The Market House
Originally known as the Market House, the building, on the western end of the island of shops between Fore Street and Back Street, was used by the Lord of the Manor or his steward to control all the markets and fairs held in the town. Stallholders' fees and sales taxes were collected in it, and the lord held his court here for those breaking Fair or Market rules. When the first Market House was built, or by whom, is not known, but one was standing close to the church in 1673, with a garden adjoining, when it was mentioned in an indenture regarding a nearby house sale. The present site has never had room for a garden, being in the middle of the market square. In 1777, one George Cockram placed a public notice in the 29 December issue of the Sherbourne & Yeovil Mercury, apologising for having, on the 16th day of June last past with "some malicious and evil disposed persons [did] violently and with force of arms, destroy a market house which stood in the market place of Bampton belonging to Henry Arthur Fellowes Esq; Lord of that manor". Henry brought an action against George which, had it progressed, would have ruined George's family. Instead George agreed to pay suit and rebuild the market house on the same site at his own cost. The re-building had been completed by the date of the public notice.
It seems that the building was renewed again some 20 years later, for a plaque on the gable of the present building gives the year 1798. It is not known when the Market House ceased to function in that capacity, but in 1872 it was earmarked to become a library and reading room.
The annual fair itself has existed since Saxon times, and during the eighteenth century was still one of two, each held over three days. One was held in Whitsuntide, and the other which is the older of the two, on the three days around the feast of St. Luke, 18 October. It was in the middle of the ninteenth century when pony sales started, and until then the fair consisted of cattle, sheep, and poultry sales, and many other items which could not be produced at home, such as pots and pans, pottery and metalware, corn and flour, cloth, leather goods and the like.
In 1793 the following traders were in Bampton:
|Bye-Post Man||1||Tailors||2||Breeches Makers||1|
|Gardeners||1||Serge Makers||6||Lime Burners||1|
|Boot/Shoe Makers||3||Heel Makers||1||Millers||1|
It is uncommon for trades and professions to be included in deeds and the like, but apart from the breakdown above, the following have appeared in various documents in the years given; those above are included below. The Excise Office was in the present White Horse Inn.
|Andrew||John||Doctor of Medicine||1752|
|Bass||John||tailor||mid 18th century|
|Brewer||James||innkeeper Angel Inn||1767-1793|
|Burge||Hugh||plumber (=lead worker)||1762-1781|
|Glasse||Thomas||doctor of medicine||1752|
|Hill||Robert||yeoman||1733, 1751, 1770|
|Langdon||William||surgeon & man-midwife||1793|
|Marley||John||innkeeper Angel Inn||1792-1796|
|Oxenham||John the elder||yeoman||1702|
|Richards||Daniel son of Daniel & Sarah||soap boiler||1740|
|Stephens||Henry||apothecary, cornfactor, pedlar, dealer, chapman||1774|
|Surridge||James (James Hagley alias Surridge)||farmer||1712|
|Tackell||William||collier (=charcoal burner)||1750|
|Yeandall||Thomas (deceased)||publican Swan Inn||1780|
Little is known of the medical services in Bampton until the advent of directories in the 19th century, but from the above it seems that Bampton was well catered for. In 1782 Robert Browne was recorded as being the surgeon in the Workhouse.