[Village geography]

Village geography

Fovant is a parish of some 890 hectares (2,200 acres), lying between Salisbury in Wiltshire and Shaftesbury in Dorset. It is ten miles from each, by the A30 road and can be found at Latitude 51° 03' 22" N, Longitude 1° 59' 31" W. Apart from a short period during World War I, it has been a rural community whose inhabitants largely derived their livelihood from agriculture.

During its history it has been, and in some cases still is, in the Salisbury division of the county, the hundred of Cawden and Cadworth, within the Salisbury and Amesbury petty sessional division, the county court district of Salisbury, the union of Wilton, the rural deanery of Chalk and the archdeaconry and diocese of Salisbury.

The oldest form of the village name that has been met with (in the Saxon Charters) is Fobbefunte (the fountain of, or belonging to, Fobbe), although in Domesday Book it was Febbefonte, and in Nomina Villarum was Fovente.

It has been referred to by many other names during the ages, the following set being from The Place Names of Wilts. By Einar Ekblom. 1917:

901 Fobbanfunten Fobbefunt
994 Fobbefunten Fobbafunten
1086 Febefonte  
1194 Fobbefone  
1267 Fofunte  
1280 Fovunte Fofunte
1290 Foffunte  
1316 Fovente  
1329 Foffonte  
1428 Fovent  

In addition, we have the following spellings: Fofunt, Foffunt, Foffent, ffouant, Foffant, ffovant and ffovente. Fobhunte. Fovehunt. Netherfofhunte. Upfovent. Feffen. Fovington. Foffant Magna.

The physical geography of the area has determined the position and scale of the village, together with its communications and appearance. The scenery is affected by what is beneath it and how this has changed over millions of years. Since the village was first settled, landowners have found it necessary to establish their boundaries and, controversially, their rights. As the means became available, maps were made, not only to show communication between communities, but also to describe their shape and surroundings. Communication within villages developed. Paths appeared, became tracks and roads and then often reverted to paths again. Their upkeep provided employment for some villagers.

Click on the links below to examine more information on our village.

A number of maps from 1773 to the present
A description of the local geology
Boundaries from the Anglo-Saxons to Enclosures
Roads & Paths from the past to the present
Pictures of some old and new trees and a link to the Fovant Tree Register

M.C.L.H.
October 2005

Content last updated
18 October 2015

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