Amesbury, Wiltshire, England


  • Distance: 85 Miles from London, England
  • Town design: Mansions built by Seymour family, Nearest railway station is in Grateley. Multiple streets including Main and Second and a constantly developing network of smaller streets
  • Geography: Located on River Avon valley, near Salisbury Plain and water meadows
  • Terrain: Fertile soil for farming, fed by river water
  • Food/way of life: Most people lived through farming (Based near a river)
  • Population: approximately 2,000
  • Technology such as water pumps and steam engines developed here
  • Timeline:
  • C.3100 BC Construction of Stonehenge begins
    C.500 BC Major settlement at Vespasian’s Camp near Amesbury
    600s There is a Saxon settlement by this time
    979 Benedictine nunnery founded
    1086 A royal manor. According to the Domesday book it comprises 70 acres of meadow, areas of pasture and woodland and has 8 mills. The population is between 700 and 900
    1177 Nunnery closed by King Henry II and replaced with a priory serving nuns and monks of the Fontevraldine order. The abbey church, the church of St. Mary and St. Melor, is granted to the priory
    1186 A new Priory church and house completed
    1252 A Thursday market and 3-day fair are granted
    1291 Queen Eleanor of Provence is buried at the Priory
    1317 The Priory is granted a Saturday market and a 3-day fair
    1364 High Street is so named by this time
    Early 1400s Following disputes between the Prior and the Prioress the Priory reverts to a Benedictine nunnery. The church of St. Mary and St. Melor, previously used by the monks, continues as the parish church. A chapel dedicated to All Saints in existence at Ratfyn
    1522 The George Inn in High Street in existence
    1540s Market house built in the Market Place
    1540-1542 Priory dissolved and most of its buildings demolished
    C.1550 Viney’s Farm House built
    1551 Salisbury Street is so named by this time
    1553 The church of St. Mary and St. Melor has four bells at this time
    C.1579 New stocks are made for the town
    1595-1601 Abbey Mansion built on the site of the Priory
    Early 1600s South Mill, containing 2 water driven corn mills, in operation
    1600 Diana House built on the Abbey mansion estate
    1607 Kent House built as a gatehouse on the Abbey mansion estate
    1614 A Wednesday market and 2 new fairs ( on 11 June and 23 December) granted
    1620 There are 6 innkeepers and 3 alehouse keepers in the town
    1660 A new Abbey Mansion built by the Seymour family and designed by John Webb in the Palladian style; from this time there is a pillory and cucking stool in the town
    1672 Thomas Long’s house licensed for Baptist meetings
    1676-1720 Abbey mansion owned by the Bruce family
    1677 John Rose establishes a charity school for 20 children aged 9-15 in the parish church
    Late 1600s The Gauntlett family are producing clay pipes which are renowned nationally
  • Early 1700s Thomas Holland, vicar of Amesbury and inventor of hydraulic engines and pumps, designs an apparatus for extinguishing fires
    1708 Henry Spratt establishes a charity school for 30 children aged 4-9
    1719 Quaker meeting house licensed
    1720-1725 Abbey mansion owned by Lord Carleton
    1725 Abbey mansion bequeathed by Lord Carleton to the 3rd Duke of Queensberry; Richard Harrison establishes a charity offering apprenticeships for up to 5 former pupils of the charity schools
    1735 Charles, Duke of Queensberry, purchases West Amesbury House and begins enlarging and refitting the property
    1751 Fire destroys or damages about 25 building in the High Street
    1759 Market house repaired. There is still a shambles at this time
    1762 Amesbury Turnpike Trust established controlling 62 miles of road; tollhouses built in Stonehenge Road and Countess Road; milestones set up along the main roads
    1766 Independent meeting house licensed
    1771 The town has a fire engine by this time
    1775 Queensberry bridge built by John Smeaton
    1779 John Wesley pays the first of two visits to the town


  • Stonehenge
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