TROWBRIDGE, a market town in the Westbury parliamentary division of Wiltshire, England, 974 m. W. by S. of London by the Great Western railway. Pop. of urban district (1901), 11,526. It is unevenly built on a slope at the foot of which flows the Biss or Mere, a tributary of the Avon. The parish church of St James is a fine Perpendicular building, with a lofty spire, and a beautiful open-work roof over the nave. It was rebuilt on the original plan in 1848. George Crabbe, the poet, was rector from 1813 to 1831.
Trowbridge (Trubrig, Trobrigg, Trowbrigge) was probably mentioned in Domesday under the name of Straburg, a manor held by one Brictric together with Staverton and Trowle, now both included within its limits. The first reference to the "town" of Trowbridge occurs early in the 16th century; previous to that date mention is made of the manor and castle only. The latter, round which the town probably grew up, is said to have been built by the de Bohuns, who obtained possession of the manor by marriage with the daughter of Edward de Sarisbury. Later it passed to William de Longespee, son of Henry II., to the Lancasters, to the protector Somerset (by grant of Henry VIII.) and then to the Rutlands, and Trowbridge is now a non-corporate town. In 1200 John granted a weekly market on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; also a yearly fair on the 24th, 25th and 26th of July, on which days it continued to be held until at the end of the 18th century it was changed to the 5th, 6th and 7th of August. The manufacture of woollen cloths has long been the staple trade of Trowbridge. It was introduced before the 16th century, for Leland, writing in the reign of Henry VIII., says: "The town flourisheth by drapery." In 1731 the trade was of some note, and by 1813 had attained such proportions that the whole area of the castle site was sold for the erection of dyeworks, cloth manufactories and other industrial buildings.
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