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Warminster

an English market town with a long and proud history.


You will find our town in South West Wiltshire, almost exactly halfway along the road between the cities of Salisbury and Bath.  Warminster was once dubbed "the most drunken town in Wiltshire" but this was always unjustified because Warminster was a market town, the largest inland grain market in South West England. There may have been more public houses per head of population here than anywhere else in Wiltshire, but this only demonstrates our hospitality to all the people who came here to trade.


Warminster was well established before the Norman Conquest and, until the late 18th century, wool and woollen cloth were important to its economy.  Warminster did not benefit from the introduction of machinery into the cloth industry because the town has no suitable river to power a water wheel and none of the new canals came to the town, so that bringing coal to fire a steam engine was not a practical proposition either.


Fortunately for Warminster, the growth of towns and cities and changes in agricultural practice brought more trade to Warminster’s corn market. A thriving market calls for welcoming inns and taverns - and taverns need ale. On the back of a busy market therefore, a malting and brewing industry developed.  This trade also prospered for many years.


The arrival of the Railway was expected to bring even more trade to the market.  Unfortunately, it had the opposite effect and the corn market declined. The effect on the town was drastic and in the early years of the 20th century, when most towns were growing, Warminster’s population did not increase.


Today, Warminster is best known as a Garrison Town.  Its position near the Salisbury Plain and its efficient rail and road links made it a good choice for the construction, shortly before World War II, of a large barracks at the edge of the town.


Warminster still makes visitors welcome.