John Wallis Titt was born into a farming family at Chitterne in 1841. His father was John Titt who farmed at Elm Farm and his mother was Eliza, daughter of William Wallis, who farmed at The Manor, Chitterne.
After working on the family farm and for agricultural engineers and millwrights in Basingstoke and Devizes, he opened his own business in Portway, Warminster in 1872. In 1876 he established the Woodcock Ironworks, adjacent to his own Woodcock House and within 10 years was producing the wind engines which made him famous.
When John Wallis Titt died in 1910, he left a thriving business, run by his two sons, which was engaged in many engineering projects. In addition to the manufacture of farm and waterworks equipment, it also handled early bicycles and cars.
Photograph of John Wallis Titt courtesy of Dewey Museum, Warminster.
At its peak the company employed 130 at its headquarters in Woodcock Road, Warminster and had depots at Frome, Somerset; Salisbury, Wiltshire, and Andover and Basingstoke in Hampshire. The Warminster headquarters was closed in 1986 but the company operated at the Frome works until it ceased trading and was taken into administration in 2009.
Remains of John Wallis Titt windpump between Chitterne and Codford.