Reputedly Wiltshire’s most haunted village, Bowerchalke is recorded in the Domesday Book as part of the manor of Chalke, which included the neighbouring village of Broad Chalke. During Henry VIII’s reign the area came into the ownership of the Earl of Pembroke, whose descendants continued in ownership until part of the family’s estates were sold off at the end of World War One.
Close to the Dorset and Hampshire borders, 9 miles south west of Salisbury, the village is at the source of the River Chalke, which flows down into the River Ebble. The Bowerchalke Downs, consisting of Woodminton Down, Marleycombe Down and Knowle Down, are a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to their species-rich chalk grassland.
The village Church of the Holy Trinity dates from the 13th century, Nobel Prize winning novelist William Golding, author of Lord of the Flies, lived in the village and is buried in the churchyard.
The village has had a number of other notable residents including internationally renowned violinist Iona Brown, scientist and environmentalist Dr James Lovelock and First World War poet Siegfried Sassoon. Perhaps a more ‘infamous’ character, William Thick was born and raised in the village before moving to the capital to join the Metropolitan Police in 1868. In 1888 he was based in Whitechapel and was involved in the investigations of the notorious Whitechapel Murders. During the investigation Sergeant Thick himself was falsely named as the likely murderer known as Jack the Ripper!