Trowbridge, the County Town of Wiltshire, has ancient roots, was first mentioned in the Domesday Book as ‘Straburg’. Trowbridge castle, recorded in 1139 as besieged during a civil war between King Stephen and Empress Mathilda no longer exists, but it has left its mark on the town; Fore Street follows the line of the castle ditch.
Trowbridge holds Wiltshire’s earliest market charter dating back to 1200 and today offers a weekly street market each Wednesday, and farmers’ markets on the second and fourth Friday of each month. The town has a range of shops including diverse independent retailers, supermarkets and national chains. There are both free and reasonably priced parking around the town: in addition, Trowbridge has excellent public transport links.
In 1215 Henry de Bohun, who is depicted in a stained glass window in St James’ Church, held the castle and was one of the English Barons who forced King John to sign the Magna Carta. There is a permanent Henry de Bohun display within Trowbridge Museum and a Henry de Bohun trail which encompasses sites within the town centre.
Trowbridge grew and developed through a long history of woollen cloth production which began in Anglo-Saxon times, expanded in the 14th century, leaving a rich architectural legacy; examples range from the fine 18th-century homes of wealthy clothiers (the industry’s middle men), to the rare Handle House (which was used to dry teasels), and former mill buildings. The scale of West of England cloth production was once so great that the town became known as ‘the Manchester of the West’. This fascinating past can be relived in the town’s award-winning Museum and Art Gallery which houses a nationally significant collection dedicated to woollen cloth production, including working looms. Displays trace the mechanisation of the industrial processes, and the impact it had on society. The Museum also has an area dedicated to famous Trowbridge Victorians, including the Trowbridge-born creator of shorthand, Sir Isaac Pitman.
Despite its significant heritage, Trowbridge is still firmly rooted in the present with leisure facilities and cultural activities to meet the demands of the 21st century. The Civic Centre in St Stephen’s Place runs a programme of events to suit all tastes, and is ideally placed as a conference and meeting facility. Next door is a multi-screen Odeon cinema, adjacent to cafés, hotels and restaurants. Throughout the summer, Trowbridge Town Park hosts events such as the Wiltshire Armed Forces and Veterans Weekend, sporting events and the town’s annual Country Fayre. Trowbridge has a thriving arts scene including an annual Arts Festival, and Cloth Road Arts event which alternates with the museum’s biennial West of England Festival of Textiles. There is also an excellent library at County Hall.
Christmas in Trowbridge has a unique feel. The Museum has developed a Victorian Christmas recreating a traditionally decorated parlour belonging to the mill owning Salter family. In addition a member of the Salter family reads Christmas stories and children can experience a traditional Father Christmas dressed in green velvet, based upon a Dickens Christmas Carol character. Children will receive a traditional gift as part of their experience.
Parking & Transport
- Car Parks
Towns & Villages
- Information Centre
- Train station