The old Devizes white horse, or the Snobs' horse
Ordnance Survey grid reference: SU 000 645
Devizes has a new white horse, cut for the millennium, but it once had another which is no longer visible. The old horse was on the edge of Roundway Down, north of Devizes, just below the hillfort called Oliver's Castle, about a mile from the site of the new horse. It was very well situated on a good steep slope high above a valley, and will have been easily visible from many miles away.
The horse was cut at Whitsun 1845 by the local shoemakers, and was known as the Snobs' Horse, "snob" being a dialect word for shoemaker.
Sadly, the old Devizes white horse was neglected; the turf encroached on it and covered it and by around the end of the nineteenth century it was no longer visible, though during the twentieth century something of the outline of the horse could still be made out in some conditions.
During the twentieth century there were some half a dozen proposals to restore or re-create the horse, but none of them came to fruition. However, in 1999, the new Devizes white horse was cut, using a plan of the old horse, but reversed so that the new horse faces to the right.
This site was last updated on 6th May 2013