Celebrating our historic past – Chipping Sodbury Heritage Trail January 2016

December 20 2015

Over the course of the year we have looked at the six properties in Chipping Sodbury that feature a commemorative plaque and are part of the town’s heritage trail.

Over the course of the year we have looked at the six properties in Chipping Sodbury that feature a commemorative plaque and are part of the town’s heritage trail.
We now look at some of the other prominent buildings in the town, many with a story to tell or with a colourful history.
The trail can be followed with the help of a map that is available at the entrance to Hatherell’s Yard, while a trail guide is available at the Tourist Information Centre.
The Old Grammar School in High Street was built in 1789 on the site of what was once the Lamb Inn and became a school in 1790.
In early 1944 the property housed the headquarters of the 1st US Army and US soldiers billeted in several of the local inns. The soldiers went on to photograph the D-Day landings.
The property is now home to the town’s library and meeting rooms.
The Presbytery in Broad Street, formerly the Swan Inn, is a 17th century property that became a Catholic church in the 19th century.
Sarah Lunn had bought it using inheritance from her late sister, who had been married to the Sardinian minister to the Court of St James, and gave the building to the Catholics.
The church of St Lawrence was created from stables to the rear of the property.
The Town Hall, also in Broad Street, was licensed in 1452 for the foundation of a guild or school. It retains many of its original features, including a medieval fireplace and sixteenth century timberwork, and is home to the old town chest, thought to be some 500 years old.
 It has undergone several renovations, including in 1738 and in the late 1850s. Before the 19th century changes, the building consisted of a long hall on the first floor, with a fine old 15th century timber roof dating from when it was the guild hall.
The floor of the hall was supported by strong moulded beams so the space below was not just a cellar but very probably open to the street and used to stage markets.
 At one time there were a number of almshouses to the rear, with a lane at the side known as Church Houses Lane that ran down to the brook.
 The hall is now under the trusteeship of Chipping Sodbury Town Lands Charity and is used for a number of community events.
Guided Tours
Anyone involved with a club or group can book a guided tour of the heritage trail, which takes about 45 minutes. It includes a talk on each of the properties with a commemorative plaque and a brief overview of many of the other historic properties in the town.
 To arrange a tour call 01454 334410 or email rounceval-house@btconnect.com for further information.