Towns & Villages of our Hort Ancestors

in Gloucestershire & Wiltshire England

My research for our Hort ancestors goes back to the town of Hawkesbury and the villages of Badminton and Little Badminton in 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 - Gloucestershire

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



Badminton - Gloucestershire

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 2003

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.





 Ragged Castle:

    Home of the Horts 1841-1881




Little Badminton - Gloucestershire

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


 Village 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 rendered.

Among 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 90.

            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.






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