The Research

Research work is now well under way for the VCH Chippenham volume. Complete and available to view online (via the Home Page right side link) are sections on:

  • An introduction to Chippenham
  • History of the established church in Chippenham
  • History of nonconformity in Chippenham
  • Social history of Chippenham.

There can also be found a summary report of references to the Chippenham area drawn from the main series of printed historical sources, which provide an essential background for the research of remaining sections of the volume, and a valuable resource for future historians.

Further contracts have been awarded for researchers to work on Chippenham government and politics, Chippenham manorial history and Outer Chippenham settlement and buildings, together with religious and social history.

We are also working closely with the Bremhill Parish History Group on a joint project. This innovative work will engage many local people in research, aided by a professional researcher, with the objective of producing a full, separately published parish history alongside the Bremhill chapter for VCH Volume 20. We hope to secure a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help this innovatory project to proceed to a successful conclusion.

The VCH has always set a high standard for the historical accuracy of its contents, and the historians’ output is monitored first by a Committee of the VCH Trustees led by one of the Trustees, James Holden, and including amongst its members our consultant editor, John Chandler. The work is then reviewed and approved by research staff at the Institute of Historical Research at London University. In the past there has been a long time lag between the writing of chapters for the VCH and their publication in the famous ‘Red Books,’ but we now publish all approved work online as soon as it is complete. 

The available Chippenham history research reports can be accessed via the link on the right hand side bar. Some short highlights are also provided below.

The good deed of Rev Bowles of Bremhill

In December 1830 a number of congratulatory newspaper articles were published in the press across southern England, in praise of the esteemed vicar of Bremhill, Rev. William Lisle Bowles, who had considerably raised the wages he paid to his… Read More

Medieval Chippenham

The Diplomatic Record The later eleventh and twelfth centuries did not see substantial royal interest in Chippenham resumed. The town went unnoticed by the numerous chroniclers of the Anglo-Norman period, making it unlikely that it was ever the site of… Read More

The Anglo-Saxon Settlement

Royal Chippenham The origin of the Anglo-Saxon name ‘Chippenham’ is contested, with two possible derivations considered likely by local historians; It may be based on the personal name ‘Cyppa’, or on the Old English ‘Cēap’ (market), as in ‘Cheapside’, ‘Chipping… Read More