Historical Wiltshire



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INTRODUCTION

The County

Wiltshire contains an abundance of natural and man made history. Within the wide expanses of the Wiltshire Downs the ancient monuments of Stonehenge, Avebury Stone Circle and numerous White Horses carved into hillsides can be found.
The Wiltshire Web HomepageIn the south, lies the magnificant Cathedral at Salisbury with its towering spire and in the north, the quaint charm of the villages of Lacock and Castle Combe.

Beautiful, compelling Wiltshire is a place to be explored and admired.



The History
Wiltshire has played a significant role in the history of this region. Wilton, near Salisbury, was once the "heade town of Wessex and Wileshire" and it is said that the county originally grew out of Wilton. The nearby village of Old Sarum has also played a significant role in the county's history, being popular with both the Saxons and the Normans. It was also the site of the original Cathedral in the southern part of Wiltshire, preceeding Salisbury Cathedral.

The county has been host to a number of notable battles, including Alfred`s defeat of the Danes at Ethandune where despite tremendous odds and a seamingly impregnable hill-fort, he used all his guile and cunning to win a famous victory. The civil war battle of Roundway Hill near Devizes also figures prominantly in our 'warrior' history.

In more recent times, the county, especially Trowbridge in the west, was renowned the world over for its quality woollen products. Alas, all mills are now confined to memory and text, although Trowbridge now hosts a museum where details of this aspect of the county's past can be explored.

Swindon, which means 'pig hill' to the north, was once the centre of Brunel's Great Western Railway and until quite modern times produced trains and rolling stock for British Railways. Sadly, this trade has also been lost but Swindon now boasts a number of hi-tech industries and the GWR name lives on, albeit in the form of an extremely popular commercial radio station.




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StonehengeSilbury HillStourhead Gardens

Westbury White HorseLongleat


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The Moonrakers
The nickname of Moonrakers is sometimes used to describe Wiltshire folk, often as a derisery term. However, "we ain't zo stupid". For those not familiar with the legend here is the story.

Wiltshire smugglers were carrying illicit brandy when they were surprised by Excisemen. In a thrice, they dumped the brandy into a pond and commenced to rake at the water with their long handled implements. When the Excisemen asked what they were about, they replied that they were "raking up the cheese", pointing at the moon's reflection in the water. Considering them fools, the Excisemen moved on, leaving the Moonrakers to retrieve their 'loot' and proceed on their way.

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