Swindon is a large town and unitary borough authority in the ceremonial county of Wiltshire in south west England. It is midway between Bristol, 40 miles (64 km) west, and Reading, 40 miles (64 km) east. London is 81 miles (130 km) east. Swindon was named an Expanded Town under the Town Development Act 1952 and this led to a major increase in its population. In the 2001 census the population of the Swindon urban area was 155,432, while around 184,000 lived in the borough, which includes the large villages of Highworth and Wroughton.
Swindon railway station is on the line from London Paddington to Bristol. Swindon Borough Council, is a unitary authority independent of Wiltshire Council since 1997. Residents of Swindon are known as Swindonians. Swindon's motto is "Salubritas et Industria" (health and industry).
In October 2008 Swindon made a controversial move to ban fixed-point speed cameras. The move was branded as reckless by some but by November 2008 Portsmouth, Walsall and Birmingham councils were also considering the move.
William Herbert (1501–1570) was a Tudor soldier and courtier, a son of Sir Richard Herbert, an illegitimate son of William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, who later gained the title for himself.
William Herbert's early life was distinguished by intense ambition coupled with an equally fierce temper and hot-headed nature. Described by John Aubrey as a "mad fighting fellow," the young Herbert began his career as a gentleman servant to the earl of Worcester. However, after killing a city sheriff when he was arrested for unknown reasons in Bristol, he fled to France. Upon arrival, he immediately joined the service of King Francis I as a soldier, earning a reputation for courage and great skill on the battlefield. "In a short time he became eminent and was favoured by the king, who afterwards recommended him to Henry VIII of England, who much valued him, and heaped favours and honours upon him." For his service to King Henry, Herbert was granted the estates of Wilton, Remesbury, and Cardiff Castle, and his position as a man of means was secured. When the existing earldom of Pembroke became extinct, he became 1st Earl of Pembroke of a new creation.
Herbert's first wife was Anne Parr, a sister of Catherine Parr, one of the wives of King Henry VIII. He rose with the Parrs after his sister-in-law's marriage and was knighted in 1544. He had been granted Wilton Abbey and other lands by Henry VIII by 1544. He pulled down the abbey, and built the first Wilton House in the 1540s.