The Compton Family

The Early Comptons

The earliest record of Comptons in Chitterne All Saints is that of John and Avis each paying 6s.8d. in benevolence tax to Henry VIII in 1545. This was a tax the King could demand without an Act of Parliament. In 1576 another John, presumably his son, paid tax on profits to Henry's daughter, Elizabeth.

Humphrey Compton and his wife Christian had nine children who achieved adulthood, which is very good for 1628 when the list was made in connection with Humphrey's death in 1625. the inventory shows him to have been worth a little over nineteen pounds, much more than that by todays money and to have left a lot of things like pottingers, cheese vats, a spinning wheel and carders which were probably his wife's.

A later will for Elizabeth Compton, widow of Tristram Compton, leaves seventy-seven pounds in bequests. Her daughter, Lucy, does very well as hers is the fifty pounds left her by her grandmother. Mistress Compton instructs people not to remove doors, glass, bounds or gates from the house. Her house had a hall or living space, three chambers containing altogether four beds, and a kitchen. She had a number of animals including fifty-three sheep.

From her generation John Moved to Rushall with his wife Joan Crouch from Codford St Peter, their children moved to Enford and then to various parts of Salisbury Plain. Some did very well. In Urchfont Church are wall monuments with the Compton coat of arms. Some settled in Amport in Hampshire.

Meanwhile, in Chitterne St Mary, Thomas Compton, maltster, built a malthouse in Bidden Lane. He was dead by 1785 when it was taken over by Antony Burbidge who paid 1s. a year rent and fine.

The coat of arms is probably a 15th century one. A John Compton who "came out of Wilshire" went to Hartpury in Gloucestershire. The family were awarded some abbey land at the Dissloution of the Monasteries and later received a baronetcy which lapsed in the 1770's. No one remembered the family in Wiltshire.

It is relatively definite that this was the same family from which John, a popular Compton name, left to seek his fortune during the Lancastrian-Yorkist conflicts.

Catherine Koppana (nee Compton)

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