Saxons and Vikings

The Romans left Britain in 410 AD, and the Saxons soon took over. This is around the time that the first beginnings of ‘Trowbridge’ can be identified. By the 7th Century, there may have been simple Saxon buildings along what are now Roundstone Street and Silver Street.

Archaeological excavation in of the Saxon settlement in Trowbridge

But by the 870’s, Britain was under threat from the vikings. Alfred, King of Wessex, the last major Anglo-Saxon Kingdom, faced a Danish army based in Chippenham. The battle took place in Ethandun, what is now known as Edington, near Westbury. The battle was crucial, for victory for Alfred ensured the survival of the Kingdom of Wessex and halted the viking advance, ultimately leading to the foundations of England.

Memorial Stone for the battle of Ethandun, Edington – © Copyright Phil Williams and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

When the Domesday Book was compiled in 1086 following the Norman conquest, the settlement of Trowbridge was first recorded, although the spelling was different – Straburg – which may have a corruption of the real name , which simply means tree-bridge. By then it must have been a place of some importance as it appears to have been the main residence of Brictric, the most important landowner in Wiltshire and the place from which his estates were administered.