Paintings, Clocks and Books
The Axbridge Town Trust also owns a number of paintings, mainly of former officials of the Corporation, the Axbridge Workhouse and the Axbridge Rural District Council. Most are only of local interest, but a picture of a member of the Fry family, plus one of his wife, who both lived in Axbridge, are included – and very rustic they look! All of the oil paintings in the Trust’s ownership have been recently restored.
One particular painting, however, is very different from the others. This is the Lady Day (March 25th) Fair picture, also known as The Hiring Fair, which took place in the open air on four days around Lady Day. This picture was painted in 1730 or before and gives a wonderful insight into life at that time in Axbridge Square.
It has been used as a basis for cross curricula studies in a number of local schools recently, in a project known as Take One Picture and was enjoyed by both pupils and teachers.
A number of bound volumes of Parliamentary papers and Statutes from the time of Queen Anne and the Georgian period were given to the Corporation by one of its former Mayors. Presumably the Corporation continued to purchase additional papers, but although some were rather more crudely bound, others were left unbound and were thrown in a cupboard where they have been ever since. Other volumes contain information relating to Justices of the Peace, as Axbridge held a Court in the Town Hall until a new Court House was built behind the Police Station after WWII.
One is on display above the balcony of the Town Hall. This was made when the Town Hall was made by Thomas Williams between 1790 and 1800.
The other is a grandfather clock (pictured) made by a member of the Maggs family and is from the 18th century.
Clockmaking in Axbridge was first documented around 1720 and there were a number of well known makers in the Town throughout the 18th century