The Hospitals in St. Margaret`s St, Bradford on Avon.
section of Andrews & Drury Map 1772 showing Hospital
The Hospitals in St. Margaret`s St, Bradford on Avon.
St Margaret's Street and St Margaret's Hill derive their names from St Margaret's Hospital, a medieval institution whose precise location is unknown. During his visit John Leland noted: 'There is a litle streate over Bradford Bridge and at the ende of that is an hospitale of the Kinges of Englandes fundation.' This may have been the leper hospital dedicated to St Margaret, known to have been founded in 1235 and to have been under the patronage of Shaftesbury Abbey. That it had existed for some years before Leland we know from a deed of about 1459 and also from a will of 1490 which bequeathed six shillings and eight pence to poor inmates. A number of old buildings, among them the old poorhouse, in what was then called St Margaret's Street (but is now called Frome Road) were demolished when the railway cutting was made. If what Leland saw was indeed the leper hospital, then a location away from the town centre, at that time on the north bank of the river, would be likely; so a reasonable guess would be that the old poorhouse had once been 5t Margaret's leper hospital.
Further along Frome Road are St Catherine's Almshouses, a foundation of great antiquity. In pre-Reformation days (notably 1535) twelve poor persons were receiving six shillings and eight pence yearly in return for offering prayers for the soul of the founder of Shaftesbury Abbey and this gives credence to oral tradition that in the Middle Ages it was a large establishment with its own chapel and chaplain.

The Lands in St. Margarets Street owned by the Manor of Monkton Farleigh (from Jones`s History of Bradford on Avon)

Besides the mesne Lords of Manors in the Hundred of Bradford, there were others who, though not exercising any jurisdiction within the Hundred demanded fealty, and perhaps rather more substantial acknowledgements, from some of the tenants within the domain of our Abbess, The Manor of Cumberwell, for example, was held under the Barony of Castle Coqlbe, and Humphrey de Lisle (Hunfredus de Insula) the Lord of that Manor claimed from the tenant at Cumberwell-(in early times one named Pagen)-suit and service for the same The Prior of Monkton Farleigh, moreover, who held the Lordship of that Manor, claimed payment for lands in this parish :1 -there is in existence a deed (of the time of Edward I.) by which Walter Fayrchild of Wroxale grants to Alice la Loche, amongst other lands and tenements, some called II Clifcroft and Bradcroft, and a croft above Hanecleye paying 1Bd. per annum to the Lord Prior and Court of Farlege, viz., at Hockeday 12d. and at Michaelmas 1d."1 To this day certain property in the town of Bradford is held under the Manor of Monkton Farleigh. A field called I the Conigre,'(one of several pieces of ground bearing that name in the parish) just behind the house occupied by Mr. Adye, in Woolley street, and some houses in St. Margaret street, nearly opposite the present Railway Station, are still held under leases granted by the lessee of "the Manor of Monkton Farleigh and Cumberwell," as it is termed.

[The Cumbrewell of Domesday, as has been already stated, was mare probably Compton Cumberwell, near Calne. Brictric (Brictric Algarson 1) held Farleigh in the Conqueror's time, and the addition of Cumberwell to that manor probably took place at a later date.]
1 As early as 1397, we find Sir Thomas Hungerford giving to Monkton Farleigh Priory , a house and two plough lands at Bradefold.'

It is probable, also, that there was a chapel dedicated to St. Catharine, and that it formed part of what is now called the Old Women's Almshouse, situated at the southern extremity of the town, at what used to be called Clay acre, now Clay farm. That there was a chapel at this spot we can have no doubt. Aubrey, in fact, 200 years ago, says expressly, '" a little beyond the bridge is a chapel and almshouse of ancient date." When the Charity Commissioners visited our town, about 25 years ago, they elicited from some old people a little information respecting it, and in their report they state their belief that there was truth in the tradition that then prevailed (as it still does to the present day that the chapel-bell was removed to Winsley Church. Now the hospital at the foot of the bridge is called, in old deeds, the Hospital of St. Margaret,'- and its memorial preserved in the street which is still called St. Margaret street, and in Morgan's Hill, which, as late as 1724, was called St. Margaret's Hill. From the same deeds, confirmed by later documents, we find that the street leading from about where is now the entrance to the railroad station to the Old Women's Almshouse was called St. Catharine street, probably from the dedication of the chapel in question. In Andrews and Dury's Map of Wiltshire (1770), we find a spot marked as " The Chapel," though from the way in which those words are printed, it is difficult to point out with exactness the precise spot indicated.[, It may be mentioned, as confirmatory of this opinion, that ~ there is still the remnant of the observance of a holiday on St.:, Catharine's day. Within a few years only, cakes called cattern cakes were made in considerable numbers and sent by the Bakers to their customers. Many of the old people reckontheir ages by the festival of this Saint. A very short time ago an old bed-ridden woman said to the writer of this paper in true Wiltshire, and, we may add, very fair Anglo-Saxon-(and really they are often convertible terms),-" I;ll be vower-scorecome KatterD-tid~, and I beant yeable now to doff or don myself," which in modern English meant, " I shall be fourscore next St. Catherine's-tide, and I am not able now to undress (do-off) or dress (do-on) myself." It is not improbable also, that there was a chapel near Ashleigh. There is a field still called the Church-field, belonging to the Misses Bailward, in which a stone coffin, still to be seen, was dug up, and where there have been found many evidences of its having been an old burial-ground. At Cumberwell, also, there was a chapel; it is mentioned expressly in the deeds by which Henry VIII. bestowed the Rectorial Tithes and the Advowson of the Churches and Chapels on the Dean and Chapter of Bristol.
1 By a. deed dated 37 Henry VI., Philip Stone conveys to Nicholas Hallone acre of arable land, lying " in fine ville de Bradeford juxta. grangia. mone Abbatiss. de Shaston ex parte," and which is further described as being between two pieces of land belonging to the said Nicholas Hall, one of which " abutta.t super le Longhegg~," a.nd the other," super viam qure ducij; versus hospitale Ste Margarete." In the will of Henry Long, Esq., of Wraxhall, 1490, he bequeaths,-" pauperibus DomusBancte Margarete de Bradford, vis viijd."

2.The following extract is from an account of lands, &c., belonging to the manor (c.1720}.-" Katharins Street. John Harvey holdeth by copy dated 6th May, 1716, granted him by Hon. Ann Lady Powlett during the lives of John Harvey and others, and during the widowhood of Ann relict of Robert Harvey, one Cottage, Barn, and Reek Barton: the Highway east and Culverclose west." This sufficiently indicates the correctness of the statement above, as to where St. Catharine street lay. [For this and other valuable information the writer was indebted to the late Mr. John Bush)