HAS STRATTON ALWAYS BEEN MORE IMPORTANT THAN BUDE?


It was once said that Stratton was more important than Bude. When I say important, I mean that the place in general needs to have these 7 factors: a social centre, a religion centre, a work centre, a population centre, a local government, a trade and industry centre and of course; a law and justice centre. Stratton had all of these, such as: the public houses, the churches, the shops, the local and regular fairs, the use of the church houses, the leather and garlic industry and the clink door. All of these factors were found in the history of Stratton. When I say always, I mean I write only on the basis that I can see or find out the evidence, such as written evidence and physical evidence.


Stratton is believed by many to have been a place of some note in Roman times. The name Stratton signifies a thoroughfare town of Roman times; the Anglo – Saxons, gave the name to such towns. Others believe that Stratton took its name from the river Strat that runs through it. In this example, Stratton could be taken could be taken to mean town (“ton”) or settlement, on the river (“Strat”). However, Henderson and Coates found that the true name of the river was Neat. The name Stratton seems to have been first used in the Domesday Survey 1086, and was probably adopted due to the original name, Stratneat; “neat” refers to the river and “strat” from “Strata”, meaning a paved route. This means that for Stratton to exist in Roman times, it was an important settlement. At this point, Bude didn’t exist.


Stratton became quite famous for it’s garlic, it grows wild there, and it was sold in fairs and markets. It was an important feature of medicine and the diet. Garlic was such a large industry, that a street was devoted only in the manufacturers. It was named “Spicers Lane”. In Pigot’s Directory, 1844, it displays 11 grocers, a main source for garlic to be purchased, 2 of these grocers were in Bude, then 10 grocers (one of the grocers worked in both Bude and Stratton) worked in Stratton, making it an obvious importance.


Garlic wasn’t only the trade attraction, Stratton was also well known for its leather. Referring back to Pigot’s Directory, there are traces of 8 boot and shoemakers, 6 of which were in Stratton; the other 2 were in Bude. This shows that more leather was used there, due to a bigger population.


It was once thought that there were 14 pubs in Stratton in the last century, but this is now considered unlikely, due to the thought of people brewing beer in their own houses, then selling it. Using Slater’s Directory, 1852 – 1853, it shows 11 Taverns and Public Houses. Eight of which were in Stratton, 2 in Bude, and one is in Marhamchurch. This shows that Stratton had an active social life.


Again, on Slater’s Directory, it lists only 3 surgeons, 2 of which were in Stratton. A cottage hospital was built in 1866, one of the first in England. A Medical Centre was built in 1978, but many alterations have taken place since then, it is now a lot bigger. This is now the only factor that Bude does not have.


Another aspect that shows that Stratton was once a very important place was the churches. One of the main churches is St. Andrews church, built in 1160. The evidence for this is the Norman stoup, arch stones and the date stone. Church House, built sometime in the 15th Century, was used when ale was occasionally brewed and sold to provide additional funds for the many calls on the parish.


In St Andrews, the town stocks and the old town clink door are preserved. The door is a reminder of the rough justice of an earlier date. Courthouses, which was were used for petty sessions, were converted to houses in 1985. The Second Court House, built in 1863, was joined by a Police Station, until 1954.


And finally, education; a primary school was built next to a wash house and a place where toffee apples were sold. That school is now closed, a new one was soon