourne, featuring Christopher Barry (director of the 1971 story), Jon Pertwee, Nicholas Courtney, Richard Franklin and John Levene.
Aldbourne was the location for the filming of the 2014 E4 television drama Glue, portraying the village of Overton. The village was also used as the filming location for Vodafone's Christmas advertisements in 2018 and 2019.
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- Pevsner & Cherry 1975, p. 82
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- "The Blue Boar". Archived from the original on 12 July 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
- "The Crown". Retrieved 22 May 2015.
- "Aldbourne Sports & Social Club". Retrieved 14 August 2016.
- "St. Michael's C of E (Aided) School". Retrieved 19 August 2015.
- "St Michael's C. of E. (Aided) Primary School". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
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- "Aldbourne Brass Band". Aldbourne Brass Band. 7 September 2010. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- Singleton, Sarah (September 2010). "The cultured face behind Marlborough's book fair" (PDF). Wiltshire Life. Mavis Cheek. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
- Haining, Peter (1983). Doctor Who - A Celebration. London: W.H. Allen. p. 196. ISBN 0-491-03351-6.
- "Return to Devil's End (1993)". IMDb. Retrieved 5 November 2016.
- Crowley, D.A. (ed.); Baggs, A.P.; Freeman, Jane; Stevenson, Janet H. (1983). A History of the County of Wiltshire. Victoria County History. 12: Ramsbury and Selkey hundreds; the Borough of Marlborough. London: Oxford University Press for The Institute of Historical Research. pp. 67–86. ISBN 978-0197227596.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- Pevsner, Nikolaus; Cherry, Bridget (revision) (1975) . Wiltshire. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 81–82. ISBN 0-14-0710-26-4.
- Gandy, Ida (1975). The heart of a village: An intimate history of Aldbourne. Moonraker Press. ISBN 978-0239001481.
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