Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V28, Page 537 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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WESTBURY, an urban district in the Westbury parliamentary division of Wiltshire, England, on the river Biss, a small tributary of the Lower Avon. Pop. (1901) 3305. It is 951 M. W. by S. of London by the Great Western railway, and lies within 3 m. of the Somerset border, sheltered on the east by the high tableland of Salisbury Plain. All Saints' church is Norman and later, with a magnificent nave. In the south transept stands a monument to Sir James Ley, earl of Marlborough and president of the council in 1629; the " good earl " addressed in a sonnet by Milton. A chained black-letter copy of Erasmus' " Para-phrase of the New Testament " is preserved in the south chapel. In the suburb of Westbury Leigh is the " Palace Garden," a moated site said to have been a royal residence in Saxon times. Westbury (Westberie, Westburi) figures in Domesday as a manor held by the king. The manor was granted by Henry II. to Reginald de Pavely in 1172-1173, and from then onwards passed through various families until in 18ro it was purchased by Sir M. M. Lopez from the earl of Abingdon. A post mote was held for Westbury in 1361-1362, but the earliest mention of the town as a borough occurs in 1442-1443. The charter of incorporation is lost (tradition says it was burnt), and the town possesses no other charter. The title of the corporation was " Mayor and Burgesses of Westbury," and it consisted of a mayor, recorder and 13 capital burgesses. The borough returned two members to parliament from 1448. In 1832 the number was reduced to one, and in 1885 the representation was merged in that of the county. In 1252 Henry III. granted to Walter de Pavely a yearly fair for three days from October 31, and a weekly market on Friday. Henry VI. in 1460 granted three fairs yearly for three days from April 22, Whit Monday and September 13 respectively, and a market on Thursdays. In 1835 the mayor's fair was held at Whitsuntide, and the lord of the manor's at Easter. In 1875 a yearly sheep fair took place on the first Tuesday in September and a pleasure fair on Easter and Whit Monday; in 1888 on the first Tuesday in September and on the 24th of that month; the former still exists. In 1673 there was a market on Friday, in 1835 a nominal one on Tuesday and after 1875 it ceased. During the 18th and 19th centuries there was a considerable trade in malt, bricks, tiles and cloth. The last, once the most extensive, has now sunk into insignificance, while the others exist also only on a small scale.
End of Article: WESTBURY

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