Last Updated 27 Jul 2015

History of the village

There was a settlement at Imber by the 10th century when 'Imemerie' appears in a charter of 967. The land was held by the Abbess of Romsey as part of the Edington Estate. In 1086 it was recorded as being divided between the Abbess of Romsey and the Earl of Hereford. By the late 13th century the manor had passed to the de Rous and Hungerford families. During the 16th century Imber passed to the Thynne family of Longleat who remained patrons of the living into the 19th century. The Wadmans acquired land during the 17th century.

Military activity on Salisbury Plain began in 1897, increasing rapidly during the First World War. Troops were billeted at Imber Court in 1916. From 1927 the War Office began buying up land and leasing it back to the farmers. By 1932 all of the farmland was owned by the War Office. The village was evacuated in November 1943 to facilitate training of American troops for the D-Day landings. The village has remained in military occupation ever since.

History of the Church

The church occupies the site of an earlier building dating from the mid-12th century. The nave was rebuilt towards the end of the 13th century and was followed, circa 1400, by the addition of the north and south aisles, the tower and north porch. At this time the nave roof was reconstructed. The chancel was rebuilt in 1849 at which time the north-east vestry was built.

The church was rich in fittings and furnishings which are now scattered among other churches in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. However, some of the 13th and 15th century wall paintings survive.

The church served the inhabitants of Imber until the evacuation of the village in 1943.

During the early 1950s the War Office (now Ministry of Defence) undertook to keep the church in a modest state of repair until a decision was made as to its ultimate future. This undertaking came to an end in 2002 when responsibility for the building reverted to the Diocese of Salisbury. In 2005 this Grade I listed building was vested in The Churches Conservation Trust for preservation and repair. With assistance from the Ministry of Defence, the Trust has carried out a comprehensive campaign of repair and conservation to the building and its wall paintings.

To discover more about The Churches Conservation Trust please visit: (opens a new window)

History of the Surrounding Area

The following information has been submitted by members of our community.  Information provided by each contributor is their own and this web site can take no responsibility for the accuracy of the articles.


Visiting Devizes Thursday sale on the 4th of March 2015 I was lucky to purchase a large scale map of Salisbry Plain.  This highlighted all the wells dug  around the village of IMBER in 1817.   The map has been updated in parts , but the original print was 1817.
    West of the north end of IMBER  main street shows two wells, a further mile west shows a secluded cross-roads, and the location of "LADY WELL"
    Nearly due north from IMBER , at a distance of half a mile is another well.  On past WADMANS COPSE, we come to "BROUNKERS WELL"       Several miles S.W. of IMBER are two other wells. Due south just half a mile is another, and S.E. a mile distant yet another.
   Going further from, IMBER , in any direction we find a further six wells, all unamed on the map.
    I think this shows the need for a good water supply on the Plain at all times.  I dare say the military found many in more ways than one !!!!  Hope this is of interest, I will do an update on the old barns shown later.  Submitted by: Richard R .Oram  Overton, Hampshire.