The Village

The Village

Semington’s history

Semington is an old settlement and people have lived here since the 12th century. St George’s church dates from around 1300, and records of Littleton Mill (which was burnt down in 1802 during a protest against the use of machinery) go back to these times. The village is surrounded by farmland and its farmhouses date from the 1500s. The parish has a number of notable houses built in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The village school began in 1859 but now has modern buildings. The Wilts & Berks Canal started at Semington until its closure in 1914, and a new connection with the Kennet & Avon is now proposed. The village Hall, built in 1933 and recently refurbished, is at the heart of the village, both geographically and socially.

In 2002 a book called Semington Past and Present was produced by the Semington History Project Group, edited by Gabrielle & Douglas Firmager.  It can be downloaded here and copies are available to buy from the parish council.

Semington today

Around one thousand people live, work and go to school in the Parish of Semington, which includes the neighbouring rural settlements of Little Marsh and Littleton.  Semington is linked by road and other rights of way to the nearby towns of Melksham to the north, and Trowbridge to the southwest.  These towns are important to Semington as centres of employment, commerce, transport, secondary schooling, further education, health and leisure.  We are well connected to these towns, but we are separate, and culturally distinct, from them.

The character of Semington is actively rural.  In and around the parish, we have at least five working farms and several other agricultural small holdings, with much of the land being on flood plains and used for non-intensive pasture.  The village, which lies to the south of the Kennet & Avon canal, was once dominated by the A350 running through its heart, but the opening of the bypass in 2004 provided a welcome respite, and since then the village has been actively rebuilding its rural character.  The High Street is increasingly the heart and hub of the village; the place where people gather at the village hall, the pub or around the Christmas tree.  The architecture of the High Street, with its attractive blend of old farmworkers’ cottages, grander houses and the C18th pub, is a key element of the rural character of the village. There are 33 listed buildings in Semington.

Semington is well connected, with the A361 and A350 providing road and rural bus network links to neighbouring towns and further afield, where many of the residents work or go to school.  But like many Wiltshire villages, we also have multiple rural rights of way.  The byway to the west and the old road to the north provide cycle, equestrian and pedestrian access to Trowbridge (via Hilperton) and Melksham respectively.  The canal and its towpath also offer pedestrian and cycle access to Trowbridge, Devizes and beyond, as well as to multiple footpaths and minor roads for circular walks and cycle rides.

The community of Semington is active, with over 20 clubs and other groups covering a wide range of interests.  There are also multiple small businesses, from farms to garages and narrow boat maintenance to the small businesses at the Turnpike.  A wide range of community institutions including the primary school, the Independent Living Centre, the church, village hall and the Somerset Arms and the crematorium actively support the community and bring in visitors.

We are fortunate to have several buildings and structures of significant historical interest, including the 16th century church, the Victorian Poor Law Workhouse, the Brunel aqueduct on the canal, multiple pill boxes and other WW2 relics, Georgian and earlier stone houses, many of which are in the village, but others are in the surrounding countryside including the early 18th century packhorse bridge at Whaddon.

The relatively light agricultural use of the farmland around Semington, with much of it set to grazing and grass cropping, together with the water courses of the canal and brook, provide attractive habitats for wildlife, both flora and fauna.  Deer, foxes, badgers, hares and rabbits are complemented by herons, kingfishers, kites, kestrels, ravens and buzzards, pipistrelle bats and great crested newts.  Water voles and even otters have been seen in the brook, as well as less welcome mink.  The canal is well stocked and draws people from afar to fish, while the brook hosts a wide range of smaller fish and the occasional trout.  Wildflowers are abundant throughout the area and ancient hedgerows are evidenced by the huge variety of species they host.

 Village organisations

Semington has a range of businesses, farms and organisations throughout the parish.  Click here for details with direct links to their websites.

 Village and boundary maps