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The historic Bathford railway bridge, an integral part of the Great Western Railway, was skillfully constructed by the renowned engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The village itself derived its name from a ford that was connected to the ancient Fosse Way, as documented in a tenth-century Saxon charter pertaining to the local manor. The Fosse Way continues to serve as the boundary of the parish, preserving its historical significance.
In close proximity to the river crossing lies the site of a Roman villa, where the hypocaust system was discovered during the mid-seventeenth century by John Aubrey's Monumenta Britannica. Additionally, near Bathford, on the opposite side of the river, there exists a spacious meadow known as Horselands, which folklore suggests served as a training ground for Roman cavalry. More recently, the area encompassed by Ostlings Lane and the Bradford Road (A363) was utilized as a residence for spare horses employed in hauling mail coaches up Bathford Hill. These horses would then return to the field, awaiting their next scheduled coaching duties. Interestingly, some long-standing residents of Bathford continue to refer to Ostlings Lane as Horses Lane, although the precise connection between the two areas remains somewhat uncertain.
Historical records, such as the ancient charter Codex Diplomaticus Aevi Saxonici, describe the manorial parish of Bathford consisting of three distinct tithings or quasi-manors: Bathford situated in the center, Shockerwick to the north, and Warleigh to the south. These boundaries closely align with the present-day demarcations. Until the seventeenth century, this manor was known as Forde, owing its name to the ford that traverses the By Brook, connecting Bathford with the neighboring Batheaston area.
The aforementioned Roman villa, with its opus tesselatum flooring composed of small stones in various colors—white (hard chalk), blue (liasse), and red (fine brick)—was discovered underground during excavation work conducted in 1655 on the grounds of Mr. Skreene. The villa's floor exhibited a blue bird at its center, though somewhat disproportionate, and a knot-like design adorned each of the four corners. The Abbey of Bath originally held ownership of this site and the surrounding manor. Beneath the floor, water sources were found, adding to the intrigue of the location. The floor itself was supported by stone pillars, spaced at regular intervals, upon which plank stones were laid prior to the installation of the opus tesselatum. Due to the high influx of visitors, particularly from Bathe, Mr. Skreene eventually decided to re-cover the site to protect his grounds. Prior to the closure, however, Mr. Skreene's daughter-in-law meticulously embroidered a detailed depiction of the entire floor in gobelin stitch. Notably, Mr. Skreene mentioned the existence of an adjacent untouched floor.
Bathford, once part of the Bath Forum hundred, boasts a rich historical tapestry, deeply intertwined with the legacy of the Great Western Railway. Bathford Halt, a railway station in the vicinity, ceased operations in 1965, marking the end of an era Bathford has been formally twinned with Artannes-sur-Indre
in France since 2005..