The OPC Project concept was the original idea of family historians in Cornwall who launched the first OPC project; Devon and Dorset followed next, and there are several now more counties taking part. The idea is to assist those who are researching their family history in a specific parish who might otherwise have difficulty accessing information at record offices, etc. The Wiltshire OPC Project began tentatively in 2006 and has grown from strength to strength. Information is organised by the historic Church of England parishes within the county. Although there is a strong focus on genealogical information, we also include historical and social information. All parishes have been registered as one-place studies. We now have a diary page which will be updated from time to time. You can also follow us on Twitter and on Facebook Put a face to the name - meet your OPC Team
A little information about using our website.
As mentioned previously information is laid out within parishes. There is also a page to cover the whole of the county and also a military page which relates to the county as a whole. There are also pages for research inquiries and other general information just explore the drop down menus at the top of the page. Most pages follow a set layout to assist you in finding information quickly under categories which have a set order. The Categories are Neighbouring Parishes (Contiguous); Websites; Parish Church; Parish History; Buildings & Land; Crime & Legal Matters; Directories; Education; Emigration & Migration; Employment & Business; Miscellaneous Items; Non Conformity & Other Places of Worship; People & Parish Notables; Poor Law, Charity & The Workhouse; Probate; War, Conflict and Military. Under Transcriptions at the bottom of the page can be found any Baptisms, Marriages, Burials & Census that have been completed. Categories will contain sub headings but these should be selective and contain a series of documents of the same kind such as parishioners wills. The documents themselves will normally follow a layout of oldest items first reading from left to right in columns of 3 or 4 items per row. The documents are linked to a pdf format and the title should be descriptive but concise so that you can see what you are likely to find within. Where there is a tithing or hamlet that has a fair amount of information these will have a tab (page) within that parish towards the end of the page. Photo Galleries can be found by following the links on parish pages or by accessing the main gallery section at the top of the page. The most recent parishes or items updated or expanded can be found by clicking on the images under the 3 headings towards the top of the home page. Also if you are looking for something specific such as the First World War it is possible to find a list of such items by using the search facility at the top of the page by keying in WWI.
Although most items are published on parish pages please also check the Wiltshire Additional Parish Page, Wiltshire County Wide Page, Wiltshire Military Page and the Nationwide Page. All of these may contain additional information not published on a parish page.
Due to the nature of the project some pages will hold more information than others. New items are being added to the site daily.
As you can see from the Memorial Days Section to the right of the page we are adding as many soldiers memorial days as we can. If anyone knows of soldiers whose deaths are not yet listed please let the admin team know.
What is an OPC?
An OPC (on-line parish clerk) is a volunteer member of the public who "adopts" a parish in Wiltshire becoming its custodian. The OPC is then able to research the parish and transcribe historical and genealogical information for that particular parish which may be of value to family history researchers and social historians. Our motto is "What may or may not be of interest to you, will be of interest to others". This information is gathered from many different sources, for example, parish registers, census records, churchwardens and overseers accounts, historical wills, business and trade directories, church and village histories, newspaper reports, war casualty lists, etc. An on-line parish clerk should not be confused with a parish clerk engaged by a parish council or parochial church council.
Adopt a Parish and become an OPC
firstly, you don't need to live in Wiltshire, or even in the UK, to become an OPC. We have OPC's in Australia, Canada, Holland, England, New Zealand, India, Scotland and several in Wiltshire itself! Some OPC's choose to adopt a particular parish because their ancestors hailed from that village or town or because they once lived there themselves; some just want to be part of a voluntary project to help family history researchers worldwide. Others choose their parish because of a subject interest such as Australian Soldiers of WWI buried in the county.
You may feel you don't have the time to adopt a parish, but you can still support the Wiltshire OPC project by:-
- donating information you may have at home - school photographs, directories, village history booklets - in fact, any historical information on a Wiltshire parish
- transcribing - we can email records to you to transcribe at home at your own pace
- taking photographs in Wiltshire - war memorials, buildings, village scenes, plaques, etc.
If you would like to help with any of the above please contact the OPC of the parish you can help with or if the parish is vacant, contact our Administrator. Please note that you will need to register and sign in to contact OPC's/Administrator (via the Contact Us tab at the top of this page)
Bradford-on-Avon - Parish of the Week
"BRADFORD ON AVON, (or Great Bradford), a parish and market town, in the hundred of Bradford, in the county of Wilts, 8 miles to the S.E. of Bath, 30 miles from Salisbury, and 102 miles W. from London by road, or 109 by railway. It is a station on the Great Western railway. The parish is situated on the banks of the river Avon, and the Kennet and Avon canal. It contains the chapelries of Atworth with South Wraxhall, Holt, and Winsley with Limpley Stoke, and the tythings of Leigh Woolley and Trowle. The name of this place signifies "broad ford", and is a contraction of the Saxon Bradenford. A battle is said to have been fought here in the 7th century, in which Cenwulf, king of the West Saxons, defeated the insurgents under his kinsman Cuthred. Early in the following century, about the year 705, a monastery was founded here by St. Aldhelm. At a later time the manor of Bradford was granted to the abbey of Shaftesbury. There is still a fine old barn, situated on the side of Grip Hill, called "Barton barn", which formerly belonged to the "Grange", or principal farm of the abbess of Shaftesbury. Bradford returned two members to parliament on one occasion during the reign of Edward I.; but has not since exercised the elective franchise. It still bears the appellation of the borough of Bradford; but whether it was ever incorporated, and had a separate jurisdiction, seems not to be determined. It is at present governed by the county magistrates, who meet here once a month. The situation of the town is pleasant and very picturesque. It stands on both banks of the Avon, which is crossed by two bridges of ancient date, one of nine, the other of four arches. The ground rises sharply from the north bank of the river, and the principal part of the town consists of three streets, or terraces, extending at different elevations along the hillside. The houses are mostly gable-fronted, built with stone, and roofed with the same material. The streets are generally narrow and irregularly built, though since the passing of the Bradford Improvement Act, in 1839, some attempt has been made to widen and improve them. The town is now lighted with gas, and has a good supply of water. There is much fine scenery in the neighbourhood, especially along the course of the Avon, on which are situated many respectable residences and several ancient mansions. Kingston House, once the residence of the celebrated Duchess of Kingston, has recently been restored in strict accordance with its original design, by the present proprietor, S. Moulton, Esq. Bradford is a noted seat of the woollen cloth manufacture, which was carried on here as early as the reign of Edward I. Many of the clothworkers invited over by Edward III. are said to have settled in this town; and in 1740 the manufacture of superfine broadcloth was greatly improved by Flemings, brought over by Anthony Methuen, the ancestor of the present Lord Methuen, of Corsham House. Its kerseymeres and fancy cloths are highly esteemed, the former fabrics being first made at this place. There are numerous factories on the banks of the Avon, in which many of the inhabitants are employed, and the Bethel quarries are extensively worked by Messrs. Rogers. By means of the Kennet and Avon canal, which passes close by the town, Bradford has water communication with London, Bath, and Bristol, and many important towns. In the town are a town hall and market-house (a handsome stone structure in the early English style lately erected), a savings-bank, and a gaol. It is the seat of a Poor-law Union, and the head of a County Court district. The Union poorhouse is at Westwood, 2 miles from Bradford. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Salisbury, of the value with the rectory of Westwood, of £602, in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Bristol. The church is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. It is a large and handsome building, which, though now chiefly in the perpendicular style of architecture, has traces left of the original Norman structure, and contains some fine marble monuments and two brasses. It has two modern stained-glass windows. Christ Church is a district church within the precincts of the town, built in 1840. It is a handsome structure in the perpendicular style, with a tower and lofty spire; the living of which is a perpetual curacy,* worth £150, and is in the gift of the vicar of the parish. There are chapels belonging to the Baptists, Independents, Unitarians, Countess of Huntingdon's Connection, and Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists. A free school for boys was founded and endowed in 1712 by Francis Smith, and further endowed subsequently by John Shawbridge. It has a revenue of about £50 per annum. There are also National, British, and infant schools, and two almshouses for aged men and women, with an endowment of £40 a year. They are of ancient date, and were partly founded by John Hall, a member of an old family of the town. The building now used as a gaol was anciently an oratory belonging to the monastery. A chapel formerly stood on the old bridge of nine arches. In the vicinity are several old seats, and numerous remains of ancient edifices, such as the Priory, Chantry House, Tory Hermitage, &c. Saturday is the weekly market day, and a corn and cattle market is held on alternate Tuesdays. Fairs are held on Trinity Monday, and the Monday after St. Bartholomew's Day. The latter is held at Leigh." [Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) - Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]
Bradford-on-Avon has an entry on Wikipedia, GenUKI, and Vision of Britain also feature this parish. There is a community history entry for this parish on the WSHC Website. Bradford-on-Avon also has its own community website. Being a very large town there are many interesting websites that can be found including those for the Museum and Tourist Information Centre.
The OPC is Rosalind Dunning. Ros is involved in transcribing many of the wills found on parishes pages across this website. This is a list of items transcribed for the parish. If anyone has any photographs, postcards or items of interest that they are willing to share then please contact Ros or any one of the administrators from the contact us drop down lists.
During July 2015 OPC's and transcribers uploaded 508 items to parish pages (including updated documents). New documents added as we go through August will be published here. New images are added to our galleries on a regular basis.
At the beginning of each month the site holdings list is updated to show what can be found on parish pages and elsewhere on the site at present we have over 16800 items on parish pages. Items highlighted in green have been updated; the original upload date is in the left hand column, the date when the item was uploaded with changes is in the right hand column.
The site currently has just under 1750 registered users and the web site has been visited over 214300 times.
* * * * * * * * * *
Copyright & Disclaimer
We think it is important that our users understand the strengths and limitations of this website. The OPC Project aims to provide historical and genealogical information without charge that researchers might pay a fee for elsewhere. OPC's voluntarily provide this information, often at their own expense by purchasing documents to transcribe. In most cases their transcriptions are not checked by anyone other than themselves.
Our OPC’s and volunteers are aware that material submitted for this site must be within copyright law and accreditation must be given where necessary. Our Administrator checks items as they are submitted, however, occasionally an item may ‘slip through the net.’ If this occurs, we apologise most sincerely and will correct the issue immediately upon notification.
We don't guarantee to be perfect! All information should be taken as a guide only and the original source consulted wherever possible. In many cases this will be the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre. Please note that some items are published to parish pages and are incomplete, such items will be updated as and when new information is transcribed. These are mainly ongoing projects such as the national probate index, strays index, etc.
Please note that OPC's are unable to undertake family history research for our users, but we are always willing, where possible, to advise where the information being sought might be found.
Researchers can leave compliments/comments/constructive criticism in the box at the foot of each parish page or in our guest book. You may also rate the page using the star option on each parish page. Thank you.