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Wednesday, 01 February 2012 03:44

Wiltshire Countywide & General Information

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Map of Wiltshire Map of Wiltshire

Welcome to the Wiltshire County & General Information Page

The information found on this page covers the county as a whole, lists of items that cover more than one parish or the information cannot be pinned down to any one particular parish.

Wiltshire Miscellaneous Photogallery       

History of Wiltshire 

The Origin of "Wiltshire"

The name is derived from that of the former county town of Wilton and is recorded as Wiltunscir in an 870 AD document. In comparison with many modern counties, it may therefore be regarded as a shortened form of Wiltonshire. Wilton acquired its name from the river on which it stands, the Wylye, which itself is derived from a Celtic word meaning tricky - a reference to its habit of unpredictable flooding.  The biggest town in the county by far is Swindon in the north east corner - the only major industrial centre. Wiltshire is larger than the average county in area, but smaller than average in population, a direct result of its largely agricultural nature. 

Description of the County in Pigots Directory 1822               Description of the County in the National Gazetteer of 1868               Facts and Figures About Wiltshire 1874

Books about Wiltshire Parishes

Wiltshire by Frank R. Heath - A Parish by Parish Account                 Notes on Wiltshire Place Names 1911 with kind permission of Keith Scales.

Traditional Wiltshire

Chalk and Cheese

It is not widely known that the saying 'as different as chalk from cheese' originated in Wiltshire.  It refers to the division of the county into two distinct but unequal parts.  Approximately two-thirds, in the south and east are chalk country characterised by rolling downs.  Just a few decades ago nearly all this land was unploughed.  Now most is cultivated - the downs became a granary for wheat and barley.  The lowlands of the north-west are, by contrast, sheltered country, meadow and dairy land - a land of milk and cheese.

Customs, Folklore and Spooky Things

More Wiltshire Customs and Folklore                   Ghosts and Ghoulies and Weird Wiltshire Part I                   Ghosts and Ghoulies and Weird Wiltshire Part II

Festivals and Holidays

Christmas Through The Ages

Why Wiltshire folk are called Moonrakers.

One night, back in the 18th century when a full moon was shining down on the heart of the Wiltshire countryside, a band of miscreants were busy hiding stolen kegs of brandy in a wagon load of hay.  On hearing the sound of horses hooves, they hastily dumped their illicit haul in the nearby pond.  Two Excise men arrived on the scene, searched the wagon and finding nothing, rode away.  Evidently still suspicious, they doubled back where they found the smugglers trying to recover something from the pond with their hay rakes.  When asked what they were up to, one of the culprits pointed to the splendid reflection of the moon on the pond and said "Zomebody 'ave lost thic thur cheese an we'm a rakin' for 'em in thic thur pond".  The Excise men smiled and went on their way to Devizes, completely fooled by the 'simple rustics' who had successfully pretended to be fools.  From this legend, Wiltshire folk have been forever nicknamed "Moonrakers".  A clear favourite for the location of the legend is the pond known as The Crammer in Devizes.      Moonrakers photo gallery  

Poetry, Rhymes and Songs

Wiltshire Dialect Poem - Figgety Pooden                Wiltshire Rhymes & Tales by Edward Slow of Wilton 1894 with kind permission of Keith Scales.               Shroving Song


Buildings and Land


Cattle Plague Regulations 1867                 Foot and Mouth 1924-1925


Conservation Areas List          CABE Briefing on Cemeteries, Churchyards and Burial Grounds 2007

Historical Buildings & Architecture

Language of Hatchments                Old Parsonages               Wayside Curiosities 1967                Half Timbered Houses 1968                  Wanderings in Wiltshire 1968


Wiltshire Landowners listed in the Domesday Book 1086                    Owners of Land 1873 Non Wiltshire Residents               Owners of Land 1873 (Parish Uncertain) 

Maps and Relative Information

Chapman County Codes               Wiltshire Greetings Card               Wiltshire Contiguous Parishes (Neighbours)                         


Gallery          Wiltshire Map 1579          Wiltshire Map c1800               Ordnance Surveyor's Drawing North Wilts 1826               Map of Wiltshire c1895

Where in Wiltshire

Not sure which parish your village, hamlet or area comes under?  Then the  following list may be of help.  The list also includes local and alternative names for places within our parishes.  If you know of a village, hamlet or area which should be included in this list, please contact Teresa Lewis (Administrator)  Thank you.

Wiltshire Gazetteer


County & General Information Useful for the Family and Local Historian

Abbreviations Used in Family and Local History

Abbreviations List and Meanings


Several historical Wiltshire parishes have been transferred to other county jurisdictions as and when boundary changes occurred therefore information for those parishes would be held by the new countys' archive service.  As parish pages develop you will find reference to locations where material relative to Wiltshire is held.  Below are details of depositories and links to their websites where information such as telephone numbers, charges, opening times and other details including directions may be found.   Please note that different archives may have different terms and conditions for visiting or copying material.   

Name of Depository Website Location
Berkshire Record Office Website Home Page 9 Coley Avenue, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 6AF
Bristol Record Office Website Home Page B' Bond Warehouse (via Create Centre), Smeaton Road, Bristol, BS1 6XN
Dorset History Centre Website Home Page Bridport Road, Dorchester, Dorset, DT1 1RP
Gloucester Record Office Website Home Page Clarence Row, Alvin Street, Gloucester, GL1 3DW
Hampshire Archives and Local Studies Website Home Page Sussex Street, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 8TH
London Metropolitan Archives Website Home Page 40 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 0HB
National Archives (Public Record Office (PRO)) Website Home Page Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU
Oxfordshire History Centre  Website Home Page St. Luke's Church, Temple Road, Cowley, Oxford, OX4 2HT
Somerset Archives and Local Studies Website Home Page Somerset Heritage Centre, Brunel Way, Norton Fitzwarren, Taunton, TA2 6SF
Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre (WSHC) Website Home Page Cocklebury Road, Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN15 3QN
Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre (WSHC) - Community Histories Website Home Page Online Service


Baptisms, Church Marriages, Burials and Bishops Transcripts

Most of these parish registers including Bishops Transcripts are held by the local archives although some including those still in use may be retained by the parish church itself.  Some churches offer a service where you can purchase a copy of a baptisms certificate.  It has been known that if you take a photocopy of the entry from the archived material to the church for a small fee the church will issue a baptismal certificate.  It may not be original but does make a nice item to own and enhance you family history.  For archives that may hold Wiltshire information please refer to the Archives section above. 

Bristol Record Office hold several BT's and other records for North Wiltshire Parishes and items linked to Wiltshire Parishes such as charity donations etc.  Several parishes come under the Diocese of Gloucester and Bristol jurisdiction and not Salisbury as would probably be expected.  You may contact the BRO by following the link.


As you probably know most Brides got married in their home parish, in fact this was a legal requirement for many years, but finding where a Groom got married is not so easy.  Most were married within a few miles or so of their home parish but even this can involve several hundred square miles of countryside and up to 15 or 20 parishes.  Using the transcriptions available on this website we decided to create an index listing the groom’s name and surname, the year and date and the Parish where married.  Once a likely candidate is found you may then be able to go straight to the individual parish to get the bride’s name, both their home parishes and any other available info.  

Grooms Index Surname A Grooms Index Surnames B Grooms Index Surnames C  Grooms Index Surnames D Grooms Index Surnames E Grooms Index Surnames F
Grooms Index Surnames G Grooms Index Surnames H Grooms Index Surnames I Grooms Index Surnames J Grooms Index Surnames K Grooms Index Surnames L
Grooms Index Surnames M Grooms Index Surnames N Grooms Index Surnames O Grooms Index Surnames P Grooms Index Surnames Q Grooms Index Surnames R
Grooms Index Surnames S Grooms Index Surnames T Grooms Index Surnames U Grooms Index Surnames V Grooms Index Surnames W Grooms Index Surnames X
Grooms Index Surnames Y Grooms Index Surnames Z       Grooms Index Missing Surnames

Birth, Marriage & Death Certificates

Historical birth, marriage and death certificates previously kept by individual Register Offices around the county are now held at the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre.  Those registrations made in current registers are retained by the local registry office until full and then transferred.  For more information go to the WSHC Website.   New legislation will no doubt develop the way certificates and registration are dealt with in the future.  At present the General Record Office (GRO) at Southport are experimenting with an online pdf certificate service.


The UK National Census was taken every ten years from 1801 until the present day with the exception of 1941 due to Word War II.  Most records prior to 1841 no longer exist and some are missing for 1841 in this county.  The census over the period of existence has developed into a useful tool for the family and social historian.  Each census grows with the information it supplies.  Below is a list of the dates on which the census was taken in each of the census years.  All were taken on a Sunday although the 1931 was taken over a two night period.  The census is not released for public viewing for 100 years after its date of release.  The 1921 census is scheduled for release to the public in 2022 although there are petitions in place to try and get an earlier release date however the Census Act of 1920 is still in place and inhibits the early release at this time.  The 1931 census sadly was lost in its entirety in a fire in a store in Hayes, Middlesex on the night of the 19th December 1942.  There is a large gap between the 1921 census and the next available for research taken in 1951 (release 2052). The National Identity Card Register may help fill part of that gap. (See Below)

Dates Census Taken

1841 - 6 June      1851 - 30 March      1861 - 7 April      1871 - 2 April      1881 - 3 April      1891 - 5 April      1901 - 31 March       1911 - 2 April      1921 - 19 June      1931 - 26/27 April

Accuracy of the Census                 Missing Census Returns for Wiltshire 1841

Double Year Dates

Before the year 1752 the new year began on 25th March, known as Lady Day.  To avoid confusion, dates between 1st January and 24th March pre 1752 have been labelled with both years ie 1735/6.  Some transcribers have taken the later year to be the date eg. 1st January 1753/54 would be transcribed as 1st January 1754.  

Family Notices

Town and County Magazine Family Notices of 1779

National Identity Card Register 

This Register was compiled from details taken on the night of Friday 29th September 1939.  Details recorded for each person were: Residence, Name, Sex, Date of birth, Marital status, Occupation and if a member of armed forces or reserves.  Although searching for members of the armed forces do not seem to return any information.  For further details about this register and how to access the information may be found on 1911 Census Website.     The 1939 Register as it will be known will be available via Find My Past (fees are payable) as from 2nd November 2015.  The Register may not be as useful to those researching after 1915 as it will be for future generations.  Unless a death of an individual can be confirmed then the record will remain locked for 100 years.  At the launch in November 2015 the charges to view were quite high but have now been included in as part of subscriptions.  The Register was updated with new information as late as 1981 when the upkeep was deemed too expensive to continue.  It is possible toget a locked record open under certain criteria and conditions

Parish Registers

The Parish Register                Rose's Act of 1812

Wiltshire Notes and Queries

These volumes containing many interesting items on parishes and families of Wiltshire.  They were the forerunners of the various journals produced by various different societies around the county.

Vol. 1 - 1896                 Vol. 2 - 1899               Vol. 3 - 1902              Vol. 4 - 1905               Vol. 5 - 1908                Vol. 6 - 1911               Vol. 7 - 1914               Vol. 8 - 1917


Emigration and Strays

Assorted General Items

Assisted Emigration of Wiltshire Paupers 1834-1848                  R.M.S. Titanic Connections with Wiltshire 1912-2012

Emigration to America and the USA

Richard Baynham 1774 John Betteridge 1774 Thomas Bishop 1775 William Butcher 1774 John Carter 1774 Thomas Carter 1774
Charles Edwards 1774 William Edwards 1774 Ann Falles 1775 Henry Fisher 1775 William George 1774    Stephen Sanger 1774
Charles Giddings 1774 John Goldin 1774 James Ham 1775  James Joy 1774    
William Keene 1774 Francis Knet 1775  Caleb Hayes 1774 Samuel Lewis 1774   Luke Linley 1775 Samuel Marshman 1774
Roger Nichols 1774 Amos Rudd 1775        
Thomas Sanders 1774 William Shepherd 1773-1774 William Shermes 1774 George Smith 1775 Henry Smith 1774 George Thomas 1775
John Tricker 1775          
Robert Ward 1774 Joseph Watley 1774        
Peter Webb 1774  Mary Webster & Children 1774 John Yeats 1775       


Emigration to Australia

Home News Sought 1800 - Present  Emigration to South Australia 1838 Passengers on the Agincourt for South Australia 1849
From Wiltshire to Australia 1851 
Passengers on the Surge for South Australia 1852 Passengers on the Trafalgar for South Australia 1854  Assisted Passage to South Australia 1874  
Adverts for Assisted Emigration

To Australia 1848          To South Australia 1838          To the Australia Colonies 1848

New Zealand

From Wiltshire to New Zealand 1850-1879                Emigration to New Zealand - Letter 1874

South Africa

Emigration to the Eastern Cape 1820


Employment and Positions of Authority 

Agriculture, Farming and Land

Agricultural Labouring

Aspects of the Lives of Wiltshire Agricultural Labourers c1850                  Children in Agriculture WWI

Food Production

Lifting Cream Sales Ban 1951

Ploughing & Shepherding

Ploughing and Shearing 1823                  


Thatching in Wiltshire 1968


Wiltshire Apprentices in Oxfordshire 1698-1743

Apprentice records published here may not necessarily mean that the apprentice was from the parish but was apprenticed to a master within the parish.  In some cases we know the apprentice has a link to Wiltshire but we do not know the specific parish. 

Joseph Alexander 1717 Ann Allaway 1754 William Archard 1745 John Arnold  1754 John Axford 1741
William Bailey 1754 Elizabeth Ball 1750 John Bamfield 1720 John Barrer 1721 Thomas Batten 1716
Joseph Bezant 1751  Benjamin Bills 1743  Isaac Boon 1757
James Bound 1753 James Bound 1753
William Bower 1722 John Bowsher 1719
Mary Burnett 1752  Thomas Bush 1742      
Robert Combs 1757 John Cookman 1730 William Coombs 1728 George Cooper 1724 James Cooper 1746
James Cooper 1752        
Wiltshire Society Apprentices (Parish of Origin Unknown)

Henry Butcher 1886-1889          James Hillier 1822           Thomas Moses James 1878

Council, Government & Honorary Posts

Council Services and Employees

Cuts to Road Cleaning Services 2014

High Sheriffs

High Sheriffs of Wiltshire 1062 - Present                 

Lords Lieutenant

Lords Lieutenant & Vice Lords Lieutenant of Wiltshire 1551 - Present                  Retirement of John Bush, Lord Lieutenant 2012                 

Inventors & Inventions

Inventors Patents and Inventions 1624-1852

Medicine & Science

Medical and Scientific Wiltshire

License to Practice Medicine Extracts

Medical Licenses from 1599-1798 may be found on individual parish pages and are listed in the index

Medical Licenses Index 1599-1768                  Thomas Blackwell of Wilts 1620                  John Etwall of Wilts 1688 

Occupation Related Items 

Old Terms and Descriptions

Terms and descriptions found in old legal documents and manuscripts, several are of Latin derivation which may prove useful when looking at ancient wills and legal documents.  If anyone would like to add to the lists, please contact the administrator via the contact us links on the home page

Descriptions commencing with letter 



Law and Order

Wiltshire Constabulary Photo Gallery.    Many of the images in this gallery were kindly donated by Chris Franklin of Devizes.


Bastardy Examinations for Wiltshire 1835-1883

Court Sessions

Convictions at County Assizes Lent 1818 Convictions at County Assizes Lent 1818 Quarter Session Appearance 1820 Court Sessions 1829 
For Trial at Fisherton Anger Gaol 1830 Special Juries 1876-1877                          County Court Sessions 1820    

Crime Reports

1800-1899 (Parish Unknown)

Criminal Registers

1805-1809                 1810-1814


Debtors in Fisherton Gaol 1755                  Debtors in Fisherton Gaol 1761                 Debtors in Fisherton Gaol 1774

General Items

A Rural Warning - Shut the Gate                  A Subtle Warning 1786                 Fraud Crime Recalled 150 Years Later 1919

Prisons and Prisoners

Wiltshire Inmates at Gloucester Gaol 1815-1879                  Wiltshire Convicts sent to Prison Hulks 1823-1842                 Committed to House of Correction Devizes 1827

Wiltshire Constabulary/Wiltshire Police

"The Oldest And The Best" with kind permission of Paul Sample Wiltshire Constabulary News 1839 - Present Chief Constables & Police & Crime Commissioners of Wiltshire 1839 - Present
Roll of Honour 1875-2010 Officers and Staff Roll of Honour WWI Officers & Staff Roll of Honour WWII
Wiltshire Policing Nominations for Awards 2014  

Workhouse Crime

Offences Committed in Workhouses 1835-1850


Newspapers and Trade Directories

The earliest Wiltshire newspaper to have survived is the Salisbury & Winchester Journal published as the Salisbury Journal or Weekly Advertiser in 1738 and still continues as the Salisbury Journal today.  Other Wiltshire publications include the Devizes and Wiltshire Gazette and the Wiltshire Independent.  Other Newspapers carry reports on big Wiltshire based stories.   The British Library has published many of these Newspapers under the banner of the British Newspaper Archive (A fee is payable for access unless you have a subscription to some family history websites where up to a certain period of publication is included)

Several Trade Directories were published for the County which may be viewed via the University of Leicester's Historical Directories Website.  Kellys Directory was published until at least 1939 and the Post Office Directory was published until 1875 (Kellys and Post Office Directories are often the same publication as the two merged).  Later directories of interest are the GPO telephone directories dating back to at least just after WWI up to the present day Telephone books such as Yellow Pages and Thompson local directories.

Australian Newspaper Extracts

English Miscellanies Wiltshire 1827 (The Monitor, NSW, Australia) 



Associations, Clubs, Organisations and Societies

Wiltshire Society Meeting 1818 & 1848                 Red Cross Appeal 1951     


Wiltshire Bankrupts 1731-1879 

Elections and Polls

Poll Book 1705           County Council Election Notice 1925               European Elections 2014

Gentry & Nobility

Gentry of Wiltshire 1433                  Wiltshire Earls - Union of Honour 1640           Wiltshire Nobles and A King Not Pleased 1679

Local Voluntary Services

Wiltshire Link Scheme 2014 

Miscellaneous People Related Items

Bits and Pieces 1731-1808


Postcard Index held by the administrators and OPCs that have postal information recorded.  

Subscribers List

Secrets of Farming Book Subscribers 1863


Duty on Hair Powder Act 1795                  Hair Powder Tax Stamps Distributors 1801

Falstone Day Book

This is a record of fines imposed on those loyal to King Charles during the Civil War by the Parliament headed by Oliver Cromwell.  The record contains hundred of names where a name can be identified within a parish the record has been placed on that page.  However their are many names that do not quote a specific parish therefore we have published the complete record here.  


Religion and Worship

General Items

Hymn Tunes Named after Wiltshire Towns & Villages                       


Baptism records for the Causeway Primitive Methodist Church (part of the Chippenham Circuit) for the years 1842-1910 have been transcribed for the first time by Ruth Ranger; you will find them on the Chippenham Parish Page.  The Chippenham Circuit covered the town of Chippenham and parishes within about a 15 mile radius of the town, so they are worth a look if you are searching for an elusive baptism.

Mormons/Church of Latter Day Saints

Wiltshire Family History Centre

Trowbridge Brook Road, Trowbridge.   For more details visit the Family Search Web Page

London Family History Centre The London Family History Centre website is an excellent resource. You can access all details of films they hold for Wiltshire by parish. The site also gives the location of where copies of the films are held in other locations within the UK.

Family Search Catalogue

Other LDS Centres in the UK and Ireland

England                    Ireland & Northern Ireland                Scotland                  Wales

Centres Worldwide

LDS Centre Locator This link will help you search for Family History Centre's worldwide.

Quakers/Society of Friends

Researching Quaker families?  Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham holds the quarterly journals entitled "Wiltshire Notes and Queries" which include birth, marriage and burial records of many Quaker or Society of Friends meeting houses.  We also have copies of these publications and the links may be found above under County General Information.  They are also available to view online at Wiltshire Community History and University Of Toronto Archive Library amongst others.     The journal book segments you need to look out for are "Quakers in Wiltshire" and "Quakerism in Wiltshire".     If you are searching further afield go to Library of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain

County Wide Quaker Births 1648-1837 County Wide Quaker Marriages 1657-1837 County Wide Quaker Burials 1660-1837  
Quakers in Massachusetts & Pensylvania Quakers in Philadelphia 1682 - 1750 Society of Friends Subscription Receipt 1936  

Roman Catholicism

Papist Oath of Allegiance 1792 


Wills and Probate

Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre have thousands of digital images of wills in their on-line database.  More info at Wiltshire Wills.  The database is searchable by both name and by parish.  Basic information such as date of probate, documents held.

Wiltshire Bona Vacantia List published by the Treasury Solicitor the list, shown here as a research aid to family historians, contains the names of those who have died intestate in Wiltshire.  An alternate Bona Vacantia listing can be found here. 


Wiltshire or not? That is the question! Your Assistance is Required

Wiltshire or Not photo gallery.

The images of places inthe above gallery could be in Wiltshire, those of people are known to have Wiltshire connections. Your help in identifying any of these images would be greatly appreciated.  If you can help, contact Teresa Lewis, Administrator via the Contact Us Tab at the top of the page. Thank you


The places below and the documents that relate to them are found in Wiltshire related records.  They are placed here as we are unable to associate the place within a parish.  If anyone knows where the places are located in Wiltshire or even elsewhere please let the administrator know.


Poll of Freeholders 1772

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