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Wiltshire (/ˈwɪlər/ or /ˈwɪlɪər/, formerly /ˈwɪlʃər/; or the County of Wilts) is a ceremonial county in South West England. It is landlocked and borders the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. It contains the unitary authority of Swindon and covers 3,485 km2 (861,000 acres). The ancient county town was Wilton, but since 1930 Wiltshire County Council and its successor Wiltshire Council (from 2009) have been based at Trowbridge.

Wiltshire is characterised by its high downland and wide valleys. Salisbury Plain is famous as the location of the Stonehenge and Avebury stone circles and other ancient landmarks and as the main training area in the UK of the British Army. The city of Salisbury is notable for its medieval cathedral. Important country houses open to the public include Longleat, near Warminster, and the National Trust's Stourhead, near Mere.

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Salisbury Plain is a chalk plateau in central southern England covering 300 square miles (780 km2). It is part of the Southern England Chalk Formation and largely lies within the county of Wiltshire, with a little in Hampshire. The plain is famous for its rich archaeology, including Stonehenge, one of England's best known landmarks. Largely as a result of the establishment of the Army Training Estate Salisbury Plain (ATE SP), the plain is sparsely populated and is the largest remaining area of calcareous grassland in north-west Europe. Additionally the plain has arable land, and a few small areas of beech trees and coniferous woodland.

The boundaries of Salisbury Plain have never been truly defined, and there is some difference of opinion as to its exact area. The river valleys surrounding it, and other downs and plains beyond them loosely define its boundaries. To the north the scarp of the downs overlooks the Vale of Pewsey, and to the north west the Bristol Avon. The River Wylye runs along the south west, and the Bourne runs to the east. The Avon runs through the eastern half of the plain and to the south the plain peters out as the river valleys close together before meeting at Salisbury. From here the Avon continues south to the English Channel at Christchurch, Dorset.

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Edmund Ludlow (c. 1617 – 1692) was an English parliamentarian, best known for his involvement in the execution of Charles I, and for his Memoirs, which were published posthumously in a rewritten form and which have become a major source for historians of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. After service in the English Civil Wars, Ludlow was elected a Member of the Long Parliament. After the establishment of the Commonwealth in 1649 he was made second-in-command of Parliament's forces in Ireland, before breaking with Oliver Cromwell over the establishment of the Protectorate. After the Restoration Ludlow went into exile in Switzerland, where he spent much of the rest of his life. Ludlow himself spelled his name Ludlowe.

Ludlow was born in Maiden Bradley, Wiltshire, the son of Sir Henry Ludlow of Maiden Bradley and his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Phelips of Montacute, Somerset.[1] He matriculated at Trinity College, Oxford in September 1634 and graduated in 1636.[1] He was admitted to the Inner Temple in 1638.

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Wiltshire | History of Wiltshire | Salisbury | Salisbury Plain | Stonehenge | Swindon | Warminster

List of civil parishes in Wiltshire | List of schools in Wiltshire | List of Parliamentary constituencies in Wiltshire | List of places in Wiltshire

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  1. ^ a b C. H. Firth, ‘Ludlow , Edmund (1616/17–1692)’, rev. Blair Worden, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2006 accessed 5 Sept 2007