The Manor of Bradford


Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire


In the Saxon period Bradford must have been part of the extensive estates which had been conquered from the British natives following the collapse of Roman rule. They were the property of the King of Wessex in the early days and they lay in a frontier zone with the competing kingdom of Mercia.

Eadred, King of England, granted Bradford to the monastery of St Mary (known as Nunnaminster) in Winchester in 955.

In the millennium year 1001 King Æthelred II gave the manor of Bradford to the Abbey of Shaftesbury, which housed the remains of his half-brother St Edward, in whose death he may have been implicated. The intention was for Bradford to be a refuge for the nuns and the remains in case of Danish raids into Dorset.

The estate comprised the large ancient parish of Bradford (the modern parishes of Atworth, Bradford, Holt, Limpley Stoke, South Wraxall and Winsley) and Wingfield. A copy of the charter exists and details the boundary of the estate. The abbey must also have received the Bradford Hundred, which it was holding by the time of Domesday Book in 1086. By 1086 various pieces -Budbury, Cumberwell, Wingfield, Wittenham- were in other hands, although the abbey later repurchased the Budbury estate. The Abbey only directly farmed a portion of the land, the rest was leased to others as various sub-manors.

After the dissolution of Shaftesbury Abbey in 1539, King Henry VIII gave a part of the land to the newly-created Dean & Chapter of Bristol Cathedral. This land formed what was called the Prebendal Manor. The Crown kept the Lay Manor until Queen Elizabeth leased it to the Earl of Pembroke in 1570 and then in 1576 she granted it to Sir Francis Walsingham and it descended through his family until sold to Paul Methuen in 1774. The lordship of the manor currently belongs to the Hobhouse family of Monkton Farleigh, but is really just a title.

> Map of the Manor in 1001

> The Charter of 1001

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