Saturday 16th September

10.00am: Guided Walk around Wilton House Grounds

Guide: Ros Liddington (Wilton House Archivist)
Start time: Arrive 9.45am for a 10.00am start
Duration: 1.5–2 hours
Location: Meet at the front gates of Wilton House

Description of the walk:
Walking around some of the follies in the private grounds we will pass through areas connected to the Abbey, Tudor Wilton and more modern times.

We are lucky to have access to 3 private garden areas for this walk and will view the façade of the Isaac de Caus Grotto, the Daye House (famous for its paintings by Rex Whistler), and Washern Grange, to see the original stable courtyard of the Abbey.

We will end the walk on the Palladian Bridge, which is usually closed to the public.

This walk is not one taken by anybody on a regular basis – we will be walking very much ‘off piste’ in some areas. It will take in almost a thousand years of history – though not at all in chronological order! In order to bring some areas alive there will be the opportunity at the start of the morning to view a few artefacts which will, hopefully, help to make sense of some of the stories told along the way.

Essential information for participants:

  • Parking: the Wilton House car park will be opened for those participating in the walk, and will be closed again afterwards, when drivers must move their cars to one of Wilton’s public car parks.
  • Clothing: Wear sensible shoes for walking.
  • Equipment: Bring clothes and equipment to cater for a range of weather conditions, as the walk will take place regardless of weather (e.g. rain jackets and umbrellas, sun tan lotion, etc). Long trousers and sleeves are recommended as some areas are lined with nettles etc.
  • Paths: Much of the walk is along established paths but in order to see various points of interest, we will wander off the paths through long grass, and possible mud if it has been raining.
  • Toilets: There will only be the opportunity to use the toilets at the very beginning and very end of the walk.
  • Food and drink: The Wilton House restaurant will not be open on the day of the walk. Please bring water and a snack if required. The walk should be over well before lunchtime.

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14.00pm: Guided Walk around Wilton Town

Guide: Rebecca Lyons (Festival Organiser / University of Bristol)
Start time: Arrive 1.45pm for a 2.00pm start
Duration: Approximately 1.5 hours
Location: Meet in the courtyard of Wilton Shopping Village (Directions:

Description of the walk:
This guided walk around Wilton begins and ends at the location of the famous Wilton Carpet factory, and takes in the town’s rich and expansive history from its earliest origins.

We will pass by the following sites:

  • St. Peter’s Fugglestone: where famous devotional poet George Herbert spent his final few years as rector.
  • Wilton House: the seat of the Earls of Pembroke since the mid-sixteenth century, Wilton House stands on the site of Wilton Abbey, one of the richest religious and educational institutions of the earlier Middle Ages and home to Wilton’s local saint – St. Edith of Wilton. We recommend strongly that you attend the Wilton House walk earlier in the morning
  • Old St. Mary’s Church: now mostly a ruin, it has been suggested that Old. St. Mary’s Church stands on the site of the original Anglo-Saxon church of Wilton. It now contains an incredibly interesting array of historical memorials to Wilton’s townsfolk from the early modern period.
  • St. Mary and St. Nicholas Church: also known as the ‘Italianate’ church, Wilton’s parish church was built in the 1850s by the Earl of Pembroke and his mother, the Dowager Countess of Pembroke, inspired by Italian architecture.
  • Wilton Place: Wilton Place was once the rectory for the parish church, and was the home to Edith Olivier, Wilton’s first Lady Mayor.
  • St. John’s Priory: one of Wilton’s early medieval religious institutions, now serving as residences.
  • The ‘Old House’, North Street: Reputedly the oldest surviving house in Wilton.

As well as a host of Wilton’s other sites along the way, including:

  • The market cross
  • Council chambers
  • Baptist church
  • Congregational church
  • Naish feltworks

Essential information for participants:

  • Parking: There is free parking at Wilton Shopping Village.
  • Clothing: Wear sensible shoes for walking.
  • Equipment: Bring clothes and equipment to cater for a range of weather conditions, as the walk will take place regardless of weather (e.g. rain jackets and umbrellas, sun tan lotion, etc).
  • Toilets: There will only the opportunity to use the public toilets at the very beginning and very end of the walk, as well as in the middle if necessary.
  • Food and drink: Please bring water and a snack if required. The walk should not take longer than 1.5 hours.

Sunday 17th September

Sunday Symposium at The Michael Herbert Hall*

Address: Michael Herbert Hall, South St, Wilton, Salisbury, SP2 0JS.
*Note – The Sunday Symposium is not a family event – over 16s only please

10.00-10.10 – Opening Remarks

William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke

10.10-10.30 – Introduction: Wilton and the Festival

Rebecca Lyons, Festival Organiser (University of Bristol)

10.30-12.00 – Panel 1: Early and High Medieval Wilton

Dr John Chandler (Victoria County History, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire): Wilton: Town and Topography
Dr Claire Harrill (Birmingham): Educating Queens: Wilton Abbey in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries
Steve Dunn (Salisbury Cathedral): If Not Wilton, Then Where? The Establishment of Cathedrals in Old and New Sarum

12.00-13.30 – Break for Lunch

Local café and tearooms Coffee Darling will provide a pop-up lunchtime catering service at the symposium, providing sandwiches and other refreshments for purchase. Please see their menu — sandwiches can be pre-ordered by calling 01722 744002 before 4pm on Saturday 16th September.

13.30-15.00 –  Panel 2: Late Medieval and Early Modern Wilton

Dr Samantha Harper (Winchester): Henry VII, the Herbert Family, and Wilton (c.1484-1521)
Dr Adam Chapman (Institute of Historical Research, University of London): The Welsh Origins of the Herbert Earls of Pembroke, c.1400–1469
Mathew Lyons (Historian): Marriage, Money, and Immorality: The Herbert Family, Sidney, Shakespeare, and Jonson

15.00-15.30 – Coffee break

15.30-17.00 – Panel 3: Wilton in the Modern Era

Dr Russ Foster (Historian): Wilton c. 1794-1918: From Oligarchy to Democracy
Ros Liddington (Wilton House Archivist): Wilton in the Modern Period
Sue van Leest (OurWilton): Remembering HQ UKLF and Looking Forward With the OurWilton Project
Zoe Cupit (Wilton Community Land Trust): Planning for the Future

The Sunday Symposium will be closed by Cllr. Peter Edge, Mayor of Wilton

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From 17.00 onwards – Pop-up Gin and Wine Bar @ Monty & Mabel’s

All symposium attendees are invited to head across the road to Monty & Mabel’s for a pop-up gin and wine bar after the final panel!
Address: 9 North Street, Wilton, SP2 0HA (

Evening Talks

Please check the time and locations of individual talks below.

Monday 18th September

Wilton Historical Society

Start time: 19.30pm
Location: Wilton Community Centre, West Street, Wilton, Salisbury, Wiltshire. SP2 0DG (

Talk: ‘Lost in the Cloud.’
Speaker: Ros Liddington (Wilton House Archivist) will be giving this talk on behalf of the Wilton Historical Society.

For more on The Wilton Historical Society:

Tuesday 19th September

Rebecca Lyons (Festival Organiser / University of Bristol)

Start time: 18.00pm
Location: Old St. Mary’s Church, Wilton
Talk: From Edith to Edith: The Women of Wilton, Medieval to Modern

Wednesday 20th September

Christine Matthews (Former History Teacher and Wilton Resident)

Start time: 18.00pm
Location: Old St. Mary’s Church, Wilton
Talk: Bequests, Brides and Bellringers: How Charities Have Served Us

Thursday 21st September

The George Herbert in Bemerton Group

Start time: 18.00pm
Location:  St. Peter’s Church, Fugglestone: Wilton, Salisbury, SP2 0AX.
Talk: ‘The Country Parson’: George Herbert, Rector of Fugglestone with Bemerton

For more on The George Herbert in Bemerton Group:

Friday 22nd September

The Churches Conservation Trust

Start time: 18.00pm
Location: Old St. Mary’s Church, Wilton
Talk: ‘Old St. Mary’s Church, Wilton’

For more on the Churches Conservation Trust: