Saltford Environment Group
The History of Saltford
Here we have made available digital copies of Saltford's historic documents for you to see and/or download. In some instances we have transcribed the original texts so that you can read them in a digital form.
Scroll down page or click on these links to see:-
We have grouped together the Post Office Bath Directory entries for Saltford:-
1086: Domesday Book entry
The earliest documentary record we have for the existence of a settlement at Saltford is in the 1086 Great Domesday Book (as "Sanford").
For background information, translation and intepretation click here: Domesday Book - Saltford >>
1815: John Stokes' 1,000 mile walk at Saltford
We have photographed and re-published the memoir and journal by John Stokes that was published after his 1,000 mile walk in 20 days behind the Crown Inn, Saltford in November and December 1815. The image of John Stokes above is from the memoir. You can download it in two parts here (pdfs open in new window):-
1863: Concerns over wife beating
In the 8th of August 1863 edition of The Bristol Mercury a letter from Captain Francis Haviland was published. Having moved to Saltford the previous year, Captain Haviland wrote on the subject of wife beating that "it may be read by those unruly members of society who degrade human nature by ill-using Women."
You can download the full text of Captain Haviland's letter together with some background information on the Captain and his wife Mary here (pdf, opens in new window):-
1865: Serious railway accident between Saltford and Keynsham
At midnight on 6th June 1865, the mail train from London Paddington on its way to Bristol crashed into the back of a passenger train, smashing the last compartment of the first-class carriage to "splinters", and causing several serious injuries.
We have reproduced the press article from the Bristol Mercury (10 June 1865 edition) that described in great detail what happened. You can download the full article here (pdf opens in new window):-
1876: Church life at St Mary's
The Church Rambler: St Mary's in 1876
"The Church Rambler" was a series of detailed articles on the churches in the neighbourhood of Bath written for the Bath Herald by Harold Lewis and published in 1876. We have transcribed Harold Lewis's article on St Mary's which gives a rare glimpse of Saltford in the 1870s and what went on at St Mary's.
You can download this interesting account here (pdf, opens in new window):
Late 19th C: Saltford's contaminated water supply
A public meeting was held in November 1886 at Saltford School to respond to the illness and six fatalities arising from sewage contamination of the village water supply. The account of the meeting in the Bath Chronicle showed the frustration of local inhabitants at the failure of the authorities to recognise and respond to their concerns despite repeated representations.
The Bristol Mercury published an account of a public meeting of ratepayers, a "vestry meeting", held at Saltford School in May 1893 about the polluted state of Saltford's drinking water. Much of the time appears to have been spent arguing over who should be permitted to attend(!).
You can read the full transcipt of these two press articles that give a unique insight into life in Saltford here (pdf, opens in new window):
1890: Sport (rabbit coursing) at Saltford
A question in the House of Commons on 27th February 1890 was raised concerning rabbit coursing and reference was made to this practice at the Crown Inn, Saltford.
The resulting article in the Bristol Mercury the next day (28th February) makes fascinating reading. You can download the text of the Bristol Mercury article that gives an opinionated yet interesting insight into the attitudes towards hunting with dogs in the 1890s here:-
1891: "Adventures in a train"
We have transcribed from the 9th April 1891 edition of the Bristol Mercury the full news story "Adventures in a train" depicting the court case in Wells which reveals a fascinating insight into late Victorian life in Bath and Saltford.
It is quite a long account but makes a great read and is amusing at times taking us back in time to life in Bath and Saltford in 1891.
Click on the link here:
Late 19th and early 20th Century meeting minutes of the "Saltford & District Conservative & Unionist Association"
You can see some of the original minutes of meetings of the Saltford and District Conservative and Unionist Association from their Minute Book. The Association's meetings were held in several venues around Saltford including Saltford House, then home to Colonel Rolleston, and the Crown Inn, Saltford School, the W.I Hall/hut and the "Iron Building" also referred to as the "Village Reading Room" where they had their HQ and Club Room in the High Street (see photograph below). The W.I. hut and the Village Reading Room have long since been demolished. Below is a press cutting from the minute book concerning the Association's first use of the Iron Building.
The minutes of the meeting deal mainly with the mundane administration of the Association such as the named individuals present and the topics, not substance, of the discussions. However some give an interesting insight into Saltford life as well as listing names of prominent residents such as 2nd Boar War veteran Colonel Rolleston and his son S V Rolleston, barrister-at-law; both were branch Chairman at one time and the Colonel was also President of the Association until his death in 1921.
Click on the links to open the meeting minutes (pdfs):-
The minutes of the inaugral meeting of the Association held in July 1892 can be found on the 19th Century page of this Online Museum.
c.1905 Avon Trimobile Sales Leaflet
Avon Motor Manufacturing Co. was owned by George Alexander Henshaw, Chartered Engineer, co-founder in 1879 of the engineering company Strachan & Henshaw of Bristol. George Henshaw lived in Saltford at the bottom of Saltford Hill.
The Avon Motor Manufacturing Co. made 3 and 4-wheeled vehicles from 1903 on the Keynsham/Saltford border and here we have an original sales leaflet. There is more information about the Avon Tri-mobile (including a photograph of it in Saltford c.1906) and its use by the Bristol Post Office, as their first motor vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine for transporting the Royal Mail, in our Online Museum (20th C, Transport).
Click on image or here to open:
1914-18 WWI Aircraft spotting guide for Boy Scouts
During WWI with the threat of air raids from German airships and airplanes many observers were needed to keep watch from hilltops and other vantage points to raise the alarm if airships or bombers were seen heading towards Britain. Boy Scouts were recruited to help and our local Boy Scouts then had their HQ in Keynsham, organised initially on an informal basis in 1909 with the first formal troop formed in 1916; Saltford's own Boy Scouts troop was not formed until 1927.
This original aircraft spotting guide was owned and used in Bristol by Boy Scout Reg Dunford (father of Saltford resident John Dunford) during WWI.
Click here to see larger version of guide and manuscript notes on the reverse (pdf opens in new window):- WWI Aircraft Spotter Guide.
1916 Saltford's War Record (& village life)
The article in the 8th July 1916 edition of the Bristol Times and Mirror lists Saltford's servicemen who had enlisted at that time (more enlisted thereafter) with portrait photographs of many of them. There is also an article immediately below the 'Roll of Honour' article describing life in the village and some of Saltford's ancient heritage.
Click here for article (opens in new window):
1939 Booklet on Saltford Manor by Saltford Boy Scouts
In January 1939 Saltford Boy Scouts published a small A5 size booklet "Saltford Manor House" to mark the opening of Saltford Manor House as their Headquarters and to show their gratitude to Noel Flower for his permission to allow the free use of the house.
We have scanned this fascinating 20 page booklet (including advertisements) which you can download here as a pdf by clicking on the image or the link beneath it (opens in new window):
This booklet is also featured on our page about Saltford Manor House.
1941: Saltford Boy Scouts play important role in local war effort
Noel Flower, owner of Manor Farm (Saltford Manor House), had allowed free use of the Manor Farm to Saltford Scouts as their Headquarters from January 1939. The letter below from Noel Flower to Mr Cecil Ewins, Hon. Secretary, Saltford Boy Scouts Group Committee, gives a glimpse of local life during WW2 and illustrates the excellent work of our local Boy Scouts.
You can download here a brief account given by Mr Wilson to Bunty Dunford, who also lived in Saltford during the "Bristol Blitz", where he describes what happened on the night of 2/3 December 1940 when incendiary bombs fell on Saltford. It illustrates the impact on the village of these bombing raids by the Luftwaffe at that time:-
WW2: Ivor Stabbins and the Home Guard
You can download here the account by Saltford resident Ivor Stabbins (1926 - 2012) of growing up in Saltford during the 1930s and 1940s provides a fascinating and light-hearted insight into Saltford life and in particular the local Home Guard that he joined (under age at only 15) in 1941.
1941: Westland Whirlwind fighter crashes into Saltford Station
An article giving a graphic eyewitness account of the day in October 1941 when a Westland Whirlwind fighter crashed into the weighbridge at Saltford station and exploded. The article paints a picture of the important part Saltford station played in village life in the 1940s. Click on image or here to open document (pdf opens in a new window).
1959 Brochure "Our Village" by Saltford WI
Published on 10 February 1959 this "brochure" was compiled by six members of Saltford Women's Institute with "knowledge gained from various sources".
It provides a rare description of 1950s Saltford with its "quaint old world appearance... the almost medieval character of some of its habitations... and... a romantic attractiveness which one cannot fail to appreciate".
Click on image to download key extracts from this 1959 brochure (pdf opens in new window).
Saltford School Magazine, 1961
To see extracts from the 4th Edition of the 1961 Saltford School Magazine click on the image below (pdf opens in new window). This was a lengthy 35 page document so we have published just a few key pages that give a glimpse of life at Saltford School in 1961.
St Mary's Parish Magazine, November 1975
To see the November 1975 edition of St Mary's Parish magazine click on the image below.
The advertisements for shops that once served the village in Saltford's High Street are particularly interesting. Also the article (on page 9) about the memorial window to the late Cecil Ewins in the tower above the porch is noteworthy.
This magazine is also featured on our page about St Mary's church.
The struggle for education in Saltford (19th & early 20th C) by Bunty Dunford, January 1992
You can download here a short but illuminating article describing school life in Saltford in the 19th and early 20th Century written for the local news media by Saltford resident Bunty Dunford and published on 17 January 1992:-
Saltford Cricket Club v Somerset CCC
Don't forget to also visit our Online Map Room and also our Timeline page as this shows what was happening around the world, in England and in Saltford as Saltford emerged from the Iron Age to how it is today.
© Saltford Environment Group