& Villages of our Hort Ancestors
in Gloucestershire & Wiltshire England
My research for our Hort ancestors goes back to the town of
and the villages of
Gloucestershire, and the small village of
Sopworth just over the border in
Wiltshire. As can be seen in the map below these towns and villages are all in
very close proximity to one another.
The arrows on the map below
indicate the known towns and villages where our Hort families resided. The
border dividing Gloucestershire and Wiltshire puts the village of Sopworth just
over the border in Wiltshire.
Hawkesbury is a civil
parish in the district of Chipping Sodbury in Gloucestershire. The village is on
the southern most tip of the Cotswold positioned below the escarpment. The
sandstone ridge divides the village. The soil in the area above the ridge is
light and good for growing grain, the soil in the valley below the ridge is
heavier, as it contains some clay.
The Parish Church of St Mary
dominates the village and dates back to the 12th Century. Seven generations of our Hort ancestor's
marriages, baptisms, and the sombre occasions of burials would have been
conducted at St Mary's Church.
St. Mary the Virgin
Parish Church of Hawkesbury
The picturesque village of
Badminton is situated on the high Cotswolds approximately 6miles east of
Chipping Sodbury. Badminton House, the home of the Duke and Duchess of
Beaufort, is visible in the distance from the approach roads across the Cotswold
plateau. The village is famous for the annual Horse Trials organised by the
estate. Once a year it becomes the hub of the sporting world, when everyone
interested in horses from the Queen downwards, spends three days here to watch
the trials. The park for these three days looks like a tented city. I wonder did
John and Mary Hort or their children get to see these horse events?
The village is located within the
Cotswold area and Badminton Deer Park is listed on
the register of parks and gardens of special historic interest in England. The park dates from the 13th century and was
used for hunting and raising horses. Until the 18th century, deer and horses
were the main quarry. The Badminton Hunt is credited with starting the fashion
for fox hunting and breeding special staghounds and harriers in about 1760.
Another claim to fame is that the game of Badminton originated at Badminton
House, hence the name.
Left: Front of Badminton House 2003
Photos by Roy Beckett
Right: Back of Badminton House
Badminton House is an impressive Palladian mansion. It was built for Henry, Third Marques of Worcester and First Duke of Beaufort in 1682.
Numerous buildings and follies such as the hermitage and "Ragged Castle" home of the Horts
were added for extra interest.
Home of the Horts 1841-1881
Little Badminton -
The village is essentially rural
character retaining many fine buildings related to its agricultural origins.
Little Badminton has been largely unaltered by the 20th century and remains as a
secluded peaceful settlement within the Gloucestershire Cotswolds. It is located in high open countryside on the eastern
boundary of Northavon, just to the north of Great Badminton and lies within the
Badminton Estate. There are extensive views towards distant woodland to the
north and west, whilst the extensive formal parkland of Badminton House adjoins
the village to the east. It has a rich archaeological heritage that includes the remains of a sunken
medieval village. The village
was a prominent agricultural centre within the Badminton Estate over a
considerable period of time. The majority of buildings within the village are estate
worker dwellings dating from the 18th and 19th century.
These buildings vary in style with thatch being evident and the later 19th
century typical building style of plain bargeboards.
Farm House at Little Badminton
Scene from the Church
Little Badminton Church
Main Road through Little Badminton
of Sopworth Wiltshire
Sopworth was home to Samuel & Caroline Hort prior to their
decision to sail for Australia. The small village is approached by narrow roads
that seem to lead to nowhere in particular and is situated in the Cotswolds and
is practically encircled by Gloucestershire; its buildings are mainly
constructed of the famous warm mellow Cotswold stone though some have been
the many that have had restoration is the Tavern House which was once the
village pub and still has an open area in front of it where the village elders
used to sit on warm summer nights and talk about this and that. But the village
is now too small for it to have a pub. In 2003 the population of Sopworth was
The "George Pub" Sopworth 1850's
(Maybe there is a Hort amongst this lot)
The village school has also gone and
its building of 1880 is now a private residence though still aptly called 'The
School House’. The church of St Mary sits away from the road and surrounded by
farms and fields. It was drastically restored in 1871, and the only part that
looks early is the perpendicular tower. The Manor House with its 18th
century frontage stands nearby and opposite is a late 17th century
rendered house. Southward can be found the pink-washed Manor Farmhouse that also
has a good range of outbuildings. Northend Farm has a range of stone barns and
outbuildings while nearby are two other early farmyards that look more or less
as they did a hundred years ago.
Views of Sopworth 2003
The church is where Samuel & Caroline Hort
married in 1851 and their first child John was baptised.
Photos taken by Roy Beckett a
resident of Sopworth 2003.