Like many other small ‘enclosed’ villages, the residents made great efforts to help themselves. In addition to the mutual, neighbourly self-help, a sick benefit scheme, known
as the Fovant Friendly Society was started as early as 1767 and continued until 1911. The Provident Dispensary and Medical Club of the early 20th century covering Fovant and several nearby villages, provided insurance against the costs of medical treatment (Click on the picture to read the rules). The Fovant Provident Pig Insurance Society, founded in 1882 was not wound up until 1988. Various Fovant charities existed. The Poor House which stood in a field opposite the Millhouse, and an allotment of common ground on the downs above the village, known as the Poors Land, awarded to the poor of the parish of Fovant were both noted by the Charity Commissioners in their national report of 1815-39.
Fovant has had a continuous resident doctor from the early 18th century. Patients requiring hospital treatment would be taken to Salisbury Infirmary, which was established in 1771. Fisherton House Asylum, now known as the Old Manor Hospital, which opened in 1779, provided treatment for the mentally afflicted. There is also some suggestion of a Fever Hospital on the Fovant/Dinton parish boundary in the area of Catherine Ford Lane.
Educational provision is said to have existed in the form of a schoolroom in the chapel of the church before its restoration in the 1860’s. Various dates are given for the opening of our village school. Kelly’s Directories notes its existence in 1847, which an early lithograph of the building dated 1850 tends to confirm. However, no listing of school house or teacher figures in a census until 186l. While the teacher could have been absent on census day, the school house is shown in the lithograph, so there is a mystery. The first resident policeman is noted in the 1841 census.
Kelly’s Directory of 1855 lists John Lever as Fovant’s sub-postmaster and the 1901 census lists Fovant’s postmaster, Thomas Lever living in what is now the Garage house. The bricked-up post box cavity can still be seen on the wall of the house.
The first phase of electricity provision reached the village in 1931, the second in the 1950s, and the final phase in the late 1960s. Mains water supply was installed throughout the village in the late 1950s, to be followed by public sewerage in the early 1960s.
Click on the links below to find more information on the history of services in Fovant: