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Devizes, England

Devizes is a market town in the County of Wiltshire in southwest England. Devizes Castle, around which the town sprung, was built in 1080. Built on the borders of three manors it became known as castrum ad divisas or "the castle at the boundaries", hence the name Devizes. After the wood and earth castle burned down in 1113 a stone castle was built in its place. In the 12th and 13th centuries the town started growing outside the the castle walls with craftsmen and traders setting up shops to serve the residents of the castle. Devizes has over 500 listed buildings (historical buildings that are protected) which is a large number for a town its size.

Devizes was home to a large army base built in the late 1800s that served as Wiltshire Regimental Headquarters. Many thousands of British, American and other Allied soldiers were stationed at Devizes in the months leading up to the invasion of France. As the war continued, Devizes had a POW camp that during its height permanently housed up to 7,500 German and Italian soldiers.


St. James Church

Located on the Green at the center of town is St. James Church, built in the early 15th century and partially rebuilt in 1832. The tower is the only part of the original building that remains. St. James served as the garrison church of the Wiltshire Regiment upon completion of the Le Marchant Barracks in 1878.


Assize Court House

The old Assize Court House lies on the road from Devizes to Melksham. It served as a county police station starting in 1937 and during the time these photos were taken. The court house stands today but is empty and derelict.


An excellent and informative website about everything Devizes, can be found here: Devizes Heritage.