Wiltshire Community History
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Question Date :
Thursday 9th January 2003 16:24
Why is Trowbridge the county town of Wiltshire?
Trowbridge is the county town because it became the administrative centre. Wiltshire is unusual in never having had a well recognised county town. Wilton was the old one where the ancient county court sat and parliamentary elections of county members were held until 1832. For many years before that Salisbury and Devizes were the two Wiltshire towns where county meetings had taken place and where the Assize courts were held. When the county council was formed in 1889 Swindon and Salisbury were the two largest places but Trowbridge was the one place that could be easily reached by rail from all parts of the county. This meant that members of the county council could attend meetings and return home the same day. The claims of the more centrally placed Devizes were thus overcome and the same thing happened when a new county hall was built in 1939. Trowbridge is now only the fourth largest place in Wiltshire and the third in the Wiltshire County Council area but it is set in west Wiltshire, which is one of the more populous areas of the county.