Holt, Wiltshire

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Holt, Wiltshire.JPG
Former post office in the village centre
Holt is located in Wiltshire
Location within Wiltshire
Population1,757 (in 2011)[1]
OS grid referenceST864620
• London100 mi (160 km)
Civil parish
  • Holt
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townTrowbridge
Postcode districtBA14
Dialling code01225
FireDorset and Wiltshire
AmbulanceSouth Western
EU ParliamentSouth West England
UK Parliament
WebsiteParish Council
List of places
51°21′25″N 2°11′49″W / 51.357°N 2.197°W / 51.357; -2.197Coordinates: 51°21′25″N 2°11′49″W / 51.357°N 2.197°W / 51.357; -2.197
Tannery chimney

Holt is a village and civil parish in Wiltshire, England. It is situated approximately 2 miles (3 km) northeast from Bradford on Avon, on the B3107 road towards Melksham.

The southwest of Holt village is known as Ham Green. Further southwest lies the hamlet of Forewoods Common. The Bristol Avon forms the southwestern boundary of the parish.


Holt formed part of the ancient hundred of Bradford,[2] which was divided into civil parishes in 1894.[3] A boundary review of 1934 transferred part of the abolished parish of Bradford Without to Holt.[3]

James Beaven started a leather dressing factory at Holt in the early 18th century.[3] The company also processed wool and made gloves, until the 1950s.[4]

Mineral water was discovered in the late 17th century and bottled for sale from 1715. A spa was promoted at Holt but declined in 1815 following the discovery of water at Melksham.[5]

The Wilts, Somerset and Weymouth Railway Company opened their line southward from near Chippenham, at first only as far as Westbury, in 1848; the line passed Holt village to the southeast but there were no local stations. The company sold its line to the Great Western Railway (GWR) in 1850. In 1857 the GWR completed the Devizes branch line, which met the earlier line to the east of the village. By 1861 there was a single-platform station at the junction to allow passengers to transfer between main line and branch trains. Holt Junction station opened to passengers in 1874, although the only access from the village was by footpath; in 1877 a road connection was made and a goods shed was added. The goods yard closed in 1963 and the rest of the station, along with the branch line, closed in 1966.[6][7]


The village is part of the 'Holt and Staverton' electoral ward. The ward stretches south west to Staverton and north east to Monkton Farleigh. The total population of the ward taken from the 2011 census was 4,523.[8]


Holt has a village shop in which is housed the post office. There are two public houses: The Tollgate Inn and The Old Ham Tree. Local children attend Holt Voluntary Controlled Primary School. The village has a bowls club, and Holt Football Club which is the oldest club in Wiltshire having been established in 1864.[citation needed]

Glove Factory Studios is a workspace hub for start-ups, creative entrepreneurs and independent professionals with meeting rooms, event spaces, a central courtyard and restaurant/cafe (open 7 days a week), set in 32 acres of pasture with two landscaped lakes.

The village is also home to Box Steam Brewery - an independent, family-run producer of regional beers, sold in casks, kegs and bottles. The brewery's shop is open from 9am to 5pm on week days.

Religious sites[edit]

There was a chapel at Holt in the 12th century, later annexed to the vicarage of Bradford.[3] The Church of England parish church of St Katharine is Grade II* listed.[9][10] It was rebuilt in 1891 to designs by the Gothic Revival architect C.E. Ponting of Marlborough; the Decorated Gothic south porch and Perpendicular Gothic west tower survive from the earlier mediaeval parish church.[11]

The font bowl is from the 12th century.[12] The tower has six bells, one from the 15th century and the others recast in 1925.[13] Today the church is part of the benefice of Broughton Gifford, Great Chalfield and Holt.[14]

A small non-conformist chapel was built in 1813 and enlarged in 1846, creating a two-storey building with a schoolroom on the ground floor. From 1859 this was known as the Congregational church. A new larger building, in stone and with a tower, was begun in 1880 on the same site; the older chapel continued in use as a school until 1962 and later became a church hall. The church became a United Reformed Church on the foundation of that organisation in 1972.[15][16]


Remains of the spa include two stone columns, a pump, an architrave with an inscription and a further inscription above the pump.[17]

The former tannery in the northwest of Holt village has a tall, four-sided chimney. The site includes an 18th-century cottage which was used as factory offices.[18]

There is an obelisk war memorial on the village green.[19][20]

Holt Manor is a Grade II listed[21] manor house that dates to the 17th century, although the manor estate dates back to the 12th century when it was owned by Shaftesbury Abbey and farmed by the De Holte family. It was later held by the Baron St Amend, and then the de Lisle family[22] until it was sold to Simon Burton, Royal Physician in Ordinary to the King, in the 1740s.[23] In the 19th century the manor was the seat of Thomas Barton Watkin Forster and the painter Mary Forster was raised there.[24] Later occupants have included Giles Clarke, the Chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board.[25]

In the centre of the village is The Courts, a Grade II* listed country house from the early 18th century.[26] The Courts Garden is an example of early 20th–century English garden style, with an arboretum, working vegetable garden and orchard. Other features in The Courts include the Sundial Lawn, another disused village pump and a folly temple. The house and garden are owned by the National Trust.

Notable people[edit]

  • Esther Lewis (1716–1794), poet, was the daughter of Rev John Lewis of Holt. She resided there until 1760.[27]
  • Vidal Sassoon (1928–2012), celebrated hair stylist. As a boy, he was evacuated to Holt from London in World War Two.[28]


  1. ^ "Wiltshire Community History - Census". Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  2. ^ Pugh, R.B.; Crittall, Elizabeth, eds. (1953). "Victoria County History: Wiltshire: Vol 7 pp1-3: Bradford hundred". British History Online. University of London. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d Pugh, R.B.; Crittall, Elizabeth, eds. (1953). "Victoria County History: Wiltshire: Vol 7 pp4-51 - Parishes: Bradford-on-Avon". British History Online. University of London. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  4. ^ "Holt leather industry". Bradford on Avon Museum. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  5. ^ "Holt". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  6. ^ Rod Priddle; David Hyde (1996). GWR to Devizes. Millstream Books. pp. 11–37. ISBN 978-0-948975-43-1.
  7. ^ Oakley, Mike (2004). Wiltshire Railway Stations. Wimborne: The Dovecote Press. pp. 68–70. ISBN 1-904349-33-1.
  8. ^ "Holt and Staverton ward 2011. Retrieved 12 March 2015".
  9. ^ Historic England. "Church of St Katherine, Holt (1021796)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  10. ^ "Church of St. Katharine, Holt". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  11. ^ Pevsner & Cherry, 1975, p.272
  12. ^ "St Katherine, Holt". Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture. King's College London. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  13. ^ "Holt, S Katharine". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  14. ^ "St Katharine's". Benefice of Broughton Gifford, Great Chalfield and Holt. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  15. ^ Historic England. "Church hall adjoining Holt United Reform Church (1285623)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  16. ^ "United Reform Church, Holt". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  17. ^ "Wiltshire". villagepumps.org.uk. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  18. ^ Historic England. "Offices of J. and T. Beaven (1021811)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  19. ^ War Memorial - Holt, Wiltshire, England
  20. ^ Holt War Memorial | Bradford on Avon Our Community Matters
  21. ^ Historic England. "Holt Manor Farmhouse (1117234)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  22. ^ "Holt Manor, Wiltshire". Strutt and Parker.
  23. ^ Hembry, Phyllis May (1990). The English Spa, 1560-1815: A Social History. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press. p. 177. ISBN 9780838633915.
  24. ^ Mallalieu, Huon; Forster , (Emma Judith) Mary (1853–1885)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. Retrieved 31 Jan 2015
  25. ^ Hewitson, Jessie (8 August 2014). "Home of the week: Holt Manor is a cricket lover's paradise". Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  26. ^ Historic England. "The Courts, Holt (1364103)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  27. ^ Paul Baines; Julian Ferraro; Pat Rogers (28 December 2010). The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Eighteenth-Century Writers and Writing 1660 - 1789. John Wiley & Sons. p. 67. ISBN 978-1-4443-9008-7.
  28. ^ Sassoon, Vidal. Vidal: The Autobiography, Macmillan (2010) e-book


External links[edit]