Millions of Words, Thousands of People, Hundreds of Books ~ Our History
Millions of Words, Thousands of People, Hundreds of Books ~ Our History
Hobnob Press

Wiltshire in General

See also the Wiltshire Places, Salisbury and Swindon pages. Many of the titles on the Biography page also relate to Wiltshire places.

NEW FOR 2020


Stuff the Bustard, and other poems, by Sue Kemp

Sue has been dubbed ‘The Bard of Bratton’ as a result of her regular contributions to BBC Wiltshire’s Breakfast Show, presented by Ben Prater – who has written a foreword to this collection of her poems. Her book is a record of the entertaining and unusual topics that have featured on the show over the past couple of years. Always light-hearted, it will rekindle memories for regular listeners, but the poems also stand alone in their own right to provide an accessible and amusing read. February 2020, 103 pp, paperback, £6.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-81-5.

A Celebration of Wiltshire in Poetry, by Amanda Hampson, illustrated by Sheila Haley.

A book of new poems by Pewsey author Amanda Hampson inspired by the natural history, landscape and heritage of this beautiful county, and each accompanied by an exquisite illustration by artist Sheila Haley. Wiltshire has a distinctive and ancient natural landscape, which is perhaps overlooked by travellers who pass through it, in search of coastal destinations further west. From flowers and trees to birds and bees, and villages and towns to hills and downs, this collection of forty illustrated poems will be a delightful read for those who know Wiltshire, and for countryside lovers alike. April 2019, 104pp, full colour paperback, £9.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-71-6 (also available as a hardback, £14.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-72-3).

Wiltshire Gate Lodges: a Guide and Gazetteer, by James Holden

Gate lodges are amongst the most attractive of all small buildings, full of architectural style to reflect the grand country houses whose entrances they guard, and they survive in surprisingly large numbers. Yet they are not much studied and not much appreciated, a serious omission from architectural history. This book fills the gap, for Wiltshire at least, with a comprehensive study of all the county’s 300 plus lodges. Preliminary chapters describe how gate lodges came about, their architecture and how they developed over time. The lodges to the great estates are described in the context of estate history; a tour of the county highlights many of the most interesting other lodges, and further chapters discuss the lodges to cemeteries, as well as providing insights into the life of the gate lodge keeper. Backing this up is a comprehensive gazetteer for the county, describing every lodge, locating it by parish and grid reference, and giving known details of its history. Wiltshire is well provided with gate lodges and has some of the country’s best: with this copiously illustrated book the reader will be equipped not only to understand much more about their history and architecture but also to set out to explore these fascinating and often delightful buildings. Published on behalf of the Wiltshire Buildings Record. October 2018, 117 pages, fully illustrated in colour, paperback, £8.00, ISBN 978-1-906978-58-7.

Small Earthquake in Wiltshire, by Eric L Jones

The Penruddock Rising against Cromwell in 1655 captured Salisbury but was soon put down. This episode – scarcely remembered despite giving rise to rule by the Major-Generals – provides insights into political plotting and hence the nature of the Interregnum. A narrative opening is followed by a survey of material evidence remaining from the period and by a deeply-researched family history of one of the three principals – a sort of ‘who-done-it?’ – explaining how he alone avoided execution (he proves to have been related to Cromwell). This is seventeenth-century history centred on Wiltshire and in unfamiliar close-up. Chapters follow on the shocks of war and defeat, and the book concludes with an evaluation of subsequent economic developments in the light of a simple scheme derived from development economics.

October 2017, 140 pages, illustrated paperback, £9.95, ISBN 978-1-9069678-47-1.

From Blackout to Bungalows . . . WWII Home Front Wiltshire and the Austerity Years, 1939-55, by Julie Davis.

Weighing in at nearly a kilo, and over 650 pages, this is a comprehensive description of every aspect of the strange and often frightening world of Wiltshire during World War Two. Evacuees, air raids, munitions workers, the home guard, propaganda, army camps, firewatching, prisoners-of-war, land girls – they are all here, with hundreds of illustrations, and drawing evidence from all over Wiltshire. The author’s enthusiasm and thoroughness show through on every page. As well as telling a gripping and sometimes poignant narrative, she places the local experience in the context of national and international events. Nor does she stop when victory was achieved – the effects of the war, in terms of rationing and austerity, continued long afterwards, and her story only ends in 1955. 2016, 653pp illustrated paperback, £17.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-38-9.

Inheriting the Earth: the Long Family’s 500 year Reign in Wiltshire, by Cheryl Nicol.

One of the most powerful dynasties in England, the Long family of Wiltshire derived enormous power and prestige from land ownership, and maintained their position as the county’s administrative and political backbone for five centuries. This authoritative study explores the forces that shaped and ultimately vanquished a once powerful dynasty. 2016, 444pp illustrated paperback, £16.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-37-2.

Wiltshire Almshouses and their Founders, by Sally M Thomson.

The latest, and largest, in Hobnob’s series of books in collaboration with the Wiltshire Buildings Record, this is the result of the author’s long-term interest in and study of almshouses. Fully illustrated, often in colour, and with maps and plans, her book is in gazetteer format arranged by parish, offering a short history and description of surviving and lost buildings. She also includes a substantial biographical section describing the almshouse founders, and an insightful introduction to this unusual and often overlooked class of building, of which Wiltshire retains some outstanding examples. 248pp, paperback, £10.50, ISBN 978-1-906978-35-8. NOTE: this title is not sold by me - please contact Wiltshire Buildings Record

Wiltshire Village Reading Rooms, by Ivor Slocombe.
Until the 1920s a reading room was to be found in most rural communities. This pioneering study explores a little-known Victorian social movement through its surviving buildings in villages throughout Wiltshire. Published for the Wiltshire Buildings Record. March 2012, 104 pages + 32 pages of colour illustrations, paperback, £8.00, ISBN 978-0-946418-91-6.

The Reflection in the Pond: a Moonraking Approach to History, by John Chandler.

Sequel to The Day Returns (Ex Libris Press, 1998) this collection of essays and anecdotes, many published here for the first time, is designed as an entertainment for ‘Moonrakers’ (Wiltshire natives) and their friends, but also as a demonstration of the wide-ranging and sometimes surprising links between local history, in Wiltshire and beyond, and literature, music, biography, government, landscape and society. A must for anyone interested in Wiltshire or local history generally, and for all who have enjoyed John’s books, articles, and quirky contributions to magazines and local radio. Foreword by Joseph Bettey. July 2009, 210 x 148mm, x, 288pp, ills and maps, paperback, £12.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-08-2

Forests of the Dinosaurs: Wiltshire’s Jurassic Finale, by John E Needham.

Around 146 million years ago, the warm shallow seas receded, a new landscape emerged and a diversity of wildlife flourished in a probably Mediterranean-type climate. Across what is now Wiltshire and Dorset dinosaurs roamed, along with crocodiles, lizards and an array of small amphibians and mammals. This ground-breaking book examines the history of previous research and looks at recent finds, particularly remarkable plant discoveries made over the past thirty years or so in the Vale of Wardour, which are compared with fossil material from other parts of the world, particularly the Americas. It is hoped that this broad introduction will stimulate a wider appreciation of Wiltshire’s remarkable fossil heritage from the final epoch of the Jurassic Period. October 2011, 221 pages, illustrations, £12.95. ISBN 978-1-906978-01-3.

The Church in Wiltshire, text by John Chandler, photography and gazetteer by Derek Parker. Wherever we turn we encounter churches and other Christian buildings. We tend to take them for granted, and miss the great tapestry of social history, geography, folklore, archaeology, art and popular culture which is woven into their fabric. With its lively and stimulating text and superb photographs this book is intended as an introduction to the fascinating story behind Wiltshire’s rich legacy of churches, and as a showpiece for the remarkable architectural and artistic heritage that they embrace. When first published (under a slightly different title) in 1993 this book was warmly received, and it has now been completely redesigned, with revised text and many new images. From Salisbury Cathedral to the humblest wayside chapel, Wiltshire’s places of worship bear witness to a long and often surprising history. This book provides the ideal companion. April 2006, reissued 2018, 216-page square format paperback, superbly illustrated, price £12.95, ISBN 978-0-946418-46-6

The Dovecotes and Pigeon Lofts of Wiltshire, by John and Pamela McCann.

This in-depth study of historic dovecotes in Wiltshire describes and illustrates all the surviving examples, and traces all the former dovecotes of which we have any evidence. Their features are related to contemporary descriptions of working practice. Introductory chapters describe how dovecotes were designed and used, and cover the origin and history of pigeon-keeping for food in Britain. Wiltshire is exceptional in retaining many pigeon lofts and nest-holes in other buildings; typical examples are described. The book is lavishly illustrated with photographs in colour and black-and-white, and some measured drawings. Published by Hobnob Press on behalf of the Wiltshire Buildings Record. February 2011, 240 x 170mm, xvi, 235 pages, + 20 pages of colour ills., illustrated paperback, £14.00, ISBN 978-0-946418-84-8.

The Definitive History of Wilts & Dorset Motor Services Ltd, 1915-1972, by Colin Morris and Andrew Waller.

Salisbury based Wilts & Dorset was the principal bus operator in south Wiltshire, parts of Dorset, and much of north Hampshire around Andover and Basingstoke. This definitive company and social history, by leading authorities, describes its rise and fall, and includes its subsidiaries and acquisitions, such as Venture of Basingstoke and Silver Star of Porton. The book is profusely illustrated, drawing on the collections of David Pennels and others, and includes detailed appendices describing routes, vehicles and other aspects of the company’s operations. November 2006, 160-page hardback, illustrated, price £19.95, ISBN 0-946418-56-5

Pewsey Avon Trail, by Chris Cole.

Pewsey Avon Trail takes the walker down the sublime Avon valley in Wiltshire from Pewsey to Salisbury by means of a series of ten linked waymarked walks. It has been devised in memory of Pat Beresford, a much-loved countryside campaigner and walker, by Natural England’s Living River Project on behalf of Pewsey Parish Council. Its author, Chris Cole, is the doyen of writers on walking in Wiltshire, and he describes with clear instructions and a wealth of information the memorable places and sights encountered on the way. Sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Fund. May 2010, 104 pages, full colour throughout, illustrated, maps, paperback, £8.95. ISBN 978-0-946418-83-1.

Chalkland: an archaeology of Stonehenge and its region, by Andrew J Lawson.

Comprehensive and authoritative account of the archaeology of the Stonehenge region, drawing extensively on the findings of recent excavations. The author is a well-known prehistorian, who as Director of Wessex Archaeology for many years built up one of the largest and most successful archaeological units in Britain, and who has been personally involved in many of the excavations this book describes. This important work will be of great interest to academic and professional archaeologists, but is written in a lucid and engaging style which will appeal also to the general reader. 240 x 170mm, 424pp, many figs and ills, paperback and casebound editions. 978-0-946418-61-9 (casebound); 978-0-946418-70-1 (paperback); £25 casebound, £17.95 paperback, November 2007. Note: the paperback edition is now out of print, but I am selling the casebound edition at paperback price, £17.95.

The Wiltshire Cotswolds (Exploring Historic Wiltshire 3), by Ken Watts.

The author’s two previous volumes in this series, covering north and south Wiltshire (published by Ex Libris Press), have been very well received. But because they say little about the north-western or Cotswold fringe of Wiltshire, Ken Watts has turned his attention to this unassuming but fascinating and attractive region, which extends from Bradford on Avon in the south, through Corsham, Sherston and Malmesbury to the Cotswold Water Park and Cricklade in the north. For those who associate the attractions of the Cotswolds only with Gloucestershire this book will come as a pleasant revelation, combining as it does history and architecture with practical information and walks. 240 x 170mm, 300pp, maps and ills, paperback. 978-0-946418-65-7, £12.95, November 2007.

Figures in a Wiltshire Scene, by Ken Watts,

reveals the author’s encyclopaedic knowledge of Wiltshire’s associations with literary figures and other famous men and women, as well as his profound love of his native county. A massive work, the culmination of many years’ meticulous research, it covers every part of Wiltshire, and every period of history, from the Roman emperor Vespasian, to the 20th-century etcher Robin Tanner and his wife Heather. Ken’s perceptive and appreciative portraits of his subjects in their local setting will make you explore Wiltshire in a completely new light. A handsome 288-page hardback, copiously illustrated and fully indexed, 2002, price £20.00, ISBN 0-946418-11-X; or in paperback, 2005, £9.95, ISBN 0-946418-34-9.

Wiltshire Water Meadows: understanding and conserving the remains of a farming and engineering revolution, by Michael Cowan.

The result of many years study and observation, this important book describes the process whereby chalkland valleys were modified during the 17th century and later by ‘floating’ water meadows to increase yields. Cowan presents detailed studies of the remains of individual systems, including the famous Harnham meadows beside Salisbury and the Town Path which crosses them, as well as a more general countywide survey, explanations and historical context. 2005, 180 pages, profusely illustrated (some colour), paperback, £9.95, ISBN 0-946418-38-1.

Grandmother’s Recipes: the receipt-book of Mary Jane Stratton, by Katy Jordan.

Katy, a well-known folklorist, comes from an old Wiltshire family, and inherited her grandmother’s recipe book, compiled when a cook in service 100 years ago. In this cookery book like no other, Katy presents all the original instructions, together with their adaptation for the modern kitchen and a wealth of family detail. An elegant hardback of 176 pages, 2003, £12.50, ISBN 0-946418-17-9. Also now available in paperback – ISBN 978-0-946418-36-7, £9.95, July 2007

Footsteps 2: the Cream of Walks in North-East Wiltshire, by Chris Cole.

Well known for his monthly contribution to Wiltshire Life magazine, Chris Cole is the doyen of writers on walking in the county. In Footsteps 2, the sequel to Hobnob Press’s acclaimed Footsteps: the Cream of South Wiltshire Walks, Chris explores the spectacular countryside of the Marlborough Downs and Upper Thames Valley, around Swindon, Cricklade, Marlborough, Devizes and Pewsey. His twenty chosen walks are described with clear instructions and a wealth of information about the places and sights encountered on the way. They offer a memorable variety of walking in landscapes remarkable for their ancient sites, wildlife and literary associations. November 2008, 130 pages, maps and illustrations, paperback, £8.95, ISBN 978-0-946418-80-0.

The Primrose Wood, by June Badeni.

Countess Badeni is well-known in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire for two books of local and social history, which describe the villages around her home at Norton near Malmesbury. She is also a very accomplished novelist, biographer and essayist, as this delightful collection of 36 short pieces about rural life, its people and creatures, demonstrates. Most were published inter-mittently over many years in Country Life; all are beautifully crafted observations of the countryside, in Wiltshire and much further afield. The text is complemented by woodcuts by Bewick and his school. November 2006, 150-page small-format hardback, 36 illustrations, price £9.95, ISBN 0-946418-52-7

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