Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V28, Page 820 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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WOOTTON BASSETT, a market town in the N. parliamentary division of Wiltshire, England, 83 m. W. of London by the Great Western railway. Pop. (Igor) 2200. It is the junction of the direct railway (1903) between London and the Severn tunnel with the main line of the Great Western system. The town has large cattle markets and an agricultural trade. Wootton Bassett (Wodeton, Wotton) was held in the reign of Edward the Confessor by one Levenod, and after the Norman Conquest was included in the fief of Miles Crispin. About a century later the manor was acquired by the Basset family. The town received its first charter from Henry VI., and returned members to parliament from 1446–1447 until the passing of the Reform Act of 1832. In 1571 Elizabeth granted to the town a market on Tuesday and two fairs each to last two days, at the feasts of St George the Martyr and the Conception of the Virgin. In 1679 the town received a charter from Charles II., and the corporation consisted of a mayor, two aldermen and 12 capital burgesses, until abolished by the Municipal Corporations Act of 1886, under which the property is now vested in seven trustees, one of whom is appointed by the lord of the manor, and there are also two aldermen and four elected members. In 1836 fairs were instituted on the Tuesday before the 6th of April and on the Tuesday before the 11th of October, which are still maintained, and a large cattle market is held on the first Wednesday of every month. The manufacture of broadcloth was formerly carried on, but is now entirely decayed.

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