A History of Wiltshire: v.10 (Victoria County History)
By: Elizabeth Crittall (volume_editor)Hardback
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The volume relates the histories of the borough of Devizes and of the 22 parishes in Swanborough hundred. It covers an area in the centre of Wiltshire, including the western end of the Vale of Pewsey, and ascending the escarpment of the Marl-borough Downs to the north and that of Salisbury Plain to the south. Eastwards Swanborough extends to the Cheverells and the heavy clay-lands of west Wiltshire. Within it stand Milk Hill and Tan Hill, the two highest points in the county, and along the ridge of the Marlborough Downs is a series of important prehistoric settlement sites. Through the hundred run the ancient track known as the Ridge Way, a small stretch of Wansdyke, the Kennet and Avon Canal, and one of the main railway lines to the west of England. Once noted for its sheep-and-corn husbandry, the region has more recently seen a great ex-pansion of dairy-farming, particularly in the parishes of the Vale. Horticulture has also flourished on the greensand soils in the east and west. In 1975 the area remains almost entirely rural, although it in-cludes R.A.F. Upavon and the land on Salisbury Plain is within the army's con-trol.
Most of the settlements are small, none now ranking as more than a large village, although Upavon had a market in the Middle Ages and Market Lavington had one until the 19th century. Almost all of the few industries have agricultural or horticultural connexions. Great Cheverell was once renowned for its sheep-bell makers. Jam is still made at Easterton. Devizes has a history of unusual interest for a town of its size. Its castle, scene of many stirring events in early times, was described in the 12th century as one of the most splendid in Europe. Its market, still held weekly in the 20th century, can be traced back at least to the early 13th. The central position of Devizes within Wiltshire gave it a claim to become the county town and has caused it to develop some of the characteristics of such a town.
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- ID: 9780197227404
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