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General information
Established 1839
Postal code BEAU
Dialling code 05
County Beaufortshire
Area 145.6 sq mi (377 km2)
Elevation 33 ft (10 m)
Population 87,719  (Ranked 6th)
Property value £68,500
City of Williamsdene[1]
Coat of Arms of Williamsdene
Type Municipal borough
Incorporated 1 January 1845
Seat Williamsdene Town Hall
2 Prince Street
Williamsdene, BEAU
Navigation and map
Williamsdene is located in Guelphia
Location of Williamsdene
List of settlements in New Ingerland
List of places in New Ingerland by population
Municipalities · Parishes

Williamsdene is a medium-sized city located in the north-west of New Ingerland. The city is the county town of the county of Beaufortshire. Situated on the banks of the River Waiautoa, Williamsdene is located approximately 122 miles (196 kilometres) north-west of the capital, Kingsbury.


Williamsdene is named after William Small, a minor subscriber of the New Ingerland Company who was the first European settler in the Waiautoa valley. The name William is a Germanic in origin, and can be simply translated as: wil 'will, desire' + helm 'helmet, protection'[2]. The place name of dene, or more commonly dean, is drawn from the Anglo-Saxons and means a '(place in) the valley'[3]. The city name might therefore be taken to mean 'a place in a valley belonging to William'.


The settlement of Williamsdene commenced in 1839, when William Small arrived and took up his land grant on the western side of the river. Small established himself on the banks of Home Stream, a few hundred feet from it's outlet in to the Waiautoa. Today, Small's residence has survived, and presently is held by the National Trust as a significant historic site. Small and his convict workforce set about clearing the land and establishing a farming venture, which within a few years had become one of the largest estates in the country.

In 1840, a port was established by the government across the river from Small's residence in order to export timber, wool, and other supplies from the hinterlands; and grew to become the modern suburb of Woolport. Settlement of Williamsdene itself did not occur until 1842, when a flood severely damaged the settlement downstream at Badminton, necessitating the relocation of the county seat. The Crown purchased most of Small's original grant, and he was compensated further with a new land grant further upstream in and around the modern town of Waiautoa. He also continued to farm two smaller properties, North Ham and South Ham, just outside the new town boundaries.

With the transfer of the Court of General and Quarter Sessions, Williamsdene was gazetted as a town in 1845, and under the provisions of the Municipal Boroughs Ordinance[4], was amongst the first towns entitled to form a municipal corporation under the control of a mayor and aldermen elected by ratepayers. From 1854, the town also received the right and privilege to elect two members to the House of Assembly.

As the seat of a diocesan bishop, Williamsdene was proclaimed a city in 1907.



Williamsdene is a major industrial hub for the processing of agricultural products. The city is home to the largest processing factories for meat and dairy products in New Ingerland, as well as a major brewery, and a brickworks factory as well. Between them, these four factories employ in excess of 2,500 people.

The city is also the heart of the national thoroughbred racing industry, with many studs based on the western outskirts of the city in and around the villages of Marlow Magna and Marlow Parva.

References and notes

  1. By Letters Patent issued by the King on 5 August 1907, Williamsdene is entitled to the status and privilege of the title of city.
  2. Hanks, Patrick; Hardcastle, Kate; Hodges, Flavia, eds. (2006). A Dictionary of First Names (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780191726675.
  3. Mills, Anthony David, ed. (2011). A Dictionary of British Place Names. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199609086.
  4. Municipal Boroughs Ordinance (Ordinance No. 11 of 1844).

Other links

Template:Urban settlements in Beaufortshire