What is the Chippenham Project

The Victoria County History (VCH) is a national project which aims to cover the history of every parish in each county. Work in Wiltshire has been continuing for many years, with eighteen volumes already published and another two well advanced.

Chippenham is the last large urban Wiltshire area to be covered and will form the major component of Volume 20. Research is well under way (see below). The Volume will include chapters on different aspects of the history of the town and also the surrounding villages of Bremhill, Christian Malford, Hardenhuish, Kington St Michael and Kington Langley, Langley Burrell, Pewsham and Tytherton Kellaways, all of which lay within the Chippenham 'hundred' in earlier times.

The town history will particularly cover Boundaries, communications and population; Origins and Development from prehistoric times through to the modern period; Landownership; Local government; and Economic, social and religious History. The work on Outer Chippenham and the parishes will also deal with the original manors, their owners and their estates.

The distinguishing quality of the VCH is authoritative history using local and national sources and fully referenced. The full Chippenham volume will contain about 120,000 words about the town and its parish, and a further 70,000 words about the surrounding villages. Although this is necessarily concise, it is the essential starting point for anyone interested in local history and for those who wish to study particular topics more fully. In order to achieve the high standards set by the VCH nationally, it is necessary to employ professional historians who have experience of this type of research.

As research work progresses, draft chapters are being published online and are available via links to the national VCH web site, which are featured on the Home Page of this site. Some short highlights of the research findings are included in the Research section, accessible on the left hand tab. On the News and Events section of this site, you can find the text of a lecture given by John Chandler about the aims and methods of the VCH Chippenham project, ‘Rewriting the History of Chippenham', which gives more illustrations of what we are trying to achieve.