This is a local history which tells the story of a community in south Wiltshire from the earliest times to the present day. Downton demonstrates in a microcosm how national events affected ordinary working families in rural England. From the 13th century, Downton sent two MPs to Parliament until the Great Reform Act of 1832, when its loss of status as a parliamentary constituency meant it reverted to being a village. Rich and poor alike have been affected by local events such as flooding and the enclosures of the 18th century. They have also been affected by national and international landmarks in history, such as plagues and wars. This book tells the story of how each event was met with personal determination and resilience. It also scotches some longstanding village myths, drawing on existing and new academic research, and using some historical sources for the first time.