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Abbey House

Church Street, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire

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Abbey House

Abbey House is a three-storey, five-bay Georgian building in Palladian style, faced with fine limestone ashlar. The central three bays are set forward under a pediment with a pedimented tuscan doorway in the centre. The southern side is of three bays, again all of ashlar.

It was built in about 1775 in front of a late medieval house, now a separate dwelling called Horton House, that was built by the wealthy clothier Thomas Horton (who died in 1530) as his Bradford town house -he owned property elsewhere, including Westwood and Iford Manor Houses. The site of his house was on the edge of the extensive graveyard of Holy Trinity parish church.

The property was sold by Anthony Methuen in 1774 to farmer and quarry owner George Bethell, who built the present Abbey House soon afterwards; so presumably the stone came from Bethell Quarry, Frome Road.

It was occupied by clothier Ezekiel Edmonds sr in 1844, then by the maltster Thomas Wheeler, who built a malthouse across the yard to the north. Wheeler was followed by W.H. Bassett in 1867, then by John Little, cloth manufacturer in 1871.  It became the house and surgery of Dr W. Day Lovell in 1887 and Dr Herbert P. Taylor in 1891. It became the offices of the Bradford on Avon & Melksham Rural District Council, which was formed in 1894 and abolished in 1974. From the 1970s it was offices and laboratories of  the technical centre of the St Ivel dairying company, which moved out in 1995. The malthouse survived into the 1930s before being demolished, but its eastern gable remains behind Dutch Barton.

Since the departure of St Ivel,  it was converted back to being two private houses -Abbey House and Horton House- with the conversion of the stable to another house and, above the yard, a short terrace of new-build houses named Rosemary Walk. The yard is a car park for all the separate properties.

Abbey House and Horton House are, together, listed grade II*