In the years after 1600 Taunton was marked by a heady mixture of radical Puritanism and the volatile wool trade. Together these pitched Taunton into the centre of the Civil War in the area and, on two occasions in the second half of the seventeenth century, into open rebellion against the government. William Gibson follows Taunton’s transition from a centre of rebellion to peaceable borough in the eighteenth century.
Like many of the chalk hill figures of England, the Wiltshire White Horse on the hillside above Bratton dates back to the eighteenth century. In this article Brian Edwards, traces the history of this chalk figure back much further, looking into the origins of the ‘Alfred Horse’ which pre-dated it, in that very same spot. Edwards explores the customary lore of the earlier figure; as well as the potential political motivations for its creation, examining the argument for tracing it back to the Glorious Revolution.
The first recorded Quaker meeting in Wiltshire took place in 1653. From the very beginning, the Wiltshire Quakers were met with staunch opposition from the local authorities of law and order. It was widely believed among the ruling elite that the nonconformist nature of Quakerism would lead to widespread resistance to authority. In this article, Kay Taylor looks into the ways in which Quakerism in Wiltshire was criminalised, how the Quaker community sought to justify their practices, and the phenomenon of martyrdom.