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BRADFORD ON AVON (sometimes BRADFORD-ON-AVON) is a town and civil parish in west Wiltshire
Wiltshire
, England, with a population of 9,402 at the 2011 census. The town's canal, historic buildings, shops, pubs and restaurants make it popular with tourists.

The history of the town can be traced back to Roman origins. It has several buildings dating from the 17th century, when the town grew due to the thriving English woollen textile industry.

CONTENTS

* 1 Location * 2 History * 3 Religious sites * 4 Economy * 5 Transport * 6 Governance * 7 Education * 8 Sport and leisure * 9 Notable people * 10 References * 11 External links

LOCATION

The town lies partly on the Avon Valley, and partly on the hill that marks the Vale's western edge, eight miles southeast of Bath , in the hilly countryside between the Mendip Hills , Salisbury Plain and the Cotswold Hills
Cotswold Hills
. The local area around Bath provides the Jurassic limestone ( Bath Stone ) from which the older buildings are constructed. The River Avon (the Bristol
Bristol
Avon) runs through the town. The town directly borders Trowbridge to the south east.

The town includes the suburbs of BEARFIELD and WOOLLEY; the parish includes the hamlets of WIDBROOK and WOOLLEY GREEN.

HISTORY

The earliest evidence of habitation is fragments of Roman settlements above the town. In particular, archaeological digs have revealed the remains of a large Roman villa with a well-preserved mosaic on the playing fields of St Laurence School . The centre of the town grew up around the ford across the river Avon, hence the origin of the town's name ("Broad-Ford"). This was supplemented in Norman times by the stone bridge that still stands today. The Norman side is upstream, and has pointed arches; the newer side has curved arches. The Town Bridge and Chapel
Chapel
is a grade I listed building . It was originally a packhorse bridge , but widened in the 17th century by rebuilding the western side. On 2 July 1643 the town was the site of a skirmish in the English Civil War
English Civil War
, when Royalists seized control of the bridge on their way to the Battle of Lansdowne
Battle of Lansdowne
.

On the bridge stands a small building which was originally a chapel but was later used as a town lockup. The weather vane on top takes the form of a gudgeon , (an early Christian symbol), hence the local saying "under the fish and over the water".

Widbrook Grange is a Georgian manor house on the edge of the town. It was built as a model farm on Earl Manvers' estate; it is now run as a hotel.

The river provided power for the wool mills that gave the town its wealth. The town has 17th-century buildings dating from the most successful period of the local textile industry. The best examples of weavers' cottages are on Newtown, Middle Rank and Tory Terraces. Daniel Defoe visited Bradford
Bradford
on Avon in the early 18th century and commented: "They told me at Bradford
Bradford
on Avon that it was no extra-ordinary thing to have clothiers in that county worth £10,000 to £40,000 per man" (equivalent to £1.3M to £5.3M in 2007).

With improving mechanisation in textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution , the wool weaving industry moved from cottages to purpose-built woollen mills adjacent to the river, where they used water and steam to power the looms. Around thirty such mills were built in Bradford
Bradford
on Avon alone, and these prospered further until the English woollen industry shifted its centre of power to Yorkshire in the late 19th century. The last local mill closed in 1905. Many have since stood empty and some became derelict. Barton Farm Tithe Barn

A notable feature of Bradford
Bradford
on Avon is the large Grade II* listed tithe barn , known as the Saxon Tithe Barn, 180 feet long and 30 feet wide, which was constructed in the 14th century and is now part of Barton Farm Country Park . The barn would have been used for collecting taxes, in the form of goods, to fund the church.

There are several notable buildings in and around the town centre. Many of the old textile factories have been converted into modern flats and apartments; however, few of the buildings are still used today in their original roles. One of the few is The Swan, a public house and hotel set in the centre of town; the building is 17th century and retains many original features, in particular the stone flag floors. Records show that there has been a public house on the same site since the 1500s.

In 1998 the Wiltshire
Wiltshire
Music Centre was opened in Bradford
Bradford
on Avon, on the grounds of St Laurence School . In 2000, the millennium sculpture nicknamed "Millie" was unveiled.

On 8 October 2003, Bradford
Bradford
on Avon was granted Fairtrade Town status.

RELIGIOUS SITES

Main article: St Laurence\'s Church, Bradford-on-Avon St Laurence's church Holy Trinity church

The Saxon church dedicated to St. Laurence may have been founded by St. Aldhelm around 705, and could have been a temporary burial site for King Edward the Martyr
Edward the Martyr
. It was rediscovered by Canon William Frampton in 1856, having been used for secular purposes (apparently becoming a house, a school and part of a factory). In his research Canon Frampton, who had an interest in archaeology, found reference to the church in the writings of William of Malmesbury .

It is suggested that some of the building, containing the blind arcades at a higher level, may belong to a later period while a leaflet available at the church, February 2012, seems to prefer the period 950-1050 for the whole building. The elaborate ornamentation of the exterior consists of pilaster-strips, a broad frieze of two plain string-courses between which is a blind arcade of round-headed arches whose short vertical pilasters have trapezoidal capitals and bases, while on the eastern gable and the corners adjacent there is a series of mouldings as vertical triple semi-cylinders.

Inside the church, high in the wall above a small chancel arch, are the carved figures of two flying angels , the right-hand figure reportedly "intended to be clothed in transparent drapery ... the legs from the knee downward are depicted as showing through the transparent robe" which is referred to as a "quaint fancy".

In addition to the Saxon church, the town has four Church of England churches, one Church of England
England
chapel , two Baptist
Baptist
chapels, a United Church ( Methodist
Methodist
and United Reformed Church
United Reformed Church
), a free nonconformist church, a community church, a Quaker
Quaker
(Society of Friends) meeting house and a Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
church.

The original parish church has a dedication to the Holy Trinity , and is located near the town centre by the river. It is Norman in origin, and it is possible that the chancel was built over the remains of an older church. Several chapels were added on the north side, and the wall in between was later opened up and the chapels now form the north aisle. A squint, or hagioscope , near the altar is claimed to be England's longest. The tower and spire was built around 1480, replacing an older one, and the south wall was largely rebuilt in the 19th century. The church has a ring of eight bells , with the tenor (heaviest bell) weighing 29-2-26 (1.5 tons) and is tuned to Dflat.

The other Anglican
Anglican
church has dedication of Christ Church , and is entirely a Victorian construction. The Catholic church , dedicated to St. Thomas More , occupies the building that used to be the town hall.

There is also a Buddhist monastery in the town, under the auspices of the Aukana Trust; it comprises a monastic building each for men and for women, and a meditation hall. There are also workshops, gardens and a library, and the elegant buildings look down upon the town from a hill. The monastery practises the Theravadin tradition of Buddhism, and offers opportunities for both full-time residential and part-time practise and study.

ECONOMY

A panoramic view of Bradford
Bradford
from the north-west

Bradford
Bradford
on Avon has been the headquarters of Avon Rubber
Avon Rubber
, a large manufacturer of rubber products for the automotive and other industries. Today, it is the headquarters of the Alex Moulton
Alex Moulton
bicycle company. It has several other small scale manufacturing enterprises.

The town's main business is retail shopping , tourism and day to day servicing of a population largely made up of families, commuters and the retired .

The town has one mid-sized supermarket , Sainsbury\'s , situated on the Elms Cross Industrial estate, a two-minute walk from the Canal lock, and five convenience stores . Local consumers founded Bradford-on-Avon Co-operative Society in 1861, which, in the 1960s, united with other consumer co-operatives in the district to merge with a national business. A mini outdoor shopping centre of independent shops, Weavers Walk, which describes itself as an "ethical trading centre", is in the town centre.

The town is an increasingly popular location for films, television adaptations and more; it has played host to Wolf Hall, Creation (The life of Darwin), Robin of Sherwood and a film adaptation of Canterbury Tales.

More recently, in mid 2016, The White Princess (TV series) began filming in the area.

TRANSPORT

ROAD

Bradford-on-Avon lies on the A363 Trowbridge to Bath road, which runs through the town from south to north, and crossed over by the B3109 linking Bradford-on-Avon with Melksham and Frome . All other road routes are minor, affording access to local settlements.

RAIL

Bradford-on-Avon railway station lies on what is now the Bristol—Weymouth railway line. It opened in the mid-19th century and was built by the original Great Western Railway .

WATERWAYS

Running parallel to the railway through the town is the Kennet and Avon Canal and Bradford
Bradford
Lock . The use of this canal declined as the railways grew but it was restored to full working order during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. The canal provides a link through to the Avon at Bath in the west, and the Thames
Thames
at Reading in the east.

GOVERNANCE

Bradford
Bradford
on Avon civil parish elects a town council with twelve members: six for the North ward and six for the South ward. After the elections held in May 2013, there were seven Liberal Democrat councillors, three Conservative, one Independent Liberal and one with no declared allegiance. The town council has a mostly consultative and ceremonial role, and its chairman has the title of Mayor
Mayor
of Bradford. The most significant local government functions (including schools, roads, social services, emergency planning, leisure services, development control, and waste disposal) are carried out by Wiltshire Council , a unitary authority .

Since 2010, Bradford
Bradford
on Avon has been part of the Chippenham parliamentary constituency .

SEE ALSO:

* Wiltshire
Wiltshire
Council elections * West Wiltshire
Wiltshire
Council election, 1999 * West Wiltshire
Wiltshire
Council election, 2003 * West Wiltshire
Wiltshire
Council election, 2007

EDUCATION

The town has one secondary school, St Laurence School , a specialist Arts College .

SPORT AND LEISURE

Bradford
Bradford
on Avon has a Non-League football club, Bradford
Bradford
Town F.C. , who play at the Sports and Social Club on Trowbridge Road. There is also Bradford
Bradford
on Avon Rowing Club, based in Pound Lane near to the Tithe Barn. The club caters for rowing and canoeing.

Wiltshire
Wiltshire
Music Centre is a purpose-built, 300-seat concert hall that attracts internationally renowned musicians. Situated within the grounds of the St Laurence School, it is renowned for its fine acoustics.

NOTABLE PEOPLE

* John Methuen and his son Sir Paul Methuen , successively Ambassadors to Portugal
Portugal
* Peter Hammill , singer-songwriter * Henry Shrapnel , inventor of the shrapnel shell * Shadrack Byfield , War of 1812 infantryman and memoirist * Miles Kington , journalist * Alex Moulton
Alex Moulton
, engineer and inventor * Simon R. Green , science-fiction/fantasy author * Rugby union
Rugby union
players Will Carling , Phil de Glanville
Phil de Glanville
, Jon Sleightholme and Lewis Moody * Hugh Scully , television presenter * Jonathan Newth , actor * Rob Newman , ex-footballer and current football manager * Paul Emsley , artist * Andy Pearce , ex-footballer * Stephen Volk , TV scriptwriter, TV series Afterlife, Dark Corners * Simon Tisdall , journalist * Samuel Meredith , first British Chief Constable in 1839 * Pop groups Jesus Jones
Jesus Jones
and Blackbud were both formed in the town * Fitzroy Simpson , former professional footballer * Ed McKeever , Olympic canoeing champion * Emily Hilda Young , novelist * Donald Maitland , senior diplomat

REFERENCES

* ^ A B " Wiltshire
Wiltshire
Community History - Census". Wiltshire
Wiltshire
Council. Retrieved 16 February 2016. * ^ A B C "Victoria County History - Wiltshire
Wiltshire
- Vol 7 pp4-51 - Parishes: Bradford-on-Avon". British History Online. University of London. Retrieved 16 February 2016. * ^ "The Town Bridge and Chapel". Images of England. Retrieved 2006-08-24. * ^ Barratt, John (2005). The civil war in the south west. Bernsley: Pen & Sword Military. p. 48. ISBN 1-84415-146-8 . * ^ "Tithe Barn". Images of England. Retrieved 2006-08-24. * ^ H.M.Taylor & Joan Taylor, Anglo-Saxon Architecture, Cambridge University Press, 1980 * ^ Taylor & Taylor, op. cit. * ^ Gordon Home & Edward Foord, "Bristol, Bath and Malkmesbury, with a Short Account of Bradford
Bradford
on Avon" in the series Cathedrals, abbeys and Famous Churches, J.M.Dent, London, 1925 * ^ " Holy Trinity Church". Images of England. Retrieved 2006-08-24.

* ^ "Christ Church". Images of England. Retrieved 2006-08-24. * ^ " Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
Church of St Thomas More". Images of England. Retrieved 2006-08-24. * ^ "Grocers and convenience stores". Yell.com Yellow Pages directory. Retrieved 2008-08-11. * ^ "Coop Online Share Book search: Bradford-on-Avon". Retrieved 2008-05-21. * ^ "Listing of co-operatives in the ACDA area". Avon Co-operative Development Agency . Archived from the original on 2 August 2008. Its five shops in Bristol, Stroud, Glastonbury, Totnes and Bradford-on-Avon sell clothes for adults and children * ^ " Bradford
Bradford
on Avon is centre stage for filming of White Princess". Wiltshire
Wiltshire
Times. Newsquest. 3 September 2016. Retrieved 4 January 2016. in the Tithe Barn, near Frome Road, and St Laurence's Church, in Church Street. * ^ "Notice of uncontested election - Bradford
Bradford
on Avon North ward" (PDF). Wiltshire
Wiltshire
Council. 11 April 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2016. * ^ "Election of Councillors for Bradford
Bradford
on Avon South Ward" (PDF). Wiltshire
Wiltshire
Council. 3 May 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2016.

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