Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Devizes (from Roman Divisas, the border spot), a municipal borough, market, and assize town of Wiltshire, nearly in the centre of the county, of which it is the second capital, and situated upon the old Bath and London road, at an elevation of 500 feet upon the flat top of a hill which forms a tableland to the W., and having from this circumstance a bracing air. The town is two miles long and one mile broad, and its streets, though irregular, are well paved. The Market Cross has an inscription commemorating the death of one Ruth Pierce, who was a modern Sapphira both in habits and ending. The chief industries are agriculture, the manufacture of implements and engines, and malting. The Kennet and Avon Canal passes Devizes, and surmounts the hill by the aid of twenty-nine locks. There was an ancient castle, from which in the 12th century the Empress Maud escaped in a coffin. There was an engagement here in 1643 between the Parliamentary general Waller and the Royalists under Lord Wilmot, and Cromwell had the castle dismantled. On Roundway Down in the neighbourhood is an ancient earthwork. Sir Thomas Lawrence, P.R.A., was a native of the town.