[diggers350] Ghost village: Imber in Wiltshire

Liz Lambert tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Fri Apr 16 12:16:29 BST 2010

From: Tony Gosling <tony at cultureshop.org.uk>
To: Massimo <diggers350 at yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Wed, December 30, 2009 9:27:34 AM
Subject: [diggers350] Ghost village: Imber in Wiltshire

If you have broadband - a new slide show with
The story of the Village of Imber in Wiltshire


Salisbury Plain is usually open over Christmas and New Year
Contact the Army for details

Salisbury Plain Training Area
Telephone: 01980 620819
or -
Westdown Camp 01980 674679

Ruth Underwood

Imber Village


Imber Village

Imber Village once had the highest concentration 
of retards in the <http://www.arrse.co.uk/wiki/UK>UK.
Now it's <http://www.arrse.co.uk/wiki/Warminster>Warminster.

Early History

 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 
manoeuvres. Imber was left alone until the 
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 
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.

World War Two


Imber Village before the clearance. Pic taken from church tower

In the winter of 1943, the 
Office informed the inhabitants of the small 
village that their home was being requisitioned 
for the war effort. They were informed at a 
meeting in the village schoolroom, and given the 
curious specific total of 47 days to leave. With 
the <http://www.arrse.co.uk/wiki/D_Day>D Day 
landings just a few months away, the 
needed places to train 
<http://www.arrse.co.uk/wiki/Soldier>troops for 
the sort of house-to-house fighting that they 
expected to encounter in Nazi-occupied 
<http://www.arrse.co.uk/wiki/Europe>Europe, and 
presumably because of its location in the middle 
Plain, Imber was an ideal candidate. The 
villagers were given a month to evacuate, and 
told they'd be allowed back when the war was 
over. They never were. Although most visitors 
left quietly, taking the view that this was their 
opportunity to participate in the War Effort, 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 ­ later became the first resident to 
die and be brought back to Imber for burial. LOL!

The Restoration (of Imber - not the filthy 
<http://www.arrse.co.uk/wiki/Catholic>papist version)

Originally the villagers were told by the 
that they would be 
<http://www.arrse.co.uk/wiki/Lies>allowed to 
return inside 6 months. Apart from the 
spectacular naivety at play here, it was clear 
that the Army had trashed large chunks of the 
village and surrounding areas. A rally in 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 
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. (See 'Right to Roam' below)

St Giles' Church


St Giles' Church

Nearly everyone who trains in Imber is told that 
St Giles' Church (a Grade 2 listed building) is 
still a fully functional and 'operational' 
church. This is 
The parish of Imber has been abolished, and while 
the church and its graveyard remained in the 
hands of the Diocese of Salisbury (although 
access was controlled by the Ministry of Defence) 
initially, it became clear after the church tower 
was struck by lightning in 2003 causing 
significant damage "that the building was in need 
of extensive repairs." Since "it was not possible 
for the parochial church council to accept 
liability for the maintenance of a building to 
which they only had effective access for worship 
once a year" (especially considering that the 
parish included another ancient listed church), 
they requested that Imber church be declared 
redundant, setting in train a process which 
ended, in 2005, with the vesting of the church in 
the Churches Conservation Trust. The annual 
continue. Similarly, whilst Imber Parish has been 
disolved, it still returns an 
<http://www.arrse.co.uk/wiki/MP>MP to 
namely the MP for <http://www.arrse.co.uk/wiki/Westbury>Westbury.

Present Day

 From 1943 to the present day, Imber has remained 
an <http://www.arrse.co.uk/wiki/Army>Army 
training area, where 
practice fighting enemies in and around civilian 
areas i.e. 
<http://www.arrse.co.uk/wiki/OBUA>OBUA, although 
Down (CHD) is used specifically for this task. It 
is pressed into use for a wide variety of 
reasons, although mostly for SF/FOB drills and 
I/VCP serials. Its proximity to the Berrill 
Valley and the bridging facility means that Imber gets a lot of trade.

The approach to St Giles' from the South East

Right To Roam

For most of August, and on a few other 
holidays during the rest of the year, the roads 
through the village are open and anyone can 
wander around it. Large numbers of 'ramblers' 
i.e. environmental activists (and other 
fruitcakes) are also in the congregation, taking 
pictures of everything and everyone to 
demonstrate and retain 'the right to roam'. Let's 
face it - if the only civil liberty we have to 
worry about is lack of access to Imber, I'd say we're doing OK.

Outsiders' Impressions

Outsiders i.e. 
types are often struck by how quiet the village 
is during the rare occasions 
are allowed inside. As one approaches Imber from 
the South East, it is easy to imagine the 
landscape as it was in Medieval times, less for 
the signs of modern farming practices in the far 
distance. The other impression or comment that 
random visitors have is that they are surprised 
that we practice assaulting empty buildings, which is a fair one.
Retrieved from "http://www.arrse.co.uk/wiki/Imber_Village"
+44 (0)7786 952037
"Capitalism is institutionalised bribery."

"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic 
poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
The Diocese will hold the area under Corporation 
Sole the same was as the Defence Dept. will hold 
it on behalf of the Crown It's all business which ever way you look at it.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://mailman.gn.apc.org/mailman/private/diggers350/attachments/20100416/17f63467/attachment.html>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/x-ygp-stripped
Size: 211 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <https://mailman.gn.apc.org/mailman/private/diggers350/attachments/20100416/17f63467/attachment.bin>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/x-ygp-stripped
Size: 211 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <https://mailman.gn.apc.org/mailman/private/diggers350/attachments/20100416/17f63467/attachment-0001.bin>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/x-ygp-stripped
Size: 211 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <https://mailman.gn.apc.org/mailman/private/diggers350/attachments/20100416/17f63467/attachment-0002.bin>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/x-ygp-stripped
Size: 211 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <https://mailman.gn.apc.org/mailman/private/diggers350/attachments/20100416/17f63467/attachment-0003.bin>

More information about the Diggers350 mailing list