A Modern Community with a Historic Past
Fairford is a modern, thriving community which has been formed by a long history. Its people, spirit and buildings still reflect that history, making it a very desirable place to live and work.
Fairford, first mentioned in written records in AD 850, gained its name from the Saxon “Fagrinfordia”, which means “fair” (easy to cross) ford. The ford was an ancient crossing place for the river Coln, before the town bridge was built in the 13th century. In 1787 the river was excavated, making it much deeper and narrower.
There is still a mill in the town, though no longer working. The river Coln which bi-sects the parish north to south was, and still is, known for its trout fishing. Inhabited since ancient times, there is considerable evidence around the parish of Iron Age, Roman and Saxon sites. See the Fairford History Society website for more details on the Mill.
There are three Scheduled Monuments within the vicinity of Fairford:
SAM459 Thornhill Farm, Extensive late Iron Age ranching/pastoral Complex SAM270 Tanners Field, Anglo-Saxon Cemetery (opposite Dynevor Terrace) SAM11505 South of Burdocks, Bronze Age hengiform barrow mound and ring ditch.
Further information on the above can be found from Gloucestershire Sites and Monuments Record at Gloucestershire County Council or www.gloscc.gov.uk/environment.
Still a Market Town
Fairford has been a market town since 1135, selling mostly cheese, milk, corn, livestock and wool. Its prosperity continued until the decline of the wool trade. Fairford’s position on the main road between Gloucester and London, and nearness to Oxford and Bristol made it an important coaching town in the 18th century. Many of the current public houses owe their existence to this development. Fine examples can be seen in The Bull, The Marlborough Arms and The White Hart (now residential).
The market had declined by the mid 1930’s and came to an end. Today there is a popular Wednesday traders’ market which opened in 1986. In 1873 the railway came to Fairford providing further prosperity to the market and it helped to supply the Fairford Gas and Coke Company. Cattle, sheep and pigs were sold at Fairford market until the First World War but by the 1930’s trade had declined and the markets ceased. A Wednesday traders market was revived in 1986 and is still popular today.
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