Coordinates: 51°35′42″N 2°23′53″W / 51.595°N 2.398°W / 51.595; -2.398
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Wickwar High Street
Wickwar is located in Gloucestershire
Location within Gloucestershire
Population2,083 (2021 Census)[1]
OS grid referenceST7288
Civil parish
  • Wickwar
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtGL12
Dialling code01454
PoliceAvon and Somerset
AmbulanceSouth Western
UK Parliament
List of places
51°35′42″N 2°23′53″W / 51.595°N 2.398°W / 51.595; -2.398

Wickwar is a village and civil parish in Gloucestershire, England, located between Yate and Charfield. At the 2001 census, the parish had a population of 1,943.[2]


Wickwar was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it appears as 'Wichen',[3] from the Old English (aet) wicum, meaning '(at) the dwellings'.[4] The manor was given to John la Warre by King John and was held by Roger la Warre in 1285, when it was referred to as 'Warre Wyke'. Warre is a Norman family name which gave its name to Wickwar.[5]

The village lay on the Old Saltway from Droitwich to Old Sodbury and Pucklechurch,[6] and was developed in the 13th century by the de la Warre family with the establishment of a market in 1285.[7] The main street, the present High Street, was laid out around the market place with uniform burgage plots and rear access lanes. Burghers paid an annual fixed rent to the overlord and they carried on trades and crafts which, together with their property rights, distinguished them from the feudal peasant. Livestock were often kept on the burgage plots behind the house, and this necessitated the rear access lane.[8]

The original settlement of Wickwar was located around the church and Poole Court, a 16th-century Manor House demolished in the 19th century, to the north of the village.[9] All that remains of the Manor is its terraced garden, south-west of the church. The Parish Church of the Holy Trinity is set on a small hill and is of 12th-century origin. It was extensively remodelled in the 14th and 15th centuries and was restored c.1881 by W L Bernard. Inside there is a sculpture of St John the Baptist dated 1496, which was originally housed at Poole Court.[7]

To the north of the church, within the churchyard is the Sunday School, built in 1837 in a Gothic revival style.[10] The churchyard also has a number of chest tombs, which represent a collection of local and classical tomb forms.

The High Street has a collection of mostly 18th-century fronted, rendered or stuccoed houses, including Albert House and the Police station. The Town Hall c.1795 has arched openings and a bellcote with pinnacle. The Town Hall clock mechanism is thought to date from 1660.[11]

The village is on the main BristolBirmingham railway line, and once had a station, but this was closed in January 1965. The village also used to have a shop and brewery which also closed in 2018 and 2020 respectively, leaving the village without any shops. There is also Wickwar Social Club, which is open to members only.

In April 2020, after hostility from the local area, a new home development in the village was targeted in a suspected arson attack, severely damaging a partially completed property.[12]

Spherules are found lying unconformably over Carboniferous limestone in Wickwar Quarry. These are possibly tektite deposits, formed as molten material ejected by a meteorite impact that may have fallen back to Earth.[13]


The village is part of 'Ladden Brook' electoral ward. This ward stretches south east to Iron Acton and east to Tytherington. The total population of the ward taken from the 2011 census was 3,858.[14]

Recent events[edit]

1987 gas explosion[edit]

On the morning of 9 January 1987, a gas pipe running underneath the High Street exploded, demolishing a house and damaging others nearby. However, an off-duty policeman returning from a late-night game of backgammon smelt the gas and raised the alarm, evacuating the street before the explosion. His house was destroyed, and others significantly damaged, but no-one was harmed. As he said at the time, had he been in bed at the usual time, it would have been far worse.[15]

As a result of the explosion, a ban on heavy vehicles was introduced throughout the village, as it was thought that frequent use of the road by lorries, coupled with freezing weather conditions, had caused the 1950s pipes to break.

Geronimo the Alpaca[edit]

In August 2021 the farm owned by Helen Macdonald in Wickwar became the focal point of a controversial decision by DEFRA to kill an alpaca named Geronimo after the animal tested positive for bovine tuberculosis.[16][17][18][19] On 31 August it was confirmed that the animal had been "euthanised" by staff from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).[20]


  1. ^ "WICKWAR". City population. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  2. ^ "Census 2001: Parish Headcounts: South Gloucestershire". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Archived from the original on 14 June 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
  3. ^ http://opendomesday.org/place/ST7288/wickwar/ Archived 5 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine Open Domesday: Wickwar (formerly Wichen)
  4. ^ Smith, A. H. (1964) The Place-names of Gloucestershire Vol. III
  5. ^ Eilert Ekwall, Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names, p.517.
  6. ^ "Land South of Horwood Lane Wickwar South Gloucestershire Archaeological Evaluation" (PDF). Cotswold Archaeology. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 May 2021. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  7. ^ a b PLaster, Andrew. "Wickwar". Bristol & Avon Family History Society. Archived from the original on 28 November 2020. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  8. ^ "Parish History". Wickwar Parish Council. Archived from the original on 20 January 2021. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  9. ^ La Trobe-Bateman, E. "Wickwar" (PDF). Avon Extensive Urban Survey Archaeological Assessment Report. South Gloucestershire Council. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 May 2021. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  10. ^ "Sunday School And Church Hall,10 Yards North West of Holy Trinity Church". Historic England. Archived from the original on 4 May 2021. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  11. ^ "A Brief History of Wickwar". Wickwar. Archived from the original on 13 August 2020. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  12. ^ Cork, Tristan (11 April 2020). "Fire damages house near Bristol overnight". Bristol Live. Archived from the original on 25 January 2021. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  13. ^ Kirkham, A. 2003. Glauconitic spherules from the Triassic of the Bristol area, SW England: probable microtektite pseudomorphs. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 114, 11–21
  14. ^ "Ladden Brook ward 2011". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  15. ^ "Gas explosion rocks Wickwar". Gazette. 12 January 2016. Archived from the original on 4 May 2021. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  16. ^ "No 10 refuses stay of execution for alpaca Geronimo who tested positive for bovine TB". 6 August 2021.
  17. ^ "Alpacas to join march on Downing Street in bid to save Geronimo". Sky News.
  18. ^ Kennedy, Tom Ball. "Alpacas to join march on Downing Street in attempt to save Geronimo".
  19. ^ "Geronimo: Minister urged not to allow 'healthy' alpaca's death". BBC News. 6 August 2021.
  20. ^ "Geronimo the alpaca is killed after four-year battle to save him fails". The Guardian. 31 August 2021.