Historic Devizes

Shortly after our Civil War walk (see a previous blog: Roundheads vs Cavaliers: An English Civil War walk ) we signed up for one of the guided history walks of the town of Devizes, again presented by the Wiltshire Museum.

It was an evening tour, starting at 7pm in the centre of the town at the Market Cross which is where we met our guide, local historian and author John Girvan, who arrived in costume as a Norman man-at-arms.

Getting into the role…..

The name ‘Devizes’, John explained, is probably derived from the Latin reference to castle ad divisas meaning ‘at the boundaries of the castle’.

Devizes Castle

As we walked, John told us about the Corn Exchange, Bishop Roger of Salisbury who build the castle in the 1100’s and that Devizes had once been key supporters of Queen Matilda.

We stopped at St John’s church which would have been the church servicing the castle, where John told us about a series of underground tunnels and also showed us the holes in the church walls left by parliamentarian cannons during the Civil War.

Towards St John’s Church

Onwards past historic houses and alleyways, showing us forgotten old pubs like the Old Swan and the old snuff factories, before following the Medieval Trail back into the town centre past St Mary’s Church.

The whole tour was a little over an hour and well worth it. We have been to Devizes many times but never realised how much history is involved with the town and also that it still had a castle!

Also, I have since learnt there is a regular craft market in the Shambles (ancient name for meat market) so I might make another trip to Devizes to see what that’s all about 🙂

If you are interested in booking the history tour, have a look at the Wiltshire Museum website here.

Keep an eye out for the very popular ghost walks which are run in the autumn….when the days start shortening.

Links included are for information only and aren’t affiliate links.

All images used are personal photographs taken during the guided history walk of Devizes at the end of July 2021.

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