Tisbury is a large village and civil parish approximately 13 miles (21 km) west of Salisbury in the English county of Wiltshire. With a population at the 2011 census of 2,253 it is a centre for communities around the upper River Nadder and Vale of Wardour. The parish includes the hamlets of Upper Chicksgrove and Wardour.
The Square and High Street
|Population||2,253 (in 2011)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Fire||Dorset and Wiltshire|
Tisbury is the largest settlement within the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (larger nearby settlements such as Salisbury and Shaftesbury are just outside it).
The village has some paleoanthropological significance. Evidence of early human activity in the Tisbury area comes from the Middle Gravel at Swanscombe a 400,000-year-old stratum  in which skull fragments of a young woman was found, the so-called Swanscombe Man. Along with the remains was found several fragments of Pseudodiplocoenia oblonga (also known as Isastraea oblonga), one of four Upper Jurassic species of coral unique to the Upper Portlandian of Tisbury. This indicates that either the group of which Swanscomb Man belonged to travelled to the Tisbury area or were part of a trade network linked to the locality. The coral-bearing chert found at Swanscombe has been interpreted as being intentionally carved to represent the profile of a hominid head, making Tisbury the source of materiel used in what is possibly one of the world's oldest pieces of art.
As in much of the Wiltshire Downs, there is also evidence of Bronze Age settlement. The Tisbury Hoard comprising 114 bronze items, discovered in 2011, is from the 9th to 8th century BC. There are traces of a probable henge monument with some evidence of settlement 3–4000 years ago. To the southeast of the village there is a quite large hill fort. Now known as Castle Ditches  this was referred to as Willburge in the charter of 984 A.D. Enclosed within ramparts of the hill fort is a long barrow measuring 60m long, 25m wide and 0.7m high. At that time the village was known as Tisseburi. A stone circle once stood in one of three adjacent fields, one which was known as Lost Stone Field, located near the junction of the Chicksgrove and Chilmark roads. These fields have been joined to form the present Cemetery Field. The last three remaining standing stones, removed in the latter part of the 18th Century now form part of the grotto at Old Wardour.
There are known early references between 710 and 716 to Wintra, Abbot of Tisbury, and in 759 monks of Tisbury are mentioned in a grant of land to Abbot Ecgnold and his familia (community) at Tisbury Minster. The monastery may have been founded as early as 705 and may have been sited near an old cemetery discovered north of Church Street.
The Saxon settlement came into the possession of Shaftesbury Abbey, across the county border in Dorset. The administration centre was the monastic grange, still called Abbey Grange Place Farm. Its thatched tithe barn – one of its timbers dated by dendrochronology to 1279 – and a Grade I listed building, bears the largest thatched roof in England. It is now used as a multi-purpose gallery and arts centre, managed by Messums Wiltshire. The old Wardour Castle lies approximately 2.5 miles (4.0 km) to the southwest of Tisbury.
Some idea of the population of the area in the 14th century is given by the number assessed as being liable to the poll tax of 1377: every lay person over the age of 14 years who was not a beggar had to pay a groat (4d) to the Crown. The number of taxpayers in Hatch, East and West (in Tisbury) was 152, and in Tisbury there were 281.
The village's 13th-century prosperity came from the quarries that produced stone for the building of Salisbury Cathedral, and from the wool that supported a local cloth industry. The village suffered a serious setback with the Black Death in the mid-14th century but slowly recovered. To the southwest of the village centre are the remains of the village of Wyck, a deserted medieval village abandoned some time in the 14th century.
The Salisbury and Yeovil Railway opened Tisbury railway station with the first section of its line, from Salisbury to Gillingham, on 2 May 1859. At first only passengers were catered for, but goods traffic started on 1 September 1860. Services were operated by the London and South Western Railway.
From 1861 the room above a building near to St John the Baptist parish church, known as The Rank, was used as a glove factory. It employed 36 women and production continued until the early 1970s. In 1873 St. John's Infants' School was built midway up the High Street at the suggestion of Rev. F.E. Hutchinson. It was paid for by Lord Arundell, Sir Michael Shaw-Stewart and Alfred Morrison.
Thomas Mayhew (1593–1682), who in 1642 established the first English settlement at Martha's Vineyard in North America, was born in Tisbury. Other people born in Tisbury include the Rev. William Jay (1769–1853, preacher); Etheldred Benett (1776–1845, geologist); Christopher Hinton (1901–1983, nuclear engineer); and Gillian Lewis (stage and television actress).
The churchyard also holds the graves of Rudyard Kipling's parents, John Lockwood Kipling and Alice Kipling (née MacDonald), and contains what is reputed to be the second oldest tree in Great Britain, a large yew tree which was carbon dated by David Bellamy and is believed to be around 4,000 years old. According to one source, "After a long and distinguished artistic career in India, the Kiplings moved to a residence along Hindon Lane which they renamed 'The Gables'. Their famous son visited them here and, whilst working on his novel Kim, his father (his illustrator) used the drawings of one of the pupils from Tisbury Boys' School as the model for the main character." As of early 2013, The Gables, with five bedrooms and an adjoining cricket pitch, was for sale at a price of £950,000.
Ecclesiastical architect Edward Doran Webb (1864–1931) lived at Gaston Manor in Tisbury.. Other Tisbury residents included Northern Irish colonial administrator and politician Henry Clark (1929–2012), army officer and campaigner for refugees Major Derek Cooper (1912–2007) and businessman John Meade, 7th Earl of Clanwilliam (1919–2009).
Martin Fleischmann FRS (29 March 1927 – 3 August 2012), a chemist noted for his work in electrochemistry moved to Tisbury following his retirement as Professor of Electrochemistry at Southampton University. On 23 March 1989 Fleischmann announced at a press conference as that he had achieved "a sustained nuclear fusion reaction", at room temperature which was quickly labelled by the press as cold fusion. Attempts by other scientists failed to reproduce the effects which led to widespread criticism of Fleischmann.
The Church of England parish church of St John the Baptist dates from the 12th century and is Grade I listed. The site may have been the location of a Saxon church, and was the site a 7th-century abbey that was destroyed by the Danes in the 9th century.
On 23 August 2016 the Nadder Centre opened, after the closure of Tisbury Sports Centre on 21 August of that year. Funded by Wiltshire Council, the Centre was initially designed to provide leisure activities and is home to the village library. The heating for the Centre is fuelled by biomass boilers. From April 2017, after the closure of the local police station, the Nadder Centre provided basic facilities for police officers patrolling the area.
Tisbury has an open-air heated swimming pool, the only one of its type in Wiltshire. The village has a thriving amateur dramatic society, the Tisbury Arts Group, which also hosts regular musical events. Tisbury holds an annual carnival, usually in September. In 2019 the village celebrates the centenary of this event. In 2018 the village hosted the third Tisbury Brocante, "A Festival of Antiques and Vintage Finds". Tisbury Business Association promotes the locality as a trading and commercial centre.
The village has a primary school, St John's C of E Primary School.
In 2017, Tisbury was listed in the Sunday Times 'Best Places to Live' rundown.
Some scenes in the 2009 film Morris: A Life with Bells On were filmed in Tisbury, including at the Tisbury Sports Centre and other scenes were filmed at the nearby Compasses Inn at Lower Chicksgrove.
Tisbury railway station is on the West of England Main Line, placing its residents within commuting distance of London. The village is 2.5 miles (4.0 km) from the A303 trunk road linking Andover with the West Country. Salisbury Reds operate three buses a day from Tisbury to Salisbury and two in the other direction, as of 2019[update]. Buses on the Shaftesbury to Salisbury service, also operated by Salisbury Reds, call at Tisbury. The village is also served by TISBUS, a community transport organisation which provides weekly shopping trips to Salisbury, Gillingham and Shaftesbury.
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