Old Church House, Bradford on Avon
extract from Rev. Jones History of Bradford on Avon, 1859:|
Leland visited Bradford (1538-40), and in his Itinerary, ii. 54, (printed in the Wilts Archseological Mag., i. 148,) speaks of a rich clothier named ''Horton,' who (his words seem to imply) died no very long time before, his wife being yet alive. He may allude to the same person as the founder of the Chantry. He dwelt, according to Leland, in a house built by himself " at the north est part by the Chirch." He also built " a goodly large chirch house ex lapide guadrato at the est end of the chireh yard without it." I can have no doubt that the present work-shops, in what is called the Abbey yard, belonging to Messrs. Edmonds, formed part of Horton's house, the situation exactly according with Leland's description, and having within unmistakable evidences of having been formerly a dwelling house. The ' Church House,' which is also said to have been built by Horton, is still standing ; it is situated in Church street, and is now the property of Mr. Butterworth. [The Church House is now the Free School, and is the property of the Trustees of the School (C.S.A.)] Both these buildings are of about the same date, and the similarity of their oak ceilings strikes you at once. The Church House, which, in a map of 1743, I have seen distinctly marked out as the building alluded to, was the place in which, before the days of rating, meetings were held for raising funds for church repairs, the poor, &c. The order of these meetings seems to have been " business first, pleasure afterwards," for no sooner had they attended to the wants of others than they had a little care for themselves, and indulging first of all in a little good cheer, then betook themselves to various kinds of festivities. The memory of one of their amusements is still preserved in the name-(happily now it is no more than a name)-of the Bull Pit, where they used to witness the then popular sport of bull-baiting.