In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Ludgershall like this:
LUDGERSHALL, a village, a parish, and a sub-district, in the district of Andover and county of Wilts. The village stands near an affluent of the river Avon, and near the boundary with Hants, 6½ miles NW of Audover r. station, and 15 NE by N of Salisbury; was formerly called Lurgeshall and Ludgashall; is supposed to have been a residence of some of the Saxon kings; made a considerable figure in the Norman times; appears to have been, for centuries, a place of considerable size; was a borough by prescription, sending two members to parliament, till disfranchised by the act of 1832; was long also a market-town; retains vestiges of a great ancient castle, and the stump of a rudely sculptured ancient cross; is now a scattered village chiefly of thatched cottages, built of red brick and flint; and has a post office‡ under Andover, two small inns, a church, Baptist and Primitive Methodist chapels, a good national school, charities £23, and a fair on 25 July. ...
The castle was the seat of noble families from the time of the Conquest till that of Edward I.; gave shelter to the Empress Mand, in her flight from Winchester to Devizes; belonged, in the time of King John, to Geoffrey Fitzpiers, Earl of Essex and Chief Justice of England; is supposed to have been destroyed by Edward I.; is now represented by little more than a fragment of the keep, showing traces of Norman architecture, and encompassed by an earthen rampart and two deep ditches; and commands a pleasant view to the N, over Collingbourne-wood. The church is early English; has a pinnacled tower; was recently well repaired; and contains the Jacobean tomb of Sir Richard Brydges, and several other old monuments. An ancient cross is in the churchyard; and the great seal of England, used in the time of Stephen, was found, about 1790, in the neighbourhood. The parish comprises 1,773 acres. Real property, with North Tedworth, £4,133. Rated property of L. alone, £1,777. Pop., 595. Houses, 127. The property is not much divided. The manor passed from Fitzpiers to the Cliffords, the Molins, and others; went afterwards to the Crown; and belongs now to W. H. Mann, Esq. Biddesden House, erected by General Webb, and afterwards occupied by the Duke of Chandos, is the chief residence. The parish contains some tumuli, and is a resort of sportsmen. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Salisbury. Value, £274. Patron, Sir S. Graham.The sub-district contains also another parish in Wilts, and nine parishes and an extra-parochial tract in Hants. Acres, 24,658. Pop., 3,538. Houses, 772.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Ludgershall, in Kennet and Wiltshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 30th March 2017
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