Place:Westbury, Wiltshire, England

Alt namesWestbury on the Plainsource: earlier common name
Frogmoresource: hamlet or suburb in the parish
Bitham Parksource: hamlet or suburb in the parish
The Meadssource: hamlet or suburb in the parish
The Hamsource: hamlet or suburb in the parish
Chalfordsource: hamlet or suburb in the parish
Leigh Parksource: hamlet or suburb in the parish
TypeTown, Urban district
Coordinates51.267°N 2.183°W
Located inWiltshire, England
See alsoWestbury Hundred, Wiltshire, Englandhundred in which it was located
Westbury and Whorwellsdown Rural, Wiltshire, Englandrural district, 1894 - 1899
West Wiltshire District, Wiltshire, England1974-2009
Wiltshire District, Wiltshire, England2009--
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Westbury is a town and civil parish in the west of the English county of Wiltshire, most famous for the Westbury White Horse. It was sometimes known as Westbury on the Plain to distinguish it from the numerous other towns named Westbury in England.

Westbury is located in the far west of Wiltshire, close to the border with Somerset. It lies at the northwestern edge of Salisbury Plain, 18 miles (29 km) southeast of the city of Bath, approximately 5 miles (8.0 km) south of the county town of Trowbridge and 4.5 miles (7.2 km) north of the garrison town of Warminster. Other nearby towns and cities include Frome, Devizes, Salisbury and Bristol. Nearby parishes include Bratton, Chapmanslade, Dilton Marsh, Edington, Upton Scudamore, North Bradley, Heywood and Yarnbrook in Wiltshire and Rudge and Beckington in Somerset.

There are several suburbs including Frogmore, Bitham Park, The Meads and The Ham (all on the north side of the town), Chalford, Leigh Park and Westbury Leigh (on the south side). Westbury Leigh is generally considered as a village separate to Westbury itself, although it has become contiguous with the town.

Westbury was made an urban district in 1899 and remained as such until 1974 when it became part of the West Wiltshire District. In 2009 West Wiltshire District was abolished and the whole area became part of the unitary authority of Wiltshire. In the UK census of 2011 Westbury had a population of 14,709.

Features and History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

In the past, Westbury was sometimes known as Westbury-under-the-Plain to distinguish it from other towns of the same name. Westbury is nestled under the northwestern bluffs of Salisbury Plain, and it is there that the town's most famous feature can be seen: the Westbury White Horse. It is sometimes claimed locally that the White Horse was first cut into the chalk face as long ago as the year 878, to commemorate the victory of Alfred the Great over the Danes in the Battle of Eðandun (probably, but not certainly, at the nearby village of Edington). However, scholars believe this to be an invention of the late 18th century, and no evidence has yet been found for the existence of the horse before the 1720s. The form of the current White Horse dates from 1778, when it was restored. In the 1950s it was decided that the horse would be more easily maintained if it were set in concrete and painted white. The horse's original form may have been quite different from the horse seen today. One 18th-century engraving shows the horse facing to the right, but in its current form it faces to the left.

Westbury centres on its historic marketplace, with the churchyard of All Saints' Church (14th century) behind it. All Saints' has a heavy ring of bells, an Erasmus Bible, a 16th-century clock with no face constructed by a local blacksmith, and a marble bust of William Phipps by Robert Taylor. The west window of the church was donated by Abraham Laverton, who also built Prospect Square (1869) and the nearby Laverton Institute (1873), which he donated to a local charity, known today as "the Laverton".

In the early part of September 1877, there was found on Bremeridge Farm, in the parish of Dilton Marsh, Wilts, belonging to Charles Paul Phipps, esq. of Chalcot House, a hoard of 32 gold coins. They were found during repairs and improvements of the homestead, about a foot and a half below the surface, in the courtyard, piled, one above another, without any appearance of a purse or box.

Until the 1940s, the Westbury Hill Fair was an important annual event, mostly for the sale of sheep.

The town has been home to the Army Officer Selection Board and the Cadet Force Commissioning Board, located at Leighton House, since 1949. Its closure was announced in 2016.

A former Lafarge cement production plant lies about northeast of the town centre; production ceased in 2009 but the site remains in use as a distribution centre. From 1961 until its demolition in 2016, the plant's chimney was the tallest unsupported structure in southwestern England.

Research Tips

  • From this Ancestry page you can browse the Wiltshire parishes which have parish register transcripts online, quite often from very early dates. However, reading the early ones requires skill and patience. Transcriptions should also be in FamilySearch.
  • A further collection of online source references will be found on the county page for Wiltshire.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Westbury, Wiltshire. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.