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Around Marlborough, Wiltshire

01 Marlborough (3)

Marlborough is a small town located not far from Stonehenge.  We had visited Stonehenge late in the afternoon and stayed over-night in Marlborough at a historic inn known as the Castle and Ball, which dates to the mid-18th century (rooms are mediocre, but it has a good restaurant).

The next morning after breakfast my brother and I explored the town a little before hitting the road.  Our wanderings were mostly around the environs of the city’s broad High Street.  On Saturdays and Wednesdays, as has been the tradition for hundreds of years, High Street hosts a market selling all kinds of  locally produced food and goods, which I would have enjoyed experiencing (unfortunately we were not there on those days).  High Street is one of the widest market roads in the U.K.

High Street, Marlborough

High Street, Marlborough

The region around Marlborough has been inhabited for thousands of years and there’s a lot of history it has been witness to — far to much to detail in this blog.   Some of the highlights for me included:

1) Roman ruins have been found near the city.
2) Legend has it that the burial ground of Merlin, King Arthur’s magician, is nearby (which if true would be amazingly cool!)
3) William the Conqueror built a castle in the region, completed around 1175.
4) Coins were once minted here.
5) Kings hunted for game in a nearby royal game preserve established by William the Conqueror.
6) Westbound coaches heading towards Bath stopped to feed and water their horses in Marlborough.

Castle and Ball Hotel, Marlborough

Castle and Ball Hotel, Marlborough

In April 1653, the Great Fire of Marlborough started in a tanner’s yard and spreading quickly, burned much of the city to the ground, including the Guildhall, St Mary’s Church and numerous homes.  The city we see today resulted from a rebuilding after this fire, including the widening of High Street and the construction of Merchant’s Hall on the north side of High Street.

In 2004 Marlborough celebrated 800 years of its Town Charter. Among those visiting for the celebration was was Prince Charles.

(Click on Thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)

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