The village of Hinton Charterhouse lies about six miles south of Bath between the A36 and the B3331. On three sides the land slopes down to river valleys and the villages of Wellow, Midford and Freshford. It is only to the south that the flat farmland extends to the next village of Norton St. Philip. From earliest times it seems that the area was inhabited. The Rev. John Skinner, Vicar ofCamerton, and a frequent visitor to Hinton in the early 1800's, notes the remains of a 'stone cist' marking the site of a tumulus on the slope above the flood level below Rainbow Wood in the Midford valley. Another such grave lies across the stream in Wellow parish. These he says were known locally as Giants Graves but unfortunately there is little to see to-day. Two Bronze Age barrows can be seen in the fields at the top of Midford hill near Abbey Farm, the larger one lying beside the farm itself. Skinner also examined a number of small barrows near the Priory finding charcoal, burnt bone and a few Roman coins. A short stretch of earthworks, then known as 'The Bulwarks' greatly intrigued him. It seems to have been a deep ditch with a bank on the north side. Now largely overgrown, it lies above the new housing development on the north side of the village and although Skinner was of the opinion it was part of the Wansdyke, it may well be a remnant of earlier earthworks. The Roman road from Bath down to the south coast runs through the parish, coming up from the Midford valley and following an almost straight path over the plateau to Norton. Much of it has disappeared under the plough in recent years but it can be clearly seen in several places. As far as can be discovered none of the local roads have followed its line at least since early medieval times. BCAS' field walk in Spring 1998 and a subsequent dig have pinpointed the position ofwhat appears to be a substantial Roman villa to the west of the village in the field known as Shepherd's Mead and recent archaeological work by Bradford University in Iford has found a small Roman site in the south-east of the parish at the top of I ford hill, with several other sites lying on or near the parish boundary.
In spite of this evidence of activity during the Roman occupation and in earlier days, the Dark Ages in Hinton, are still extremely dark! We read that the Vikings raided up the Frome river and the church at nearby Limpley Stoke has a door which was reputed to bear the marks of an attack. King Alfred's great victory at Edington only a few miles away may have lessened the Danish pressure. A corner of the parish church has probable Saxon work and Domesday Book tells us Ulwen the Saxon who lost his estates to Edward d'Evereux one of William the Conqueror's knights.
With this Edward d'Evereux, Earl of Salisbury, Hinton's history regains more solid ground. The Earl held a vast amount of land in Wiltshire and in a number of other southern counties. His descendants owned the manors of Hinton and Norton St. Philip for several generations, during which time a deer park was created in Hinton and parker appointed to look after it. The last of this line ofSalisburys was Ela, only child of William d'Evereux, Earlof Salisbury. He died when she was a child and she became a ward of Richard I. By the time she as 11 she had been married to Richard's half-brother, William Longespee -reputed to be the son of Fair Rosamund -and he had been created the new earl of Salisbury.
Towards the end of an active life fighting in both France and England on behalf of his half- brothers, Richard I and John, Longespee felt the need to ensure the well-being of his soul and founded a Priory of Carthusians on land he held in Gloucestershire. This foundation did not prosper and he had hoped to find it a more suitable site. As he lay dying in Salisbury Castle he begged his wife to carry out his wishes. This she did by giving her manors of Hinton and Norton to the Order. The deed by which she made this gift can be dated to between 1227-9 and part of it reads as follows:
I being desirous to finish what he [Longespee] well begun, granted, to ye said Order of Carthusians all my Manor of Henton. the Advowson of ye Church, ye Park, and all other appurtenances Likewise All my manor of Norton, ...Reserving only to myself and Heirs ye Military Service of those who so hold of me in ye said Manors: (excepting ye Military Service of Richard the Park-Keeper and his heirs, of One virgate of Land which he holds in Henton, which service shall belong to ye Monks and Friars, whether ye said Richard shall keep ye said virgate by ye custody of ye Park, or by military service) And excepting also my Chases without the Bounds of ye said Manor. To found a House of Carthusians to the Honour of God and the Blessed Mary and St. John Baptist and All Saints, in the Park of Henton. in a place called The Place of God, (Locus Dei) to have and to hold for ever according to ye custom and order of the Carthusian church.