Oldfield Park is an area of Bath rarely featured in the city’s history. “In the late 19th century, there was a building boom in Bath to rival the activity in the Regency period. At the time, the city council was involved in improving civic amenities so private investment in speculative building financed extensive suburban housing developments. Desirable detached and semi detached residences on the outskirts of the city centre were widely advertised in the 1880’s and 1890’s” (taken from The History of Bath by Graham Davis & Penny Bonsall). “During the late 18th century Bath changed from “a genteel spa town to a place of commerce and industry” (Bath – Michael Forsyth). The farm fields of the lower southern slopes of the city started to be covered over by housing from 1873 (Upper Oldfield Park villas) and continued through the 1880’s (Oldfield Park became a “popular location for meeting the housing needs of Bath’s railway and Post Office clerks” – Davis & Bonsall). The name “Oldfield Park” is taken from the road names of what is now Upper and Lower Oldfield Park – at the time of building, the rest of the area came under various sub districts of the Twerton ward.
Having always been fascinated by the origins of road names, some exploration of the more local roads to our Oldfield Park office has led to the following postulations. There are certainly some potential themes identifiable –for example places of worship, standing stones, Roman settlement and the American Civil War – that tie some of the names together. Equally, there are road names seemingly completely unconnected to neighbouring addresses. It is quite possible that the builders may well have chosen names peculiar to their interests at the time! Anyway, see what you think of our findings and do let us know your thoughts.
We have not included information on the following roads; King Edward Rd and Coronation Avenue (both built at the time of Edward VII’s succession to the throne), First/Second/Third Avenues, Triangle East/West/North/Villas (too easy and even more obvious when viewed from above!)
Possibly named after Anthony Ashley Cooper, the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury. Lord Shaftesbury became a Tory MP in 1826, and almost immediately became a leader of the movement for factory reform. He was largely responsible for the Factory Acts of 1847 and 1853, as well as the Coal Mines Act of 1842 and the Lunacy Act of 1845. Serving as MP for Bath between 1847 and 1851, Lord Shaftesbury is more popularly commemorated by the Shaftesbury Memorial in Piccadilly Circus, London, erected in 1893, which is crowned by Alfred Gilbert’s aluminium statue of Anteros as a nude, butterfly-winged archer. This is officially titled The Angel of Christian Charity, but has become popularly, if mistakenly, known as Eros.
Alternatively, the road may be named after Shaftesbury in Dorset, one of the oldest and highest towns in England. Shaftesbury, like Bath, is an abbey town.
Winchester (archaically known as Winton and Wintonceastre) is a historic cathedral city and former capital city of England. It is the county town of Hampshire, in South East England. The city is located at the western end of the South Downs, along the course of the River Itchen. Winchester developed from the Roman town of Venta Belgarum.
Canterbury is an historic English cathedral city in Kent in South East England. It lies on the River Stour. Originally a Brythonic settlement, it was renamed Durovernum Cantiacorum by the Roman conquerors in the 1st century AD. After it became the chief Jutish settlement, it gained its English name Canterbury, itself derived from the Old English Cantwareburh (“Kent people’s stronghold”). After the Kingdom of Kent’s conversion to Christianity in 597, St Augustine founded an episcopal see in the city and became the first Archbishop of Canterbury. Thomas Becket’s murder at Canterbury Cathedral in 1170 led to the cathedral becoming a place of pilgrimage for Christians worldwide. This pilgrimage provided the theme for Geoffery Chaucer’s 14th-century literary classic The Canterbury Tales. The literary heritage continued with the birth of the playwright Christopher Marlowe in the city in the 16th century.
There are three villages in the UK called Arlington, of which Arlington in Gloucestershire is known for being the ancestral home of John Custis II, who emigrated to the Colony of Virginia and named his palatial four-story brick mansion (built in 1675) in Northumberland County, Virginia, “Arlington” after this town. Arlington would be abandoned after just 50 years, but the name would be used by his great-great-grandson, George Washington Parke Custis, as the name for his large Arlington Estate on the south shore of the Potomac River near what is now Washington, D.C. Arlington Estate would later be owned by American Civil War General Robert E. Lee (himself a descendant of James I) and today is known as Arlington National Cemetery.
The name is derived from Ar(copper) el(people) ington(fortified village on a hill) so becomes “The people of the copper fortified village on the hill” presumably where copper and bronze were processed.
David Livingstone (19 March 1813 – 1 May 1873) was a Scottish Congregationalist pioneer medical missionary with the London Missionary Society and an explorer in Africa. His meeting with H. M. Stanley gave rise to the popular quotation, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”
Perhaps one of the most popular national heroes of the late 19th century in Victorian Britain, Livingstone had a mythic status, which operated on a number of interconnected levels: that of Protestant missionary martyr, that of working-class “rags to riches” inspirational story, that of scientific investigator and explorer, that of imperial reformer, anti-slavery crusader, and advocate of commercial empire
Stanley Road West
Sir Henry Morton Stanley, GCB, born John Rowlands (28 January 1841 – 10 May 1904), was a Welsh journalist and explorer famous for his exploration of Africa and his search for David Livingstone. Stanley participated reluctantly in the American Civil War, first joining the Confederate Army and fighting in the Battle of Shiloh in 1862. After being taken prisoner he was recruited at Camp Douglas, Illinois by its commander, Col. James A. Mulligan, as a “Galvanized Yankee” and joined the Union Army on 4 June 1862, but was discharged 18 days later due to severe illness. Recovering, he served on several merchant ships before joining the Navy in July 1864. On board the Minnesota he became a record keeper, which led to freelance journalism. Stanley and a junior colleague jumped ship on 10 February 1865 in New Hampshire, in search of greater adventures. Stanley thus became possibly the only man to serve in the Confederate Army, the Union Army, and the Union Navy.
Beckhampton is a village in Wiltshire in the parish of Avebury. The Beckhampton Avenue is a curving prehistoric avenue of stones that ran broadly south west from Avebury towards The Longstones at Beckhampton. It probably dates to the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age.
St Kildas Road
The archipelago of St Kilda, the remotest part of the British Isles, lies 41 miles (66 kilometres) west of Benbecula in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. Its islands with their exceptional cliffs and sea stacks form the most important seabird breeding station in north-west Europe. The five islands are called Hirta, Soay, Boreray, Dun and Levenish. There is no saint called Kilda and it is surmised that the islanders pronunciation of Hirta as “Hilta”, leading to misunderstandings with early visitors and misnaming of the islands as “Kilta” or Kilda.
The village of Faulkland lies just south of Norton St Philip in Somerset and is the site of several standing stones of unknown origin. Like the Beckhampton Avenue, these stones (two of which have been re-used as mountings for village stocks) may well date from the early Bronze Age. Today’s visitors may also enjoy a trip to Faulkland’s lavender farm.
Melcombe Regis is an area of Weymouth in Dorset, England. Situated on the north shore of Weymouth Harbour and originally part of Radipole, it seems only to have developed as a significant settlement and seaport in the 13th century. It received a charter as a borough in 1268. Melcombe was one of the first points of entry of the Black Death into England in the summer of 1348. (The disease was possibly carried there by infected soldiers and sailors returning from the Hundred Years’ War, or from a visiting spice ship.)The two boroughs, Melcombe on the north shore and Weymouth on the south, were joined as a double borough in 1571, after which time the name Weymouth came to serve for them both. The port was a significant embarcation point for early settlers to the New World. The friary at Melcombe Regis was the last Dominican house established in England in 1418.
Melcombe Horsey (“milk valley well watered place with horses”) parish lies 10 miles North East of Dorchester and is the site of Higher Melcombe Manor, a grade 1 listed manor house of Elizabethan origins (built around 1570 by Sir John Horsey, High Sheriff of Dorset).
Monk’s Dale (a dry tributary valley of the Wye) is a National Nature Reserve in the heart of the Peak District in Derbyshire. A limestone dale rich in wildflowers, this is a popular trekking haunt. The reserve consists of five separate limestone valleys – Lathkill, Cressbrook, Monk’s, Long and Hay.
Ringwood is a historic market town and civil parish in Hampshire, England, located on the River Avon, close to the New Forest and north of Bournemouth. It has a history dating back to Anglo-Saxon times, and has held a weekly market since the Middle Ages.
Ringwood is recorded in a charter of 961, in which King Edgar gave 22 hides of land in Rimecuda to Abingdon Abbey. The name is also recorded in the 10th century as Runcwuda and Rimucwuda. The second element Wuda means a ‘wood’; Rimuc may be derived from Rima meaning ‘border, hence “border wood.” The name may refer to Ringwood’s position on the fringe of the New Forest, or on the border of Hampshire. William Camden in 1607 gave a much more fanciful derivation, claiming that the original name was Regne-wood, the “Regni” (or Regnenses) being an ancient people of Britain.
The name “Lyndhurst” is an Old English name, meaning ‘Wooded hill growing with lime-trees’. The name comprises the words lind (‘lime-tree’) and hyrst (‘wooded hill’). The village of Lyndhurst in Hampshire is the administrative centre of the New Forest and a royal desmesne dating from 1270.
Lyndhurst Road in Oldfield Park was constructed from 1895 (the first ten even numbered houses). The odd numbered homes were occupied from 1896. The Twerton Co-operative Society had a branch at No’s 16 and 18. The full road, to No54, was completed by 1900.
The 1839 Twerton on Avon Parish map shows field names in the Oldfield Park area, one of which is Mill Mead. Mead (Middle English mede, from Old English mæd) is a pre 12th century term for meadow. There are numerous watercourses running from the upper slopes of Southdown and, although the parish map does not show a specific building on the field, this would have been a logical spot for a mill given it was at the bottom of the slope and close to the main traffic routes to Twerton village/River Avon.
Another mystery potentially solved from the 1839 Oldfield parish map – A field close to the present day position of Maybrick Road was called “Crandles Field”. Moving forward to the 1880’s, parish maps then show “Crandales Nursery” occupying much of the present day Moorland Road area.
Bellott is an ancient Norman name and, after 1066, the Bellott family first lived in Cheshire (Moreton on the Wirral Peninsula, granted to Bellot of Callouville). Originally, the name was a variation of the Old French “belleau” (good water).
Maybrick & Mayfield Roads
In 1883, Thomas Delabere May purchased land adjacent to Dartmouth Avenue and,in 1887 set up works there that would be named the Victorial Brick and Tile Co when that company bought the works from Thomas May in 1890. A railway siding (called Mays Siding) was created in 1888 off the Somerset & Dorset railway to serve the works. This was one of three brickworks in the Oldfield Park area (the others being Sinnots works in the Shaftesbury/Arlington Rd area and Charles Hardings on the Sandpits/Monksdale Rd site). Whilst commenters have suggested Maybrick Rd is named after Sir Gelly Meyrick, I would suspect the simpler explanation is that both Maybrick and Mayfield Rds are named after Thomas May and the industry he founded in the area..
Claude Avenue, Claude Terrace, Lymore Avenue and Herbert Road
During the course of this research, I have been told by several older local Oldfield residents that some of these roads were named after children of Thomas May. I have not yet had time to search census records to confirm or deny this but any assistance would be gratefully recieved! I also note the following information from the Lymore estate in Powys – Lymore Park was an ancient house, rebuilt in 1675 for Edward Herbert, 3rd Lord Herbert of Chirbury.
Additional information re Lymore Avenue – 1883 Oldfield Park maps show the address as Limer Lane and thus the name may relate to lime kilns?