A Brief History of Highworth
‘Highworth has a situation corresponding with its name. On every side you go uphill to it, and from it you see to a great distance all round and into many counties.’ – William Cobbett. Rural Rides, September 1826.
The ancient hilltop town of Highworth, standing at 133 metres or 436 feet above sea level, has unrivalled views out over the Upper Thames valley and is the highest town in Wiltshire. Lying close to the borders of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, it stands at the intersection of a minor Roman road rising at Seven Bridges, near Cricklade, and the salt road running from Droitwich to Salisbury. It is closely encircled by the ancient tithings of Eastrop and Westrop.
Highworth derives its name from the Old English wrðe (pron. worth) meaning ‘enclosure or homestead’. The epithet High was added at some point before 1300.
Eastrop and Westrop both derive from the Old English þrop (pron. throp) meaning ‘hamlet or outlying farm’.