Moonrakers is the colloquial name for people from Wiltshire.

This name refers to a folk story set in the time when smuggling was a significant industry in rural England, with Wiltshire lying on the smugglers’ secret routes between the south coast and customers in the centre of the country. The story goes that some local people had hidden contraband barrels of French brandy from customs officers in a village pond. While trying to retrieve it at night, they were caught by the revenue men, but explained themselves by pointing to the moon’s reflection and saying they were trying to rake in a round cheese. The revenue men, thinking they were simple yokels, laughed at them and went on their way. But, as the story goes, it was the moonrakers who had the last laugh. In the words of Wiltshire shepherd William Little who recounted the story to writer John Yonge Akerman: “ Zo the excizeman ’as ax’d ’n the question ’ad his grin at ’n,…but they’d a good laugh at ’ee when ’em got whoame the stuff.”

By Wiltshire_Moorakers_postcard.jpg: not knownderivative work: Old Moonraker (talk) – Wiltshire_Moorakers_postcard.jpg, Public Domain,