Beginning of Yate

When many people think of Yate they think of the modern shopping centre, new housing estates and roundabouts and write it off as just another New Town. Yet, Yate boasts a rich heritage extending back 1300 years. Now read on…..

Before Yate

  • Historians believe that between 3-5,000 years ago late Neolithic and Bronze Age people cleared woodland around Yate to graze animals and grow crops.
  • Later, the Romans left their mark nearby.
  • Yate was close to a main Roman road.
  • Recent excavations at Hall End have uncovered a small Roman town.

Anglo-Saxon Origins of Yate

In Anglo-Saxon times, Yate (Gete, Geate or Giete meaning “gate”) was a small, cleared area in Kingswood Forest. A charter of 778AD, mentions Giete when Alfred, king of the Hwicce gave it to St. Mary’s Priory in Worcester. This charter may, however, be a forgery.

Kind Eadred of EnglandKing Eadred of England

Charter of King Edred (950AD)

Part of West Yate was included in a charter of King Edred (in 950AD). The boundary description says:

“First from Stone Ford to the Apple tree to the Hoar Stone and so to the Waterhens’ Pond, from the Waterhens’ Pond to Goose Pond to Stone Bank, from Stone Bank to the Gate of the Deerleap. From the Gate of the Deerleap along the enclosures to the oak, from the “Radeludan” Oak to Queen’s Bridge, from Queen’s Bridge to King’s Ride.”

A “ride” was/is a wide path cut through the woods. Stone Ford was on the River Frome near Stover and King’s Ride began near Westerleigh.

The Royal Forest of Kingswood

In Domesday Book, 1086, Yate was listed as an outlying part of the manor of Westbury-on-Trym and was still held by St. Mary’s, Worcester.

Area covered by the Royal Forest

Until 1228, the Forest of Kingswood extended from Bristol in the South to Huntingford (near Wotton-under-Edge) in the North and from the Severn estuary in the West to the brow of the escarpment through Hawkesbury, Old Sodbury, and Lansdown in the East (see Speed’s map, 1610).

Forest Law

Special Forest Laws protected animals and their environment, so it was illegal to hunt or clear new land without royal permission.

The Changing of the Law of the Forest

After 1228 (when Henry III “disafforested” most of the area in return for a large cash sum) local lords, could do as they wished (except in Kingswood Chase near Bristol). They could make parks to hunt in, clear land, cut and sell their own timber.

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Photos or Film from Yate's Past - If you own something of interest then contact Yate Heritage Centre.

Yate Heritage Centre, Church Road, Yate, Bristol BS37 5BG. Tel: 01454 862200

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