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
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
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.