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Themes Explorers and Adventurers Nobel Prize Winners
Actors/Actresses and Directors Famous People Places of Interest
Anglo-Saxons and Danes Historic Events Prime Ministers
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty Inventors and Scientists Royal Consorts and Heirs
Artists and Architects Monarchs World Heritage Sites
Composers National Parks Writers and Poets

Wiltshire lies in southern England.

Towns include the county seat of Trowbridge, the cathedral town of Salisbury and at Lacock one of the best-preserved medíeval towns in England.

Anglo-Saxons and Danes
Anglo-Saxon Kings
Once part of the West Saxon kingdom of Wessex.

The first King of all England Athelstan, was buried in 939 in Malmesbury Abbey.

King Athelstan
Malmesbury Abbey

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The Cotswolds stretch over six counties, with a portion of their southern area lying in Wiltshire. They became the country's largest AONB on its creation in 1966. The area is distinctive due to the underlying limestone rock which has created a unique landscape and habitat for plants and animals.

Spread over four counties the North Wessex Downs AONB was designated in 1972 with its western half lying in Wiltshire. The third largest AONB takes in the Marlborough, Berkshire and North Hampshire Downs and reaches from the Chilterns in the east to the White Horse Vale in the west.

Cranborne Chase and the West Wiltshire Downs was designated an AONB in 1981 and spreads across four counties with the majority of its southern portion lying in Dorset. The mainly chalk landscape includes the wooded Vale of Wardour which separates Cranborne Chase in the south from the Wiltshire Downs in the north. The area was once heavily forested and home to several royal hunting forests of which remnants still remain.

Artists and Architects
The architect Christopher Wren was born at East Knoyle in 1632.

Christopher Wren

Explorers and Adventurers
John Hanning Speke died in 1864 at Box near Corsham after accidentally shooting himself during a partridge shoot. In 1856 he had set out with Richard Francis Burton to find the source of the Nile and in 1858 they became the first Europeans to reach Lake Tanganyika. Burton, suffering from malaria, had to turn back and it was Speke travelling on alone who discovered the river's source which he named Lake Victoria.

John Hanning Speke

Historic Events

Notable Achievements
In 1835 at Lacock Abbey the world's first photographic negative was taken by William Henry Fox Talbot. He was buried in Lacock in 1877.


House of Plantagenet
House of Plantagenet
In 1189 the future King John married Isabella of Gloucester at Marlborough Castle. On becoming King in 1199 he divorced her and so she never became Queen. They had no children.

King John

Places of Interest

Cathedrals and Abbeys
Lacock Abbey

Malmesbury Abbey

Malmesbury Abbey

The 123 metre spire of Salisbury Cathedral is the tallest in Britain.

Stately Homes and Palaces

The Elizabethan Longleat House is set in grounds landscaped by Capability Brown.

Notable Places
Silbury Hill

Prime Ministers

Prime Ministers
Anthony Eden Prime Minister from 1955-57, died at Alvediston in 1977 and is buried at St Mary's in the village. He was responsible for British forces occupying the Suez Canal Zone in 1956, a step which led to the Suez Crisis and severe criticism at home and abroad, criticism which did not subside even after the troops were withdrawn. Eden resigned in 1957 due to poor health.

Anthony Eden
Suez Crisis

Edward Heath died at his home Arundells in Salisbury in 2005. He was Prime Minister from 1970-74, the first Conservative leader not to come from a rich and privileged background. It was his government which took Britain into the then European Economic Community in 1973. After losing two elections in 1974, he lost the leadership the following year to Margaret Thatcher, whose tenure as leader heralded a different Conservative Party to the one Heath had led.

Heath, who became a fierce critic of his successor, remained an MP finally standing down a quarter of a century later in 2001, more than fifty years after first entering the House of Commons. His ashes are interred in Salisbury Cathedral.

Edward Heath

Royal Consorts and Heirs

House of Plantagenet
Eleanor of Provence, Queen of Henry III, died and was buried at Amesbury Abbey in 1291 where she had become a nun. Her heart though was buried in London at Greyfriar's church in Newgate. Queen from her marriage in 1236 until her husband's death in 1272 she was also the mother to Edward I.

Margaret of France, the second Queen of Edward I, died at Marlborough Castle in 1318. She is buried at Greyfriar's church at Newgate in London. She married Edward in 1299 and remained Queen until his death in 1307.

House of Tudor
The year and birthplace of Henry VIII's third wife Jane Seymour are not proven. But it is thought she was born around 1509 at Wolf Hall near Savernake Forest. She married Henry in 1536 but died the following year at Hampton Court Palace shortly after giving birth to a male heir, the future Edward VI. She was the only one of Henry's wives to be buried with him at Windsor.

Jane Seymour
Royal consorts buried at Windsor

World Heritage Sites

The prehistoric stone circles at Stonehenge and Avebury were designated a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1986.

Writers and Poets

The philosopher Thomas Hobbes was born in Malmesbury in 1588.

Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes

Force, and fraud, are in war the two cardinal virtues.
Leviathan (1651)

No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

Leviathan (1651)

The journalist and thriller writer Ian Fleming was bured at Sevenhampton in 1964. Starting with Casino Royale (published 1953) he wrote 12 novels and 2 short story collections featuring the British spy James Bond. All of the books were made into highly successful films, starting with Dr No in 1962.

Ian Fleming

The poet Siegfried Sassoon died in 1967 in Heytesbury. He was one of the famous First World War poets whose experiences in the trenches of France drove them to write of the futility of war.

Siegfried Sassoon
First World War
Poetry Society

Does it matter? - losing your sight? ...
There's such splendid work for the blind;
And people will always be kind,
As you sit on the terrace remembering
And turning your face to the light.

Does it Matter (1918)

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