Dobbin Day

Dobbin day is one of Wanborough's oldest traditions. This annual event is held in St Andrew's Church every February. The tradition dates back to 1745, when William Stanley willed a bursary to the Parish. The interest on this money was forever to provide bread for distribution to the poor of the parish during a service, which was originally held on the 1st Sunday after 19th February each year. The funds were invested in land and rent from that land, the Dobbin Day field which is located in The Marsh, still provides for the loaves to this day.

The day of distribution was forced to change after riotous youths from Swindon were found kicking their loaves around like footballs. Having moved the day to a Tuesday this rebellious element was no longer able to attend the service. Today the bread is distributed to all children in Reception and year 6 at Wanborough Primary School. The children prepare and run the service themselves and the Vicar distributes the bread during the service. At the Vicar's discretion, tea and cake is served after the service to those attending.

All are welcome to attend the service. So, if you are about and want to be part of our ancient tradition, the service is held at St Andrews church on the first Tuesday after 19th February. Check the Wanborough events calendar for the next service date.

The Dobbin Bread Bakeries
Dobbin is an old Wiltshire word meaning "Bread" - hence Dobbin Day. The bread for the service used to be baked in the Parish by one of our local bakeries. Hewer's Bakery was the last bakery in the parish to produce the loaves. When they closed production had to be moved to beyond the Parish boundary.

Approximately 100 loaves of bread are baked on the day of the service. The bread is marked using the Dobbin Day Stamp, which is pressed into the dough before it is baked. The loaves are then delivered to St Andrew's Church in readiness for the service.

Bakers of the Dobbin Day bread have included;
  • Hewer's Bakery in Wanborough
  • Sainsbury's supermarket in Stratton, Swindon
  • Hall's Quality Bakers in Gorse Hill, Swindon

Text on the plaque in modern English:

Erected to the memory of the Honourable William Stanley Esquire
Gentleman of the Privy Chamber to George the 2nd
Deputy Lieutenant and Justice of the Peace for this county;
who died on the 13th February 1745,
in the 70th year of his age.
And by his last will gave £50,
the interest whereof for the use of this Parish for ever.
Thus 10 shillings yearly for a Funeral sermon
on the Sunday after the 19th of February,
20 shillings more to 20 poor families
of this parish who do not receive alms,
and such as attend the service of Church on Sundays,
(1 shilling to each family)
The remainder in bread in 3 penny loaves
at the same time when Service is ended;
by the direction of the minister, churchwarden
and overseers of the poor of Wanborough for ever.

The tool used to impress the word 'Dobbin' into the bread