A Stroll round Bradford on Avon by Rev. Canon Jones- 1882

There are two things which must strike every stranger, that has "eyes to see, or ears to hear," on his first visit to this singularly interesting town, especially when he listens to the tales of old folk about it-the first is its evident antiquity, and the second, the ecclesiastical imprint that is to be discerned everywhere.

I. As to its antiquity there can be no doubt. It is certainly among the oldest of Wiltshire towns. The only others mentioned in really ancient times are, as far as I know, Amesbury, Corsham, Calne. Chippenham, Cricklade, Malmesbury, Ramsbury, Old Sarum and Wilton. As early as A.D. 652, we read of an important battle having been fought at "Bradford-on-Avon" by Cenwalch, King of the West Saxons, which, followed up as it was by another contest six years later, against the Welsh at the Pens in which he put them to flight as far as the Parret," led to important results as regards a large accession of territory in these parts of England gained by the conquerors, and indirectly to the re-establishment of Christianity here. For Cenwalch, who had abjured Christianity and at the same time repudiated his wife, and had been in the year 642 driven temporily from his kingdom, no sooner regained it by the battles at Bradford and at the Pens, than he returned from his apostacy, and became not long afterwards the founder of a Church at Winchester. And it is of no little interest to us to know, that Aldhelm, whose name should be so well known and reverenced here as the founder of our Saxon Church, that cradle of primitive Christianity, was nephew of King Cenwalch.

II. As to its ecclesiastical character, this seems impressed upon us by the quaint and church-like look of so many of its buildings. Each of the old limits of the town was at one time guarded as though by an ancient chapel-those of St. Laurence, St. Olave, St. Mary at Tory, St. Margaret, by the bridge, St. Catherine, near the old almshouses-five ecclesiastical barbicans, two of them still remaining to us in good preservation, and the sites of all the rest being well known. Nor is this ecclesiastical character surprising when we recollect its history. Here, as early as A.D. 705, St. Aldhelm founded his little Church, and what is called his "Monastery," by which is meant a Church and dwelling-house with three or four missionaries, as we might say, attached to it. No doubt for many years after this, Bradford-on-Avon, though otherwise as regards its "monastery" and Church, an independent foundation, and certainly not supported by any means derived from Malmsbury, owed allegiance to that religious house and to its Abbots from time to time. Thus in the year A.D. 1001 we find the whole manor of Bradford, together with its Monastery-then called cænobium-bestowed by King Æthelred on the Abbess of Shaftesbury, the specific object of this gift being to "provide the nuns of Shaftesbury a safe refuge (the exact words are impenetrabile confugium) from the attacks of the Danes, and a hiding-place for the relics of the blessed King Edward, then recently martyred, and the rest of the saints. And for more than five hundred years the manor of Bradford was in the hands of the Abbesses of Shaftesbury for the time being. This may well account for the ecclesiastical character of the whole place.

But we will stroll round the town and speak in turn of each of the objects of interest.

1. We will start from the most interesting of all our treasures, the SAXON CHURCH OF ST. LAURENCE, which stands close by the north-east end of the present Parish Church. Both Churches no doubt originally stood in the same churchyard, the extent of which was at one time much greater than at present. The story of the discovery and gradual re-purchase and re-habilitation of this little Church-ecclesiola, it is called by William of Malmsbury-has often been told, and therefore I need not here tell the tale again. Suffice it to say that it consists of a NAVE, a CHANCEL, and a PORCH on the north side; that originally there was a similar annexe on the south side, so that the building was cruciform; that the Nave is about twenty-five feet long by thirteen broad, the Chancel thirteen feet long by ten broad, the Porch may roundly be described as about ten feet square. The height of the building is very remarkable, in the Nave being rather slightly, and in the Chancel considerably, greater than the length, in either case. There are also two interesting stone figures of angels above the Chancel arch, which, if not quite coeval with the building itself, can hardly in any case be later than the tenth century since in the Benedictional of St. Æthelwold which is of the date 970-975, there are figures of angels which correspond very closely with them. In any case there is now a general agreement among all who are qualified to form an opinion, that we have in this most interesting "little church" a building which was founded by St.. Aldhelm (who died in 709), and which is a solitary perfect example of a Church of so early a date.

2. We now come to the PARISH CHURCH. This is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. It consists of a Chancel, Nave, North Aisle, Tower, and a Mortuary Chapel, erected by one of the Hall family, on the south side-the last being now used as an organ chamber. The north aisle was built at intervals of some fifty years apart, the western portion, extending to the eastern side of the fourth window, being the earlier work, and having been a chantry chapel dedicated to St. Nicholas-the reredos in the centre of which stood over a crucifix still remaining as a structural portion of the wall-the eastern portion having been a chantry chapel of the blessed Virgin, founded by one of the Horton family, whose brass, recording the last fact, is still preserved. As is the case with all ancient Churches, there have been alterations and additions made from time to time. Fragments of an earlier Church have been found, and are to be seen still treasured up in the porch of the Saxon Church. The present structure no doubt originally consisted simply of a chancel about two-thirds of its present length, and a nave, and there was a row of Norman windows both above and below, the latter being more accurately described as clere-story windows. Two of the large Norman windows in the chancel have lately been re-opened. Towards the end of the thirteenth century the chancel would seem to have been lengthened {picture of the Saxon Church of St. Laurence, Bradford-on –Avon} and the two recessed tombs inserted, one on its north side and the other on the south side. Next followed the aisles, originally, as has been said, two, but now joined in one. In the beginning of the sixteenth century followed the tower; and then the mortuary chapel of which mention has been made.
The Church contains memorials of the families of Hall-the maternal ancesters of Earl Manvers-of Methuen, Tidcomb, Stewart, Thresher, Shrapnell, Clutterbuck, Tugwell, Cam-the maternal ancester of the late Lord Broughton,-and Bethel-a family ennobled in the late Lord Chanceller Westbury.

3. Leaving the Church, and passing up the steps on the western side of the tower, we stand before a house of some interest. It belonged once to Edward Orpin, [EDWARD ORPIN, the Parish Clerk, died in June 1781. The name "Orpin" occurs frequently in our register during the previous century and a half, but after his time we lose traces of it altogether, and he seems to have been one of the last-if not the last-of his family. The stone lying just within the rails, opposite-the house-is said to cover his remains.] the parish clerk of Bradford, and was probably built by some of his family. He was the "Parish Clerk" whom Gainsborough, the artist-a frequent visitor to this neighbourhood-painted. The Portrait was given by him to Mr. Wiltshire, and became the property of his descendent, who lived at Shockerwick. On the sale of his pictures after his decease the one we are describing was purchased for the nation, at a cost of some £800, and is now to be seen among the paintings by English artists in the national collection. Gainsborough died in 1788.

4. We pass on now till we come to the western entrance to the churchyard, where on the north side of a modern building, dignified by the name of Abbey House, are the remains of what Leland speaks of as "Horton's House." The Horton family were well-to-do wool merchants, and, as we have already seen, benefactors of the Church. The mansion which one of them built was afterwards in part used for shops for the weaving of cloth. And as the Flemish workmen, introduced first of all into the town for the purpose of such manufactures, were quartered, or at all events plied their craft here, the yard was called to a very recent period the "Dutch Barton," There is a deed in existence by which, in 1659, Paul Methuen covenanted with the parish officers, that a certain spinner, by name Richard (otherwise) Derricke Johnson, whom, together with his wife Hectrie, and several small children, he for his own proper gain and benefit did fetch or bring out of Amsterdam, in Holland, should never be chargeable to the parish. There is a similar deed in the parish chest, dated 1674, endorsed, "Mr. William Brewer his bond of £100 to save harmless the Parish of Bradford against certain Dutchmen," whom he had brought over from Holland, or " Powland " for the purpose of promoting, as they did effectively, the manufacturing trade in cloth in Bradford.

5. Walking on down Church Street, and passing by a little knoll called " Druce's Hill "-so termed from one Anthony Druce, a Quaker, who built a house there in which he lived-we come to a large and interesting building, mentioned by Leland in 1543 and called by him the "CHURCH HOUSE." This, which is of the date of the fifteenth century, was built by one of the Horton family, and was the public place of assembly where people met for the purpose of assessing themselves and their neighbours for the expenses of Church repairs, the relief of the poor, &c. On the principle of, "business first and pleasure afterwards," as soon as they had attended to the wants of others, they had a little care for their own, and indulged in festivities known as Church-Ales, Whitsun-Ales, and the like. It was purchased a few years ago by the trustees of the Saxon Church, and given in exchange for the portion of that building which had been used for the purposes of a free school. The free school was afterwards transferred to the Church-house, and it is still there.

6. We now arrive at the TOWN HALL, a handsome building, erected some years ago, about 1854, on the site "'of some old gabled and interesting houses, the removal of which took away one of the most picturesque groups of buildings in the town. Opposite to the Town Hall are what are called respectively HORSE STREET and THE SHAMBLES. The former derives its name from an old inn called the "Scribbling Horse," (a corruption of,. "Scribbling Herse,") the last name denoting a frame on which the cloth when first made was stretched in order that it might be scribbled (i.e., cleared by the teasel from all its inequalities), an operation formerly done by the hand, but now by machinery. The latter, now confined to a narrow paved passage between shops, was termed the Shambles because of the butchers' stalls which were there, or it may be in the Market Place immediately adjoining, in the lower portion of the Town Hall, of which, we shall make more particular mention presently.

7. We pass through THE SHAMBLES; on our way we must notice on the right the old barge-boards on the houses, and the fifteenth century doorway of what is an [picture of the Old Gabled Houses, The Shambles, Bradford-on-Avon] inn, now called the Royal Oak. We pass a narrow lane on the left called Coppice Lane, an indication in its name of the close proximity of the wood to the town at one time, and enter Silver Street, called at different times Fox Street and Gregory Street, presumably from the names of some old inhabitants there, and stop for a moment before a small draper's shop, then kept by Mr. Jennings. This house has some little interest from the fact that here John Wesley, when he came at different times to visit his community here, had his lodgings. One traditional tale is told concerning him. One morning, when he came down, as was his wont, at an early hour, he congratulated his host on owning a "truly English bed." "Why, Mr. Wesley?" was the inquiry, "Because," was the answer, "it has no notion of giving out."

8. Pursuing our onward course, we pass first of all WHITEHEAD'S LANE-so called from one Manasseh Whitehead, a copyholder there-and come to a narrow passage between houses now called CUT-THROAT LANE, a corruption I imagine for the less alarming "CUT THROUGH" Lane-a fair description enough of it-and so we come to the corner of WHITE HILL, the former portion of which is possibly a corrruption of a word signifying " wood," as in Wit-ley near Melksham, and here we reach the site of one of the old chapels of which I have spoken, namely that of ST. OLAVE. All traces of the chapel are now removed, but in documents of the last century we have the street described as "vicus Sancti Olavi," otherwise "Tooley Street," Just as Tooley Street, in Southwark, is so called from the Church of St. Olave (e.g., St. Olaf, contracted into "T Olaf, and so into Tooley,) so it was the case here, The street has now by a kind of attraction assumed the name of the tithing to which it leads, namely Woolley Street; originally, however, Woolley was "Ulf-lege," and so called from an owner of the name of Ulf, who is mentioned in the Domesday Book.

9. We now arrive at KINGSTON HOUSE the most beautiful specimen of domestic architecture in the town. It partakes much of the character of Longleat, and was built probably between 1590 and 1620. It was commenced probably by John Hall, who was married to Dorothy Rogers, and who died in 1597, and completed by his son, bearing the same Christian name, who married Elizabeth Brunne, of Athelhampton, and who died in 1631. This house may be described as of the transition style, between the old Tudor or Perpendicular and the new Palladian. Its enrichments are of German invention, and the excess of window light is characteristic of houses of this date and style. It is of such that Lord Beacon said, "they are so full of glass that one cannot tell where to become to be out of the way of the sun or of the cold." The principal front is to the south; it is divided into two stories with attics in the gables, and has large windows with thick stone mullions. The whole building may be divided into three portions, the central one coming forward square and the two side ones with semicircular bows. In the centre is a large sculptured doorway to a porch, and the summit of the window-bays is adorned with open parapets.
The last of the Hall family left all his property to "'. Rachel Baynton, of Chaldfield, who was married to Evelyn Pierrepont, the son of the Marquis of Dorchester afterwards first Duke of Kingston. Their only son, who became second and last Duke of Kingston, succeeded in due course. It is from that noble family that this house came to be called Kingston House. On the death of the second Duke without issue, subject to a life interest to his Duchess, the property descended to his sister, the wife of a son of Sir Philip Meadows, the ancester of the Manvers family. It remained the property of the last- named family till 1806, when it was sold to Messrs. Divett, who turned it into a storehouse for wool, and allowed it to go to sad decay. In 1848, happily for all who would fain preserve ancient buildings, especially those of interest and beauty, it was sold to the late Stephen Moulton, Esq., and it was to his generous enterprise, and exquisite taste, that a building equal to any in the County as a specimen of domestic architecture is seen by us in its original form and beauty.

10. We pass through the grounds of Kingston House and come into a lane-now called Kingston Row, but formerly, as it would appear, Frogmore Street,-till we arrive at the old Market Place. It was at this spot that one Trapnell-a name familiar enough to us in connection with Chaldfield-was burnt publicly for so-called heresy, in denying the King's supremacy, in the year 1532. Against the wall of what is now the Royal Oak stood the OLD MARKET HOUSE; the lines of the roof gable may still be traced. I have been favoured by one whose early youth was spent in Bradford with a description of this old building. He says, “the Old Market House was originally of what might be termed three stories. The basement or cellar was on a level with the street opposite the shop now occupied by Mr. Budfgett Jones, the entrance joining the Royal Oak, and was used some sixty years ago as a crockery store. The second storey was an open colonade looking up Coppice Lane, and was full of Butchers' stalls-whence the name of 'The Shambles,' occupied by the country butchers. The [picture of the Hall (sometime known as Kingston house) Bradford-on-Avon] entrance was on the level of the Shambles, and the storey itself consisted of three plain round columns, one at each angle between them being wooden palisading, and a central column; to this last, the ne'er-do-wells who were sentenced for some offence or other to have a whipping were bound, when suffering the wholesome penalty for their misdeeds. The third or upper storey consisted at one time of a room in which the courts were held and the business of the manor transacted. But in my time (1820) it was in ruin, and the staircase leading to it was gone. I remember, however, that it had three quaint projecting windows of a square-headed form, with thick deeply-moulded oak frames, which were filled with small diamond panes of glass, and looked into the Old Market Place. I remember the upper part falling down, whilst, the lower was still for some years afterwards used by the butchers."
I may as well add a few words as to the ultimate fate of the Old Market House. For some years no repairs were done to it, and it gradually became more and more dilapidated. Again and again presentments had been made concerning it, as a place not only “unfit but unsafe to transact the Lord's business in." Once the borough jury were hold enough to present the steward for not attending to their presentments in this particular. But all was in vain; no attempt was made to sustain the tottering fabric, and one night, it is alleged, the building fell. Whether its fall was the result of accident or design -tales are afloat which favour the latter supposition-men cared not too curiously to enquire. Till a recent period, the man was living who carted away the materials of the Old Town Hall, which he had previously purchased for the sum of twenty shillings!

11. We now turn to the left and shortly find ourselves at the foot of the TOWN BRIDGE, with its interesting CHAPEL on the eastern side of it. The bridge itself, as an examination of it soon shews, was at one time not only narrower in width, but shorter in length. If you look underneath the arches from a lower level this fact is soon apparent. In truth, the original centre of it is pretty well half way between the chapel and the commencement of the bridge from the Market Place. Originally it was used only for pack-horses and foot- passengers, or at the most very light vehicles, the heavier waggons and other conveyances being taken over the ford, which was at this point broad and shallow. The bridge was lengthened towards the southern side, but the force of the current is still against what were originally the central arches, between which is a strong and not inelegant "cut water." The construction of the Old Chapel is also worth examining, at all events as regards its lower portion-for the upper portion would seem to have been a construction of later date-with its graduated corbelling and the elegantly-designed shaft on which it is erected. What its object was originally is more or less matter of conjecture. Standing as it did at the foot of the bridge on the south side, some have thought that it was simply a toll house, one of the places at which were collected dues which were demanded from all who came into the town to sell their various wares. Others have assigned to it a higher object, and Aubrey says of it-" Here" [at Bradford] "is a strong and handsome bridge, in the midst of which a little chapel as at Bath for masse." So that possibly, as the Hospital of St. Margaret was close by, in fact at the bridge-foot, it may have once contained the image of the patron saint, and to have been a place for receiving at once the devotions and alms of passers-by. Before the building of the present Town Hall it was used as a temporary lock-up for the offenders against the laws. The vane at the top of this interesting Chapel is "a fish," and it used to be a common saying among Bradford folk, as they saw some culprit being "run in" to this strange lock-up, that "he wer' a gwoing auver the water, but under the vish."

12. All traces of the Hospital of St. Margaret, which was standing in Leland's time, for he speaks of it as "of the Kinges of England's foundation," have disappeared. Its memorial is preserved in the street which is still called St. Margaret Street, and in Morgan's Hill, close by-pronounced by the old folk of Bradford Margan's Hill-and as lately as 1724 called St. Margaret's Hill. It must have been close to the bridge, and probably included amongst other property that on which stands the house now owned and occupied by Mr. George Spencer, a house that derives some little interest from the fact that there once lived in it Dr. Bethel and his distinguished son, who became Lord Chancellor of England, and was ennobled as Baron Westbury. Nor must we forget, as we pass other houses close by, that one on the left-hand belonged once to the family of Shrapnell, one of whom was the inventor of the once famous "Shrapnell Shell"; and that in the other, on the right-hand, a well-known and deservedly esteemed Nonconformist minister, the Rev. W. Jay, of Bath, found a retreat for his declining years. We advance onwards a hundred yards or so, and we come to the old men's Almshouses, founded A.D. 1700 by John Hall, Esq., for four poor men. Over the Almshouse is a shield with the "battle axe " carved on it, the crest of the Hall family, with an inscription under it, "Deo et Pauperibus.” The administration of this charity is now in the hands of Earl Manvers, the lineal descendent of the founder.

13. From the old men's Almshouses we come appropriately enough [picture of the Chapel on the Town Bridge, Bradford on Avon] to those for old women. These are situated close by the canal. They are of Pre-Reformation date, a small payment from the Lord of the manor, due from time immemorial forming part of the endowment. There is still to be seen a small relic of the Chapel of St. Catherine, to whom the "hospital "-using this term in its original sense-was dedicated. Even till a recent period Catherine-tide, or as the old folks call it Kattern-tide, was duly remembered, and many a one in Bradford reckoned their ages from it. Thus an old woman once said to me, “I be vower-score come Kattern-tide." Till quite lately the really old-fashioned among us used to send presents of small cakes, called "Kattern-cakes," to their friends, in memory of this festival.
The Almshouse, in which, until three years ago, there were but three women maintained, came to be in a sadly ruinous state. A legacy bequeathed for the purpose by the late Mr. Bubb enabled the trustees to build three entirely new houses some twelve years ago. Increase in the income of the charity, and a better system of management, permitted of the erection of a fourth Almshouse some three years ago, and the addition of another poor almswoman to the recipients of the benefits of the charity.

14. But leaving the Almshouse of St. Catherine, and turning down a lane on the left hand, and passing the "Pound," in which stray cattle were once placed till their owner might claim them, leaving on the right a field called CULVER-CLOSE, because there at one time was the dove-cot or pigeon-house (from the Anglo-Saxon : culfre = dove, or pigeon,) we come to what is called BARTON FARM, the homestead of the lady of the manor, or of the chief farmer, who held it under her, and was called the Firmarius. Of the house itself, as regards its ancient portions, hardly anything is left. A small portion which seems parcel of a gateway, and a small apartment annexed to it, is nearly all; and the date of this would hardly be earlier than the fifteenth century. But the glory of Barton Farm is its magnificent BARN, which is like a long nave with double transept, being 180 feet in length, and 30 feet in breadth, -indeed including the trancepts no less than 60 feet broad. The object of so large a building was to house the crops from the farm itself, and also the tithes which in early days were paid in kind, as well as to provide shelter during winter and inclement weather for the flocks and herds. It is generally called an Early English Barn, and the older and more pointed arches of the transeptal entrances, into which the more recent and depressed ones have been inserted, can still be distinctly seen. The construction of its massive roof is not only skilful- it was built in a time when men grudged as it would seem neither labour nor materials-but ingenious. The roof-timbers are all so framed from the ground as to be as far as possible independent of the walls, and so to minimise the lateral thrust which their great weight would otherwise exert on the building, to the great detriment of the walls. On the surface of the stones in the interior can still be traced the various "marks" of the masons who were employed in the original construction of the building. By making a collection of them -for each master-mason had his distinctive mark, which he was obliged to leave on the surface of each stone which he had worked, instead of as now on the side that is embedded in the wall-it would not be difficult to make a rough calculation as to the number of masons employed in the building.
The date of the barn may be put down at about c. 1300-1350. It is strange that we know not at all who built it. Aubrey, when he came to visit us, now two-hundred years ago, thought that he saw as one of the finials a " battle axe," the crest of the Hall family, and seems to intimate his belief that one of them built it. But John Aubrey was certainly deceived, as he well might have been, for he does not speak as though he had inspected the building, but as only having seen it from a distance. There is no finial at all like a " battle axe," nor is it known that any of the Hall family, at any rate at so early a period, had anything to do with the manor.
At the same time there was a man of note, who, at the very period when, as we conjecture, the barn was first built, may have been its bold designer. This was Gilbert de Middleton, who held the manor of Bradford under the Abbess of Shaftsbury at that precise period, and was virtually Rector-for as such he appointed Richard Kelveston to the Vicarage of Bradford in 1312- and who could at all events well afford to indulge his building tastes. For he held prebends in the Cathedrals of St. Pauls, Chichester, Hereford, Wells and Sarum, besides being (in 1316,) Archdeacon of Northampton, and Prebendal Rector of Edington. He was moreover, we may conjecture, not unknown, or at least not without interest at Court, for in 1321, we are told, "the King" (Edward II.) "granted him that he should not be disturbed in any of his benefices." Though it is of course wholly conjecture, yet I sometimes think that this same Gilbert de Middleton may have had a hand in building the barn. If not assisted, like others similarly situated, by the landlady in chief, the venerable Abbess of Shaftesbury, he may have had a very beneficial lease granted to him of the Manor, by way of recouping, him (picture of The Barton Farm Barn, Bradford on Avon) in part for the necessary large outlay.

15. But leaving the Barton Barn, and crossing the pretty little ancient bridge, with its five arches and the piers, each with its elegant cut-water so arranged as to break as far as possible the force of the stream in time of floods, we come to what is called BARTON ORCHARD, and so to a large house on the right-hand which is termed CHANTRY HOUSE, a name also given to the field immediately adjoining it. The site on which the present house stands, as well as the field referred to, were at one time the endowments of the “Chantries” which were founded in the parish Church; and possibly also on the same site there once stood a smaller dwelling, in which the Chantry Priests lived. The present house has been from time to time added to and altered, and looks as though its oldest parts may date from the fifteenth, or at any rate the sixteenth century. It belonged, some two hundred years ago, to the Thresher family, from whom it was purchased, about 1741, by Mr. Samuel Cam, a leading clothier and active magistrate of the town. One of Mr. Cam's daughters married Sir Benjamin Hobhouse, and their eldest son “John Cam”-afterwards raised to the peerage under the title of Baron Broughton de Gifford-inherited Chantry House. On his decease it descended to his nephew, Sir Charles Parry Hobhouse, Bart., and by him was sold a few years ago to its present possesser, the Rev. J. C. Thring.

16. We now visit the spot whence issues the water supply, which for so many centuries has sufficed for the needs of the town. This is called LADY-WELL, perhaps because it belonged to the Lady Abbess at Shaftesbury, or perhaps (as we would fain believe more probable) (picture from The Barton Bridge. Bradford-on-Avon) from the dedication of the little chapel at the very top of the hill, (the more so, as the water all comes from the hills behind it), as though it were the well of “Our Lady,” that is, of the "Blessed Virgin." Noted for its purity for centuries, the sanitary diggings, and the engineering proclivities of modern times, have contrived, though only temporarily in useless hope, to damage its fame, and even the supply provided for themselves by the poor folk of Bradford at their own cost and trouble is pronounced impure. We will hope, however, now in a very short time to have a pure supply of water to our town, though an archrælogist may be forgiven for expressing a passing wish that it had been found possible to preserve a supply about which there was at all events more than a temporary interest, otherwise than by the rough-and-ready expedient of closing it altogether.

17. We now climb a steep hill called WELL-PATH, and at the top of it we find ourselves by the side of what is called TORY CHAPEL, and also, by Leland, termed the HERMITAGE. The word TORY is no doubt little else but the old word, common to Celtic and Teutonic dialects (W. twr and A.S. tor) which signifies a high eminence; in fact our word tower is its modern equivalent; and the situation verifies the name, for it is the very highest part of the town itself. By “Hermitage” is not meant one of those primitive hermitages, the simple purpose of which was to allow some recluse to live the life of a devotee, but one of those useful single houses which were stationed in various places to afford a traveller food and shelter. There was a "chapel" here, which the wayfarer might use for his devotions, a small hall in which he might have a simple meal, and a spare room in which he might find a night's shelter. It was, in fact, one of those “hospitals”-using the word in its primitive sense-not unfrequent in these parts-there was one at Chapel Plaister, and another at St. Auden's, Wraxall-in which the pilgrim bent on a religious errand, such as a visit to some holy place or shrine, might at all events find food and shelter on his journey. The “recluse" or "hermit" lived here, and received such guests from time to time. It was an effort on the part of our forefathers in the middle ages, to carry out the precept once given to God's ancient people, "Love ye therefore the stranger; for ye once were strangers in the land of Egypt."

18. We pass along TORY, a name given to the terrace, so to speak, that runs along the very top-rank of our town, and at the end of it we see on the right a building, now deprived of some of its interest by having been made so bran-new and bereft of all its luxuriant ivy tresses, but which ought to have a passing notice. It was one of the earliest non-conforming places of worship, and was called the GROVE MEETING HOUSE. It was built about A.D. 1698, shortly after the passing of the Act of Uniformity, and the first minister was one of the ejected clergy, who previously had been at Calne.

19. Ascending the hill still, we go through what is called the CONIGRE, a common name enough, and signifying a "rabbit-warren," and then turning to the right we arrive at last at CHRIST CHURCH, built now some 35 years ago in a style of rigid simplicity, but now, by the addition of a chancel-almost the last work of the late gifted architect, Sir Gilbert Scott-and the use of mural decorations, and introduction of stained glass, a Church that is well worth a visit. But we are strolling beyond the bounds of our town, and we will content ourselves with saying that the Church in question is a wonderful example of the way in which the genius and taste can transform an unattractive building into one which even the most critical can hardly fail to admire; for the grand effect of its chancel, and the chastened beauty of its mural painting.

20. We now descend the hill-down what is called Mason's Lane-and at perhaps its steepest part, we stand before a large dwelling-house, which till quite a recent period was called "Methuen's," but on which some thirty years ago, was bestowed the fancy name of "THE PRIORY," though no religious house ever existed there. It is a house that has portions of it of the date, it may be, of Henry VI., and the hall is especially worth seeing. There are still within it some memorials of the Methuen family, to whom it belonged for more than a century. It was built originally most probably by one of the “Rogers” family, the first of whom, Thomas Rogers, described as “serviens ad legem,” i.e. “Serjeant at Law,” lived about 1478. The Rogers family was settled afterwards at Cannington, in Somerset. From Hugh Rogers, of Cannington, this house was purchased by Paul Methuen, in 1657. Some hundred years afterwards, in 1763, it became the property of the Tugwell family. From them it was purchased in 1811 by John Saunders, and it is now the property, as well as the residence, of Thomas Bush Saunders, Esq., the oldest of four county magistrates.

21. We come once more, after leaving this house, through Pippet Street, to the front of the Town Hall-a point which we have already visited on our stroll round Bradford. As to the meaning of "Pippet Street" we have long been puzzled. A suggestion was made, at the time of our ramble, that after all it might be simply a corruption of the word “Pie-powder,” which is from the French pied-poudreux (literally dusty-feet; whence its name in Latin, Curia pedis pulverizati) a name given to a Court once held in fairs, to administer ready justice to buyers and sellers, and to redress at once disorders committed in them. Certainly the one “fair” of the town, at Trinity-tide, has from time immemorial been held here; and no doubt in ancient times, as in our own, prompt administration of justice, and summary rectification of wrongs, must ever have been esteemed a boon.

A Photograph of Canon Jones