Many stories waiting to be told - Chipping Sodbury Heritage Trail

March 01 2015

Everyone knows that Chipping Sodbury has a long and fascinating history, and the Heritage Trail and commemorative plaque scheme sets out to celebrate the town’s rich cultural heritage.

Chipping Sodbury Heritage Trail

Everyone knows that Chipping Sodbury has a long and fascinating history, and the Heritage Trail and commemorative plaque scheme sets out to celebrate the town’s rich cultural heritage.
With over one hundred Grade 1 or Grade 11 listed buildings it is little wonder that the town was recently described by Time Teams’ Mark Horton as the best example of a Medieval Market Town in the UK. Mark is Professor of Archaeology at Bristol University and conducts an annual Heritage Walk around Chipping Sodbury for his students.
On following the trail you will discover six plaques, each charting the previous occupants of just a handful of Chipping Sodbury’s most historic properties.
Whether privately owned or now in commercial use most of the buildings have a hidden past, with many a story just waiting to be told.
Each month we will open the door on one of the properties featuring a commemorative plaque, and you can follow the trail yourself at any time. A Heritage Trail Map can be found in the entrance to Hatherell’s Yard and a Trail Guide is available at the Tourist Information Centre.
Melbourne House, Horse Street, Chipping Sodbury
The house dates from 1664 when it stood as the White Horse Inn. Originally two houses, a façade across the two properties was added in 1760, possibly by John Edwards, a Clothier in residence there in 1738.
In 1763 a young man by the name of Edward Jenner became apprentice to a local apothecary, Mr George Hardwicke. It is believed that during his seven-year stay in the town Jenner became aware of the link between Cowpox and Smallpox.
Jenner Cottage, located behind Melbourne House may well have been the home of Edward Jenner at some point. Documentary evidence has not been uncovered to prove or disprove this theory, however it is a likely explanation for the name of the cottage. Certainly Jenner would have boarded with his master and would have been shared around the surgeons and apothecaries living in Sodbury at the time.
In 1796, Jenner showed that inoculating people with Cowpox protected them against Smallpox, a disease that killed millions worldwide.
The name of the house is thought to have come from a previous owner, Watts, who emigrated to Australia and became a prestigious architect responsible for designing many buildings in Melbourne.