Highworth, a small town, a parish, and a hundred in Wilts. The town stands on high ground, commanding an extensive Tiew of the Thames valley and of the Cotswold Hills, 2 miles W of the river Coin and the boundary with Berks, and has a station on the G.W.R, 78 miles from London. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Swindon. Acreage of civil parish, 8399; population, 2570; of ecclesiastical, 2169. Highworth was known at Domesday as Wrde, had once the status of a borough, sending a member to Parliament, but lost the franchise by disuse, and possessed considerable importance as a seat of provincial trade, but lost much of this in consequence of the formation of the G.W.R. It consists chiefly of stone-built houses, and has two good inns, a temperance hotel, and a coffee tavern, a church, four dissenting chapels, a working-man's club, and some charities. The church was built in the time of Henry VI., includes two chapels, has a square tower with open parapet, and contains tombs of the Wamefords. It has been well restored. A cattle market is held on the fourth Wednesday of each month, and fairs are held on 13 Aug. and 11 Oct. There is a mat and matting manufactory in the town. The manor belonged at the Conquest to the Crown, and passed to Edmund de Langley and the St Johns. An ancient camp, supposed to have been Roman, was on Blunsdon Castle Hill, and a Roman road went past the W base of that hill. The living is a vicarage, united with the chapelry of Sevenhampton, in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol; gross value, £450 with residence. Patron, the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol. Sevenhampton has a recently built church.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Highworth St. Michael
|Poor Law union
|Highworth and Swindon
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
A cemetery of about 2 acres was formed in 1867, at a cost of £1,150, with one mortuary chapel, and consecrated 1870, when it was first opened for burials.
The register dates from the year 1539.
Findmypast, in association with the Wiltshire Record Office, have the following parish records online for Highworth:
Church of England
St. Michael (parish church)
The church of St. Michael is a building of stone, mainly in the Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel, with north and south chapels, nave of five bays, south porch, aisles, transepts and an embattled western tower with pinnacles and containing a clock and 8 bells; the tower was repaired and 3 of the bells recast in 1898: the south chapel belonged at one time to the ancient family of Warneford, and the stained windows include one to H.R.H. the Prince Consort, d. 14 Dec. 1861, erected by the Society of Odd Fellows: there are sittings for 650 persons.
The Congregational chapel, founded in 1788, had 180 sittings.
Primitive Methodist Chapel
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Highworth from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858. (Highworth (St. Michael))
Online maps of Highworth are available from a number of sites:
- Bing (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- Google Streetview.
- National Library of Scotland. (Old maps)
- old-maps.co.uk (Old Ordnance Survey maps to buy).
- Streetmap.co.uk (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- A Vision of Britain through Time. (Old maps)
Newspapers and Periodicals
The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Wiltshire papers online: