Basingstoke is a wealthy town with it low unemployment and higher than average standard of living. It is the home of the UK headquarters of Sun Life Financial of Canada, ST Ericson, Motorola, Sony Professional Solutions of Europe, and The Automobile Association, making it an economic center. There are many other major industries there as well, including IT, communications, electronics, drug makers and electronics.
Just west of the center of town is a hill fort located at Winklebury or as the locals call Winklebury Camp. The area dates back to the Iron ages. Also found there are the remnants of many other earthworks that surround Basingstoke. Close by, at the west, is Kempshott Lane and Roman Road that mark where a Roman road once went from Silchester to Winchester. Just to the east is another Roma road that lead from Chichester to Mapledurwell and Upton Grey. South of town is an ancient route named Horrow Way.
The Domesday Book has Basingstoke recorded as a site of a market with a Wednesday market being held their regular since 1214. Between 1643-1645, during the Civil War's siege of Basing House, a great deal of Parliamentarians made the town their home. It was during the time that St. Micheal Church was used as a store house for explosives and was damaged in the process. Lead was also stripped from the Chapel of the Holy Trinity's roof for the war effort which lead to its decay. Near the end of the siege it is believed that Cromwell stayed in Basingstoke due to his letters to the Speaker of the House Commons that had a return address in the town.
During the 17th Century the cloth industry was vital to the town's developmental, as well as malting. During the 18th and 19th Centuries brewing also became an important industry to the town. May's Brewery was the oldest and most successful breweries of the town. It was started by William and Thomas May in Basingstoke on Brook Street in 1750. The town's center was rebuilt in 2002 and became Festival Place when reopened. Further improvement continue in the town with the Central Basingstoke Vision project that is being set up by the Borough Council.
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