Holt

Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire

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Ham Green, Holt

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Ham Green, Holt

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Holt is the next settlement to the east of Bradford.

It was formerly a part of the ancient parish of Bradford, of the Manor of Bradford and of the Hundred of Bradford. It was probably the place mentioned as Wrindesholt in the boundaries of the grant of  Bradford Manor in 1001.

A church existed at the beginning of the 12th century and a manor (or sub-manor) of Holt had been created by the 13th century. The modern civil parish of Holt was created in 1884 with the incorporation in 1934 of some areas, such as Ladydown on the other side of the River Avon, that were detached from Bradford. It became part of Bradford & Melksham Rural District, succeeded by West Wiltshire Council from 1974 until 2009. At no time in its history was Holt associated with Trowbridge other than by its postcode.

Setting
The village lies on clays of the Kellaways Formation (part of what is known as Oxford Clay), just above the alluvium of the River Avon and on a terrace of Ice Age gravel, in the lowland zone of the Bradford Hundred. A small persistent stream runs through it from the dip slope of the Cotswolds to join the river. Roads connect the village with Bradford, Bradford Leigh, Great Chalfield, Staverton, Broughton Gifford and Melksham. There was once a station, with services to Bradford, Chippenham, Devizes and Trowbridge.

Settlement
The village consists of an old nuclear settlement around St Katharine’s church and a small triangular common or green called The Ham.  Later housing developed along the main turnpike road (The Street) eastwards towards Melksham and there has been more recent development to the north and south of the road.

Economy
The 2001 Census recorded a population of 1,532 inhabitants, which had risen to 1,757 in 2011.

Agriculture has primarily been dairy farming, although equestrian centres and housing are taking over productive land. There was formerly a woollen cloth mill at The Courts and factories at the Midlands once produced leather, gloves and beds. A small industrial estate at the Midlands until recently contained a printing company. There has been a brewery since the Box Steam Brewery moved from Colerne to premises at the Midlands in Holt. The Glove Factory no longer produces gloves, but contains several commercial units, notably a design studio. Holt briefly had a spa, whose water was widely distributed, but it failed to gain enough business from nearby Bath
Not long ago there were three public houses: the White Hart (now called the Tollgate Inn), The Old Ham Tree and the third, the Three Lions, which closed c1990. There is a café at the Glove Factory and another in the mansion at The Courts gardens. The post office has closed and has moved to  the general shop -the Holt Superstore; there was briefly  a National Trust shop; a branch of the Bradford butcher Pike (later becoming Hooper’s until moving to Church Farm, Broughton in 1996) has gone. Pietra Stone, selling stone tiles, is next to the Tollgate in a former garage. A secondhand car dealer next to Ham Green closed at the end of 2020 after 50 years in business and the premises are now occupied by the showroom of a furniture company that relocated from Bradford.

There were once gravel pits and a market garden on the Avon floodplain, near the former station where there is now a candle-making business.

Buildings
The traditional style would probably have been timber-framing with thatched roofs, but brick and stone came in with improvements in transport. Notable buildings are the remaining medieval parts of St Katharine’s parish church, a small baroque mansion called The Courts (National Trust), old houses around Ham Green and the industrial buildings of The Midlands.

 

Holt village history Wiltshire.