St Nicholas (The Lock Up)


Some of the earliest evidence of habitation here comes from fragments of Roman settlements and discoveries from archaeological digs have revealed the remains of a large Roman Villa decorated with well preserved mosaic on the playing grounds of St Laurence School.

About this church

The town centre grew up around the ford across the river Avon. It was supplemented in Norman times by the stone bridge that still stands today and remains the natural focus of the town. The Norman side is upstream and has pointed arches, whereas the newer side has curved arches. Being a packhorse bridge originally, two of its 13th century arches are still intact these days.

The 'lock up' was added in the 17th century when the bridge was widened. There are different theories as to the original purpose of the 'lock up'. One being it was a tiny chapel dedicated to St Nicholas, whose emblem, the gudgeon, appears on the top of the weather vane. By the 1700's it was a jail known locally as 'the blind house'. It was usually occupied by drunks who were said to be 'under the fish and over the water'.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Social heritage stories

Visitors information

  • Bus stop within 100m
  • Level access to the main areas
  • On street parking at church
  • Parking within 250m
  • Café within 500m
  • Dog friendly
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

Other nearby churches


Saxon Church of St Laurence

Bradford on Avon was an important religious centre in Saxon times and St Laurence church is an ancient building, thought to be one of the most complete Saxon buildings still in existence.

Become a Friend of the National Churches Trust, for people who love church buildings!