(23) St. Katherines Hospital, Bradford on Avon
This is the oldest of the Charitable Institutions connected with Bradford-on-Avon. No exact account can be given, it is believed, either of its foundation or its endowment. Acoo o ing to the o Valor Ecclesiasticus' (vol. i. p- 276) the Rectory ° Bradford was chargeable with £3 6s. 8d. per annum for t e support of " twelve poor persons at Bradford, there Pra£ for the Founder of the Monastery " at Shaftesbury. This sum would be equal to at least ten titnes as much in the present day it is not unlikely that at the Reformation out of the proceeds of the Manor of Bradford, which, as being the erty of the dissolved Monastery at Shaftesbury, then used to the Crown, some provision was made for the maintenance of a few of those poor persons who had before, from a similar source, derived their support.
These almshouses are now occupied exclusively by poor women. This was by no means the case originally. Many entries may be seen in the Burial Register which prove that poor men also shared originally in their benefits.1 Moreover there are now but three recipients of this charity. [There are now four.] Originally without doubt, there must have been more;-indeed as lately as 1786, as appears from a return made to the House of Commons in that year, there would seem to have been/owr alms-women.
When the Charity Commissioners visited Bradford, in 1834, they enquired into the truth of some traditions that then prevailed, (as they do to the present day) not only as to the muoh larger number who formerly received relief from this source, but as to there being a chapel, and a chaplain attached to it, who received £10 as a yearly stipend. They state, as the result of their enquiries, that though they could obtain no satisfactory oral or documentary evidence in proof of the truth of such traditions, yet that there was every reason to believe "that a bell had been taken from what is described as the ohapel, and carried to Winsley Church, where it is supposed yet to remain." They also give it as their opinion that some loads o of stone were taken from the Alms-house premises, about the year 1794, for the purpose of mending the roads, ooca a statement having been expressly made to them by one George Price, who drove the team on the occasion."
The following extracts from tbe Register prove the truth of this statement. It will be observed that the first is of a very early date, no long time after the Reformation :-
1687 Septemb. John Brencke, of the almshouse, buried tho 3 day.
1611 Ootob. George Blecke, of the almshouse, buried tho 12 day.
1613 November. John Hurle, of the almshouse, Porter, buried the 26 day.
1698 Decemb. Robert Our, of the almshouse, buried the 10 day.