Dutch Barton, Bradford on Avon
extract from Rev. Jones History of Bradford on Avon, 1859:|
The introduction of a change in the manufacture of cloth in the 17th Century which exercised for many years afterwards a great influence on the trade, and consequently the prosperity of our town. Hitherto only a coarse kind of cloth,-a sort of drugget,-had been made in Bradford, but in 1659, Paul Methwin, the leading clothier of the time, obtained from Holland some 'spinners,' as they are termed, for the purpose of obtaining, through them, the secrets of manufacturing the finer kinds of cloth. Before, however, the foreigners had been long in Bradford, the parochial officers required a bond of indemnity in the sum of £100 to be entered into by Paul Methwin, lest they might become chargeable to the parish. The deed recites, that- " whereas Paul Methwin for his own proper gain and benefit did fetch, or was at charge to fetch or bring, out of Amsterdam in Holland into the parish of Bradford, one Bichard Jonson, otherwise Derricke Jonson, a spinner, with Hectrie his wife and several small children,"-that, therefore, lest such persons, as it is intimated, was not unlikely, should become a burden on the inhabitants of the parish, the churchwardens and overseers for the time being.1 thought it right to require security from Paul Methwin in the sum above-mentioned, that he would- " from time to time, and at all times hereafter clearly acquit, save harmless, defend and keep the inhabitants of the said parish for ever free, and discharged from all manner of trouble, expense, costs, charges, and damages whatsoever that they may be put unto, or charged with, by the said Richard Jonson,
iThe Churchwardens were John Smith and Walter Perry; the Overseen John Crooke, Augustine Perry, and Richard Baylie.
for and towards the maintenance and breeding up of them or any of them."1
The name of the place in which these men from Holland lived is still called the " Dutch Barton : "2 it is situated at the lowest end of Church street, on the right hand side of the passage leading to the Abbey yard. The house at the corner and the large adjoining malthouse occupy the site on which stood, formerly, some of the cottages in which the foreigners lived.
1 I have searched in vain for the original of this deed in the Parish Chest. I was indebted for the loan of a copy of it to the late Mr. John Bush. In looking for this deed, however, I met with another of precisely similar character, dated a few years later (1674), and endorsed, - " Mr. Wm. Brewer his bond of £100 to save harmless the Parish of Bradford against the Dutchmen." - The deed recites that " whereas att the desire and request of the said William Brewer of Trowbridge, and for his benefitt and profit in his trade of a clothier, three straungers called by the names of Adolfe, Gregorius, and Jone, Dutchmen by nation, or of Powland, are suffered and permitted to abide in the parish of Bradford as workmen to the said William Brewer," &c., that, therefore, a bond has been taken from him to hold the parish harmless in the event of any of them or their families becoming "for or by reason of poverty, sickness, lameness, or impotenoie " chargeable to it. The ' William Brewer,' above alluded to, is spoken of by Aubrey (' Natural History of Wilts,' p. ii. oh. xii.)- " Now (temp. Jacob! ii.) Mr. Brewer of Trowbridge driveth the greatest trade for medleys of any cloathier in England." [This deed also has disappeared, Mr. Adye having searched for it in vain.]
2. In the year 1721 a resolution was passed in Vestry to purchase from Anthony Methuen, Esq., a portion of the ' Dutch Barton' for a Parish Workhouse.