Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire Family History Guide
Status: Ancient Parish
Alternative names: Bradford, Great Bradford
Other places included in the parish: Bearfield, Bradford Leigh, Cumberwell, Leigh and Woolley, Newtown, Sladesbook, Trowle
Parish church: Holy Trinity
Parish registers begin:
- Parish registers: 1579
- Bishop’s Transcripts: 1566
Nonconformists include: Independents, Baptists, Wesleyan Methodists, Primitive Methodists, and Lady Huntingdon’s Connexion
Parishes adjacent to Bradford-on-Avon
- Trowbridge Holy Trinity
- Bradford-on-Avon Christ Church
- North Bradley
Historical Descriptions of Bradford-on-Avon
The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870
BRADFORD, a town, a parish, two subdistricts, a district, and a hundred in Wilts. The town stands on the river Avon, on the Kennet and Avon canal, and on the Great Western railway, 3½ miles NW by N of Trowbridge. It was known to the Saxons as Bradenford; and it is now sometimes called Bradford-on-Avon. A battle was fought at it, in 652, between Cenwalf and Cuthred; and St. Dunstan, in 954, was elected here to the see of Worcester. Its site is partly a hollow, partly slopes and acclivities, encompassed by hills. The older portion is on the N side of the river; and rises in a series of terraces, to a crowning point with an extensive view. Many curious old houses are in it; and one called the Duke’s House, an edifice full of windows, formerly a residence of the Pierreponts, Dukes of Kingston, is in the near vicinity. Two bridges span the river; the upper one a very ancient structure, with 9 arches; the lower, a more modern structure, with 4. an ancient square edifice with a pyramidal roof, supposed variously to have been a chapel, an almonry, and an ecclesiastical tollhouse, and now used as a lock-up prison, stands on one of the piers of the upper bridge. Structures of the 14th century, arising out of a monastery founded in 705 by St. Adhelm, and given in 1001 by King Ethelred to the great nunnery at Shaftesbury, and now used as offices of a farmstead, are at the skirt of Jew’s Harp-hill. The parish church is Norman and early English; consists of nave, north aisle, chancel, and chapel, with western tower and small spire; contains many curious tombs and a fine altar-piece; and has been partly modernized. Christ Church was built in 1840; is in the perpendicular style; and has a tower and lofty spire. There are chapels for Independents, Baptists, Wesleyan Methodists, Primitive Methodists, and Lady Huntingdon’s Connexion; a free school, with £53 a year; another school, in a very handsome edifice of 1850; and two almshouses and other charities, with jointly £168 a year. The town has a head post office of the name of Bradford-on-Avon; a railway station with telegraph; a banking office; and three chief inns. A weekly market is held on Monday; and a fair on Trinity-Monday. An important woollen manufacture was long carried on, but has greatly declined. The town never was incorporated; but it sent members to parliament in the time of Edward I.; and it thence is called a borough. Pop., 4,291. Houses, 1,036.
The parish includes also the chapelries of Holt, Atworth, and Limpley-Stoke, and the tythings of Trowle, Winsley, South Wraxall, and Leigh and Woolley; and it is sometimes called Bradford-on-Avon and Great Bradford. Acres, 11,310. Real property, £36,781. Pop., 8,032. Houses, 1,904. The property is subdivided. Much of the surface consists of fine chalk hills. The living is a vicarage, united with the rectory of Westwood, in the diocese of Salisbury. Value, £602. Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Bristol. Christ Church is a separate benefice, a p. curacy, of the value of £150, in the patronage of the Vicar. The p. curacies of Holt, Atworth-with-South Wraxall, and Winsley with Limpley-Stoke also are separate benefices.-The two subdistricts are Bradford-Northwestern and Bradford-Southeastern. They divide Bradford parish between them; and the former contains also the parish of Monkton-Farleigh, while the latter contains the extra-parochial tract of Little Chalfield and Cottles, and the parishes of Great Chalfield, Broughton-Gifford, Winkfield-with-Rowley, Westwood-with-Iford, and Freshford, the last electorally in Somerset. The district consists of these two subdistricts. Acres, 18,800. Poor-rates in 1866, £6,165. Pop. in 1861, 10,475. Houses, 2,411. Marriages in 1866, 78; births, 307, of which 17 were illegitimate; deaths, 190, of which 40 were at ages under 5 years, and 8 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 759; births, 3,218; deaths, 2,388. The places of worship in 1851 were 14 of the Church of England, with 4,852 sittings; 4 of Independents, with 1,132 s.; 5 of Baptists, with 1,072 s.; 5 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 1,064 s.; 3 of Primitive Methodists, with 286 s.; and one of Lady Huntingdon’s Connexion, with 200 s. The schools were 16 public day schools, with 1,178 scholars; 25 private day schools, with 337 s.; 22 Sunday schools, with 2,255 s.; and 2 evening schools for adults, with 54 s. The workhouse is in Westwood. The hundred includes only Bradford and four other parishes. Acres, 17,426. Pop., 9,422. Houses, 2,205.
Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].
Family History Links
Civil Registration District: Bradford on Avon
Probate Court: Court of the Archdeaconry of Salisbury
Rural Deanery: Potterne
Poor Law Union: Bradford