Melksham Without Parish Council
Brief history of Whitley
Whitley was probably settled around the same time as Shaw and the origin of its name is from the same source. It means a white clearing or wood. There would appear to be three settlements - Upper, Middle and Lower - linked together by the route from Atworth to Lacock. Although Whitley is mentioned as a manor in 1546 it is unlikely to have been one and was probably an estate. Whitley House dates from the 17th century and it could have replaced an earlier building. There does seem to have been a general rebuilding from the late 17th century with the large stone Whitley Farmhouse, Slade's Farmhouse and attached dairy and the Pear Tree Inn. Other farmhouses such as Westlands and Northey's were built in the early 18th century.
From this it would seem that there were a number of tenants in Whitley who built themselves substantial farmhouses. Building of cottages continued through the 18th and 19th centuries but it was only in the second half of the 20th century that there was substantial infill of this scattered community. Today Upper and Middle Whitley are joined but there are still few houses in Lower Whitley around Westlands Farm. There was a pleasant economy of effort in naming roads here meaning that the present main residential area comprises First Lane, Middle Lane and Top Lane.