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Encyclopedia > Imber

Imber is an abandoned village in Wiltshire, in England. Situated in the middle of Salisbury Plain, the village has been used by the Army for training since 1943. An abandoned village is a village which has for some reason been deserted, in many countries many thousands of villages were deserted at several periods in history, for a variety of causes. ... A bridge over the river Avon at Bradford-on-Avon in Wiltshire Wiltshire (abbreviated Wilts) is a large southern English county. ... Royal motto: Dieu et mon droit (French: God and my right) Englands location within the UK Official language English de facto Capital London de facto Largest city London Area  - Total Ranked 1st UK 130,395 km² Population  - Total (2001)  - Density Ranked 1st UK 49,138,831 377/km² Religion... This article is about the plateau in southern England; Salisbury Plain is also an area on South Georgia Island. ... The British Army is the land armed forces branch of the British military. ... 1943 is a common year starting on Friday. ...



Early history

Although settlement in the area began before the period of Roman rule, and several ancient trackways lead to and from the village, the first documentary evidence of Imber's existence comes from Saxon times, with a mention of the village in 967. Imber is also recorded in the Domesday Book, at which time it is believed to have had a population of around fifty. The village's church of St Giles dates from the 13th century (and has notable wall-paintings from the 15th), and by the 14th century the population of the village had risen to around 250, at which level it is believed to have remained until the 19th century. Population peaked at 440 in 1851, declining to around 150 by the time of Imber's abandonment. Principal sites in Roman Britain Roman Britain is the term applied to the historical period when Britain was under Roman rule, usually considered AD 44 to 410. ... This article is about the Saxons, a Germanic people. ... Events Boleslav I, Duke of the Bohemians, succeeded by Boleslav II (967- 1004) Emperor Reizei ascends to the throne of Japan The Khazar capital of Atil falls to the Kievan Rus around this year Births Deaths Emperor Murakami of Japan Abu al-Faraj Ali of Esfahan, scholar. ... Domesday Book (also known as Domesday, or Book of Winchester), was the record of the great survey of England completed in 1086, executed for William the Conqueror, that was like a census by the government today. ... A church building is a building used in Christian worship. ... Saint Giles (Latin Ægidius) was a 7th-8th century Christian hermit saint. ... (12th century - 13th century - 14th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 13th century was that century which lasted from 1201 to 1300. ... (14th century - 15th century - 16th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 15th century was that century which lasted from 1401 to 1500. ... (13th century - 14th century - 15th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 14th century was that century which lasted from 1301 to 1400. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... Events January 23 - The flip of a coin determines whether a new city in Oregon is named after Boston, Massachusetts, or Portland, Maine, with Portland winning. ...

Salisbury Plain being relatively sparsely populated, Imber was somewhat isolated in the early 20th century, and the most of its residents were employed in agriculture or work that directly depended on it. The village had an elongated form, and its main street followed the course of a stream known as Imber Dock. One of the few buildings to survive in a reasonable condition is the church, with most others becoming derelict and being demolished by the Army. Before 1943 there was also a Baptist chapel (built in 1839), a post office, and a pub: the Bell Inn. (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999 in the... Baptist churches are part of a Christian movement often regarded as an Evangelical, Protestant denomination. ... A chapel is a church other than a parish church, often attached to a larger institution such as a college, a hospital, a palace, or a prison. ... 1839 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... Small-town post office and town hall in Lockhart, Alabama A post office is a facility (in most countries, a government one) where the public can purchase postage stamps for mailing correspondence or merchandise, and also drop off or pick up packages or other special-delivery items. ... An amusingly named pub (the Old New Inn) at Bourton-on-the-Water, in the Cotswold Hills of south west England A public house, usually known as a pub, is a drinking establishment found mainly in Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other countries influenced by British culture. ...

Abandonment and military use

From the late 19th century onwards, the War Office began buying up land on Salisbury Plain, primarily to the east of Imber, and using it for manœuvres. Imber was left alone until the First World War, by which time the need for land had increased. From the late 1920s, farms around Imber were purchased, as well as the land on which the village itself sat. The pressures of agricultural depression, combined with the good prices offered by the military, encouraged the sale of land, with few being put off by the new conditions of their tenancy, which allowed the War Office to assume control and evict the residents if necessary. By the time of the Second World War, almost all of the land in and around Imber no longer belonged to its occupants. The War Office was a government agency in both the United Kingdom and the United States. ... Ypres, 1917, in the vicinity of the Battle of Passchendaele. ... Sometimes referred to as the Roaring Twenties or the Jazz Age. ... Bales of hay on a farm near Ames, Iowa A farm is the basic unit in agriculture. ... In economics, a depression is a term commonly used for a sustained downturn in the economy. ... Mushroom cloud from the nuclear explosion over Nagasaki rising 18 km into the air. ...

On 1 November 1943, with preparations for the Allied invasion of mainland Europe underway, the people of Imber were called to a meeting in the village schoolroom, and given 47 days' notice to leave their homes. Imber was to be used by US forces for practising street fighting. Although upset about being forced to leave, most villagers put up no resistance, taking the the view that it was their duty to contribute to the war effort in this way. Compensation for the move was limited, and the occupants of one farm, who refused to leave, had to be forcibly evicted by the Army. One man, who had been the village's blacksmith for over forty years, is said to have been found sobbing over his anvil, and—a sick man from that day on—he was the first resident to die and be brought back to Imber for burial. November 1 is the 305th day of the year (306th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 60 days remaining. ... 1943 is a common year starting on Friday. ... Battle of Normandy Conflict World War II, Western Front Date June 6, 1944 – August 25, 1944 Place Normandy, France Result Allied victory The Battle of Normandy was fought in 1944 between the German forces occupying Western Europe and the invading American, British, and Canadian forces. ... A school is most commonly a place designated for learning. ... Wikiquote has quotations relating to: United States Wikinews has news related to this article: United States United States government Official website of the United States government - Gateway to governmental sites White House - Official site of the US President Senate. ... Blacksmith Blacksmith at work Blacksmith at work Blacksmiths fire A blacksmith is an artisan specializing in the hand-wrought manufacture of metal objects, such as wrought iron gates, grills, railings, light fixtures, furniture, sculpture, weapons, decorative and religious items, cooking utensils and tools. ... An anvil is a manufacturing tool, consisting of a hard and massive block of stone or metal used as a support for hammering or chiseling other objects. ...

The village has been used for training ever since, particularly for preparing soldiers for their duties in the urban environments of Northern Ireland. Several empty house-like buildings have been constructed nearby to aid training, and it is these, along with the church, that are Imber's most striking buildings today. An area of Salisbury Plain the size of the Isle of Wight is now under military control, and is used extensively for training purposes. Northern Ireland is one of four constituent parts of the United Kingdom. ... The Isle of Wight is an island county off the south coast of England, opposite Southampton. ...

Attempts to restore Imber

Many of the village's buildings soon suffered shell and explosion damage after military operations began, and, aided by the weather, quickly fell into disrepair. Although the villagers had been told they could return in six months, this was never permitted. At the end of the war efforts were made to restore Imber to its pre-war condition, but the decision was taken not to relinquish control. A return to the village was organised in 1961 to demand that the villagers be allowed to move back, and over 2,000 people attended, including many former residents. A public inquiry was held, and found in favour of Imber's continued military use. The matter was also raised in the House of Lords, and it was decided that the church would be maintained, and would be open for worship on the Saturday closest to St Giles's day each year: a practice that continues. The service held is extremely popular, and is attended by former residents, soldiers who have used the village for training, and the general public. The village is often open to visitors on other occasions; generally two or three times a year. The parish of Imber has been abolished, but the church and its graveyard remain in the hands of the Diocese of Salisbury (although access is controlled by the Ministry of Defence), and the parish which now covers the village has sought to repudiate it, as a waste of funds, as it already has a mediæval church of its own to look after. The church tower was struck by lightning in 2003, and is in a dangerous condition. If it collapses, it is likely to destroy the nave as well. A shell is a projectile, which, as opposed to a bullet, is not solid but contains an explosive or other filling. ... 1961 (As MAD Magazine pointed out on its first cover for the year) was the first upside-down year—i. ... In the politics and government of Commonwealth countries such as Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, a public inquiry is an official review of events or actions ordered by the government. ... This article is about the British House of Lords. ... The Ministry of Defence building, Whitehall, Westminster, London The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and the headquarters of the UK military. ... Multiple cloud-to-ground and cloud-to-cloud lightning strokes are observed during a night-time thunderstorm. ... 2003 is a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Full descriptions of the elements of a Gothic floorplan are found at the entry Cathedral diagram. ...

See also

  • Tyneham, another village taken over for military purposes

Tyneham is a ghost village in south Dorset, England, near Lulworth on the Isle of Purbeck. ...


  1. Wiltshire County Council. "Wiltshire Community History: Imber" (http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/community/getcom2.php?id=125). Retrieved 26 May 2005.
  2. BBC TV (2004). Imber: England's Lost Village.
  3. BBC Wiltshire Villages. "The plight of the church at Imber" (http://www.bbc.co.uk/wiltshire/villages/imber.shtml). Retrieved 26 May 2005.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) was formed in 1927 by means of a royal charter from the Crown. ...

Further reading

  1. Bodington, E. J. (1919). "The Church Survey in Wiltshire 1649–50" (http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/community/getprinted.php?id=154). Wiltshire Archaeological & Natural History Magazine 41, 23–5.
  2. Glanfield, Edgar (1922). "The Dew Pond Makers of Imber" (http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/community/getprinted.php?id=156). Wiltshire Archaeological & Natural History Magazine 42, 73–5.
  3. Kite, Edward (1920). "Imber and Imber Court". Wiltshire Archaeological & Natural History Magazine 41, 212.
  4. Ponting, C. E. (1889). "Church of St. Giles, Imber" (http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/community/getprinted.php?id=151). Wiltshire Archaeological & Natural History Magazine 25, 13–15.
  5. Powell, J. U. (1918). "The Derivation of Imber". Wiltshire Archaeological & Natural History Magazine 40, 362.
  6. Revels, G. S. (c. 1982). A Thousand years of History: a short guide to St Giles Church and the Parish of Imber.
  7. Sawyer, Rex (2001). Little Imber on the Down: Salisbury Plain's Ghost Village. East Knoyle: Hobnob Press. ISBN 0-946418-06-3.
  8. Turnbull, Giles (23 April 2003). "Exploring Imber, Wiltshire's ghost village" (http://www.gilest.org/291.php3). gilest.org. Includes photos.

External links

  • Forever Imber (http://www.active.uk.com/foreverimber/copy_of_default.htm), a campaigning site with information and news reports
  • Information about access to Imber (http://www.public-interest.co.uk/imber/) from public-interest.co.uk (http://www.public-interest.co.uk/)
  • Gallery of photos of Imber (http://www.explorationstation.co.uk/imber.html) from Exploration Station (http://www.explorationstation.co.uk)
  • Gallery of photos of Imber (http://www.thinctanc.co.uk/photography/imber.html) from ThincTanc (http://www.thinctanc.co.uk/)
  • Census data for Imber (1801–2001) (http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/community/getcensus.php?id=139)
  • Maps and photos of the church (http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/community/images_search.php?item=Imber)
  • Etymology of the name (http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/community/getfaq.php?id=6)



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