Shrouded in woodland like an alpine estate, it was previously, a small hamlet known as Stop in the 13th Century and almost certainly included Stop Farm, a farmhouse of stone and thatch built in the 17th Century. It was still called Stop in the 18th Century, but from about 1773 or earlier, it became known as Fonthill Gifford.
Fonthill Estate and Fonthill Abbey. Covering over 9,000 acres of outstanding beauty in the heart of Wiltshire. The Estate has a fascinating architectural history and a series of grand country mansions have been built over the centuries. Perhaps the most famous and extravagant of buildings was Fonthill Abbey. This was an immense Gothic revival house with the grandeur of the finest cathedrals, built on Hinkley Hill in the heart of Fonthill Abbey Wood by super rich author William Beckford Junior, but which later collapsed due to faulty workmanship destroying most of the building. A small fragment remains today but this is hidden from public view. Fonthill Lake and Fonthill Arch also form part of the Estate. The lake is over 1 mile in length and was used as a film location for romance film Chocolat staring Johnny Depp in 2000 and the grand arch is believed to be the work of original Palladian architect Inigo Jones. The Fonthill Arch. Just past the Riverbarn, there is a splendid archway, which would have been the gatehouse and entrance to the different mansions and abbey and is believed to be the work of original Palladian architect Inigo Jones.