If its name isn't any indication, the town of Devizes is one of the more unique and individualistic towns in the United Kingdom. Located in the southern county of Wiltshire, Devizes has always had a bit of trouble fitting in with its peers and neighbors. For one, the castle built by the Normans in town over a thousand years ago still stands and much of the town has in fact grown around it in the last millennium. While Norman conquests can be seen in the history of nearly every English town at some point or another, Devizes still maintains the influence of these early conquerors in a much more immediate way than most other British towns. For one, its name is most assuredly Norman in origin and it is said that the moniker arose as the precursor to our English word "divide". Back in the 1000s Devizes wasn't listed in the famed Domesday Book, which essentially meant it didn't truly exist in the eyes of the world. The Domesday Book can be seen as the book during those times. Think of it as an ancient guest list to the nightclub of Earth. Either way, the gorgeous Norman Castle that in those days was brand new was used as a divider for the many manor houses that had control over the town that wasn't yet a town. It quickly arose from the Ground Zero of Devizes Castle and the rest was, or is, history.
Not long after its incorporation into the world, Devizes quickly became known for its stunning array of churches that could be seen nearly everywhere you turned in the town. Devizes is still known to this day for being positively silly with churches but most of these churches are far more fascinating than the typical cathedrals you'll find in other countries. For one, many of these churches are incredibly old. The St. John the Baptist church, for instance, is over nine hundred years old. As you may have guessed, most of these churches are Norman in origin and this helps to further Devizes away from its Wiltshire neighbors.
By the time the English Civil War arose Devizes was a decidedly English town. Fortunately, most of the beautiful Norman architecture was largely left alone and the town still held on to some resemblance of its former identity. All the same, it did have to ameliorate itself into England in some ways and by the 1600s it became, like many towns at the time, a textile town that depended on manufacturing for its main source of income. The explosion of the Wool trade was just around the corner at the time and Devizes became known for wool for a short period of time as well, like many other English towns as well. Are you noticing a trend, here? All the same, we shouldn't fault Devizes for giving up some of its identity and instead it should be lauded for not giving up all of its identity. Devizes is still a town that is very unique and beautiful in its own way and that is more than what can be said for many of its neighbours.
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