The History of Corsham

With Royal Saxon origins, Corsham owes its prosperity to the wool trade and quarrying of golden Bath stone, brought to life still today with having one of the best preserved High Streets in Wiltshire, if not the whole of England.

A town which prospered greatly from Wiltshire's wool trade in medieval times, it maintained its prosperity after the decline of that trade through the quarrying of Bath stone, with underground mining works extending to the south and west of Corsham.

"Corsham has no match in Wiltshire wealth of good houses and there are a few of really high merit", so wrote Sir Nikolaus Pevsner in his book 'Buildings of England - Wiltshire'.

Corsham appears to derive its name from Cosa's ham, "ham" being Old English for homestead, or village.

Corsham is referred to in the Doomsday book as Cosseham; the letter 'R' appears to have entered the name later under Norman influence (possibly caused by the recording of local pronunciation), when the town is reported to have been in the possession of the Earl of Cornwall.

Corsham is recorded as Coseham in 1001, as Cosseha in 1086,and at Cosham as late as 1611.

There is evidence that the town had been known as "Corsham Regis" due to its reputed association with anglo-saxon Ethelred of Wessex and still today there is a school in Corsham with this name.

Corsham became famous during the last war for the huge underground ammunition stores and wartime emergency factories with a combined floor area of 7,000,000 square feet. Since then the Government Nuclear bunker was created, but this was decommissioned in the late 1990's.

The Corsham area belonged to the King in Saxon times, the area at the time also had a large forest which was cleared to make way for further expansion.

Numbers 94 to 112 of the High Street are Grade II* listed buildings known as the "Flemish Weavers" cottages, named after Dutch workers who arrived in the 17th century.