Chippenham

The town was established on a crossing of the River Avon and is believed to have existed as some form of settlement since before Roman times. For a time Alfred the Great had a hunting lodge there. The town continued to grow when the Great Western Railway arrived in 1841, and while historically a market town the economy has changed to that of a commuter town.

Buttercross – The original Buttercross, a stone structure, was erected in c. 1570 and stood in the current location of Barclays Bank, where it served as the centre of the Shambles. The Buttercross was used for the sale of meat and dairy products.

In 1889 Mr. E.C. Lowndes bought the Buttercross for 6. He re-erected it as a gazebo in the kitchen garden of the Castle Combe Manor House, where it subsequently fell into disrepair.

The Buttercross was re-erected in its current location in 1995 by the Chippenham Civic Society with funding provided by a wide range of local individuals and organizations. It currently stands as the centre-piece of the pedestrianized area of the town centre, where a market is held each Friday and Saturday.

Yelde Hall- The Yelde Hall is currently the site of the Tourist Information Centre in Chippenham. It is run jointly by Chippenham Town and North Wiltshire District Councils and is the largest Tourist Information Centre in North Wiltshire.

The hall is one of very few remaining medieval timber framed buildings in the town. It was originally divided up internally for use as a market hall. Both the hall and its meeting room upstairs were used by the Burgess and Bailiff for a variety of meetings and trials as well as being used for Council meetings. The space under the Council Chamber was used as the town gaol. The hall was also used in this time for fund raising events for the local church.

The Chippenham Folk Festival takes place every year, usually from the 2630 May. Although it has seen many changes since its beginnings in Lacock all those years ago, it still retains its ‘village’ atmosphere, providing three and a half days packed with song, dance, workshops and dance displays. Over 200 events take place within the town centre, turning the whole town into a giant party. The main ceilidh and concert events take place in the beautiful park alongside the river, while practically every pub and venue in the town is used for a vast range of sessions, workshops and smaller concerts and dances. There is also a full program of children’s events, a large craft marquee, catering facilities and an open air arena in the park. The High Street and historic Market Square are both pedestrianized, and are used throughout the weekend for busking, street theatre and processions. A huge street fair also takes place on the Monday. The event is featured on programming on the town’s own Chippenham Hospital Radio.

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