The Parish

The History Group covers the boundary of Bitton Parish Council and includes five villages – Bitton, Oldland Common/North Common, Swineford, Upton Cheyney/Beach and Willsbridge.


The Romans had a camp at Bitton on a route known as Via Julia between Bath (Aqua Sullis) and Sea Mills (Abona). The parish church of St Mary’s has had great local importance, serving an extensive parish that extended to Hanham and part of Kingswood. It was an industrial area with brass mills, paper mills and engineering works.

For much more information visit the -> Bitton Page

Oldland Common/North Common

At the time of the Domesday Book Aldeland consisted of a manor house with an under tenant, 1 villager and 2 slaves, in the ownership of the Bishop of Exeter. By the end of the eighteenth century hat making surpassed coal mining as the largest employment, but declined by the mid nineteenth century. Oldland Common station opened in 1935, closed in 1966, but then reopened in 1991 by Avon Valley Railway

For much more information visit the -> Oldland Common/ North Common Page

Bitton Parish 1842 from an Illustration from HT Ellacombe's History of Bitton Parish
Bitton Parish 1842 from an Illustration from HT Ellacombe's History of Bitton Parish

Upton Cheyney/Beach

In the 13C the village of Upton Cheyney was part of the Barony of Berkeley estate, then owned by Henry le Chaum, when it became named as Upton Chaum. The Bassett family built Upton House in 1608. It later came into the ownership of Brice Seede, after whom Seede Farm was named. Edward Parker purchased the estate which consisted of most of Upton Cheyney in 1701 and his family became the dominant local family for the next 245 years.

More information on Upton Cheyney:

Reminiscences of Upton Cheyney by DDR Norman


The late Jack Allen recalls his childhood in Upton Cheyney ->MY CHILDHOOD AND UPTON CHEYNEY

PIPLEY BROOK in the 1920 by Jim Allen


Swineford first came into being as a crossing point for the river Avon which was tidal and often flooded. Legend has it that it was here that Bladud, son of a local king, was banished because of leprosy. He spent his time tending pigs, and found that the mud cleared the disease.

Swineford; photo courtesy Paul Townsend
Swineford; photo courtesy Paul Townsend


Willsbridge Castle was built c1730. Willsbridge Mill was built in the 1830s and was a working mill for iron-rolling in the 18th century And then a grist (feed) mill until 1968, and in 1984, it was restored for Avon Wildlife Trust’s Willsbridge Valley Nature Reserve. A dramway was built in 1829 to cart coal from Coalpit Heath and other local pits to Londonderry Wharf on the Avon.