The Woodford Valley near Salisbury in Wiltshire was probably the birthplace of John de Woodford of Brentingby from whom this family descends.
The Bishop of Salisbury held the manor of Woodford from before the Conquest until as recently as 1869 when it was transferred to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners who subsequently sold the land in 1920.
As the manor was in the ownership of the Church for over nine hundred year, few land or property transactions took place and so few records were created. This lack of documentation limits research into the people who lived here.
On the higher ground of the parish, where there is a number of prehistoric sites, there are only a few isolated buildings, and the population is concentrated in three villages in the valley: Lower Woodford, Woodford or Middle Woodford, and Upper Woodford. Until the beginning of the 19th century, Upper Woodford was also known as Great Woodford. Lower Woodford and Middle Woodford together were known as Little Woodford or Nether Woodford.
A bridge at Upper Woodford, which was in existence in 1370, and has been a county bridge from the middle of the 19th century at least.
The outer ramparts of the fortifications at Sarum were probably first constructed around 1000 BC and were strengthened during the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age when a barbican was constructed outside the main gate.
The fort experienced little change until the Roman invasion in AD 53. Having subdued local resistance the Romans brought a period of relative stability. At Old Sarum this is indicated by the fact that the hill fort appears to have served as little more than a garrison. The Roman settlement was established some distance from the fort at the bottom of the river valley. It is clear that the settlement established here, though not large, would have been of some importance as four Roman roads converge on the old fort. Most probably Sarum would have been the site of a regular market and other forms of trading which depended on good transport and communications.
The Saxons fought over Sarum in a battle recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles as having taken place in AD 552 when 'Cynric fought the Britons at the place now called Salisbury, and won.'
These new occupiers of Sarum made use of the fortifications, and subsequently a town grew up. The Saxon settlement must have been of considerable size because it was apparently avoided by the invading Vikings of King Sweyn in 1003. Other settlements in the area were not so lucky. The nearby town of Wilton, only four or five miles away suffered badly at the hands of the Vikings.
The fortress eventually did change hands following the Norman invasion of 1066 and it was then that the most striking remains seen today were first built. The hillfort was remodelled into a Norman Motte and Bailey design. The first wooden fort was constructed in 1069 when the central Motte was constructed. In 1070 William the Conqueror paid off his entire army in the outer bailey of the new castle and in 1089 the major landholders of William's kingdom gathered at Old Sarum to swear their oath of loyalty.
At Sarum, the Normans built a royal castle within the earthworks of an Iron Age hill fort. During the twelfth century a tower and palace were built in the inner bailey. The cathedral, begun in the late eleventh century, was constructed on the north side of the outer bailey.
Today the area near Old Sarum is divided geographically into the settlements of Upper, Middle and Lower Woodford. It is still partially wooded and the River Avon flows through it on a north-south axis. There are several roads that cross the river at points which could have been the sites of earlier fords.