Wiltshire Historic Buildings Trust

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The Wiltshire Historic Buildings Trust (founded in 1967, sometimes abbreviated WHBT) is a charitable organisation which works to preserve the architectural heritage of Wiltshire, in the West of England.


Wilton Windmill in 2008

The Trust was formed in 1967, its purpose being "to preserve property and buildings of architectural and historical interest in the county for the benefit of the nation". It is both a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee.[1]

The money employed by the Trust originated in a single grant made at the time of its foundation by the former Wiltshire County Council, funding which has been described by the Trust's President Lord Lansdowne as "a revolving capital sum".[2]

Since 1967, the Trust has been instrumental in a number of projects for the restoration and conversion of historic buildings large and small. At the end of a project, the restored building is sold, so that the Trust can recover the money laid out and look for a new project.[3]

The restoration projects of the charity have included the following buildings:[4] Barton Farm, Bradford on Avon (sold 1975);[5][6] Number 23, South Wraxall;[7] Wilton Windmill, near Marborough (completed 1976);[8][9] Number 3, High Street, Marlborough;[10] Numbers 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 21, 23 and 25, Church Street, Calne (1987–1992);[11] The Well House, Derry Hill (2002–2003);[12] The Ostler's House, at the Hare and Hounds public house, Pickwick (2003–2004);[13][14] The Apple Store, Rowdeford (2006);[15] and The Granary, Manor Farm, Yatesbury (2006–2007).[15]

Given its planned nature as a revolving fund, the articles of association of the Trust prevent it from making grants to private owners of historic buildings, but it has sometimes made contributions to special projects around Wiltshire promoted by others. A loan was made to the Merchant's House Trust in Marlborough to enable it to buy the burgage plot associated with the Merchant's House. Grants have included one to the Warminster Buildings Preservation Trust for a town centre project, another to the Friends of Lydiard Park to help with the restoration of an ice house in the grounds of that country house (a project completed in 2007), and a contribution was made to the Salisbury Cathedral Appeal.[16]




The Trustees are known as 'Governors'. Until 2009, they included two representatives of Wiltshire County Council and up to two from each of Wiltshire's district councils (Kennet, North Wiltshire, Salisbury, and West Wiltshire), as well as up to two from unitary Swindon, which before 1997 was the district of Thamesdown. Since the 2009 structural changes to local government in England of April 2009, the Governors include four appointed by the new Wiltshire Council unitary authority and one by the Borough of Swindon. Apart from those five, new Governors are appointed by the existing Governors of the Trust.[18]

The Trust itself is a member of the Association of Preservation Trusts.[19]

Future projects[edit]

The Trust is seeking a means to restore the former Assize Courts in Devizes, including a new use for the building, but believes the project is likely to need assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund.[20] The Trust has employed two advisors, Architecton Architects of Bristol and De Facto Consultants, to produce an options appraisal, and the work on this report is finished, incorporating local consultation. The preferred option which has resulted is for a community arts and conference centre, with coffee bar, plus offices for community use, aiming to reintegrate the building into the life of Devizes. The report suggests other options, including one for conversion to apartments. An offer has been made to purchase the building, but this has not been accepted. The owner has been refused planning permission for conversion into twenty flats, but has said he intends to pursue another scheme for residential conversion.[21]

Another project the Trust is reported to be considering taking on is the restoration of Brook Hall, Heywood.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ home page of whbt.org.uk
  2. ^ Marquess of Lansdowne, Foreword to Wiltshire Historic Buildings Trust 1967–2007 (2007), online at whbt.org.uk
  3. ^ How the Trust can rescue a ruin at whbt.org.uk
  4. ^ Projects page at whbt.org.uk
  5. ^ Barton Farm, Bradford on Avon at whbt.org.uk
  6. ^ Colin Johns, Wiltshire Historic Buildings Trust 1967–2007 (2007) online, pp. 7–9
  7. ^ Johns, op. cit., pp. 10–11
  8. ^ Wilton Windmill, near Marlborough at whbt.org.uk
  9. ^ Anna Stowe, 'A brief history of Wilton Windmill' in Wiltshire Life magazine dated May 2011
  10. ^ Johns, op. cit., pp. 15–16
  11. ^ Church Street, Calne at whbt.org.uk
  12. ^ Johns, op. cit., pp. 29
  13. ^ The Ostler's House, Pickwick at whbt.org.uk
  14. ^ Johns, op. cit., pp. 24–27
  15. ^ a b Johns, op. cit., p. 30
  16. ^ Johns, op. cit., pp. 37–38
  17. ^ a b c d e f g Johns, op. cit., Appendix 1
  18. ^ Wiltshire Historic Buildings Trust Ltd at swindon.gov.uk
  19. ^ Association of Preservation Trusts web page
  20. ^ Johns, op. cit., p. 40, 'The Way Forward'
  21. ^ The Former Assize Courts, Devizes at documents.kennet.gov.uk
  22. ^ Michael Ford, Other Interesting Medieval Houses and Buildings in Wiltshire at britannia.com (Britannia: Historic Wiltshire), accessed 27 May 2012

External links[edit]