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January 1, 2020

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Down by the river Part I

August 23, 2019

 

Chippenham Museum's guided walks programme this month is proving popular with both our Belles and the general public alike, as Fiona Plant reports...

"A few Pewsham Belles enjoyed the third Chippenham museum walk along the river this afternoon [Wednesday - Ed]. Claire gave us a potted history of the important role the river has played over the centuries in the various industries in Chippenham and we looked at the town from a different perspective, walking through Monkton Park and crossing the river five times."

 

Fellow attendee Carolyn Gilman told me that Chippenham once had 9 mills along the river which had several islands, including the now riverside part of Monkton Park which is still called The Island. The Avon's islands were used as the town's tenter fields, where woollen cloth was hung on large wooden (tenter) frames to dry and stretch. The hooks used for hanging the cloth were known as tenter hooks. It's around the mid to late 17th century when the phrase 'on tenterhooks' first began to be used as a way to describe a painful, tense wait.

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