The History of the Area Now Occupied by Bradley Stoke

Time Line

Click on a hyperlink or picture below for details of that period in time.

Iron Age

The Romans

Dark Ages

Normans Medieval Early Modern 19th C 20th C
Iron Age round house

Roman mosaic

Saxon helmet (from Suton Hoo)

The Bayeaux Tapestry The Luttrel Psalter

Elizabethan farmer

Threshing machine Welcome to Bradley Stoke
BC 55 BC 500 AD 1000 AD   1500 AD  

2000 AD

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The Iron Age

An iron age settlement

For much of its history the area has been covered in heavy forest. Early immigrants to Britain tended to settle on high ground where the soils were lighter and could be worked with the relatively primitive ploughs then available.

During the Iron Age however the heavier ploughs available meant that settlement became more widespread and the area began to be cleared. Iron age remains have been found near Tesco's and as recently as November 2007 human remains have been found nearby, possibly a member of the Dubonni tribe, the principal British tribe in the area at the time of the Roman invasion. Return to Top, Return to local history main page

The Romans

A Roman mosaic

By Roman times there were a number of signs of Iron Age habitation in the area.

There were Roman settlements at Bath and Sea Mills and roman roads ran north from Bath to Cirencester and west from Bath to Sea Mills. More significantly a third road ran north from Sea Mills to Gloucester. Locally the road ran along what is now Cribbs Causeway and north to Tockington. From this road ran a track which in later times became known as the Patch Way which still exists as Patchway Common West and east.

At Baileys Court in the south of the area there are the remains of a Roman villa beneath playing fields with another under what is now Brook Way. Return to Top, Return to local history main page

The Dark Ages

A Saxon coin

An ancient track, known as the Saxon Path, still existing in the main, connected Patchway to Stoke Gifford. The Saxon Path enters the Three Brooks reserve at Sherbourne's Brake and crosses the Stoke Brook via a modern metal bridge. It is claimed that if you look carefully you can see the footings of a previous stone build bridge. From there the path crosses the modern footpath from Braydon Avenue to the lake and leaves the reserve. The route of the path may still largely be followed. Return to Top, Return to local history main page

The Normans

The Bayeaux Tapestry

By the time of the Norman Conquest the area had settled into a pattern that essentially remained unchanged right up until the 20th century. There were a few villages interspersed with a patchwork of small fields surrounding small farm based hamlets. The Domesday Book of 1068 makes reference to the villages of Winterbourne and Almondsbury whilst to the south lay what is now known as Stoke Gifford. Stoke Gifford is named after the Gifforde family given the estate by William "the Conqueror". Return to Top, Return to local history main page


The Luttrel Psalter

Patchway on the western edge of the area is mentioned in 1276 and the hamlet of Woodlands Green on the northern edge of the area in 1287. In addition Traces of a medieval settlement have been found beside Bradley Stoke Way. 

For several generations the Giffordes were genuine robber barons appropriating land and stealing property as they saw fit. Unfortunately they went a step too far when they plundered Edward II's royal baggage train. The Baron was executed and the lands confiscated and given to the Berkeley family. Through dynastic marriages the estate passed to the Beaufort family where it remained until 1915 when it was sold off, mostly to the sitting tenants. Incidentally the Beaufort family still retain all mineral rights to the estate which included the southern half of Bradley Stoke. Return to Top, Return to local history main page

The 19th Century

19th century workers from the BBC Victorian Farm

By the end of the nineteenth century the area was dominated by a small collection of farms. At the very southern end of what became Bradley Stoke, stood Watch Elm farm The Watch Elm itself a tree of legendary size blew down in the mid 18th century. To the east of Watch Elm stood Knightswood Farm and north of Knightswood stood first Baileys Farm and then Wodehouse Farm (later known as Webb's Farm). To the West was Little Stoke Farm (the largest in the area with fields stretching across to and including Savages Wood). North of Little Stoke Farm were the various farms around Patchway Common principally Pond Farm, Manor Farm and the peripatetic Patchway Farm which would appear to have been the name at some time or other of most of the farms in the Patchway area. East of Manor Farm was Bowsland Farm and north of Bowsland the three Woodland Green farms of Poplar, Hope and. Brotherswood. East of the current path of the M4 stood Fiddlers Wood farm.

In the late 19th Century the railway arrived with a station at Patchway and the little hamlet began to expand. Return to Top, Return to local history main page

The 20th Century and Beyond

Bradley Stoke now - viewed from the "tump"

In the early 20th century Grange House in Woodlands Lane was built and after the world war I the enlargement of the aircraft works at Filton encouraged immigration into the area. In the 1930's the first houses in the Little Stoke area were built and the first development of the Patchway Estate began. After the 2nd world war Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge were completed and Patchway Estate mushroomed.

In the 1960's the motorway cut through the northern edge of the area fragmenting the Woodlands Green farms, closing the road to Hortham and necessitating the enlarging of Trench Lane to give an alternative route to Winterbourne and Frampton Cottrell.

By this time many of the other farms had also gone or were going. Little Stoke Farm was sold off in 1956; Watch Elm and Knightswood farms were gone. Webb's Farm remained as a cottage only.

In the early 1980's work began on the development of Bradley Stoke. The first turf was cut in 1986 and the first houses occupied in the Stean Bridge road area in 1987. Most of the existing buildings within the area of the new town vanished. The only survivor outside of the Woodlands Lane area was Baileys Court Farm now a pub. This survived because it was retained for use as developers' offices.

Along Woodlands Lane the Grange survived unchanged in fact it was extended. But it lost its supporting Farm Managers cottage. The Chalet Park, originally a WWII Anti Aircraft site and barracks remained unscathed as did Ada's Cottage on the corner of the Almondsbury Business Park. Other Woodlands fragments that survive include the village duck pond and the Hope farmhouse, now offices. Brotherswood Farm retained some tied cottages, also for use as offices and the threshing barn which is now an Indian restaurant. Two much altered cottages in Trench lane, originally alms houses, are now private homes. Return to Top, Return to local history main page