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The historic buildings of Wiltshire

Wiltshire contains a remarkable collection of historic buildings, some of which are of national interest. At one end of the scale are the grand country houses such as Bowood, Longleat and Wilton, and the ecclesiastical legacy of Salisbury Cathedral and Malmesbury Abbey, and at the other are the vernacular cottages of the Wiltshire countryside. In between is a wide range of buildings and structures covering some 600 years.

In early buildings there is a close link between the geology of an area and the use of building materials which makes Wiltshire a particularly interesting county.



In the north-west of the county is the Cotswold influence, predominantly stone with stone tile roofs. In buildings of the 18th and 19th centuries Bath stone becomes more evident especially in proximity to the quarries of Box, Corsham and Bradford on Avon.

Examples show views of stone buildings in Bradford on Avon taken between 2002 and 2005 (right and below) and Malmesbury in 2009 (below right)

Bradford on Avon
Bradford on Avon Malmesbury


Brick and Tile

Moving south and east stone gives way to brick and clay tile with many of the brick buildings of the Georgian period being of high quality.

Marlborough in 2009


Timber Frame

To the east and south of the county there is more extensive use of timber frame, often with thatch roofs in the rural areas and a wider choice of building materials in the urban settlements.

Castle Street, Salisbury (2009)

Swindon Railway Village

The development of canals and railways in the 19th century provided the opportunity for materials to be carried more easily with Welsh slate then much in evidence.

Swindon Railway Village in 1980

Chilmark Stone

In the south-west corner there are more stone buildings, this time sourced from the quarries in the Chilmark area.

Tisbury (2009)


In addition to the individual buildings there are many towns and villages where groups of buildings are of particular interest.This interest may come from the buildings themselves, the way in which they define attractive spaces such as a market place, street or village green, or by their contribution to the wider landscape view.

Aldbourne in 2002 Steeple Ashton from 1984 Highworth (2009)

Buildings are listed for their architectural and historic interest but this does not mean to say that unlisted buildings have no such interest. It will often be the case that the buildings are of a relatively late date and therefore do not qualify as being "historic" or it may simply be that the buildings are typical of the period of their construction but are not identified as "special". Many buildings are of interest although not listed and this can include buildings up to the present day.


  ©2009 The Wiltshire Historic Buildings Trust Ltd Home