Yate has all the hallmarks of a new town, with its residential developments and modern shopping centre.
However, Yate’s history has far more depth than may be expected, as there was a thriving town in the parish during Roman times, and a Saxon settlement was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. With a combination of modern film, rare archive photographs, maps and cine footage, you can now enjoy this new appraisal of how Yate has evolved through the centuries.
By the 13th century, there were three manors in Yate parish, the centres of which were at Yate Court, Stanshawes Court and Brinsham. The other great seat of local power was St Mary’s Church, whose surviving Norman architecture reveals that it had become established by the 12th century, although much of its appearance is the result of additions some 300 years later.
Farming has been at the heart of Yate life from Saxon times onwards, with crops, sheep and dairy farming all dominating the local economy at some stage. Mining, quarrying and the excavation of celestine then became significant in the Victorian age, as local industry was boosted by the opening of the Bristol and Gloucester railway in 1844. Then World War One brought modern industry to Yate, when an Aircraft Repair Depot was built on Station Road, leading to Parnalls and Newmans becoming huge employers in later years.
The last chapter in the Yate story saw a startling transformation from a small rural parish to a modern new town in the 1960s, resulting in its population quadrupling to over 20,000 by the dawn of the 21st century. Today, Yate continues to prosper, a thriving community with a great story to tell, and one that will surprise many.
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