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Upton Cheyney

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Title: Upton Cheyney  
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Subject: Bitton, Upton, Bridgeyate, Compton Greenfield, Oldbury Naite
Collection: Villages in South Gloucestershire
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Upton Cheyney

Upton Cheyney is a village in South Gloucestershire, England, near to Bitton, Bristol.

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Although it’s thought that Upton Cheyney’s name derives from the Saxon meaning “upper farmhouse”, archaeologists point to evidence of nearby Roman buildings.

It’s said that stepped terraces at nearby Pipley Bottom were once used for the cultivation of vines.

The present village no doubt grew up around springs above what was once a marshy river valley.

Upton Cheyney is approached along narrow and winding lanes with buildings scattered alongthe route.

Bounded by hedges, walls, steep banks and mature trees, there is a strong sense of being enclosed, even isolated.

The village is, in fact, just three miles from Bitton.

But 50 years ago, although the 230 residents had just got electricity, water still came from a spring.

Although most of the buildings – which are listed – went up between 1690 and 1830, Manor Farm, at the junction of Wick Lane, gets a mention in the Domesday Book.

Upton House, which dates from the early 18th century, has a gabled belfry, dormers and stone-tiled roof with diagonally set chimney stacks.

Other buildings worth more than a glance, with their attractive gabled dormers, are Upton Farm and Holisters Farmhouse.

The popular Upton Inn was built in about 1710, the United Reform Church in 1834 and the former school, which closed in 1981, in 1849.

Legend has it that a golden calf lies buried in nearby Golden Valley.

Put there for safety during the civil war, it has since been lost.

And Slaughter Lane, leading up on to Lansdown, was where the Cavaliers were cut to pieces by the Roundheads in 1643.

The Royalists’ Cornish leader, Sir Beville Grenville, is said to have died of his wounds in Upton Manor Farm.

It’s also said, incidentally, that he died in Cold Ashton Rectory or Manor House.

In 1740, John Cennick, a friend of radical preachers John Wesley and George Whitfield, came to preach in Upton Cheyney.

Although welcomed by the villagers, the stalwart Church of England squire wasn’t so happy.

He hired ruffians from Bath and Wick to sound bells, drums and horns while Cennick was preaching.

Then, as well as throwing stones and dead dogs at his listeners, they assaulted them with whips and sticks.

Children were also employed to fling dust and dirt at them, and one man and his wife even rode their horses through the crowd.

But Cennick, who had been assaulted before, stood his ground, so impressing two of the hooligans that they sided with the preacher.

He was later left in peace.

Until about 10 years ago most of Upton Cheyney – the houses were tenanted – was owned by the Hawkins family of nursery men.

But after the collapse of their flower business the land and properties were sold off to a mystery buyer.

The price? A cool £1 million.

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