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Westbury, Wiltshire

Historical Description

Westbury, a town and a parish in Wiltshire. The town stands at the foot of a range of chalk hills on the NW border of Salisbury plain, with a station on the G.W.R., 101 miles from London, and 4¼ S by E of Trowbridge. It probably took its name from standing under the W declivity of Salisbury plain, and dates from ancient times. At one time it was governed under a charter of Edward I., by a mayor, 12 aldermen, and other officers, but the corporation was done away with under the Municipal Act of 1883. It sent two members to Parliament from the time of Henry VI. till 1832, afterwards only one, till it was disfranchised in 1885. It is a seat of woollen cloth manufacture; carries on a moderate trade in malting and other departments; has iron mines with furnaces for smelting; consists chiefly of three streets, irregularly built; and has a head post office, a bank, three chief inns, a town-hall, an institute, an endowed school, a music hall built in 1893, and a workhouse. Acreage of the civil parish, 12,083; population, 5634; of the ecclesiastical, 3337. The living is a vicarage, with Dilton and Westbury Leigh chapelries annexed, in the diocese of Salisbury; gross value, £410 with residence. Patron, the Bishop of Salisbury. The church is a beautiful building of stone in the Perpendicular style, has been well restored, and contains some handsome monuments. There are Congregational, Wesleyan, and Baptist chapels. The Laverton Institute is a substantial structure of red brick, and contains a large room for public meetings or entertainments. The vicarages of Bratton, Dilton Marsh, and Heywood are separate benefices. Chapels of ease have been erected at Westbury Leigh and Dilton. The manor belonged to the Manduits, passed to the Seymours, the Mountjoys, and the Berties, and belongs now to the Lopez family. A residence of the Saxon kings is said to have been on a spot called the Palace Garden at Leigh village. An ancient seat of the Pavelys was at Brook. Many Roman coins and pieces of pottery have been found at Ham. An ancient camp, of irregular outline, with a double rampart in some parts 36 feet high, and inclosing an area of 23 acres, crowns Bratton Hill. On the side of this hill is the figure of a horse cut in the chalk; it is of enormous size, and can be seen for many miles. Traces of the ancient Britons are in various parts. Westbury Down, a chief one of the eminences in the neighbourhood of the town, rises to an altitude of 775 feet above sea-level.

Westbury or Western Parliamentary Division of Wiltshire was formed under the Redistribution of Seats Act of 1885, and returns one member to the House of Commons. Population, 52,670. The division includes the following:- Bradford-Bradford, Broughton Gifford, Chalfield (Great), Chalfield (Little), Cottles, Monkton Farleigh, Westwood and Iford, Winkfield; Melksham-Melksham, Seend, Semington, Whaddon; Trowbridge and Westbury-Hilperton, Trowbridge, Westbury; Warminster (except the parishes of Fisherton-de-la-Mere and Wiley)-Bishopstrow, Boyton, Brixton, Deverill, Chitterne (All Saints), Chitterne (St Mary), Codford (St Mary), Codford (St Peter), Corsley, Heytesbury-cum-Tytherington, Hill Deverill, Horningsham, Imber, Knock, Longbridge Deverill, Maiden Bradley, Norton Bavant, Sherrington, Stockton, Sutton Veny, Upton Lovell, Upton Scudamore, Warminster; Whorwelsdown-Bulkington, Coulston, Edington, Hinton, Keevil, North Bradley, Southwick, Steeple Ashton, West Ashton.

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

Administration

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

Ancient CountyWiltshire 
Ecclesiastical parishWestbury All Saints 
HundredWestbury 
Poor Law unionWestbury and Whorwelsdown 

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 Westbury:

BaptismsBannsMarriagesBurials
1556-19101754-17691556-19091556-1954

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 Westbury from the following:


Maps

Online maps of Westbury 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:

CountyWiltshire
RegionSouth West
CountryEngland
Postal districtBA13
Post TownWestbury