Bradley Village & Parish History
The Domesday Book was commissioned in December 1085 by William the Conqueror, who invaded England in 1066. The first draft was completed in August 1086 and contained records for 13,418 settlements in the English counties south of the rivers Ribble and Tees (the border with Scotland at the time).
As you can see from the extract below, Bradley is mentioned and at that time the highest ranking official would have probably been Bishop Odo of Bayeux. Odo held land down as far as Kent and was reported to be a tyrant. He was a confidante of William the Conqueror and can be seen advising the King on the Bayeux tapestry.
|Place Name:||Bradley, Lincolnshire|
|Folio:||343r Great Domesday Book|
|People mentioned within entire folio:||Aelfric; Algar; Erik; Eskil; Eudo fitzSpirewic; Gamal; Guthmund; Ilbert, man of Odo, Bishop of Bayeux; Ketilbert; Losoard, man of Odo, Bishop of Bayeux; Odbert; Odhgrim; Othenkar; Swein; Thorulf; Tosti; Ulfgrimr; Wadard, man of Odo, Bishop of Bayeux; Wulfmaer; Wulfstan.|
The name Bradley is reported to mean ‘broad wood’ or ‘wide clearing’ and dates before the Vikings established the port of Grimsby (originally Grim’s by). In the Domesday Book Bradley, Laceby and Scartho are all listed together. During the 13th century Ralph of Bradley was paid to build King John a castle in Grimsby but there are no records that the castle was ever built or even started (Gillet’s History of Grimsby). It is likely that during the 14th century the ‘Black Death’ dramatically reduced the population and there is evidence of an old village site to the South of the present Manor house. Bradley Woods and Dixon Woods were favourite haunts for the Mayor of Grimsby and the Burgess where they would hunt for boar. At this time during the late middle ages the woods would have covered a much greater acreage than today and the noblemen would have raced up and down the ‘rides’ chasing boar.
The people of Bradley used to supply the boar for the Mayor’s banquets and this is reflected in the coat of arms of Grimsby and Bradley which both display boar’s heads. The story that Henry VIII hunted in the woods when he visited Thornton Abbey in the 1540′s has never been substantiated.
St. George’s church lies at the heart of the village and is the oldest surviving part of the original medieval village. The base of the tower which has Norman features and this dates from the 12th century. During the 13th century most of the church tower was built including the slit windows near the top. The porch is 14th century as is the window on the South side of the chancel. The font is from the same period although it has been heavily recut over the years, it is renowned for the rhyme inscribed on it ‘Pater noster, ave Maria and creide leren ye chylde yt es nede’. (emphasising the importance of teaching children to say their prayers). During the 18th century the whole of the North side was pulled down. During the 19th century the box pews, plastering and panelling were completed and the roof also dates from this period.
During the early 20th century the two stained glass windows were put in. The East window is in memory of a former vicar, the North window is in memory of the famous ‘Tickler’ family who lived at Bradley Manor and owned an international jam and preserve making company that at its height employed 2000 people across the Common Wealth. The window contains Latin text with the letter ‘I’ in the word ‘Iam’ being changed to a ‘J’ to make it look like Jam.
Many myths surround Bradley Woods and one such myth talks about the ghost of ‘The Black Lady’ who died in the woods after her husband had left her to go to war with Lord Yarborough’s army. Their cottage was ransacked and her child was taken and it is said that she can be seen at night wearing a black cloak wandering through the woods. In 1988 the woods became a Local Nature Reserve and the 40 acres are now home to many animals and birds as well as swathes of Blue Bells, Red Campions and Wood Anemonies.
Bradley Manor and adjacent land changed hands on a number of occasions during the 16th and 17th centuries and the present manor house was built in the 1680′s. The land was ‘enclosed’ and made suitable for for the start of the modern agricultural era but only 11 families lived in the parish in the 1720′s (Ellis & Crowther’s Humber Perspectives).
The start of a modern census system in the mid-19th century recorded nineteen houses in Bradley village occupied by farmers and agricultural labourers. A new rectory was built in 1849 after ecclesiastical reform and the village also had a grocer at this time.
Some of the surnames registered as living in the village were :- Phillipson, Gooseman, Richardson and Kirk.
During the early 1900′s Bradley estate was sold for £35,500 and Grimsby Borough bought what is now known as Bradley Pitches. Originally this land was wanted for a future cemetery.
Most of the 60 or so houses in the present day village (not including the Manor or the Rectory) were built after WWII. The cottages on the left at the entrance to Church Lane were built during 1947/8 and at that time were occupied by farm labourers. The cottages originally all had a pig sty at the bottom of the garden and a small room in the house downstairs that was used as a slaughter room for despatching and hanging the carcases. There are properties within the village that have had the hand of the famous 20th century female landscape gardener Gertrude Jeykll design part of their grounds but their identity remain confidential.
The Parish Council meet every 8 weeks unless special planning issues require an extra-ordinary meeting. We have 6 councillors with a wide selection of professional skills from Bank Manger to Architect and Accountant to Translator.
For further information related to St. Georges Church please contact Canon Mullins firstname.lastname@example.org