The first ever Wilton History Festival brings together Wilton’s local communities, as well as academics and historians, to celebrate the rich history of this beautiful and ancient town.

The first ever Wilton History Festival will take place 16-22 September 2017 in Wilton, Wiltshire, to coincide with the Feast Day of St. Edith of Wilton (died 984 AD). A range of speakers and events will explore Wilton’s history from its earliest recorded moments and archaeological finds, through to its present contexts and the town’s possible future directions. The festival will include:

  • Guided Walks
  • Sunday Symposium
  • Evening Talks
  • Local catering by Coffee Darling
  • A Pop-up Gin and Wine Bar @ Monty & Mabel’s

Proceeds from the festival will go to local charities. The festival aims to include Wilton’s local communities, promote Wilton’s tourism, and support local businesses.

You can also follow the festival on Twitter @WiltonHistory,  Facebook and Instagram for all things Wilton history related, and to keep up to date on the latest festival news.

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Wilton: A Town Steeped in History

Wilton’s history is long and illustrious – in the early Middle Ages it bore an eminent position as the royal seat of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Wessex, where the town’s important abbey was established – the home to St. Edith of Wilton. In the sixteenth century abbey land was granted to William Herbert following the Dissolution and Wilton House was built, becoming home to the Earls of Pembroke, who still live there to this day.

The town became famous for its weaving and carpet-making from the seventeenth century onwards, and in 1938 Edith Olivier became Wilton’s first lady mayor, attracting famous figures such as Cecil Beaton and Rex Whistler to the town. Wilton’s Erskine Barrack site, acquired by the British Army in 1949 became the headquarters for Land Forces until 2010.

Wilton is now moving forwards into a new and exciting phase of its history, and we invite you to join us to reflect on its past as we engage with the present and possible futures of this impressive town.

Festival events will cover a range of topics around Wilton’s history, including:

  • Anglo-Saxons and Wilton’s early history
  • Wilton Abbey
  • Wilton and Salisbury
  • The Herbert Family, the Earls of Pembroke, and Wilton House
  • The Women of Wilton
  • George Herbert
  • Victorian Wilton
  • Modern Wilton
  • Future Directions of Wilton


We look forward to seeing you in September!