Swindon

"SWINDON, a parish, post and market town, in the hundred of Kingsbridge, county Wilts, 7 miles from Highworth, 10 from Marlborough, and 41 N. of Salisbury. It is an important station on the Great Western railway, where the Cheltenham Union branches off. This place is situated on a hill near the Wilts and Berks canal, which passes about half a mile from the town, and has here a reservoir of 70 acres. The parish contains the hamlet of Castcott, and is mentioned in Domesday Book as Svindune. It is a polling-place for the county elections, and a petty sessions town.

The locomotive department belonging to the Great Western Railway Company was removed here from Wootton-Basset in 1841, and hence the rapid increase and prosperity of the place. The works afford employment to many. There are some extensive stone quarries in the neighbourhood, producing immense blocks of Purbeck stone. Druidical remains are to be seen at Brome. The hill on which the town stands is sand, but all below and around the hill is clay. There are a mechanics' institute, first-class railway hotel, two banks, and a savings-bank, in the town, which is called New Swindon, and in 1861 contained a population of 4,167, the population of the whole parish being 6,856.

The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol, value £302, in the patronage of the lord chancellor. The church is dedicated to the Holy Rood. There is also the district church of St. Mark's, the living of which is a perpetual curacy,* value £120. The parochial charities produce about £162. There are two chapels for the Dissenters. Swindon Lawn is the principal residence. Market day is on Monday. Cattle fairs are held every other Monday, also on the Monday before 5th April, second Monday after 12th May, and 11th September, and on the second Monday in December."

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) - Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]

Swindon is a borough 34 miles North of Salisbury. Grid Ref SU157839 for Old Town. Postcode SN1 3HE. Population 1,742 in 1831, 68,953 in 1951. The railway works established at New Swindon in 1842 led to expansion from a small market town to the largest industrial town of Wiltshire.

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