Chippenham

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The historical market town of Chippenham is one of the West Country’s most vibrant towns. Nestled on the banks of the River Avon. This camera was installed and is maintained by the Environment Agency and can be viewed here  All content is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records the town as Cippanhamme: this could refer to Cippa who had his Hamm, an enclosure in a river meadow. An alternative theory suggests that the name is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word ceap, meaning market. The name is recorded variously as Cippanhamm (878), Cepen (1042), Cheppeham (1155), Chippenham (1227), Shippenham (1319) and Chippyngham (1541). In John Speed's map of Wiltshire (1611), the name is spelt both 'Chippenham' (for the hundred) and 'Chipnam' (for the town). (There is another Chippenham, Cambridgeshire as well as Cippenham, Berkshire near Slough.) From Chapman's harbour. It might share toponomy with Copenhagen (København – 'Market harbour'. Older name: Køpmannæhafn, 'Chapman's Harbour' ). In Swedish, Köpenhamn (pronounced 'Shopenham'). In Norwegian, Kjøpenhavn (Pronounced 'Shiopenhavn') There are believed to have been settlements in the Chippenham region since before Roman times. Remains of Romano-British settlements are visible in the wall behind the former magistrates' court and recent redevelopments of the town have shown up other evidence of early settlements. The town (not counting the Roman villages now within its boundaries) is believed to have been founded by Anglo-Saxons around AD 600. In AD 853, Æthelswith (sister to Alfred the Great) married King Burgred of Mercia at Chippenham. Alfred was then a boy of four and the wedding was held on the site of St Andrew's church. According to Bishop Asser's Life of King Alfred, Chippenham was, under Alfred's reign, a royal vill;  historians have also argued, from its proximity to the royal forests at Melksham and Barden, that it was probably a hunting lodge. Alfred's daughter was also married in Chippenham. Danish Vikings successfully besieged Chippenham in 878. Later that year, at the Battle of Ethandun, Alfred decisively defeated the Danes, whose forces then surrendered to Alfred at Chippenham (ushering in the establishment of the Danelaw). In 1042, the Royal holding in Chippenham makes mention of a church. The Domesday Book listed Chippenham as 'Cepen', with a population of 600 to 700 in 1086.