1751 - Huish Hi – the village at the top of the Hill

Right up until just after the second world war, there was a thriving village or settlement at the top of Huish/Oare Hill.  This was probably a remnant of the settlements that were a feature along the top of the Downs since the neolithic age.  With the Ridgeway and the Wansdyke passing through the highest points, it follows that early settlements placed themselves on the easier to defend high ground. Evidence of these is visible right along the Downs.

Earthworks East of Gopher Huish Hill

Spye House and Huish Hi cottages 1930s

Huish Map 1751 prt 12 Cottages Huish Hill

Map of Huish Hi Late 1800 or early 1900

There is a pair of cottages secreted away far to the north of the current village but on the parish boundary that are believed to date back to the 9th Century.  This is not impossible.  Closer to the village of Oare, at the place called Spye Copse the settlement of Huish Hi was comprised of several cottages with gardens, a bakery, and latterly a chapel.

Running parallel to the current A345 there is a green lane and some enormous earthworks still visible that would have been impressive in their day.  All this facing the imposing Iron Age Fort/Camp of Martinshill would have been an imposing sight for travellers coming up form the Vale from the direction of Stonehenge.

Maps with thanks to Wiltshire and Swindon Family History Centre