History of The Bath Arms, Longleat, Horningsham
Lying on the Wiltshire/Somerset border between Warminster and Frome, Horningsham is a small village forming part of the Longleat Estate. The name ‘Horninges-Ham’ means ‘Horning’s Homestead’ in Old English.
The Parish of Horningsham changed hands many times before the Thynne’s purchased it for the second time in 1716.
The Vernon family owned Horningsham during the 12th century and were founders of the village church. The Stantors then owned it for the next 200 years before selling it to Sir John Thynne c. 1550. Sir John Thynne increased the size of the Parish by buying more land. His descendant Thomas Thynne, the 1st Marquess of Bath was very interested in forestry and engaged Capability Brown to plant large plantations throughout his 900 acres of land. Gradually forestry and farming were established as two main sources of employment and so Horningsham grew in size to accommodate estate workers.
Horningsham is home to the oldest free congregational church chapel in England. Known as the old meeting house and built in 1556, it is still in use for worship today.
The Village pub was built in the 17th century. It became a public house with rooms in 1732 when it was then known as the New Inn. It later changed to the Lord Weymouth Arms and then the Marquess of Bath Arms in 1850. It was also an off licence.
We are presently researching the history of the ‘Inn’ between 1850 and the present day and will post it on our website as it develops.
Hillbrooke Hotels took on a lease from the Longleat Estate in October 2005. It had previously been leased to Smiles Brewery and then came under the Young’s Brewery brand when they bought Smiles. Hillbrooke Hotels closed the premises in October 2005 when it acquired a new lease from the Longleat Estate and re-opened it in May 2006, having increased the bedrooms from eight to fifteen. It now has sixteen letting units.