Wroughton

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For other uses, see Wroughton (disambiguation).

Coordinates: 51°31′30″N 1°47′31″W / 51.525°N 1.792°W / 51.525; -1.792

Wroughton
WROUGHTON, Wiltshire - geograph.org.uk - 65350.jpg
St. John the Baptist and St. Helen parish church
Wroughton is located in Wiltshire
Wroughton
Wroughton
 Wroughton shown within Wiltshire
Population 6,983 (2001 Census)[1]
OS grid reference SU1480
Civil parish Wroughton
Unitary authority Swindon
Ceremonial county Wiltshire
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town SWINDON
Postcode district SN4
Dialling code 01793
Police Wiltshire
Fire Wiltshire
Ambulance Great Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament Swindon South
Website Wroughton Parish Council
List of places
UK
England
Wiltshire
The Three Tuns public house now closed
Old Ordnance Survey Map from 1959 showing Wroughton, Burderop Park and Hodson. Grid squares are 1km.

Wroughton is a large village in Wiltshire, England. It is part of the Borough of Swindon and lies along the A4361 road between Swindon and Avebury; the road into Swindon crosses the M4 motorway between junctions 15 and 16. It is about 4 miles (6.4 km) south of Swindon town centre on the edge of the Marlborough Downs, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The town of Marlborough is about 10 miles (16.1 km) south via the B4005 at Chiseldon and the A346 road. The World Heritage Site at Avebury is about 6 miles (9.7 km) south.

History[edit]

The earliest evidence of human presence in the area is from the Mesolithic period, although this is fairly limited.[2] More significant evidence of settlement and occupation in the area is available for the Neolithic period, most notably due to the extensive ritual complex at Avebury and scattered finds in the locality. The earliest archaeological evidence from within Wroughton dates from the Roman period (AD 43–410), showing a period of intensive settlement and farming in the area. Occupation of the area continued into the early Middle Ages (AD 410–1066) when two battles are understood to have taken place in the area: Breahburh (AD 567), thought to have been fought by Ceawlin of Wessex on the slopes of Barbury Hill, and Ellandun (AD 825) at Elcombe Hall by Egbert of Wessex. However there is no agreement that the latter was here (it is known to have been south of Swindon). Burial sites in the vicinity are believed to be associated with these battles.[3]

Until the 19th century it was just a country village. Wroughton is close to The Ridgeway, a national path which is connected to the ancient Uffington White Horse. In the 20th century the village grew but largely avoided the effects of suburbanisation while its larger neighbour Swindon expanded rapidly to the immediate north. The construction of the M4 motorway prevented Swindon from enveloping Wroughton, which has retained a village identity, albeit with the population of a small market town (approximately 8,500 residents) in the early 21st century.

In 1874, the village celebrated for two days after the horse George Frederick which was stabled in the High Street, won the Epsom Derby.[4] The horse and its trainer, Tom Leader, who was born in Wroughton, were escorted from Swindon railway station by a brass band and received in the village which had declared all of its pubs to be open houses and provided free beer for the occasion.[5]

Wroughton Feast[edit]

Between 1855 and 1930, there was an "annual feast"—a week-long summer fair attended by local farmers and residents from north Wiltshire in the school holidays.Events included "A Programme of Horse, Pony, Donkey and Foot racing; climbing the greasy pole ..." the prize being a leg of mutton at the end. The event was held at the rear of the Three Tuns pub with other local fairs and a grandstand was built in the field. The main event was the "Champion Gip Fight", a bare-knuckle boxing competition between a Gypsy champion and a challenger.[5]

Frederick Large, in his book A Swindon Retrospect 1855–1930 comments: "At Wroughton Feast, an annual festival lasting a week, it was the custom for many years for "the champion gip" to fight the best man who could be produced, for a purse of gold. The venue was the paddock at the back of the Three Tuns tavern, where the usual paraphernalia of fairs used to congregate in full force. The Feast always took place in the summer at a time which included a week of our school holidays. I was not more than seven or eight years of age when, without my parents' consent, I wandered over to Wroughton ... This annual event always commenced on a Sunday evening by friends and neighbours from Swindon, Wroughton and neighbouring villages congregating at the Three Tuns, where, crowded inside and out, large quantities of beer and spirits were consumed. A miniature grand stand was erected for Feast Week in an orchard adjoining the paddock, upon which many of the elite of the neighbourhood, both ladies and gentlemen, occupied seats, and indulged freely in choice fruits and refreshments."[6]

Buildings and amenities[edit]

Schools[edit]

The Ridgeway School opened in 1967 as Wiltshire's first purpose-built comprehensive school. It teaches about 1,500 children aged 11–18. The catchment area includes Bishopstone, Hinton Parva, Wanborough, Liddington, Coate, Badbury, Chiseldon, Hodson, Bassett Down, Uffcott, Broad Hinton and Winterbourne Bassett.[7]

RAF Wroughton (Science Museum Swindon)[edit]

RAF Wroughton, just south of the village, closed in the 1990s and is now the Science Museum Swindon, a part of the National Museum of Science and Industry and used as a storage site occasionally open to the public.

Ellendune Centre[edit]

The Ellendune Centre is a sports and entertainment venue that boasts one of the larger amateur facilities in the local area. It plays host to amateur dramatic groups who use it to meet and perform, including the Ellendune Entertainers and WADAMS (Wroughton Amateur Dramatic and Musical Society).

Parish Church[edit]

The Church of England parish church of Saint John the Baptist and Saint Helen

Recreation[edit]

The Weir Field and the Wroughton Leisure Centre

Sport[edit]

Wroughton ASC Swimming Club is a competitive organisation which aims to train young swimmers of all abilities to attain a high standard of competitive achievement, the same time enjoying themselves. Throughout the year the club competes in a regular programme of team galas both locally and across Wiltshire. The club also competes each year in the Wiltshire County Championships.

Notable people[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Area selected: Swindon (Unitary Authority)". Neighbourhood Statistics: Full Dataset View. Office for National Statistics. 
  2. ^ "Guide to Wroughton". Swindon Advertiser. 
  3. ^ "Experimental archaeology" (PDF). School of Human & Environmental Sciences (University of Reading). 
  4. ^ Shirley Mathias (24 November 2003). "Fledgling flats with a pedigree". Gazette and Herald. 
  5. ^ a b Frederick Large (1970). A Swindon Retrospect 1855–1930 (3rd ed.). Wakefield: S.R. Publishers. ISBN 0-85409-592-6. 
  6. ^ Frederick Large (1931). "A Swindon Retrospect 1855–1930 (extract)". Ambra Books. 
  7. ^ "Ridgeway School website". 

External links[edit]