Military History

Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire


..Roman Soldiers in Bradford on Avon

The Roman army, in the form of the Ermine Street Guard, briefly retakes Bradford on Avon in June 2009. This was an event organised by Bradford on Avon Museum.


Bradford on Avon’s military history spans more than 2000 years, but the place was never really centre-stage.

The ditches and wall of the Early Iron Age hillfort at Budbury suggest that the period was not entirely peaceful and the Roman invasion some 600 years later must have caused some difficulty. Bradford’s entry into written history in the 7th century AD resulted from at least one battle being fought at the broad ford over the River Avon and Alfred’s struggles with the Danes took place not far away.

In the Middle Ages, the civil war between King Stephen and the forces of the Empress Matilda involved the siege and destruction of the castle at Trowbridge, a mere 3 miles distant, and  presumably undocumented armies rampaging around, but the Wars of the Roses were fought elsewhere.

The English Civil War touched the Bradford Hundred in 1643 with armies passing through and local garrisons to support.

Later wars around the world only affected those few who, like Shadrack Byfield in the American war of 1812, had signed up with the forces. However, the two World Wars of the 20th century and the Cold War came closer to home.

WW1- Trench Activity Day at the Museum

Another Museum activity brought the trenches of World War I to the town.