Bradford Leigh

Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire
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Bradford Leigh is an area to the north of the town which now, because of boundary changes, is partly in Bradford, partly in South Wraxall and partly in Holt. The name Leigh suggests that it started as a Saxon clearing in woodland. It was a Tithing of the Bradford Hundred, paired with Woolley. Fairfield, between the Leigh Park crossroads and the Plough public house, was where Bradford’s annual fair was held.

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Leigh Park HotelLeigh Park Hotel, at the crossroads, was a 16th century house that was bought by lawyer Daniel Clutterbuck in 1788 and finished rebuilding in 1820, a year before his death.  It was then the home of Admiral Sir Richard Fellowes (1778-1853) and Miss Isabella Poynder, who was the benefactor of Christ Church School and of Lady Jane Henrietta Swinburne, sister of Algernon the poet. It was the home of Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice of Leigh, who took his title from it, before becoming Bradford on Avon District Hospital until closing in 1979 and becoming a hotel.

The dog WinstonA resident of the Leigh Park crossroads who briefly gained national fame was the dog Winston. Nobody knows why he ended up living there, but there have been plenty of theories. He was looked after by hospital staff and was provided with a kennel. He died in October 1978 and money was raised to train a guide dog for the blind, also named Winston, in his memory.

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North Leigh House On the other side of the crossroads was North Leigh House. Like several big houses, this was requisitioned in World War 2 and was used to house several evacuated families. After the war it was demolished and the land used to build a group of bungalows, but the lodge and gateposts still remain.

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Nettlecreep CottagesAcross the fields from North Leigh was a pair of houses with the odd name of Nettlecreep Cottages, now long gone. In one of them Constable Rendell of Bradford’s police force lived after the Great War; his handcuffs are now on display in the Museum.

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Fairfield House, Bradford LeighFacing the field where the fair was held, appropriately, is Fairfield House. The fair was held here, on the Monday after St Bartholomew’s Day (August 24th), from the middle of the 18th century until the middle of the 20th century. The house is divided into flats and now a bit of a mess, with old cars littering the front.

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The Plough, Bradford LeighBradford Leigh had a public house- The Plough, which closed in 2014. Its history seems to have been shared with the pub of the same name in Trowbridge Road, Bradford. The long service wing in rubble stone to the right of the old house was added in the 1980s.

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Bradford Leigh iron chapelThe main road goes on past the Plough towards, Corsham, but the road to the east is a ridgeway that heads towards Great Chalfield and Holt. The first building on the right is Bradford Leigh Methodist chapel, which was built in 1892 in the form of a corrugated iron mission hall, an offshoot of the church in Coppice Hill. It closed in the 1940s and has now been converted into a house.

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Merkins FarmFurther along the ridgeway were several small farms, one of which is Merkins Farm. The photograph shows the buildings of the farmyard in the 1990s before they were converted into holiday cottages. As well as the cottages, the farm also has a popular café and a Caravan Club campsite.

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Blackacre Farm HouseBlackacre Farm has ceased to be agricultural, with its famhouse and a large barn converted to residential purposes. The name Blackacre is usually associated with an archaeological site due to the darkening of soil by ancient habitation.

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