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Trowbridge, Wiltshire

Historical Description

Trowbridge, a town and a parish in Wiltshire. The town stands on the river Biss, and has a station on the G.W.R., 97 miles from London, and 11¾ SSW of Chippenham, and a post, money order, and telegraph office. Acreage of the civil parish, 2400; population, 11,901; of ecclesiastical, 11,271. Trowbridge was known to the Saxons as Truthhabrig; came afterwards to be called Tribridge, Trolbridge, and Thoroughbridge; acquired early a castle, which was taken by Stephen from Maud, rebuilt by John of Gaunt, and is now represented only by a moat; became in the time of Henry VIII. a notable place of cloth manufacture; is now a seat of petty sessions and county courts; occupies a rocky declivity, sloping to the Biss; presents an irregularly constructed appearance, with nearly all its streets except the main one narrow; and has two banks, several inns, a market-house erected at a cost of nearly £5000, a court-hall, a police station, a three-arched bridge, a church of the 14th century restored at a cost of about £8000, two other churches built in 1836 and 1868, another church purchased from the Baptists in 1860, two endowed schools, two almshouses, and other charities. A cattle and general market is held every alternate Tuesday. Two weekly newspapers are published; the manufacture of kerseymeres, tweeds, and woollen cloths is carried on; and there are extensive breweries and engineering works. The town-hall is a handsome building of stone in the Queen Anne and Elizabethan styles; it was opened in 1889 by H.R.H. The Duchess of Albany, and cost about £20,000. It was given to the town by Mr (now Sir) W. Roger Brown. The public pleasure grounds, consisting of about 4 acres, were opened in 1884. A cottage hospital, the gift of Mr J. Gouldsmith, was erected in 1883. The manor was given by Henry VIII. to the Seymours, passed to the Mannerses and the Timbrels, and belongs now to the Stancombe family. The parish church of St James is an ancient stone structure in the Gothic style, and has a lofty spire. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Salisbury; net value, £156 with residence. St Stephens is a chapel of ease to the parish church. Holy Trinity Church is a handsome stone cruciform edifice, and has been thoroughly restored. The living is a vicarage; gross value, £300 with residence. Patron, the Rector of St James. St Thomas is a cruciform stone building in the Early English style. The living is a vicarage; gross value, £150 with residence. The vicarages of Staverton and Studley are separate benefices. There are Roman Catholic, Baptist, Congregational, and Wesleyan chapels. Keats the poet was a native.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyWiltshire 
Ecclesiastical parishTrowbridge St. James 
Poor Law unionMelksham 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Church Records

Findmypast, in association with the Wiltshire Record Office, have the following parish records online for Trowbridge:


Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Trowbridge from the following:


Online maps of Trowbridge are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Wiltshire papers online:

RegionSouth West
Postal districtBA14
Post TownTrowbridge