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John Wallis Titt was born into a farming family at Elm Farm, Chitterne in 1841. After working on the family farm and for agricultural engineers and millwrights in Basingstoke and Devizes, he opened his own business in 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 he 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 was also involved in the manufacture of early bicycles and cars.