References to the Leper Hospital
which was later the Poor House until it moved to Avoncliffe in
Wiltshire Web Site in 1837.
The settlement was developing in the 13th century and we have the earliest evidence
for the cloth industry in 1249 with a reference to a fulling mill owned by Adam
le Fohur (the fuller). Fulling, the pounding of wet cloth to produce a shrinking
and thickening effect, was the first of the processes to be mechanised using water
powered mills. In 1235 a leper hospital, dedicated to St. Margaret, was founded
to the south of the river along what is now Frome Road, but was then called St.
Margaret's Street. By now settlement was concentrated to the north of the river
and the leper hospital would have been about one mile away from other dwellings.
In 1280 the Abbess of Shaftesbury claimed the right to hold a three-day fair over
the feast of the Holy Trinity (the first Sunday after Pentecost), so Bradford
now had an annual fair as well as its weekly market.
Jones History of Bradford on Avon
By a deed dated 37 Henry VI., Philip Stone conveys to Nicholas Hall one acre of
arable land, lying ion fine ville de Bradeford juxta grangiam Dne Abbatis
de Shaston ex parte orientali, and which is furthereddescribed as being
two pieces of land belonging to the said Nicholas Hall, one which abuttat
super le Longhegge, and the other, super viam quae ducit versus hospital
Ste Margarete. In the will of Henry Long, Esq., of Wraxall, 1490, he bequeathes,
- pauperibus Domus Sancte Margarete de Bradford, vis viid.
The Hospital of St. Margaret, and its memorial is preserved in the street which
is still called St. Margarets Street, and in Morgans Hill, which as
late as 1724, was called St. Margarets Hill. From the same deeds, confirmed
by later documents, we find that the street leading from about where is now the
entrance to the railway station to the Old Womens Almshouse was called St.
Catherines street, probably from the dedication of the chapel in question.
Leyland, who visited Bradford about 1540 described the town as made all
of Stone and as standing on the north bank of the Avon. There
was a little street over Bradford Bridge at the end of which was an
hospital of the King of England`s foundation.