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Wiltshire
Wiltshorseflag.svg Wiltshire.jpg
Flags
EnglandWiltshire.png
Geography
Status Ceremonial county & (smaller) Unitary district
Origin Historic
Region South West England
Area
- Total
- Admin. council
- Admin. area
Ranked 14th
3,485 km2 (1,346 sq mi)
Ranked 3rd
3,255 km2 (1,257 sq mi)
Admin HQ Trowbridge
ISO 3166-2 GB-WIL
ONS code 00HY
NUTS 3 UKK15
Demography
Population
- Total (2008 est.[1])
- Density
- Admin. council
Ranked 34th
455,500
140 /km2 (363/sq mi)
Ranked 8th
Ethnicity 97.5% White
Politics
Wc-logo-colour.jpg
Wiltshire Council
http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk
Executive Conservative
Members of Parliament
Districts
Wiltshire Ceremonial Numbered 2009.png
  1. Wiltshire Council (unitary)
  2. Swindon (unitary)

Wiltshire (pronounced /ˈwɪltʃər/ or /ˈwɪltʃɪər/, formerly /ˈwɪlʃər/; also abbreviated Wilts) is a ceremonial county in South West England. It is landlocked and borders the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. It contains the unitary authority of Swindon and covers 3,485 km2 (861,000 acres).[2] The ancient county town was Wilton, but since 1930 Wiltshire County Council and its successor Wiltshire Council (from 2009) have been based at Trowbridge.

Wiltshire is characterised by its high downland and wide valleys. Salisbury Plain is famous as the location of the Stonehenge stone circle and other ancient landmarks and as the main training area in the UK of the British Army.

The city of Salisbury is notable for its medieval cathedral, and important country houses open to the public include Longleat, near Warminster, and the National Trust's Stourhead, near Mere.

Contents

Etymology

The county, in the 9th century written as Wiltunscir, later Wiltonshire, is named after the former county town of Wilton, itself named after the river Wylye, one of eight rivers which drain the county.

History

Wiltshire is notable for its pre-Roman archaeology. The Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age people that occupied southern Britain built settlements on the hills and downland that cover Wiltshire. Stonehenge and Avebury are perhaps the most famous Neolithic sites in the UK.

In the 6th and 7th centuries Wiltshire was at the western edge of Saxon Britain, as Cranborne Chase and the Somerset Levels prevented the advance to the west. The Battle of Bedwyn was fought in 675 between Escuin, a Wessex nobleman who had seized the throne of Queen Saxburga, and King Wulfhere of Mercia.[3] In 878 the Danes invaded the county, and, following the Norman Conquest, large areas of the country came into the possession of the crown and the church.

At the time of the Domesday Survey the industry of Wiltshire was largely agricultural; 390 mills are mentioned, and vineyards at Tollard and Lacock. In the succeeding centuries sheep-farming was vigorously pursued, and the Cistercian monasteries of Kingswood and Stanley exported wool to the Florentine and Flemish markets in the 13th and 14th centuries.

In the 17th century English Civil War Wiltshire was largely Parliamentarian. The Battle of Roundway Down, a decisive Royalist victory, was fought near Devizes.

Around 1800 the Kennet and Avon Canal was built through Wiltshire providing a route for transporting cargoes from Bristol to London until the development of the Great Western Railway.

Information on the 261 civil parishes of Wiltshire is available on the Wiltshire Community History website, run by the Libraries and Heritage services of Wiltshire County Council. This site includes maps, demographic data, historic and modern pictures and short histories.

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Tale of Moonrakers

The local nickname for Wiltshire natives is moonrakers. This originated from a story of smugglers who managed to foil the local Excise men by hiding their alcohol, possibly French brandy in barrels or kegs, in a village pond. When confronted by the excise men they raked the surface in order to conceal the submerged contraband with ripples, and claimed that they were trying to rake in a large round cheese visible in the pond, really a reflection of the full moon. The officials took them for simple yokels or mad and left them alone, allowing them to continue with their illegal activities. Many villages claim the tale for their own village pond, but the story is most commonly linked The Crammer in Devizes.[4]

Geology, landscape and ecology

Wiltshire is a mostly rural landscape, two thirds of the county lying on chalk, a kind of soft, white, porous limestone that is resistant to erosion, giving it a high chalk downland landscape. This chalk is part of the Southern England Chalk Formation that underlies large areas of Southern England from the Dorset Downs in the west to Dover in the east. The largest area of chalk in Wiltshire is Salisbury Plain, a semi-wilderness used mainly for arable agriculture and by the British Army as training ranges. The highest point of the county is the Tan HillMilk Hill ridge in the Pewsey Vale, just to the north of Salisbury Plain, at 295 m (968 ft) above sea level.

The chalk uplands run northeast into West Berkshire in the Marlborough Downs ridge, and southwest into Dorset as Cranborne Chase. Cranborne Chase, which straddles the border, has, like Salisbury Plain, yielded much Stone Age and Bronze Age archaeology. The Marlborough Downs are part of the North Wessex Downs AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), a 1,730 km2 (668 square mile) conservation area.

In the northwest of the county, on the border with South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset, the underlying rock is the resistant oolite limestone of the Cotswolds. Part of the Cotswolds AONB is also in Wiltshire.

Between the areas of chalk and limestone downland are clay valleys and vales. The largest of these vales is the Avon Vale. The Avon cuts diagonally through the north of the county, flowing through Bradford on Avon and into Bath and Bristol. The Vale of Pewsey has been cut through the chalk into Greensand and Oxford Clay in the centre of the county. In the south west of the county is the Vale of Wardour. The southeast of the county lies on the sandy soils of the northernmost area of the New Forest.

Chalk is a porous rock so the chalk hills have little surface water. The main settlements in the county are therefore situated at wet points. Notably, Salisbury is situated between the chalk of Salisbury Plain and marshy flood plains.

Climate

As with the rest of South West England, Wiltshire has a temperate climate which is generally wetter and milder than the rest of England. The annual mean temperature is 10 °C (50 °F) and shows a seasonal and a diurnal variation. January is the coldest month with mean minimum temperatures between 1 and 2 °C (34 and 36 °F). July and August are the warmest months in the region with mean daily maxima around 21 °C (70 °F).

The number of hours of bright sunshine is controlled by the length of day and by cloudiness. In general December is the dullest month, June the sunniest. The south-west of England has a favoured location with respect to the Azores high pressure when it extends its influence north-eastwards towards the UK, particularly in summer. Convective cloud often forms inland, especially near hills, and acts to reduce sunshine amounts. The average annual sunshine totals 1600 hours.

Rainfall tends to be associated with Atlantic depressions or with convection. The Atlantic depressions are more vigorous in autumn and winter and most of the rain which falls in those seasons in the south-west is from this source. In summer, convection caused by solar surface heating sometimes forms shower clouds and a large proportion of rainfall falls from showers and thunderstorms at this time of year. Average rainfall is around 800–900 mm (31–35 in). About 8–15 days of snowfall is typical. November to March have the highest mean wind speeds, with June to August having the lightest winds. The predominant wind direction is from the South West.[5]

Economy

This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added (GVA) of Wiltshire at current basic prices[6] with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

Year Regional gross value added[7] Agriculture[8] Industry[9] Services[10]
1995 4,354 217 1,393 2,743
2000 5,362 148 1,566 3,647
2003 6,463 164 1,548 4,751

The Wiltshire economy benefits from the "M4 corridor effect", which attracts business, and the attractiveness of its countryside, towns and villages. The northern part of the county is richer than the southern part, particularly since Swindon is home to national and international corporations such as Honda, Intel, Motorola, Alcatel-Lucent, Patheon, Catalent (formerly know as Cardinal Health), Becton-Dickinson, WHSmith, Early Learning Centre and Nationwide, with Dyson located in nearby Malmesbury. Wiltshire’s employment structure is distinctive in having a significantly higher number of people in various forms of manufacturing (especially electrical equipment and apparatus, food products, and beverages, furniture, rubber, pharmaceuticals, and plastic goods) than the national average.

In addition, there is higher than average employment in public administration and defence, due to the military establishments around the county, particularly around Amesbury and Corsham. There are sizeable British Army barracks at Tidworth, Bulford and Warminster, and further north RAF Lyneham is home to the RAF's Hercules C130 fleet. Wiltshire is also distinctive in having a high proportion of its working age population who are economically active – (86.6% in 1999–2000), and its low unemployment rates. The Gross domestic product (GDP) level in Wiltshire did not reach the UK average in 1998, and was only marginally above the rate for South West England.[11]

Education

Wiltshire has twenty-nine county secondary schools, publicly funded, of which the largest is Warminster Kingdown, and another thirteen independent secondaries, including Marlborough College, St Mary's Calne, and Dauntsey's. The county schools are nearly all comprehensives, with the older pattern of education surviving only in Salisbury, which has two grammar schools (South Wilts Grammar School for Girls and Bishop Wordsworth's School) and three secondary moderns. All but two of the county secondary schools in the former districts of West Wiltshire and North Wiltshire have Sixth forms, but only half of those in the rest of the county.

Wiltshire Council operates Urchfont Manor College, which is a residential adult education college. There are also three further education colleges, New College, Swindon, Wiltshire College and Swindon College, providing some higher education. As yet there are no universities within Wiltshire, except that the Oxford Brookes University maintains a minor campus in Swindon. Early outline plans for a projected University of Swindon or University of Wiltshire were announced by the Borough of Swindon in November 2008, but the scheme is uncommitted. Swindon is the UK's largest centre of population without its own university. The closest university to Wiltshire's county town of Trowbridge is the University of Bath.

Demographics

The county registered a population of 613,024 in the Census 2001. The population density is low at 178 inhabitants per square kilometre (460 /sq mi). In 1991 there were 230,109 dwellings in the county. In 1991 98.3% of the population was indigenous and 17.9% of the population were over 65.[12]

Population of Wiltshire:

  • 1801: 185,107
  • 1851: 254,221
  • 1901: 271,394
  • 1951: 386,692
  • 2001: 613,024

Politics and administration

The ceremonial county of Wiltshire consists of two unitary authority areas, Wiltshire and Swindon, governed respectively by Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council.

Until the 2009 structural changes to local government in England, Wiltshire (apart from Swindon) was a two-level county, divided into four local government districts, Kennet, North Wiltshire, Salisbury and West Wiltshire, which existed alongside Wiltshire County Council, covering the same area and carrying out more strategic tasks, such as education and county roads. However, on 1 April 2009 these five local authorities were merged into a single unitary authority called Wiltshire Council. With the abolition of the District of Salisbury, a new Salisbury City Council was created at the same time to carry out several city-wide functions and to hold the City's charter.

As a result of elections held in 2009, Wiltshire Council comprises 61 Conservatives, 24 Liberal Democrats, eight Independents, three Devizes Guardians and two Labour members. The council is led by Jane Scott (Conservative), who had previously led the former Wiltshire County Council since 2003.

At the parliamentary level, rural Wiltshire is represented by four Conservative Members of Parliament, while the predominantly urban area of Swindon has two Labour members. Since 1992, Devizes has been represented by the front bench Conservative Michael Ancram.

Sport

The county is represented in the Football League by Swindon Town, who play at the County Ground near Swindon town centre. They joined the Football League on the creation of the Third Division in 1920, and have remained in the league ever since. Their most notable achievements include winning the Football League Cup in 1969 and the Anglo-Italian Cup in 1970, two successive promotions in 1986 and 1987 (taking them from the Fourth Division to the Second), promotion to the Premier League as Division One playoff winners in 1993 (as inaugural members), the Division Two title in 1996, and their recent promotion to League One in 2007 after finishing third in League Two.

Swindon Robins Speedway team, who compete in the Sky Elite League, have been at their track at the Blunsdon Abbey Stadium since 1949.

Principal settlements

Wiltshire has twenty-one towns and one city

A list of settlements is at List of places in Wiltshire.

Places of interest

Places of interest in Wiltshire include:

A series of approximately 20 black lock gates with white ends to the paddle arms and wooden railings, each slightly higher than the one below. On the right is a path and on both sides grass and vegetation.
The flight of 16 locks at Caen Hill on the Kennet and Avon Canal.
Areas of countryside in Wiltshire include

Transport

Road

Roads running through Wiltshire include The Ridgeway, an ancient route, the Roman roads Fosse Way and Ermin Way and the Thames Path, a modern long distance footpath. National Cycle Route 4 runs through the county.

Routes through Wiltshire include:

Canal

Rail

Air

Airports in Wiltshire include Old Sarum Airfield and Redlands Airfield.

In fiction

See also

References and footnotes

  1. ^ "Population estimates for UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, Mid-2008" (ZIP). National Statistics Online. Office for National Statistics. 27 August 2009. http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_population/Mid_2008_UK_England_&_Wales_Scotland_and_Northern_Ireland_27_08_09.zip. Retrieved 26 September 2009. 
  2. ^ http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/lca-December 05-chapter-7.pdf
  3. ^ Pearson, Michael (2003). Kennet & Avon Middle Thames:Pearson's Canal Companion. Rugby: Central Waterways Supplies. ISBN 0-907864-97-X. 
  4. ^ Staff. "Moonraking: The Folklore". Where I live: Wiltshire. BBC Wiltshire. http://www.bbc.co.uk/wiltshire/moonraking/folklore_moonraking.shtml. Retrieved 1 December 2008. 
  5. ^ "About south-west England". Met Office. http://www.metoffice.com/climate/uk/location/southwestengland/index.html. Retrieved 2006-05-28. 
  6. ^ "Regional Gross Value Added (pp.240–253)". Office for National Statistics. http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_economy/RegionalGVA.pdf. Retrieved 2006-10-21. 
  7. ^ Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  8. ^ includes hunting and forestry
  9. ^ includes energy and construction
  10. ^ includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
  11. ^ "Wiltshire Strategic Analysis (2002)". Wiltshire CPRE. http://www.cprewiltshire.org.uk/tpp/Wiltshire%20Strategic%20Analysis%20-%20LSP.pdf. Retrieved 2006-10-21. 
  12. ^ Census Data "1991 Wiltshire Census Data". Office for National Statistics. http://www.statistics.gov.uk/CCI/SearchRes.asp?term=Wiltshire Census Data. Retrieved 2006-10-21. 

External links

Coordinates: 51°19′11″N 2°12′32″W / 51.31972°N 2.20889°W / 51.31972; -2.20889


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Wiltshire is a large and mostly rural county in the west of England. The county contains large areas of rolling chalk downland and grazing farmland, including Salisbury Plain, a large expanse of downland used as a training area by the British Army.

For the visitor, Wiltshire is probably most significant because it contains several extremely important neolithic monuments, including the stone circles at Stonehenge and Avebury and the former settlement of Old Sarum [1].

Map of Wiltshire
Map of Wiltshire

The following cities, towns and Villages may be of interest to visitors.

  • Box (Wiltshire) -- Site of the famous Box Railway tunnel and home to musicians Peter Gabriel & Midge Ure.
  • Bratton -- Site of Bratton Castle (or Camp) an Iron Age hill fort.
  • Castle Combe (pronounced coom) -- a small pretty village north west of Chippenham [3]
  • Lacock -- a village dating back to the 13th century owned almost in its entirety by the National Trust [4], site of Lacock Abbey and the William Fox-Talbot museum. [5]
  • Pewsey -- a large village with a main line rail station.
  • Wilton -- an medium sized village to the west of Salisbury.
  • Tiddlywink -- a hamlet consisting of eight cottages, near the village of Yatton Keynell, about three miles (five kilometers) to the west of Chippenham.
  • Avebury
  • Stonehenge
  • The White Horses of Wiltshire - white horses created by removing the grass on hills to reveal the white chalk underneath. Most are a few hundred years old, although the Uffington White Horse is at least 3,000 years old, although this is actually in the county of Oxfordshire.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

WILTSHIRE [WILTS], a south-western county of England, bounded N.W. and N. by Gloucestershire, N.E. and E. by Berkshire, S.E. by Hampshire, S.W. and S. by Dorsetshire, and W. by Somersetshire. The area is 1374.9 sq. m. A great upland covers two-thirds of the county, comprising, in the north-east, Marlborough Downs, with Savernake Forest; in the centre, the broad undulating sweep of Salisbury Plain; and in the south, the more varied hills and dales of the Nadder watershed, the vale of Chalk and Cranborne Chase. Large tracts of the Chalk are over 600 ft. above the sea, rising in many parts into steep and picturesque escarpments. Several peaks attain an altitude of goo ft., and Inkpen Beacon, on the borders of Berkshire, Wiltshire and Hampshire, reaches ioi ft. Scattered in thousands over the downs lie huge blocks of silicious Tertiary grits, called sarsen stones or grey wethers, which were used by the primitive builders of Stonehenge and Avebury. The underlying Greensand is exposed in the deeper valleys of the Chalk, such as the vale of Pewsey, dividing Salisbury Plain from Marlborough Downs, and the vale of Chalk, dividing the Nadder westward from the heights of Cranborne Chase. One of the most charming features of the county is its fertile and well-wooded valleys. Three ancient forests remain: Cranborne Chase, which extends into Dorset, was a royal deer-park as early as the reign of John, and, like Savernake Forest, contains many noble old oaks and beeches. The main part of the New Forest belongs to Hampshire; but No Man's Land and Hampworth Common, its outlying heaths and coppices, encroach upon the south-eastern corner of Wilts. Bentley Wood, 5 m. E. of Salisbury, and the Great Ridge and Grovely Woods between the Nadder and Wylye, are fine uplands parks. There is no great sheet of water, but the reservoir near Swindon, and the lakes of Longleat, Stourton and Fonthill in the south-west of Earl Stoke near Westbury, and of Bowood, Corsham and Seagry near Chippenham, deserve mention for the beauty of their scenery. The upper reaches of the Thames skirt the north-eastern border, and three other considerable rivers drain the Wiltshire Downs. The Kennet, rising west of Marlborough, winds eastward into Berkshire and meets the Thames at Reading. The Lower or Bristol Avon flows from its source among the Cotteswolds in southern Gloucestershire, past Malmesbury, Chippenham, Melksham and Bradford, where it curves north-eastward into Somerset, finally falling into the Bristol Channel. Besides many lesser tributaries it receives from the south the Frome, which forms for about 5 m. the boundary between Wilts and Somerset. The East or Christchurch Avon, which rises near Bishops Cannings in the centre of the county, flows east and south into Hampshire, and enters the sea at Christchurch. Close to Salisbury it is joined by the united streams of the Nadder and the Wylye; by the Ebble, which drains the vale of Chalk; and by the Bourne, which flows south by west from its head near Ludgershall.

Table of contents

Geology

As has been said, about two-thirds of the surface of Wilts is occupied by a great Chalk upland. Cropping out from beneath the Chalk is a fringe of the Selbornian - Upper Greensand and Gault - the former is well exposed in the vale of Pewsey, west of Devizes, and along the margins of the vale of Wardour; it forms a broad, hilly tract from Mere through Stourton to Warminster. The Gault Clay runs regularly at the foot of the Upper Greensand; it is excavated in several places for brick-making. The Lower Greensand, which oversteps the underlying formations, appears from beneath the Gault at Poulshot and follows the same line of outcrop northwards; a small outlier at Seend is worked for the iron it contains. About one-third of the county lying on the north-west side of the Chalk downs, including a portion of the vale of the White Horse, is occupied by Jurassic rocks. The Upper Lias - the oldest formation in the county - forms the floor of the valley near Box; it is followed by the overlying Inferior Oolite and Fuller's Earth. Then succeeds the Great Oolite Series, which includes the famous building-stones of Bath, quarried at Winsley Down, near Bradford, and at Box, Corsham Down and other places in the neighbourhood. Above the freestones near Bradford comes the Bradford clay, with the well-known fossil Apiocrinus or pear-encrinite, followed by the Forest Marble limestones and clays. The rubbly Cornbrash crops at Westwood, Trowbridge, and Malmesbury. Further east lies the outcrop of Oxfordian strata, comprising the sandy Kellaways beds and overlying Oxford Clay, together forming a broad low-lying tract in which stand Trowbridge, Melksham, Chippenham and Cricklade. Rising up from the eastern margin of the Oxfordian vale is the irregular scarp formed by the Corallian oolitic limestones and marls. The iron ores of Westbury are obtained in this formation. Another clay-bottomed vale lies on the eastern side of the Corallian ground, from near Calne to Swindon, where it is exploited for bricks. It appears also between Seend, Coulston and Westbury; also between Mere and Semley. About the former place it is brought into apposition with Cretaceous rocks through the agency of an east to west fault. At Tisbury and near Potterne are small outcrops of Portlandian rocks which yield the familiar buildingstones of Tisbury and Chilmark. Limestones and clays of Purbeck age lie in the vale of Wardour about Teffont Evias. At Dinton in the same vale the Wealden formation just makes its appearance.

In the south-eastern corner of the county there are tracts of Tertiary Reading Beds and London Clay east of Downton and on the Clarendon Hills; these are covered by Bagshot Beds at Alderbury and Grinstead, also on Hampworth Common. Outliers of Reading Beds and London Clay occur about Great Bedwin; the sarsen stones previously referred to represent the last remnants of a mantle of Tertiary rocks which formerly covered the district. Here and there drift gravels and brick earths, besides low-level river gravels, rest upon the older rocks.

Agriculture

Some five-sixths of the total area, a high proportion, is under cultivation, but a large amount of this is in permanent pasture. The soil, a heavy reddish loam, with a subsoil of broken stones, in the north-west, but lighter in the chalk region, is essentially that of a pastoral country, although there are wide tracts of richer land, suitable for wheat and beans. Oats, however, are the largest grain crop. There is a small acreage classified as hill pasture. The green crops consist mainly of turnips, mangolds and swedes. Baconcuring is carried on. Large numbers of sheep are bred on the downs, and dairy-farming is practised in the north-west. There are manufactures of condensed milk. An agricultural college is established at Downton.

Manufactures

A majority of the hands employed in factories and workshops are occupied in the locomotive works of the Great Western railway at Swindon. There are also large engineering works at Devizes. Cloth is still woven, though in greatly diminished quantities, at Trowbridge, Melksham, Chippenham and other places where water-power is available. Carpets are woven at Wilton, haircloth and coco-nut fibre at Melksham, silk at Malmesbury, Mere and Warminster. Portland and Bath stone are quarried for building purposes, while iron ore from mines near Westbury is smelted in that town.

Communications

Three great railway lines traverse Wiltshire from E. to W., throwing out a number of branch lines to the larger towns. In the N. the Great Western main line passes through Swindon on its way from London to Bath. A second line of the same system runs also to Bath from Hungerford, by way of Devizes. South of Salisbury Plain the South-Western main line goes through Salisbury and the southern quarter of Wilts on its way into Somerset. The chief branch line is that between Salisbury and Westbury on the Great Western. The Midland & South-Western Junction railway runs north from Andover by Swindon, Cricklade and Cirencester. Swindon, Salisbury and Westbury are the three centres of railway traffic. The Avon is navigable as far as Salisbury, and goods are carried on the Thames & Severn Canal in the N.E., and on the Kennet & Avon Canal across Salisbury Plain. These waterways were formerly connected by a branch of the Berks & Wilts Canal, which runs S.W. from Berkshire, through Swindon and Melksham, but was closed in 1899.

The area of the ancient county is 879,943 acres, with a population in 1891 of 264,997 and in 1901 of 273,869. The area of the administrative county is 864,105 acres. The county contains 29 hundreds. The municipal boroughs are - Calne (pop. 3457), Chippenham (5074), Devizes (6532), Malmesbury (2854), Marlborough (3887), Salisbury, a city and the county town (17,117), Swindon (45,006), Wilton (2203). The urban districts areBradford-on-Avon (4514), Melksham (2450) ,Trowbridge (11,526), Warminster (5547), Westbury (3305). Other small towns are Cricklade (1517), Downton (1786), Highworth (2047), Mere (1977), Pewsey (1722), Wootton Bassett (2258). The county is in the western circuit, and assizes are held at Salisbury and Devizes. It has one court of quarter sessions, and is divided into 16 petty sessional divisions. The boroughs of Devizes and Salisbury have separate courts of quarter sessions and commissions of the peace, and the borough of Marlborough has a separate commission of the peace. There are 335 civil parishes. Wiltshire is mainly in the diocese of Salisbury, but a considerable part is in that of Bristol, and small parts in those of Gloucester, Oxford and Winchester. It contains 322 ecclesiastical parishes or districts, wholly or in part. The county is divided into five parliamentary divisions, each returning one member - Northern or Cricklade, North-western or Chippenham, Western or West bury, Eastern or Devizes and Southern or Wilton. It also contains the parliamentary borough of Salisbury, returning one member.

History

The English conquest of the district now known as Wiltshire began in 552 with the victory of Cynric at Old Sarum, by which the way was opened to Salisbury Plain. Four years later, pushing his way through the vale of Pewsey, Cynric extended the limits of the West Saxon kingdom to the Marlborough Downs by a victory at Barbury Hill At this period the district south of the Avon and the Nadder was occupied by dense woodland, the relics of which survive in Cranborne Chase, and the first wave of West Saxon colonization was chiefly confined to the valleys of the Avon and the Wylye, the little township of Wilton which arose in the latter giving the name of Wilsaetan to the new settlers. By the 9th century the district had acquired a definite administrative and territorial organization, Walstan, ealdorman of the Wilsaetan, being mentioned as early as Boo as repelling an attempted invasion of the Mercians. Moreover, "Wiltunscire" is mentioned by Asser in 878, in which year the Danes established their headquarters at Chippenham and remained there a year, plundering the surrounding country. In the time of ZEthelstan mints existed at Old Sarum, Malmesbury, Wilton, Cricklade and Marlborough. Wilton and Salisbury were destroyed by the Danish invaders under Sweyn in 1003, and in 1015 the district was harried by Canute.

With the redistribution of estates after the Conquest more than two-fifths of the county fell into the hands of the church; the possessions of the crown covered one-fifth; while among the chief lay proprietors were Edward of Salisbury, William, count of Ewe, Ralph de Mortimer, Aubrey de Vere, Robert Fitzgerald, Miles Crispin, Robert d'Oily and Osbern Giffard. The first earl of Wiltshire after the Conquest was William le Scrope, who received the honour in 1397. The title subsequently passed to Sir James Butler in 1449, Sir John Strafford in 1470, Sir Thomas Boleyn in 1529, and in 1550 to the Paulett family. The Benedictine foundations at Wilton, Malmesbury and Amesbury existed before the Conquest; the Augustinian house at Bradenstoke was founded by Walter d'Evreux in 1142; that at Lacock by Ela, countess of Salisbury, in 1232; that at Longleat by Sir John Vernon before 1272. The Cluniac priory of Monkton Farleigh was founded by Humphrey de Bohun in 1125; the Cistercian house at Kingswood by William de Berkeley in 1139; and that of Stanley by the Empress Maud in 1154.

Of the forty Wiltshire hundreds mentioned in the Domesday Survey, Selkley, Ramsbury, Bradford, Melksham, Calne, Whorwellsdown, Westbury, Warminster, Heytesbury, Kinwardstone, Ambresbury, Underditch, Furstfield, Alderbury and Downton remain to the present day practically unaltered in name and extent; Thorngrave, Dunelawe and Cepeham hundreds form the modern hundred of Chippenham; Malmesbury hundred represents the Domesday hundreds of Cicemethorn and Sterchelee, which were held at farm by the abbot of Malmesbury; Highworth represents the Domesday hundreds of Crechelade, Scipe, Wurde and Staple; Kingbridge the hundreds of Chingbridge, Blachegrave and Thornhylle; Swanborough the hundreds of Rugeberge, Stodfa d and Swaneberg; Branch the hundreds of Branchesberge and Dolesfeld; Cawden the hundreds of Cawdon and Cadworth. A noticeable feature in the 14th century is the aggregation of church manors into distinct hundreds, at the court of which their ecclesiastical owners required their tenants to do suit and service. Thus the bishop of Winchester had a separate hundred called Kurwel Bishop, afterwards absorbed in Downton hundred; the abbot of Damerham had that of Damerham; and the prior of St Swithin's that of Elstub, under each of which were included manors situate in different parts of the county.

The meeting-place of Swanborough hundred was at Swanborough Tump, a hillock in the parish of Manningford Abbots identified as the moot-place mentioned in the will of King Alfred; that of Malmesbury was at Colepark; that of Bradford at Bradford Leigh; that of Warminster at Iley Oak, about 2 m. south of Warminster, near Southleigh Wood. The shire court for Wiltshire was held at Wilton, and until 1446 the shrievalty was enjoyed ex officio by the castellans of Old Sarum. Edward of Salisbury was sheriff at the time of the Domesday Survey, and the office remained hereditary in his family, descending to William Longespee by his marriage with Ela, great-granddaughter of Edward. In the 13th century the assizes were held at Wilton, Malmesbury and New Sarum.

On the division of the West Saxon see in 703 Wiltshire was included in the diocese of Sherborne, but in 905 a separate diocese of Wilton was founded, the see being fixed alternately at Ramsbury, Wilton and Sunning in Berkshire. Shortly before the Conquest Wilton was reunited to the Sherborne diocese, and by the synod of1075-1076the see was transferred to Salisbury. The archdeaconries of Wiltshire and Salisbury are mentioned in 1180; in 1291 the former included the deaneries of Avebury, Malmesbury, Marlborough and Cricklade within this county, and the latter the deaneries of Amesbury, Potterne, Wilton, Chalke and Wylye. In 1535 the archdeaconry of Salisbury included the additional deanery of Salisbury, while Potterne deanery had been transferred to the archdeaconry of Wiltshire. The deaneries of the archdeaconry of Salisbury have remained unaltered; Wiltshire archdeaconry now includes the deaneries of Avebury, Marlborough and Potterne; and the deaneries of Chippenham, Cricklade and Malmesbury form part of the archdeaconry and diocese of Bristol.

The inhabitants of Wiltshire have always been addicted to industrial rather than warlike pursuits, and the political history of the county is not remarkable. In 1086, after the completion of the Domesday Survey, Salisbury was the scene of a great council, in which all the landholders took oaths of allegiance to the king, and a council for the same purpose assembled at Salisbury in 1116. At Clarendon in 1166 was drawn up the assize which remodelled the provincial administration of justice. Parliaments were held at Marlborough in 1267 and at Salisbury in 1328 and 1384. During the wars of Stephen's reign Salisbury, Devizes and Malmesbury were garrisoned by Roger, bishop of Salisbury, for the empress, but in 1138 Stephen seized the bishop and captured Devizes Castle. In 1216 Marlborough Castle was surrendered to Louis by Hugh de Neville. Hubert de Burgh escaped in 1233 from Devizes Castle, where he had been imprisoned in the previous year. In the Civil War of the 17th century Wiltshire actively supported the parliamentary cause, displaying a spirit of violent anti-Catholicism, and the efforts of the marquess of Hertford and of Lord Seymour to raise a party for the king met with vigorous resistance from the inhabitants. The Royalists, however, made some progress in the early stage of the struggle, Marlborough being captured for the king in 1642, while in 1643 the forces of the earl of Essex were routed by Charles I. and Prince Rupert at Aldbourne, and in the same year Waller, after failing to capture Devizes, was defeated in a skirmish at Roundway Down. The year 1645 saw the rise of the "Clubmen" of Dorset and Wiltshire, whose sole object was peace; they systematically punished any member of either party discovered in acts of plunder. Devizes, the last stronghold of the Royalists, was captured by Cromwell in 1645. In 1655 a rising organized on behalf of the king at Salisbury was dispersed in the same year.

At the time of the Domesday Survey the industrial pursuits of Wiltshire were almost exclusively agricultural; 390 mills are mentioned, and vineyards at Tollard and Lacock. In the succeeding centuries sheep-farming was vigorously pursued, and the Cistercian monasteries of Kingswood and Stanlegh exported wool to the Florentine and Flemish markets in the 13th and 14th centuries. Wiltshire at this time was already reckoned among the chief of the clothing counties, the principal centres of the industry being Bradford, Malmesbury, Trowbridge, Devizes and Chippenham. In the 16th century Devizes was noted for its blankets, Warminster had a famous corn-market, and cheese was extensively made in north Wiltshire. Amesbury was famous for its tobacco pipes in the 16th century. The clothing trade went through a period of great depression in the 17th century, partly owing to the constant outbreaks of plague. Linen, cotton, gloves and cutlery were also manufactured in the county, silk at Malmesbury and carpets at Wilton.

In 1295 Wiltshire was represented by no less than twenty-eight members in parliament, the shire returning two knights, and the boroughs of Bedwin, Bradford, Caine, Chippenham, Cricklade, Devizes, Downton, Ludgershall, Malmesbury, Marlborough, Old Sarum, Salisbury and Wilton, two burgesses each, but the boroughs for the most part made very irregular returns. Hindon, Heytesbury and Wootton Bassett were enfranchised in the 15th century, and at the time of the Reform Act of 1832 the county with sixteen boroughs returned a total of thirty-four members. Under the latter act Great Bedwin, Downton, Heytesbury, Hindon, Ludgershall, Old Sarum and Wootton Bassett were disfranchised, and Caine, Malmesbury, Westbury and Wilton lost one member each. Under the act of 1868 the county returned two members in two divisions, and Chippenham, Devizes and Marlborough lost one member each. Under the act of 1885 the county returned five members in five divisions; Cricklade, Calne, Chippenham, Devizes, Malmesbury, Marlborough, Westbury and Wilton were disfranchised; and Salisbury lost one member.

Antiquities

Wiltshire is extraordinarily rich in prehistoric antiquities. The stone age is represented by a number of flint and stone implements, preserved in the unsurpassed collection at Salisbury Museum. Stonehenge, with its circles of giant stones, and Avebury, with its avenues of monoliths leading to what was once a stone circle, surrounded by an earthwork, and enclosing two lesser circles, are the largest and most famous megalithic works in England. A valley near Avebury is filled with immense sarsen blocks, resembling a river of stone, and perhaps laid there by prehistoric architects. There are also menhirs, dolmens and cromlechs. Surrounded as they were by forests and marshy hollows, it is clear that the downs were densely peopled at a very early period. Circles, formed by a ditch within a bank, are common, as are grave-mounds or barrows. These have been classified according to their shape as bell-barrows, bowl-barrows and long barrows. Bones, ashes, tools, weapons and ornaments have been dug up from such mounds, many of which contain kistvaens or chambers of stone. The "lynchets" or terraces which score some of the hillsides are said to be the work of primitive agriculturists. Ancient strongholds are scattered over the county. Among the most remarkable are Vespasian's Camp, near Amesbury; Silbury Hill, the largest artificial mound in Europe, near Avebury; the mounds of Marlborough and Old Sarum; the camps of Battlesbury and Scratchbury, near Warminster; Yarnbury, to the N. of Wylye, in very perfect preservation; Casterley, on a ridgeway about 7 m. E.S.E. of Devizes; Whitesheet and Winkelbury, overlooking the vale of Chalk; Chisbury, near Savernake; Sidbury, near Ludgershall; and Figbury Ring, 3 m. N.E. of Salisbury. Ogbury, 6 m. N. of Salisbury, is an undoubted British enclosure. Durrington Walls, N. of Amesbury, are probably the remains of a British village, and there are vestiges of others on Salisbury Plain and Marlborough Downs.

There are many signs of the Roman rule. Wans Dyke or Woden's Dyke, one of the largest extant entrenchments, runs west for about 60 m. from a point east of Savernake, nearly as far as the Bristol Channel, and is almost unaltered for several miles along the Marlborough Downs. Its date is uncertain; but the work has been proved, wherever excavated, to be Roman or Romano-British. It consists of a bank, witlf a trench on the north side, and was clearly meant for defence, not as a boundary. Forts strengthened it at intervals. Bokerly Dyke, which forms a part of the boundary between Wilts and Dorset, is the largest among several similar entrenchments, and has also a ditch north of the rampart.

Chief among the few monastic buildings of which any vestiges remain are the ruined abbeys of Malmesbury and of Lacock near Melksham. There are some traces of the hospital for leprous women afterwards converted into an Austin priory at Maiden Bradley. Monkton Farleigh, farther north along the Somerset borde>', had its Cluniac priory, founded as a cell of Lewes in the 13th century, and represented by some outbuildings of the manor-house. A college for a dean and 12 prebendaries, afterwards a monastery of Bonhommes, was founded in 1347 at Edington. The church, Decorated and Perpendicular, resembles a cathedral in size and stately beauty. The 14th century buildings of Bradenstoke Priory or Cleck Abbey, founded near Chippenham for Austin canons, are incorporated in a farmhouse. The finest churches of Wiltshire, generally Perpendicular, were built in the districts where good stone could be obtained, while the architecture is more simple in the Chalk region, where flint was used perforce. Small wooden steeples and pyramidal bell-turrets are not uncommon; and the churches of Purton, 3z m. N.W. of Swindon, and Wanborough, 3 m. S.E., have each two steeples, one in the centre, one at the west end. St Lawrence's church at Bradford-on-Avon is one of the most perfect Saxon ecclesiastical buildings in England; and elsewhere there are fragments of Saxon work imbedded in later masonry. Such are three arches in the nave of Britford church, within a mile of Salisbury; the east end of the chancel at Burcombe, near Wilton; and parts of the churches at Bremhill, and at Manningford Bruce or Braose in the vale of Pewsey. St John's at Devizes retains its original Norman tower and has Norman masonry in its chancel; while the chancel of St Mary's, in the same town, is also Norman, and the porch has characteristic Norman mouldings. The churches of Preshute, near Marlborough, Ditteridge or Ditcheridge, near Box, and Nether Avon, near Amesbury, preserve sundry Norman features. Early English is illustrated by Salisbury Cathedral, its purest and most beautiful example; and, on a smaller scale, at Amesbury, Bishops Cannings, Boyton in the vale of the Wylye, Collingbourne Kingston, east of Salisbury Plain, Downton and Potterne, near Devizes. Bishopstone, in the vale of Chalk, has the finest Decorated church in the county, with a curious external cloister, and unique south chancel doorway, recessed beneath a stone canopy. Mere, close to the borders of Dorset and Somerset, is interesting not only for its Perpendicular church, but for a medieval chantry, used as a schoolhouse by Barnes, the Dorsetshire poet, and for its 14thcentury dwelling-houses.

The castles of Wiltshire have been almost entirely swept away. At Old Sarum, Marlborough and Devizes only a few vestiges are left in walls and vaults. Castle Combe and Trowbridge castle have long been demolished, and of Ludgershall castle only a small fragment survives. The ruins of Wardour castle, standing in a richly wooded park near Tisbury, date from the 14th century, and consist of a hexagonal outer wall of great height, enclosing an open court. Two towers overlook the entrance. The 18th-century castle, one mile distant, across the park, is noteworthy for its collection of paintings, and, among other curiosities, for the "Glastonbury Cup," said to be fashioned out of a branch of the celebrated thorntree at Glastonbury. The number of old country houses is a marked feature in Wilts. Few parishes, especially in the N.W., are without their old manor-house, usually converted into a farm, but preserving its flagged roof, stone-mullioned windows, gabled front, two-storeyed porch and oak-panelled interior. Place House, in Tisbury, and Barton Farm, at Bradford, date from the 14th century. Fifteenthcentury work is best exemplified in the manor-houses of Norrington, in the vale of Chalk; Teffont Evias, in the vale of Nadder; Potterne; and Great Chaldfield. near Monkton Farleigh. At South Wraxall the hall of a very beautiful house of the same period is celebrated in local tradition as the spot where tobacco was first smoked in England by Sir Walter Raleigh and his host, Sir Walter Long. Later styles are represented by Longford Castle, near Salisbury, where the picture galleries are of great interest; by Heytesbury Park; by Wilton House at Wilton, Kingston House at Bradford, Bowood near Caine, Longleat near Warminster, Corsham Court, Littlecote near Ramsbury, Charlton House near Malmesbury, Compton Chamberlayne in the Nadder valley, Grittleton House and the modern Castle Combe, both near Chippenham and Stourhead, on the borders of Dorset and Somerset. Each of these is noteworthy for its architecture, its art treasures or the beauty of its surroundings.

See Victoria County History, Wiltshire; Sir R. C. Hoare, The Ancient History of Wiltshire (2 vols., London, 1812-1821), The History of Modern Wiltshire (14 pts., London, 1822-1844); Aubrey's Collections for Wiltshire, edited by Sir T. Phillipps, pts. I, 2 (London, 1821); Leland's Journey through Wiltshire, A.D. 1540-1542, with notes by J. E. Jackson (Devizes, 1875); W. H. Jones, Domesday for Wiltshire (Bath, 1865); John Britton, The Beauties of Wiltshire (3 vols., London, 1801-1825); J. E. Jackson, The Sheriff's Tourn, Co. Wilts, A.D. 1 439 (Devizes, 1872); see also Proceedings of the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society.


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Proper noun

Singular
Wiltshire

Plural
-

Wiltshire

  1. An inland county of England bordered by Gloucestershire, Somerset, Dorset, Hampshire and Berkshire.

Anagrams


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Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

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Wiltshire
File:Wiltshire flag.png
File:EnglandWiltshire.png
Geography
Status Ceremonial & (smaller) Non-metropolitan county
Region: South West England
Area
- Total
- Admin. council
- Admin. area
Ranked 14th
1,346 sq. miles (3,485 km²)
Ranked 13th
1,257 sq. miles (3,255 km²)
Admin HQ: Trowbridge
ISO 3166-2: GB-WIL
ONS code: 46
NUTS 3: UKK15
Demographics
Population
- Total (2006 est.)
- Density
- Admin. council
- Admin. pop.
Ranked 34th Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
635,300


182

/ km²
Ranked 30th Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
448,700
Ethnicity: 97.5% White
Politics
File:Arms-wiltshire.jpg
Wiltshire County Council
http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/
Executive Conservative
Members of Parliament
Districts
File:Wiltshire Ceremonial Numbered.png
  1. Salisbury
  2. West Wiltshire
  3. Kennet
  4. North Wiltshire
  5. Swindon (Unitary)


Wiltshire (abbreviated Wilts) is a county in the south west of England. Considered as a ceremonial county, it is landlocked and borders the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire, and contains the unitary authority of Swindon. The county covers 858,931 acres (3476 km²)

The county is characterised by its high downland and wide valleys. Salisbury Plain is famous as the location of Stonehenge and other ancient landmarks. The city of Salisbury is notable for its cathedral.

Contents

Etymology

The county, formerly 'Wiltonshire' or 'Wiltunscir' (9th century), is named after the former county town of Wilton (itself named after the river Wylye, one of eight rivers that drain the county). The new county town is Trowbridge in the Trowbridge community area.

The local nickname for Wiltshire natives is moonrakers. This originated from a story of smugglers who managed to foil the local police by hiding their alchohol in a pond. They raked the surface in order to conceal the submerged alcohol with ripples, and claimed that they were trying to rake in the moon. The police took them for mad and left them alone, allowing them to continue with their illegal goods.

History

Main article: History of Wiltshire

File:Stonehenge back wide.jpg

Wiltshire is particularly well-known for its pre-Roman archaeology. The Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age people that occupied southern Britain built settlements on the hills and downland that cover Wiltshire. Stonehenge and Avebury are perhaps the most famous Neolithic sites in the UK.

In the sixth and seventh centuries Wiltshire was at the western edge of Saxon Britain, as Cranborne Chase and the Somerset Levels prevented the advance to the west. The battle of Bedwyn was fought in 675 between Escuin, a Wessex nobleman who had seized the throne of Queen Saxburga, and King Wulfhere of Mercia.[1] In 878 the Danes invaded the county, and, following the Norman Conquest, large areas of the country came into the possession of the crown and the church.

At the time of the Domesday Survey the industrial pursuits of Wiltshire were almost exclusively agricultural; 390 mills are mentioned, and vineyards at Tollard and Lacock. In the succeeding centuries sheep-farming was vigorously pursued, and the Cistercian monasteries of Kingswood and Stanley exported wool to the Florentine and Flemish markets in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.

In the seventeenth century English Civil War Wiltshire was largely Parliamentarian.

Around 1800 the Kennet and Avon Canal was built through Wiltshire providing a route for transporting a range of cargoes from Bristol to London, which was successful in encouraging local commerce for some years before the development of the Great Western Railway.

A growing amount of information on the 261 civil parishes of Wiltshire is available on the Wiltshire Community History website, run by the Libraries and Heritage services of Wiltshire County Council. This site includes maps, demographic data, historic and modern pictures, thumbnail histories, faqs, and information on schools and churches.

Geology, landscape and ecology

File:Cherhillwhitehorse.jpg

Wiltshire is a mostly rural landscape and about two thirds of the county lies on chalk, giving it a high chalk downland landscape. This chalk is part of the Southern England Chalk Formation that underlies large areas of Southern England from the Dorset Downs in the west to Dover in the east. The largest area of chalk in Wiltshire is Salisbury Plain, a vast expanse of semi-wilderness used mainly for arable agriculture and by the British Army as training ranges. The highest point of the county is the Tan Hill-Milk Hill ridge in the Pewsey Vale on the northern edge of Salisbury Plain, at 294m (965 ft) above sea level.

As well as Salisbury Plain the chalk runs northeast into West Berkshire in the Marlborough Downs ridge, and southwest into Dorset as Cranborne Chase. Cranborne Chase, which straddles the border, has, like Salisbury Plain, yielded much Stone Age and Bronze Age archaeology. The Marlborough Downs are part of the North Wessex Downs AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), a 1,730 km² (668 square mile) conservation area.

In the north west of the county, on the border with Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset, the underlying rock is the resistant oolite limestone of the Cotswolds. Part of the Cotswolds AONB is also in Wiltshire.

Between the areas of chalk and limestone downland are clay valleys and vales. The largest of these vales is the Avon Vale. The Avon cuts diagonally through the north of the county, flowing through Bradford on Avon and into Bath and Bristol. The Vale of Pewsey has been cut through the chalk into Greensand and Oxford Clay in the centre of the county. In the south west of the county is the Vale of Wardour. The south east of the county lies on the sandy soils of the New Forest.

Chalk is a porous rock so the chalk hills have little surface water. The main settlements in the county are therefore situated at wet points. Notably, Salisbury is situated between the chalk of Salisbury Plain and marshy flood plains.

File:Caen.hill.locks.in.devizes.arp.jpg

Climate

Along with the rest of South West England, Wiltshire has a temperate climate which is generally wetter and milder than the rest of England. The annual mean temperature is approximately 10°C and shows a seasonal and a diurnal variation. January is the coldest month with mean minimum temperatures between 1 and 2°C. July and August are the warmest months in the region with mean daily maxima around 21°C.

The number of hours of bright sunshine is controlled by the length of day and by cloudiness. In general December is the dullest month and June the sunniest. The south-west of England has a favoured location with respect to the Azores high pressure when it extends its influence north-eastwards towards the UK, particularly in summer. Convective cloud often forms inland, especially near hills, and acts to reduce sunshine amounts. The average annual sunshine totals around 1600 hours.

Rainfall tends to be associated with Atlantic depressions or with convection. The Atlantic depressions are more vigorous in autumn and winter and most of the rain which falls in those seasons in the south-west is from this source. In summer, convection caused by solar surface heating sometimes forms shower clouds and a large proportion of rainfall falls from showers and thunderstorms at this time of year. Average rainfall is around 800–900 mm. About 8–15 days of snowfall is typical. November to March have the highest mean wind speeds, with June to August having the lightest winds. The predominant wind direction is from the South West.[2]

Economy

This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Wiltshire at current basic prices[3] with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

Year Regional gross value added[4] Agriculture[5] Industry[6] Services[7]
1995 4,354 217 1,393 2,743
2000 5,362 148 1,566 3,647
2003 6,463 164 1,548 4,751

The Wiltshire economy benefits from the "M4 corridor effect", which attracts business, and the attractiveness of its countryside, villages and some of its towns which make it a desirable place to live, visit and work. The northern part of the County is relatively more economically dynamic than the southern part, particularly since Swindon has attracted several national and international corporations such as Honda, Intel, Motorola, Lucent and Nationwide. Wiltshire’s employment structure is distinctive in having a significantly higher number of people in various forms of manufacturing: especially electrical equipment and apparatus, food products, and beverages, furniture, rubber, and plastic goods than the national average. In addition, there are is higher than average employment in public administration and defence, probably due to the scale of military establishments around the county. Wiltshire is also distinctive in having a high proportion of its working age population who are economically active – (86.6% in 1999-2000), and its low unemployment rates. The Gross domestic product (GDP) level in Wiltshire did not reach the UK average in 1998, and was only marginally above the rate for South West England.[8]

Demographics

The county registered a population of 613,024 in the Census 2001. The population density is low at 178 people / km². In 1991 there were 230,109 dwellings in the county. In 1991 98.3% of the population was indigenous and 17.9% of the population were over 65.[9]

Population of Wiltshire:

  • 1801: 185,107
  • 1851: 254,221
  • 1901: 271,394
  • 1951: 386,692
  • 2001: 613,024

Politics and administration

Wiltshire is a shire county, mostly under the control of Wiltshire County Council. This is divided into four local government districts, Kennet, North Wiltshire, Salisbury and West Wiltshire. Additionally, Swindon Borough is a unitary authority that forms part of the county for various functions such as Lord Lieutenant and High Sheriff, but does not come under county council control.

The Department for Communities and Local Government announced on 25 July 2007 that Wiltshire County Council would become a unitary authority, replacing the four District Councils of West Wiltshire, North Wiltshire, Kennet and Salisbury.

Following the elections in May 2005, 28 Conservatives, 16 Liberal Democrats, three Labour members and two Independents (Christopher Newbury and John Syme) are members of Wiltshire County Council. Conservatives hold most of the more rural areas while the Liberal Democrats hold several towns, including Trowbridge, Chippenham and Bradford-on-Avon. The county divisions of Westbury Ham with Dilton and Warminster West elected the two Independents, while the three Labour members hold their seats in the towns of Salisbury, Melksham and Devizes.

At the parliamentary level Wiltshire is represented entirely by Conservative Members of Parliament, except for the predominantly urban area of Swindon which is represented by Labour. Since 1992 Devizes has been represented by the front bench Conservative Michael Ancram.

Sport

The country is represented in the Football League by Swindon Town, who play at the County Ground near Swindon town centre. They joined the Football League on the creation of the Third Division in 1920, and have remained in the league ever since. Their most notable achievements include winning the Football League Cup in 1969, two successive promotions in 1986 and 1987 (taking them from the Fourth Division to the Second), promotion to the Premier League as Division One playoff winners in 1993, the Division Two title in 1996, and their recent promotion to League One in 2007 after finishing third in League Two.

Settlements

File:Wiltshire.bridge.750pix.jpg Notable towns and cities in Wiltshire are:

A full list of settlements is at List of places in Wiltshire.

Places of interest

Key
Image:AP_Icon.PNG Abbey/Priory/Cathedral
Accessible open space Accessible open space
Amusement/Theme Park
Image:CL_icon.PNG Castle
Country Park Country Park
Image:EH icon.png English Heritage
Image:FC icon.png Forestry Commission
Heritage railway Heritage railway
Historic house Historic House
Museum (free)
Museum
Museums (free/not free)
National Trust National Trust
Zoo

Notable places of interest in Wiltshire are:

Notable areas of countryside in Wiltshire are:

Notable routes through Wiltshire are:

References and footnotes

  1. ^ Pearson, Michael (2003). Kennet & Avon Middle Thames:Pearson's Canal Companion. Rugby: Central Waterways Supplies. ISBN 0-907864-97-X. 
  2. ^ About south-west England. Met Office. Retrieved on 2006-05-28.
  3. ^ Regional Gross Value Added (pp.240-253). Office for National Statistics. Retrieved on 2006-10-21.
  4. ^ Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  5. ^ includes hunting and forestry
  6. ^ includes energy and construction
  7. ^ includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
  8. ^ Wiltshire Strategic Analysis (2002). Wiltshire CPRE. Retrieved on 2006-10-21.
  9. ^ Census Data 1991 Wiltshire Census Data. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved on 2006-10-21.

See also

External links

CoordinatesImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif: 51°19′11″N, 2°12′32″WLatitude: 51°19′11″N
Longitude: 2°12′32″W

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Simple English

Wiltshire
Geography
Status Ceremonial & (smaller) Non-metropolitan county
Region: South West England
Area
- Total
- Admin. council
- Admin. area
Ranked 14th
2,165 miles² (3,485 km²)
Ranked 13th
2,022 miles² (3,255 km²)
Admin HQ: Trowbridge
ISO 3166-2: GB-WIL
ONS code: 46
NUTS 3: UKK15
Demographics
Population
- Total (2005 est.)
- Density
- Admin. council
- Admin. pop.
Ranked 34th
630,700
181 / km²
Ranked 30th
446,700
Ethnicity: 97.5% White
Politics

Wiltshire County Council
http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/
Executive Conservative
Members of Parliament
  • Michael Ancram
  • James Gray
  • Robert Key
  • Andrew Murrison
  • Anne Snelgrove
  • Michael Wills
Districts
  1. Salisbury
  2. West Wiltshire
  3. Kennet
  4. North Wiltshire
  5. Swindon (Unitary)

Wiltshire (short: Wilts) is an English county. It borders the counties of Hampshire, Dorset, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire, and contains the unitary authority of Swindon. The county town is Trowbridge, in the west of the county at 51°19′11″N, 2°12′32″W. The county covers 858,931 acres (3476 km²)

Contents

Settlements

Notable towns and cities in Wiltshire are:

  • Bradford on Avon
  • Calne
  • Chippenham
  • Devizes
  • Malmesbury
  • Marlborough
  • Salisbury
  • Swindon
  • Trowbridge
  • Warminster
  • Westbury

A full list of settlements is at List of places in Wiltshire.

Places of interest

Key
NT Owned by the National Trust
EH Owned by English Heritage
FC Owned by the Forestry Commission
A Country Park
An Accessible open space
Museum (free)
File:Museum icon (red).png Museum (charges entry fee)
Heritage railway Heritage railway
Historic House

Notable places of interest in Wiltshire are:

  • Ashcombe House
  • Avebury, Neolithic stone circle
  • Avebury Manor & Garden
  • Avon Valley Path
  • Barbury Castle
  • Beckhampton Avenue
  • Bentley Wood
  • Bowood House
  • Burlington, city-sized nuclear bunker
  • Castle Combe
  • Castle Hill, Mere
  • Cherhill White Horse
  • Chisbury Chapel
  • Coate Water, East Swindon
  • Corsham Court
  • Cotswold Water Park
  • Courts Garden
  • Creative Planet, Science Museum, Wroughton
  • Crofton Pumping Station
  • Edington Priory
  • Fonthill Abbey
  • Great Chalfield Manor
  • Iford Manor and gardens
  • Kennet & Avon Canal Museum, Devizes
  • King Alfred's Tower
  • Lacock Abbey
  • Littlecote House
  • Longleat Safari Park
  • Ludgershall Castle, Ludgershall
  • Lydiard Park and House, West Swindon.
  • Malmesbury Abbey
  • Maud Heath's Causeway
  • Mompesson House
  • Old Sarum, the former cathedral
  • Old Wardour Castle
  • Philipps House & Dinton Park
  • Salisbury Cathedral
  • Shearwater Lake
  • Silbury Hill
  • Stonehenge
  • Stourhead
  • Swindon Steam Railway Museum
  • Trafalgar House
  • Wardour Castle
  • West Kennet Long Barrow
  • Westbury White Horse
  • Westwood Manor
  • Woodhenge
  • Wilton House
  • Wilton Windmill
  • Wilts and Berks Canal
  • Part of Win Green (shared with Dorset)

Notable areas of countryside in Wiltshire are:

Notable routes through Wiltshire are:

  • A4 road
  • M4 motorway
  • A303 trunk road
  • Fosse Way old Roman road
  • Great Western Main Line railway
  • Wessex Main Line railway
  • Kennet and Avon Canal
  • Swindon and Cricklade Railway
  • Thames Path, a long distance footpath
  • Wiltshire Cycleway
  • National Cycle Route 4

Other pages

Other websites

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