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White Horses of Wiltshire

Westbury White Horse

Gough’s sketch, after Plenderleath, of what may be the original Westbury horse from Camden’s Britannia, inside the remodelled horse by Gee in 1778. “This picturesque and historically interesting object attracts the notice of travellers on the Wilts and Somerset Railway, who look out of the carriage windows towards the east.”  William Michael, 1873 Frances Wise noted in 1742, “In the neighbourhood of Edington in a White Horse cut on the side of an high and steep hill, and under a large Roman fortification called Bratton-Castle... View of the White Horse with a farmer tending penned sheep on Bratton Road, near Westbury, Wiltshire in 1905. There are eight white horses still visible in the county, and they remain much loved symbols even today, as events such as the Devizes Carnival in New Park Street, 1999 show.

The White Horses of Wiltshire are an iconic part of the landscape and remain a magnificent sight to this day.

The Westbury or Bratton White Horse can be seen from twenty miles on a clear day.

It is thought to have been cut in the early 18th century, and replaced and incorporated a much earlier horse that faced to the right and is the oldest of the Wiltshire White Horses.

Situated just below Bratton Camp where Saxon armies gathered it could exist as a reminder of battles fought or of royal visits. It is now concreted and painted white and underwent a recent refurbishment to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.


Images: Copyright Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre - AAA.747, WEB.747, YBA.747, P44380, P316, P56641

This page is part of Familiar Landmarks