The Bathford Society

About Bathford

Bathford village sits on the slopes of Bathford Hill separated from Batheaston by the railway and the By Brook. Situated in the extreme North-East corner of the old county of Somerset and only three miles from Bath, it lies on the main route East out of Bath, beside two ancient fords over the Avon and the By Brook. Bathford's location has determined the course of its evolution from pre-Roman times

View of Bathford, about 1845, by Mrs Elizabeth Tackle showing the new Brunel railway bridge.

Historic Bathford

There were Roman villas at Warleigh and in Horselands below the village and around 940 AD "the place named Forde" was given by the Saxon king Edmund to the monastery at Bath. The boundaries of the parish were set out in a charter of 957 AD. The parish extends from Shockerwick in the North to below Warleigh in the beautiful Limpley Stoke valley to the South. The pronunciation still has emphasis on both syllables: Bath-ford, rather than "Bathf'd".

From Roman times this has been an agricultural area with sheep on the hill-tops, arable land on the valley slopes and dairy cattle on the meadows at the bottom of the valleys. Alongside numerous farmers and farm workers were builders, masons, carpenters, blacksmiths, shoemakers, male and female servants, laundresses, brewers, innkeepers and shopkeepers and the numerous quarrymen.

Because stone was cheap, stone walls abound in Bathford and many houses within the Conservation Area are built in traditional Cotswold style with rubble stone walls, gabled windows, stone mullions and stone roof tiles in graduated sizes. Houses built or altered in the 18th or 19th century have a smooth facing of ashlar named, perhaps, after the neighbouring village of Ashley. This was the period of Bathford's finest houses including the Grade I Listed Shockerwick House built by John Wood the elder and the mock gothic Warleigh Manor.

Contemporary view of Bathford from the West

Present Day Bathford

The latter part of the twentieth century saw the decline of local shops and farming. Two grocery shops, the butcher, the baker, the Post Office and several public houses are no more. Nevertheless, the village is still very active. In 2006, the BEFA community co-operative shop opened and provides a valuable service, along with the Crown Inn, hair dressing shop and The Clothes Horse.

The societies within the village include: The Bathford Society, The British Legion, Twinning Association, Bathford Players Amateur Dramatic Society, the Football, Rugby and Cricket clubs and various church groups. 'Link' is a volunteer organisation which provides transport for people in need and a medicine collection service.

History Website

The history information on this site reflects the labours of many enthusiasts over several decades, now accessible over the web. Please feel free to explore our records and discover the origins and evolution of this delightful area !

Source: Historical information Bathford Past and Present
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