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Church Hall, now Freemasons’ or Wallington Hall

Church Street, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire

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Church Hall

Before he died in 1530, Thomas Horton, a wealthy clothier and landowner who held Westwood and Iford Manor Houses and a house in Church Street, provided what was probably a building for church and community use.

It is of two floors and on a T-shape plan, built of rubble stone, under a big stone roof.

By 1629, however, it was let and again in about 1660, when part of it was in ruins. Later, at least the long western end of the building, was converted into two cottages with a floor added in the roof, lit by windows in an added gable and dormer facing the street. The eastern end, the head of the T, became the Free Grammar School in 1874 after the school had to leave the Saxon Church because that building was to be restored to its present condition. The school finally closed in 1903 and at some time after that the Freemasons’ Lodge of Friendship & Unity used that wing and have done ever since.

In 1922 Albert Wallington, a rubber manufacturer in Frome who had purchased the building in 1918, let the former school to the Lodge for 999 years on an annual rent of £20. Wallington had lived in Bradford, where he was growing mushrooms in one of the underground quarries in 1885 and leased the rubber works at Limpley Stoke Mill before moving the business (Wallington & Weston) to Adderwell Mill in Frome. He had been a member of the Bradford Lodge and served as its Master. He died February 1923 and left the whole building to his daughters, who gave it to Holy Trinity Church as Trustees, with the Masons still retaining the lease on their end. The work of converting the building back to a hall was carried out by P. Rigg of Frome. The meeting hall has been used for all sorts of purposes- meetings, parties, jumble sales.

The cost of maintaining the hall proved too much of a burden for the church and, at an auction in 2010, the Masons purchased the whole building at the low price of £30,000. They have renamed it Wallington Hall after its benefactor.