Titles are arranged in alphabetical order by place. For Salisbury and Swindon see separate pages. Many of the titles on the Biography page also relate to specific Wiltshire places.
Alvediston: a history, by Biddy Trahair.
Alvediston is a remote and thinly populated parish set in dramatically beautiful south Wiltshire countryside between Salisbury and Shaftesbury, and this is the first book devoted to its history. In her celebration of the village where she has lived for over thirty years, Biddy Trahair has skilfully woven the everyday with the unusual, and the ancient landscapes with the families and characters who have lived there, to produce a model local history. Of interest to everyone whose lives have been touched by Alvediston, of course, her book will also appeal to all who love to read about and explore the English countryside at its best. September 2011, 373 pages, illustrations, £14.95. ISBN 978-1-906978-06-8.
Beckhampton: time present and time past, by Pat Parslew, illustrated by Jane Brunning.
Largely hidden from passers-by, but within the Avebury World Heritage Site, Beckhampton’s unusual history includes not only timeless prehistoric landscapes and famous monuments, but also distinguished racehorse training stables and a long career as a junction and coaching stop on the Bath road. 2004, 96-page paperpack, £8.95, ISBN 0-946418-28-4.
Collett’s Farthing Newspaper, by Rex Sawyer
This is the story of a newspaper like no other, written and printed every week for over forty years in the remote South Wiltshire village of Bowerchalke by its remarkable vicar, the Revd Edward Collett. Rex Sawyer, acclaimed Wiltshire author, lived for many years in Collett’s former vicarage and found the remains of his printing activities, among much else, buried in the garden. The discovery led him to search out the newspapers and to reveal the fascinating social history told in its pages, of a village as it responded to the relentless changes of English rural life and the catastrophe of the First World War. Accompanied by many of Collett’s photographs, preserved in albums in the village, this is a beautifully and touchingly written book. First published (as The Bowerchalke Parish Papers) in 1989, it was long out of print, until in 2004 for this new edition Rex thoroughly revised the text, included more photographs, and added an epilogue bringing Bowerchalke’s story up to date. The 2004 edition became a local classic, and is now reissued in paperback for the first time. It is certain to enchant a new generation of readers now that almost a century has passed since Revd Collett’s death. August 2018, 178 pages, illustrations, paperback, £9.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-60-0.
The Roman Villa at Box, by Mark
Brings together in non-technical language all that is known about one of the most opulent and richly-appointed villas in Roman Britain. Published for the KOBRA Trust on behalf of Box Archaeological & Natural History Society. July 2012, 128 pages, illustrated (mostly colour), hardback, £9.95, ISBN 978-0-946418-93-0.
Barley to Bayonets: a biography of nineteenth-century
Bulford, before the soldiers arrived, by Peter Ball
Until the end of the century, when tracts of Salisbury Plain were purchased for military training, Bulford was a small and fairly typical downland Wiltshire village. This affectionate and meticulous portrait of Bulford and its people, from the lord of the manor to the men and women who worked in the fields, is a fitting tribute to their resilience as they adapted to social, economic and technological change in nineteenth-century England. Peter Ball brings their stories to life through an impressive collection of family histories extending well beyond the shores of this island. The characters enter and exit, but the steady pulse of the village continues to beat as the seasons ebb and flow. A model of detailed and absorbing local history. March 2015, 370 pages, illustrated paperback, £12.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-21-1 (also available in hardback, £20.00, ISBN 978-1-906978-20-4).
A Tale of Two Chilmarks: England to New England, by Iona Sinclair, illustrations by John C Atkinson. First published in 1994, this light-hearted history of the Massachusetts village and its English namesake has long been out of print. Describing it in the Vineyard Gazette, Anthony K van Riper, poet and author, wrote: ‘. . . a charming history of the two Chilmarks. Written with the smooth craft that distinguishes such English prose, this small volume is a light-hearted look at both the village we know and the village which gave our Chilmark its name. The book is much enhanced by the amusing line drawings of John Atkinson, whose work reminds us that history is not always for those who take themselves too seriously! If you want your history on the light side, this is the book for you.’ Revised and redesigned edition of this hugely enjoyable account. June 2009, 235 x 170mm, 86 pages, many illustrations, paperback, £8.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-11-2.
A History of Chippenham, from Alfred to Brunel, by Richard Baines, edited by Tony Pratt, Mike Stone and Kay Taylor.
Chippenham in Wiltshire grew from a royal foundation into a bustling medieval market town, and received its borough charter in 1544. Its economy has always been strongly linked to agriculture, with ties to landed gentry and the church. In this authoritative new history Richard Baines charts its history and development from Saxon origins up to the coming of the railway. Topics described include the beginnings of the textile trade, the effect of the dissolution of nearby monasteries, the evolving civic government and the town’s MPs. The approach and consequences of the Civil War, the growth of nonconformity, early transport history, a rich architectural heritage, and Chippenham’s links with the authors John Aubrey and John Britton are also explored in this fascinating account of an important country town, which is set to become the standard text book for many years. February 2009, 240 x 170mm, x, 160pp, illustrated paperback, £12.95, ISBN 978-0-946418-76-3.
Birds’ Marsh, Chippenham: an Unfinished Story, by Stephen E Hunt (Chippenham Studies 1).
Situated to the north of Chippenham, Birds’ Marsh lies between the old parishes of Hardenhuish to the south, Langley Burrell to the east and Kington Langley to the north. The Victorian diarist Francis Kilvert, picnicked and danced the Roger de Coverley there with his friends. The artist Robin Tanner, and writer Heather Tanner, celebrated it in art and letters as their favourite wood, a part of the quintessential English countryside that they loved. And who lived in the lost Keeper’s Cottage at the heart of Birds’ Marsh? This work explores the history, lore and natural history of the woods, meadows and hedgerows that make up this unique place, familiar to, and loved by, many generations of local people. June 2010, 240 x 170mm, 78 pages, illustrations, paperback, £6.95, ISBN 978-0-946418-58-9.
Chitterne: a Wiltshire village, by Sue Robinson.
Chitterne is a remote village on Salisbury Plain, surrounded by a military wilderness, which could have died like Imber, but has survived and thrives. This thoroughly researched, affectionate local history has grown out of a community website, and is the first modern treatment of this ancient and idiosyncratic chalkland village. Fully illustrated. 240 x 168mm, 164pp, many ills, paperback; 978-0-946418-68-8, £9.95, November 2007
Warriors for the Working Day: Codford during two world wars, by Romy Wyeth.
Twice in the 20th century Codford in the Wylye valley was transformed by war. Not only did its own young people serve and in some cases die, but from all over the world men arrived at army camps to train for combat or recover from wounds. Drawing on a wide variety of sources and many years of research, Romy tells the wartime experiences of Codford itself, and of those who passed through. 2002, illustrated 224-page hardback, £15.00, ISBN 0-946418-12-8.
Life in an English Village, an Economic and Historical Survey of the Parish of Corsley in Wiltshire, by Maud F Davies, edited with an introductory essay by Jane Howells.
Reprint of a classic study of village life, first published in 1909, which caused controversy locally when it first appeared, because of its frank descriptions of the lives of supposedly anonymous villagers. The author, a pioneer sociologist who had studied at the London School of Economics under Sidney and Beatrice Webb, died under mysterious circumstances four years after her book was published, and this edition, marking the centenary of her death, is prefaced by an important introductory essay about Maud Davies's life, work and tragic death, by Dr Jane Howells. March 2013, x, 317 pages, illustrations and tables, paperback, £12.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-05-1.
Devizes and Central Wiltshire, by John Chandler, illustrated by Michael Charlton.
The second volume of John Chandler’s long-term project (see Marlborough and Eastern Wiltshire, below) covers Devizes and 41 parishes from Seend along Pewsey Vale to Wootton Rivers and south to Netheravon, thus completing the series’ coverage of Kennet District. Like its predecessor this is a beautifully produced 288-page hardback, published 2003, £20.00, ISBN 0-946418-16-0. Also now available in paperback – ISBN 978-0-946418-29-9, £12.95, July 2007.
Devizes Union, from Workhouse to Hospital, 1836-1990, by Barbara Fuller.
In 1986 Barbara Fuller published Changed Times, a booklet about the history of Devizes workhouse and its subsequent career as St James Hospital. Since then she has carried on gathering information about workhouse and institution life, at Devizes in particular, from records held in the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre and from personal memories of people who worked there. The resulting book describes its history, staff and working methods over more than 150 years, and in particular the treatment and experiences of those it served – including the mysterious Bertie Bushnell and many other remarkable characters. Produced by Hobnob Press on behalf of the author. 2016, 205pp, illustrated paperback, £8.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-40-2. NOTE: This title is not sold by me, but I can put the author in touch with potential purchasers.
Downton: the town that became a village, by Elizabeth Hutchinson.
This is a local history which tells the story of a community in south Wiltshire from the earliest times to the present day. Downton demonstrates in a microcosm how national events affected ordinary working families in rural England. From the 13th century, Downton sent two MPs to Parliament until the Great Reform Act of 1832, when its loss of status as a parliamentary constituency meant it reverted to being a village. Rich and poor alike have been affected by local events such as flooding and the enclosures of the 18th century. They have also been affected by national and international landmarks in history, such as plagues and wars. This book tells the story of how each event was met with personal determination and resilience. It also scotches some longstanding village myths, drawing on existing and new academic research, and using some historical sources for the first time. Published in conjunction with Spire Books, in November 2015, 252 pages, illustrated hardback, £19.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-33-4.
Edington: the Bishop’s Legacy, by Graham Laslett.
The church at Edington, in its sublime position beneath the Wiltshire downs, is acclaimed as one of the most beautiful in England. Alongside other great building projects sponsored by William of Edington, Bishop of Winchester, 1345-66 – which include Winchester Cathedral and Windsor Castle – Edington is of great architectural interest for marking the change of style to the Perpendicular of the late middle ages. Graham Laslett’s new study of this remarkable building, couched as a factual historical tale over 650 years, is one of the most detailed, well-informed and readable guides to a church ever written. August 2010, 232 x 158mm, 224 pages, illustrations, paperback, £14.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-03-7.
Pages from our History by the people of Fovant.
An attractive and lively village in rural south Wiltshire, Fovant has a long and varied history. Interested residents in 2000 formed a local history society to compile and maintain a website about the village. From their work has grown this collaborative book to celebrate their special community. 2005, 180 pages, copiously illustrated, paperback, £7.95, ISBN 0-946418-39-X.
Crosstracks to Hindon, by Richard Dewhurst.
Hindon, now one of south-west Wiltshire’s most attractive villages, began life as a small town established by a 13th-century bishop of Winchester. Its urban career, with market, fair, traders and inns, continued to the 19th century, despite a disastrous fire in 1754. Until 1832 it returned two MPs, and it was a noted stopping point for the westcountry stagecoaches. Thoroughly researched and engagingly written, here is the history that this distinctive community deserves. 2005, 152 pages, many illustrations, paperback, £7.95, ISBN 0-946418-33-0.
Little Imber on the Down, by Rex Sawyer,
is the first book to be devoted to the history of this Salisbury Plain community, a remote village which until sixty years ago carried on its life to a large extent untouched by the outside world. In 1943 the villagers were all required to leave, so that Imber could be handed over to the army for military training. Everyone believed that after the war those evicted would be allowed to return, and a long campaign against officialdom was waged by their supporters, but to no avail. Imber, except for soldiers, is now deserted and largely destroyed, and most of its former inhabitants have died. But the community and its history live on in memories and photographs, and Rex has had the full co-operation of the surviving villagers and their descendants while writing this moving and poignant book. With an engaging text and over a hundred evocative illustrations, mostly photographs, the unique village of Imber is brought to life again. First published in 2001, and in steady demand ever since, this book appeared in paperback for the first time. March 2008, reprinted December 2010, 176 pages, illustrations and maps, paperback, £9.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-24-2 [note, change of ISBN for 2010 reprint].
Kingston Deverill: a south-west Wiltshire Village, by Julian Wiltshire.
In its idyllic setting hidden away at the head of the Deverill valley between Mere and Warminster, Kingston Deverill is everyone’s ideal of an English village. Julian Wiltshire, long-time resident and enthusiast, has produced a comprehensive history from early times, through its farming, church, school and social life – a book to be treasured by his fellow villagers, and a model for other local historians. Profusely illustrated in colour throughout, this is one of the most attractive local histories that I have been involved in producing to date. 2016, 263pp illustrated paperback, £12.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-41-9. NOTE: This title is not sold by me, but I can put the author in touch with potential purchasers.
Marlborough and Eastern Wiltshire, by John Chandler, illustrated by Michael Charlton.
The first volume of John Chandler’s long-term project (Wiltshire: landscape and people) to write the history of every town and village in the county. Each of the seven parts will offer succinct but informative histories of a group of parishes, complemented by exquisite, specially commissioned illustrations, and facsimiles of historic maps. Volume 1 covers 34 parishes, from Aldbourne in the north to Tidworth in the south and Avebury in the west, including Marlborough, Ramsbury and Ludgershall. An elegant 288-page hardback with striking cover, published 2001, £20.00, ISBN 0-946418-07-1. Also available in paperback, from September 2018, £12.95, ISBN 978-1906978-62-4.
The Vale of Pewsey by John Chandler, 3rd edition, fully revised
First published in 1991, and out of print for many years, this has become the classic account of the history, buildings and people of the essence of Wiltshire, its geographical centre and emotional heart. John Chandler has been writing about regional history for forty years, and presents an affectionate but solidly informative account of this relatively unexplored but quietly beautiful area of his adopted county. Extending from Devizes and the Lavingtons in the west to Burbage and Savernake in the east, and dominated north and south by the chalk escarpments of the Marlborough Downs and Salisbury Plain, the Vale boasts landscapes and villages of tranquil charm and great historical interest, brought vividly to life in this account. Now thoroughly revised and presented with new colour photography throughout, John’s book will persuade a new generation of readers to share his enthusiasm for a very special part of the Wiltshire countryside. September 2018, 192 pages, colour illustrations, paperback, £12.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-56-3.
Blounts Court, Potterne: the story of a Wiltshire house, by Norman Beale
Blount’s Court is a neo-gothic house on a hill to the edge of the Wiltshire village of Potterne, three miles south of Devizes. It is not an outstanding example of its genre and is no longer set in magisterial isolation; but it certainly still dominates all the surrounding, modern, buildings. The house and its complex remain an impressive set of structures and there is a story to tell ― of enterprise, of financial power, of fashion, of upstairs/downstairs, of tragedy, of social change, of decline, of speculation and even of war. Norman Beale, a retired GP who now lives in part of the house, tells its story, and that of the dynasty, the Stancombs, whose house it was. July 2015, 70 pages, illustrated paperback, £6.00, ISBN 978-1-906978-31-0.
For SALISBURY see the Salisbury page of this website
The Chronicles of a Courtier: a History of Stanton Court, Wiltshire, by Fiona Gilroy Baskett.
What do P G Wodehouse, a descendant of Horatio Nelson, the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and certain members of the Royal family all have in common? The answer is that, along with many others, all have historical links with Stanton Court, the former Georgian rectory in the little Wiltshire village of Stanton St. Quintin. As a present day Courtier, Fiona Gilroy Baskett chronicles the history of this substantial house and grounds, built as a rectory in 1780. Perhaps more importantly, she also interweaves vignettes of local history with the vitality of the characters who have lived there throughout the ages. This book provides an engaging account of life, past and present, in the little Wiltshire village which was settled first by the Romans almost two thousand years ago. April 2006, 104-page illustrated hardback, price £12.50, ISBN 0-946418-44-5
A History of Stanton St Bernard, by Val Knowles.
Stanton St Bernard is a small village in the centre of Pewsey Vale, at the heart of Wiltshire. Its horizons north and south are the chalk hills of the Marlborough Downs and Salisbury Plain, but the village sits in the broad greensand valley formed by the headwaters of the Salisbury Avon. Val Knowles lives in Stanton and has spent many years unravelling, from books, documents, maps, memories and the rich archaeological landscape, the long and sometimes eventful history of her village and its ancient parish. The result is a readable and authoritative account of a typical Wiltshire village. It will prove of absorbing interest to anyone familiar with Stanton and Pewsey Vale, or who has fallen under the spell of this peaceful and beautiful countryside. 240 x 170mm, 160pp, many ills, paperback. 978-0-946418-63-3, £9.95, June 2007
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.
Inspired by Stonehenge, a celebration of the weird and wonderful, by Julian Richards.
The well-known archaeologist and television presenter has for many years collected ‘Stonehengiana’, such as souvenir china, postcards and guidebooks, clothing, stamps, comics, horse brasses, music and film, relating to the iconic monument. This full-colour booklet accompanies a National Lottery funded touring exhibition, ‘Inspired by Stonehenge’, and has been produced by Hobnob Press on behalf of Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum. From toasting fork to snow globe, via Druids, dominoes and heavy rock music, this is an amazing compilation of the tasteful, hideous and bizarre. May 2009, 210 x 210mm, 32pp full colour illustrations throughout, paperback, £4.95, ISBN 978-0-946418-55-8. [out of stock at Hobnob, but copies on sale at Stonehenge]
Stourton before Stourhead: a History of the Parish 1550-1750, by Stuart A Raymond
The gardens at Stourhead in south-west Wiltshire are amongst the best known in England. But what was there before they were planted? This book aims to show that the parish of Stourton had a fascinating history long before Stourhead was conceived. For example, it is one of the few places in England which sustained a Roman Catholic congregation throughout the early modern period (and indeed until the 20th century). The author pays particular attention to the histories of Stourton families, both Catholic and non-Catholic – not just the wealthy Stourtons and Hoares, but also the small farmers and tradesmen, and the paupers. This book will interest everyone who visits Stourhead, or who has any connection with 17th and 18th century Stourton. March 2019, 284pp illustrated paperback, £12.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-68-6
Sutton Veny: a history, by the Sutton Veny History Group
Typical of many south Wiltshire chalkland parishes, Sutton Veny near Warminster extends from its meadows beside the river Wylye, south past the village itself ranged along a minor road, and up on to the high downland. This detailed community history, the work of a group of local inhabitants over several years, charts the archaeology, architecture, farming legacy, religious and social history, and the important part played by military activity during two world wars. Fully illustrated in colour and with detailed maps, their work concludes with a stroll around the village. Published on behalf of Sutton Veny History Group. November 2017, 169 pages, illustrated paperback, £14.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-48-8.
For SWINDON see the Swindon page of this website
The Grotto Makers: Joseph and Josiah Lane of Tisbury, by Christina Richard
This is the story of two stonemasons from a remote Wiltshire village, father and son, whose lives stretched across the Georgian period, from 1717 to 1833. They became grotto builders, men of artistic genius, acknowledged experts in their speciality, but the sort of ordinary craftsmen whose achievements are not normally recorded in the official pages of history. They were responsible for many of the mysterious, decorative, thrilling grottoes which appeared during the 18th century in English landscape gardens. From Stourhead to Fonthill, Wycombe Abbey, Wimborne St Giles, Bowood, Bowden Park, Painshill and Oatlands Park, Claremont, Castle Hill, Ascot Place, Belcombe and Norbiton House, Joseph and Josiah constructed profusely decorated brick, timber and limestone caverns, tunnels, bath houses, gambling dens and cascades. Christina Richard has pieced together the story of the lives and work of Joseph and Josiah, and has enhanced her account with imaginative descriptions of village and family life at the time for people of their station. The result is an affectionate and revealing portrait of these two extraordinary men, who contributed so much to the elegance of England’s wonderful 18th century gardens. October 2018, 200 pages, fully illustrated in colour, paperback, £14.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-54-9.
The Arundells of Wardour: . . . from Cornwall to Colditz, by Barry Williamson.
Few West-Country families can have had so turbulent a history as the Arundells, whose seat was Wardour Castle in south Wiltshire. Tudor opulence and military catastrophe in the Civil War were followed by the building of the largest Georgian mansion in Wiltshire and a spectacular bankruptcy. The last Lord Arundell died in 1944 on his return from German prison camps. Throughout the centuries the Arundells were steadfast in their loyalty to the Catholic faith. Barry Williamson, a history teacher, spent his childhood in a village on the edge of the Wardour estate, and so began a lifelong interest in the Arundells. With profound historical insight and an eloquent narrative style he has produced this fascinating and definitive account of a remarkable family through five centuries. May 2011, 229 x 152mm, viii, 242 pages, illustrated paperback, £12.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-12-9.
Wiltshire Reformatory for Boys, Warminster, 1856-1924, by Ivor Slocombe.
Victorian reformatories tackled a growing problem of juvenile crime by bringing offenders into the education system. Wiltshire’s, established in 1856, became a model for such provision nationally. This important study chronicles its life and history, of great significance for Wiltshire and for Warminster (on whose outskirts it was built), and more generally on Victorian penal reform. 2005, 42 pages, illustrated booklet, £3.95, ISBN 0-946418-45-4.
Whaddon and the Longs: a West Wiltshire History, by Pamela M. Slocombe
The book begins with the early origins of this remote hamlet near Trowbridge which was affected by the Black Death. It describes its heyday under a branch of the Long family, prominent clothiers whose seat was Whaddon House and how they emerged onto the national scene in the turbulent years of the mid-17th century. Whaddon was gradually reduced to a farming community in the 18th and 19th centuries and the histories of the families who lived there and in the wider estate at Paxcroft, Hilperton and Melksham are explored. This wide-ranging village history also includes domestic details of everyday life and the running of an estate and the compelling early 17th century love story of a widow and widower, told through surviving letters. December 2020, 620pp, illustrated (including colour) paperback, £25.00, ISBN 978-1-906978-98-3
Winsley: from Cecilia to Victoria, by Robin and Barbara Harvey.
The parish of Winsley, including Turleigh, adjoins Bradford on Avon and extends to the Somerset border. This very detailed history of the parish describes its evolution from Saxon and medieval times, when it belonged to Shaftesbury Abbey, through to the Victorian era, when it was first mapped in detail. Winsley is particularly rich in good stone-built houses, and the authors’ expertise in researching building history makes their parish history a model for others to emulate. 240 x 170mm, 168pp, ills, paperback, 978-0-946418-62-6, £9.95, December 2007.