Wiltshire Vol 15

Wiltshire Vol XV
Edited by: 
D.A. Crowley
First Published: 
1 January, 1995

This volume contains the history of 25 parishes in Amesbury hundred and Branch and Dole hundred. Apart from the small towns of Amesbury and Lud-gershall the site of a small royal castle in the Middle Ages and a parliamentary borough, the area was agricultural, with little woodland. The parishes lie on chalk downland, mostly on the south-east part of Salisbury Plain, bearing many marks of prehistoric activity. Stonehenge, with its hinterland a World Heritage Site from 1984, stands in Amesbury parish. Among monuments from the historic period the churches are small, medieval fortified houses at Sherrington and Stapleford have disappeared, the only manor house of more than local import-ance was that called Amesbury Abbey, and there is little medieval vernacular building. The numerous small villages lie close together beside the rivers Avon, Bourne, Till, and Wylye, flanked from the 17th century by water meadows. They depended on sheep-corn husbandry, and in many parishes open fields survived until the 19th century, inclosure being followed by the building of down-land farmsteads. In the 20th-centurv tanks have succeeded sheep over much of Salisbury Plain, where from 1897 the War Department bought estates for mili-tary training, closed roads, and set up firing ranges. Army camps were built at Tidworth, Bulford, and Larkhill, stimu-lating the growth first of Amesbury and Ludgershall, both with railway stations, and then of Durrington. Airfields and other military centres were established. To the south-west rural villages remain surrounded by farmland.