In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Wootton Bassett like this:
WOOTTON-BASSETT, a small town, a parish, and a sub-district, in Cricklade district, Wilts. The town stands near the Great Western railway and the Wilts and Berks canal, 5¾ miles W by S of Swindon; was known, at Domesday, as Wodeton; belonged anciently to the Bassets; passed to the Despencers, Edmund de Langley son of Edward III. ...
and others; sent two members to parliament from the time of Henry VI. till disfranchised by the reform act of 1832; is governed, under charters of Henry VI. and Charles II., by a mayor, 2 aldermen, and 12 burgesses; had anciently an hospital which, in the time of Henry IV., was given to Bradenstoke priory; possessed once a famous broadcloth manufacture, which is now extinct; consists chiefly of one street, about ½ a mile long, and recently much improved; and has a post-office‡ under Swindon, a r. station with telegraph, two banking offices, a good inn, a town hall, a market house, a good ancient church, three dissenting chapels, an endowed school with £25 a year, charities £44, a weekly market on Tuesday, a cattle market on the second Tuesday of every month, and two annual fairs.The parish comprises 4,778 acres. Real property, £10,489. Pop., 2,191. Houses, 461. The manor belongs to the Earl of Clarendon. The manor-house was once a royal residence, and is now a farmhouse. There is a chalybeate spring. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Salisbury. Value, £461.* Patron, the Earl of Clarendon. --The sub-district contains 6 parishes. Acres, 20,229. Pop., 5,675. Houses, 1,214.
Wootton Bassett is now part of North Wiltshire district. Click here for graphs and data of how North Wiltshire has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Wootton Bassett itself, go to Units and Statistics.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Wootton Bassett in North Wiltshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 29th April 2017
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