Marlborough is a pleasant market town in Wiltshire, on the River Kennet.
It has for many years been well known for its handsome wide High Street, where the market is held, and which features impressive buildings and colonnades.
At the bottom of the High Street is St. Peter’s church, where Cardinal Wolsey was ordained as a priest.
Marlborough College, beyond the lower end of the High Street, is a top class public school founded in 1843, whose old boys include Anthony Blunt; R.A.Butler; John Betjeman; William Golding; James Robertson Justice; Louis MacNeice; James Mason; William Morris; and Siegfried Sassoon. A mound within the school grounds is the motte of a Norman castle, but tradition claims that it is where the great magician Merlin is imprisoned, having foolishly fallen in love in his old age with a pretty young girl.
At the top end of the High Street, hidden behind St. Mary’s church, is the ancient Village Green, the home of William Golding, who wrote “The Lord of the Flies”.
The rolling Marlborough Downs, to the North of the town, across which The Ridgeway runs, are extensively used for training racehorses, and the extensive Savernake Forest lies to the South East.
Douglas Hurd, the former Home Secretary and novelist, was born at Marlborough.