The Our Town group had a delightful walk around the Causeway (aka Rotten Row) and St Mary Street today courtesy of the guided walks available this month from Chippenham Museum.
We learned this part of Chippenham was a hotbed of non-conformist religion with a choice of 3 kinds of Methodism (Primitive, Weslyan and Tabernacle) as well as the Quakers, and it was home to a resident 'official' hermit opposite the Pack Horse who failed to pass on enough of his collected monies from travellers to maintain the main road out of the town. As a result horses and carriages diverted behind the pub for a more comfortable route but sometimes came to grief by taking the sharp bend too quickly.
There was a broad mix of buildings to look at from the 17th to 19th centuries which took in rich merchants houses through to humble weavers cottages; plus mills, carriage works, printers, shops (some having a separate entrance to the accommodation above), narrow infill properties squeezed between much larger ones, pubs (ex and current), temperance hotels and a school which had exercise as its main curriculum. Who knew Chippenham had such variety in just a couple of streets?
Does the photo above look familiar? Yes, it's the 'doll's house' from the opening titles to Antiques Roadshow.
Naturally we still found time for a cuppa and chat afterwards!