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Beyond the Blue Plaques @ Westbury Library
Sep 23 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
County Archivist, Steve Hobbs

County Archivist, Steve Hobbs

Popular County Archivist, Steve Hobbs returns to the Festival and this year will be looking at those buildings in Westbury which are not included in the town’s Blue Plaque Trail but hold fascination in their own right.

Spaces are limited so please book through the Library on 01373 822294.

Great Western Railway & Westbury @ Methodist Church
Sep 26 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Join Colin Maggs, railway historian and the author of more than 60 books about British railways, particularly those in the southwest of England, including Branch Lines of Wiltshire in 1992 and  A History of the Great Western Railway in 2013.  He has also written innumerable newspaper and magazine articles and made several TV and radio appearances on the subject of railways.  Colin was awarded an MBE in 1993 for services to railway history and an honorary MA from the University of Bath in 1995.

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Westbury Leigh – from the archives @ The Hollies Inn
Sep 27 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Westbury Leigh

County archivist and Westbury rResident, Steve Hobbs revisits Westbury Leigh. Last time he covered this subject he led a popular walk around the village. Many people said they would have liked to have heard more and not everyone was able to join a walk – also Steve ran out of time before covering all that he researched. So Steve will return to Westbury Leigh and this time you can sit down!

Not only can you sit down but you can have a drink or a meal from the Hollies’ extensive menu.

If you want to eat, we strongly recommend you book your table direct with the Hollies to avoid disappointment.  Tel. 01373 864493


Leighton House Walks @ Leighton House
Sep 30 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm


11am Sunday 1st of October – click Book now below and choose the active tour

Two years ago we sold out, when Lt Col Andrew Field led select tours around Leighton House, the Army Officer Selection Board.

Lt. Col Andrew Field MBE has once again offered to lead small parties around his fascinating site. If you have always wondered what was behind those very high grey stone walls, then now is another chance to have a peek!

The first two tours of the day also include a chance to visit and learn more about the unique apple orchard at Leighton House with local apple experts, Mike Pearce and Warren Harding.  The orchard has a tree of every apple variety available at the time when the Laverton family lived in the house. This tour will take part after the main tour so tours 1 & 2 will be longer

We expect this event to be very popular, book early.

YOU MUST PROVIDE CONTACT DETAILS AND NAMES OF PARTICIPANTS WHEN YOU BOOK – this applies at the Box Office as well. Failure to do so may result in you or members of your party being refused entry by the Army on the day.

The Tour

The ground at Leighton House is not very flat (it is an assault course in places!) and the house is not ideal for disabled access (it is a working military facility not a public venue). If you are disabled, we will do our best to accommodate you but we hope that you understand that some areas might not be accessible.

All visors should be reasonably fit as the tour involves quite a bit of walking, and will last about 1 hour; we’d advise “sensible shoes”.




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Faith, Angels & the Poor @ Westbury Library
Sep 30 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Back by popular demand, Dr. Keith Hooper will discuss the themes in his new book on Charles Dickens.

As a regular speaker at a variety of events, Dr. Hooper’s illustrated talks have always been well received.  His YouTube lectures have attracted thousands of viewers and this event should prove stimulating and interesting.

Tickets available from the library.

Please Note:  This talk will be in the meeting room upstairs in the library



Spend an night with the Old Bill @ Methodist Church
Oct 3 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

A double-bill with the oldbill.

The evening will begin with a short presentation by local historian Ward Jones, who has been looking into the history of the police in Westbury.  After a short break you will be entertained by the Wiltshire Police Band who will be playing a varied programme of music.

The band was formed in October 1985 by a small group of enthusiastic musicians from within the police force. It is a traditional military style band, comprising of woodwind, brass and percussion sections and is led by their Musical Director, Martin Perry

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The band welcome new members of grade six standard or above and, since 1998, there is no commitment to join the police force!

More information from their website

Ghost Walk @ Market Place
Oct 4 @ 7:00 pm – 8:15 pm

  Go on a spooky Ghost Walk around Westbury Town centre lead by local expert Michelle Slade.

Meet in the Market Place and Michelle will take you on a ghostly walk and give you all the creepy details ending the walk at the horribly horrific Horse & Groom pub where you can settle your nerves with a drink or finish up the evening with a ghostly film (Blithe Spirit) in the Alley Film Club. (Please book a ticket for the film as well if you want to do this).

Money raised by this event will go to Wiltshire Children’s Breakaway charity which is a fund providing holidays for underprivileged children.

You can buy tickets on the night – but as with all events you can get tickets in advance to ensure a place,

Book now

No Petticoats Here @ The Laverton
Oct 5 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm

Acclaimed singer/songwriter, Louise Jordan, brings to the Festival the stories of remarkable women of the First World War through song.

Event arranged in conjunction with Westbury town Council’s Great War commemoration group.

These songs recognise the extraordinary and inspirational achievements of women working in many spheres.  From the women footballers who kept the sport alive during the First World War to the aspiring teenage journalist who dressed as a soldier and travelled to the Western Front on a bicycle, the women who risked their lives to treat the wounded yards from the German Front Line, an inventor and engineer, a master spy and the women who made the weapons of war.

Louise will be running a workshop at 5.30 pm where you can learn songs and harmonies from the performance.  However attending the workshop isn’t obligatory, if you want to just sit back and enjoy the show, come along at 7.30 pm.

Louise is touring the whole of the UK with her show. You can get more details, including some previews at her website

Book now

Also at this event will be a small exhibition of paintings of local women from the time of the Great War by local artist, Helen Chester.

Helen Chester was raised in Westbury, Wiltshire and after spending years in Cardiff reading Fine Art at the University of Wales, then working in restoration studios while continuing as an artist, Helen decided to return to Westbury to start a family with her husband, Phil.

Helen’s most prominent series, The Everyday Tommy, depicts men and women from Wiltshire, who’s lives were taken or changed forever by the events of First World War. Receiving Heritage Lottery Funding towards the project, the first exhibition was showcased at the Westbury Music & Arts Festival in 2015. Since then The Everyday Tommy exhibition has toured the UK.

One portrait from The Everyday Tommy of Edgar Hicketts, a soldier with shell shock, struck a chord and through her personal experience of being diagnosed with PTSD seven years ago, Helen has worked closely with prominent UK Charities and has commenced work on a series depicting veterans with the illness.  It sets out to illustrate the plight of the brave men & women from the armed forces suffering with this destructive mental health condition.

The Reformation & the Arts @ Providence Church
Oct 5 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Girl with the Pearl Earrings – Jan Vermeer

On 31st  October 1517 an Augustinian monk named Martin Luther nailed 95 Theses to the door of Wittenberg Castle Church. His intention was to provoke discussion of the sale of Indulgences by the Roman Catholic Church. Little did Luther know that his actions would spark the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation, a movement that shook the church and left Europe divided.

The Welsh poet R. S. Thomas labelled Protestantism ‘the adroit castrator of art’. His view is commonplace, but mistaken. The Reformation gave birth to fresh approaches to literature, music, and painting. The music of J. S. Bach was inspired by his Protestant faith.  The works of Dutch Masters such as Jan Vermeer drew on the Reformation emphasis on the dignity of everyday life.

Join us in marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Guy Davies will give an illustrated talk on ‘The Reformation and the Arts’. We will be also be singing some psalm versions and hymns from the Reformation period.

Followed by light refreshments.

Heritage Open Day @ Heritage Centre
Oct 7 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Westbury Heritage Society is celebrating its 25th anniversary and would love you to join us for the celebrations.

Come along to the heritage centre in the High Street for a range of activities, exhibitions and a special prize competition for all the family to enjoy.  You can learn more about the white horses of Wiltshire, see artefacts not usually on display and test your local knowledge.

Free tea and cakes will be available from 3 pm – please come and help us celebrate!



As part of our anniversary celebrations on Tuesday 10 October, your are invited to a very special event … a talk on White Horses of Wiltshire from David Dawson, Director of the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society.  It promises to be an excellent and informative evening.