The main two towns where the Newth's came from in Wiltshire, are
                                    Malmesbury and  Wootton  Bassett

                                             Wiltshire - Location

Wiltshire is an inland county, bounded on the north by Gloucestershire, on the east by Berkshire and
Hampshire , on the south by Dorsetshire, and on the west by Somersetshire and Gloucestershire. In
length it is nearly 54 miles, in breadth 34, and in circumference 142 miles; containing 1,283 square
miles, and 821,120 acres.

                               Wiltshire - Name and Ancient History

This county, in the time of the Romans, was part of the territory of the Belgæ. It is supposed that the
northern part was inhabited by that tribe of the Belgæ which was distinguished by the name of the
Cangii; and in the time of the Saxon Heptarchy this county constituted part of the kingdom of the West
Saxons. By some early writers, Wiltshire is called Severnia and Provincia Serverorum, from Servia, a
name by which Old Sarum was formerly known. It derives its present name from the town of Wilton,
which was formerly the most considerable town in the county, but now a place to which but little
importance is attached. Of the military transactions in this county, the most memorable were the battle
of Eddington, south of Devizes, where King Alfred defeated the Danes; and that of Roundway-down, in
which the Parliament troops were defeated by those of the King, in 1643.

Source wilt1830.htm           8/8/02


Malmesbury is located in a strategic position with the river on three sides. It is therefore no surprise to
learn that, according to recent evidence, the site may have been originally settled around the start of
the first millennium BC. However it is the arrival of an Irish monk named Maildub (also known as
Maidulph) in about 642 that saw the beginning of the development of the town as we know it. He
established a hermitage around which a settlement grew up. A young monk named Aldhelm came to
study under him who soon gained a reputation as a preacher and a scholar. After travelling widely
around Europe Aldhelm returned and founded a monastery in 676. This quickly became a centre of
pilgrimage. The present Abbey was built in the 12th Century and consecrated in 1180.

Malmesbury lays claim to being the oldest borough in ENG. King Alfred is reported to have granted a
charter in 880, though there is no direct evidence of this. His grandson, Athelstan, came to the throne
in 925 and made the town his capital. He used it as his base for reclaiming Saxon control, and he can
be considered the first King of all ENG. He died in 939 and was buried in Malmesbury. His tomb is in
the Abbey, though it does not contain his remains.

William of Malmesbury who lived from around 1095 to 1143 was librarian at the Abbey and much can
be learnt about life at the time from his writings, his most well-known work being Gesta Regum
Anglorum (History of the Kings of ENG). Another son of Malmesbury whose work has had wide
recognition is the philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588 to 1679). The town flourished in the 15th, 16th
and 17th centuries as a weaving centre and became known for its fine silk and lace.

With the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th Century the Abbey was no longer the centre of town
life. Instead the wool trade brought prosperity to the area. The town figured prominently in the Civil War
between 1642 and 1646, its strategic situation on the road between Oxford and Bristol making it a
prized possession. It changed sides no less than six times during the course of the conflict.
In the late 18th Century, the introduction of mechanical methods of production enabled the textile trade
to expand for a time. This was followed by a period when the town became a centre of the lace-making
industry. However, with its established stone buildings and compact centre inhibiting the construction of
new factories, the Industrial Revolution generally passed Malmesbury by. The railway arrived in 1877,
a branch line being built from the Great Western main line at Little Somerford.

There is a late fifteenth century market cross [see picture]at the end of the High Street, it stands 40
feet (12 metres) high and comprises of a lantern with figures and arches supporting under a tre-foil
headed canopy.

                                         WOOTTON BASSET

Through the ages Early records of Wootton Bassett are usually thought to start in 681 AD when a
Malmesbury Abbey charter granted to the Abbot, by the Saxon king Ethelred, 10 hides of land to a
place called 'Wodeton' (Settlement in the wood)

Further grants of land nearby appear in the records from time to time, but of Wodeton itself we hear no
more until it was sacked by the marauding Danes in 1015, whereupon the survivors decided to move
uphill to the site of the present High Street.

However this charter was lost by 1066 when the Doomsday Book shows Wodeton belonging to
Levenod as a manor with a Norman lord, Milo Crispin. The manor descended to an Alan Bassett in
1200 A. D. and his signature can be seen as part of the Magna Carta Preface. In 1219 Alan Bassett
gained permission from Henry III to hold a market weekly in the town; we still have one today on
Malmesbury - 15th century
market cross
Malmesbury Abbey
Wootton Bassett St Bartholomew
All Saints . Newth parish church
Wootton Bassett St Bartholomew
All Saints . Newth parish church
Wootton Bassett