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.
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'.