A Somerset Village
Bradford on Tone is situated midway between Taunton and Wellington on the north side of the A38. Its position is such that both north and south coasts are about one hour’s drive away, giving access to seaside towns such as Porlock, and Minehead to the north and Exmouth and Seaton to the south. Also within easy reach are the beautiful areas of Exmoor.
Further afield, there is direct access by train from Taunton station (5 miles away) to London, the Midlands, and Scotland.
Bradford has a number of enthusiastic groups, including the Bradford Players, short mat bowls, an art group, computer group, coffee mornings and bell ringers, also an annual flower show.
Nothing has been found so far to indicate that the habitation in the Bradford parish area was affected by the Roman occupation of Britain. However, there was communication between surrounding habitations, and earlier in the 20th century one could still see traces of ancient British trackways, one of which forded the river Tone upstream from where the present bridge stands. It was from this broad ford that Bradford got its name.
After the Norman conquest, Bradford was included in the Domesday Book as Bradeford. There were 5 serfs,19 villagers and 7 cottagers with 6 ploughs, a mill of 10 shillings rent, 30 acres of meadow,10 acres of pasture and 72 acres of wood. The oldest building in the village is the Church. There was probably a Church in Norman times. There may have been one in Saxon Times, the village being owned by the Bishops of Winchester.
During the fifteenth century, the road system in the parish was much improved when the fords in in the Village and at Hele were replaced with stone bridges. Tradition says that they were built by the monks and one can only surmise which monks they were.
The Tapestry is a large rectangle(5’by 4′) with the centre section picturing six scenes – the Church, the Old School, the War Memorial, the Village Hall, the White Horse, and the Bridge. Round the edge are 32 squares, each one depicting a club, society, or business in the village in 1996, the year in which the village started to raise money to enlarge the Hall.
Jane and Keith Dyer planned the tapestry( the plan, on graph paper is a work of art in itself), assembled the materials- the canvas and the myriad wools and set it on a tipping frame about 6 feet square. By the Millennium it was well under way and three quarters worked, largely by Jane. Then came a lull of about two years. Work having recommenced in 2002, the project was finally completed, and went on view on 8th February 2003 in the Village Hall where it now hangs.