1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Chippenham

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CHIPPENHAM, a market town and municipal borough in the Chippenham parliamentary division of Wiltshire, England, 94 m. W. of London by the Great Western railway. Pop. (1901) 5074. Chippenham is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councillors. Area, 361 acres. It lies in a hollow on the south side of the Upper Avon, here crossed by a picturesque stone bridge of 21 arches. St Andrew’s church, originally Norman of the 12th century, has been enlarged in different styles. A paved causeway running for about 4 m. between Chippenham Cliff and Wick Hill is named after Maud Heath, said to have been a market-woman, who built it in the 15th century, and bequeathed an estate for its maintenance. After the decline of its woollen and silk trades, Chippenham became celebrated for grain and cheese markets. There are also manufactures of broadcloth, churns, condensed milk, railway-signals, guns and carriages; besides bacon-curing works, flour mills, tanneries and large stone quarries. Bowood, the seat of the marquess of Lansdowne, is 31/2 m. S.E. of Chippenham. Lanhill barrow, or Hubba’s Low, 21/2 m. N.W., is an ancient tomb containing a kistvaen or sepulchral chamber of stone; it is probably British, though tradition makes it the grave of Hubba, a Danish leader.

Chippenham (Chepeham, Chippeham) was the site of a royal residence where in 853 Æthelwulf celebrated the marriage of his daughter Æthelswitha with Burhred, king of Mercia. The town also figured prominently in the Danish invasion of the 9th century, and in 933 was the meeting-place of the witan. In the Domesday Survey Chippenham appears as a crown manor and is not assessed in hides. The town was governed by a bailiff in the reign of Edward I., and returned two members to parliament from 1295, but it was not incorporated until 1553, when a charter from Mary established a bailiff and twelve burgesses and endowed the corporation with certain lands for the maintenance of two parliamentary burgesses and for the repair of the bridge over the Avon. In 1684 this charter was surrendered to Charles II., and in 1685 a new charter was received from James II., which was shortly abandoned in favour of the original grant. The Representation Act of 1868 reduced the number of parliamentary representatives to one, and the borough was disfranchised by the Redistribution Act of 1885. The derivation of Chippenham from cyppan, to buy, implies that the town possessed a market in Saxon times. When Henry VII. introduced the clothing manufacture into Wiltshire, Chippenham became an important centre of the industry, which has lapsed. A prize, however, was awarded to the town for this commodity at the Great Exhibition of 1851.