Contiguous Parishes (our neighbours)
Brinkworth - Broad Town - Cliffe Pypard - Lydiard Tregoze - Tockenham
GenUKI - For information on Wiltshire and Wootton Bassett
Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre - The Wiltshire County Archives for all historical documents and the place to obtain original copies
Wootton Bassett Community History - Historical information from Wiltshire County Council.
Royal Wootton Bassett - Information from the Town Council including cemetery records search,
Royal Wootton Bassett Historical Society
St. Bartholomew and All Saints is the Anglican (Church of England) Parish church of Royal Wootton Bassett. The Church is overseen by the Vicar and Rural Dean of Calne, The Reverend Canon Thomas Woodhouse. The Parish Church Clerk is Mrs Lesley Jones. The Parish Office is located in the Church Croft and is usually open for enquiries from Tuesday to Friday 9.30 am to 12.30 pm. There is a history of the Church on the Church Website. The careers of Clergy in the Parish from 1540 to 1835 may be researched on the Clergy of the Church of England Database. For Wootton Bassett the jurisdiction Diocese is Salisbury.
Marriages are published with gaps and some in fills from BTs
Parish Registers held at WSHC
There is a comprehensive history of the Parish on British History Online. According to the National Gazetteer (1868) the parish includes the village of Barkenham in the Wiltshire County jurisdiction - this village no longer exists.
1837 - April 1936 : Cricklade Registration District
April 1936 - Present : Swindon Registration District
On 16th October 2011 Wootton Bassett was awarded the honour of being called Royal Wootton Bassett by the award of the Letters Patent on behalf of the Queen, in recognition of its dedication, loyalty and respect to those in the armed forces that passed through the town. During the ceremony Her Royal Highness Princess Anne said, "I am privileged to be allowed to add my thanks to those of Her Majesty the Queen and the whole country for the example you set in respecting with dignity the losses that this country’s operational responsibilities have forced upon us."
If you wish to research the Wootton Bassett area the newspaper archives list may be of use, most, if not all of which are available on microfiche in Swindon Library or the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre at Chippenham.
Various maps are available to view at Swindon Library or the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre at Chippenham. These include Andrews and Drury map 1773 and Andrews and Drury Map 1810. Others held are 1885, scale 1:2500; 1887-1889, scale 1:10560; 1900, scale 1:2500; 1901, scale 1:10560; 1919, 1:50000, Ordnance Survey Popular Edition 173 – Swindon and Devizes; 1923, scale 1:2500; 1925, scale 1:10560; 1936, scale 1:2500 and 1938, scale 1:10560 (One inch to one mile is equivalent to scale 1:63360)
Buildings and Land
Burial and Burial Plot records at Royal Wootton Bassett Cemetery have been scanned and are available to view on the Town Council Website. These date from the foundation of the Cemetery in 1872.
Some owners or tenants of houses which had a fireplace inside for cooking use were often referred to as pot-wallopers. These were seen to be a little more wealthy and were therefore given the right to vote.
There was once a Workmen's Reading and Rest Room in Wood Street, possibly at the old cobbler's shop (now an Osteopath)
Crime and Legal Matters
Prisons and Prisoners
Victims of Crime
Many Directories covering Wootton Bassett are available to view at the Historical Directories website created by the University of Leicester including: transcripts of the entries for this parish will be added in the future. The Directories covering Wootton Bassett include:- Kelly's Directory of Wiltshire; Pigots Directory of Wiltshire; Post Office Directory of Hampshire, including the Isle Of Wight, Wiltshire and Dorsetshire; Post Office Directory of Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorsetshire; Post Office Directory of Wiltshire and Slaters Royal National and Commercial Directory
The first school in Wootton Bassett is thought to have been run by a Mr Dyer on top of the Market House from around 1750. This was closed about 1859.
The British School
In 1842 the Primitive Methodists formed a school next to their "Hillside Church" on School Hill. The first Head was Mr Tuck. This school became the British School when the British and Foreign Society took it over in 1858. It then became non-denominational. This school expanded to the extent that by about 1950 classes were also being held in four chapels, a "Hut" and the club room of the Beaufort Arms. The problem was resolved when the students were split into three age groups. The Infants remained on the original site, the seniors moved to the new Modern School at Lime Kiln in 1958, and the juniors moved to Noremarsh in 1968.
The National School
In 1850 another small Church school was started in two cottages opposite the Primitive Methodist's School in School Hill (Mount Pleasant). Boys were downstairs and girls upstairs. The first master was Henry Blanchett, son of the sub-agent of the Earl of Clarendon. The first mistress was probably Miss Sellwood, whose father owned the Curriers Arms. The cottages were sold, and in 1860 a new school built in Station Road, on land donated by Lord Clarendon. The new school, the National School, was opened in 1861. The school grew and eventually became overcrowded and classes were held in the Vicarage. In 1890 the collection of 1000 books which had been collected at the school were moved to the Town Library at Town Hall. As with the British School, the senior pupils moved out to the new Modern School in 1958. The National School closed in 1974 and the building is currently used as the Civic Offices.
Mrs E Drake had a private school around 1842 which lost pupils to other schools and was eventually forced to close.
Miss Woodward ran a Seminary for Young Ladies at Priory Cottage, Wood Street from about 1896 to unknown date.
Miss Wheeler ran a Young Ladies' Seminary in the High Street until the 1930s.
Headmaster C E Ashfield MA ran a Boys' Preparatory School at 'The Lodge' in 1897.
Mr J T Greatfield ran Collegiate House School, a boarding school for young gentlemen which also admitted girls.
Little Meads School was run at the Manor House, the first head being Captain Eric Fenn in 1924, the second Mr J E Whittaker, the third Major Christian Weis Cranko, and the last another Cranko, when the school closed.
On the closure of the National School in Station Road in 1974 two new schools were opened to replace it - St Bartholomew's and Longleaze.
Emigration and Migration
Published in tables from the Poor Law Commissioners Annual Reports for 1835, 1836 and 1847-1848 the following may be of use for tracing missing ancestors. 7 paupers emigrated to Canada under an assisted emigration programme in 1845.
Employment and Business
Agriculture and Land
Wootton Bassett YMCA records are held at the Cadbury Research Library, Special Collections, University of Birmingham.
Non Conformity and Other Places of Worship
Primitive Methodism 1824 to Present
For in depth information the best source is the book, "Victory in the Villages", written by Reverend W C Tonks in 1907. In 1824 the Primitive Methodist preacher Mr S. Heath arrived on his 'Wiltshire Mission' from Shrewsbury and visited Brinkworth, "proverbial for its wickedness, ignorance, glaring vice and barbarous practices". He then moved on to Wootton Bassett High Street. In 1827 the Mission was renamed the Brinkworth Circuit and the first three chapels were built in Broad Town, Bradenstoke and Brinkworth. Wootton Bassett meetings were at first held in a cottage licensed for Primitive Methodist worship and in the Long Room at the Royal Oak, until in 1831 two houses and a garden on School Hill (Mount Pleasant) were bought and converted into a chapel which was licensed in October 1831. The Methodist cause prospered and in 1838 a new and enlarged chapel was built on the same site. This is sometimes known as "Hillside Church" due to its location. In 1841 a gallery was added to accommodate more people and in 1842 a day school was built (taken over by the British Society in 1858). The congregation continued to grow. The Primitive Methodists were joined by the Wesleyan Methodists in the early 1960s. In 1964 the Wesleyan chapel was demolished and the two congregations worshipped together as Wootton Bassett Methodist Church in the Primitive Methodist chapel. There is no Cemetery and the site is occupied by shops, offices and ancillary accommodation.
The Wesleyan Methodists were holding services in Wootton Bassett by 1851 and built a chapel in the High Street on the corner of Coxstalls in 1855. Support dwindled and the chapel was eventually demolished in 1964. The congregation merged with that of the Primitive Methodists on School Hill. There is no Cemetery.
The Baptist Church
The Baptists built Hope Church in 1896 opposite the present Infant School on School Hill. There was no resident minister and the chapel ceased to run services in 1939. The site is now easily spotted as the side garden of a residential property.
The Congregational Church/United Reform Church/Hepzibah
This church had its roots in the Independent Nonconformists who were active in Wootton Bassett from at least 1676. The first defined meeting place was a converted barn in Wood Street in 1797. A permanent meeting house, Hepzibah, was built in Wood Street in 1825. In 1972 the congregation linked with the local Presbyterians to form a United Reform Church. They continue to worship in the original building. There is no burial ground.
The Catholic Church
The local Catholic Church has its roots in the worthy old families of the area, some of which had their own priests. Catholicism remained very low key in the area until WWII when the Catholic congregation grew, partly due to the arrival of some Catholic evacuee children. A Chapel of Ease was formed in 1941 and the Church of the Sacred Heart was built in 1954.
The Bible Society
A non-denominational Bible Society formed in 1846 and met first in the Town Hall, then at the Royal Oak, them back at the Town Hall in 1906. It remained active until at least the 1970s.
People and Parish Notables
Associations, Clubs, Organisations and Societies
Elections and Polls
Personal Research Items
Tuck Family Research Burial Extracts - These items were donated by Ken Tuck and contains entries that may or may not relate to the Tuck family however they have been published as such. Many references to Quaker entries may be found from across the county.
Poor Law, Charity and the Workhouse
The earliest known workhouse in Wootton Bassett was in Old Court. There were 12 inmates in 1793. At the time this was the poorest area of the town.
The Workhouse covering Wootton Bassett was the Cricklade and Wootton Bassett Union Workhouse built in 1836 in Purton. The Workhouse was managed by a Board of Guardians. They released regular reports which were generally published in the Swindon newspapers. The County Council took over the management of the Workhouse in 1929 and it closed in 1948.
Inquisitions of Lands Held
War, Conflict and Military Matters
General Military Items
Before April 2007, the bodies of fallen servicemen were repatriated to the UK via RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. When renovations began at Brize Norton in April 2007 repatriations were moved to RAF Lyneham. The last to pass through Wootton Bassett was 24-year-old Lieutenant Daniel Clack of 1st Battalion The Rifles. From September 2011 repatriations returned to RAF Brize Norton. The departure from Wootton Bassett was marked by a quiet and dignified sunset ceremony; there had been 167 repatriations in all. The Roll of Honour below lists the repatriations which took place through Royal Wootton Bassett. Roll of Honour of Repatriations 2005-2011
Servicemen & Women
Royal Wootton Bassett War Memorial Poppy Tribute to WWI Fallen 2014
War Memorials & Books of Remembrance
Wiltshire Regiment in WWI
WWII Civilian Deaths 1939-1945
War, Conflict and Military Matters