Today, we see Stratton as a small, residential, quiet backwater village, which is slightly overshadowed by, its so called “big brother” town, that is Bude.
But surprisingly, this is not has it has always been. In answering our question, we must determine whether the interpretation that “Stratton has always been more important than Bude” is correct, and if so, or not, discuss the relative information.
In this essay, I will talk about the sources of information I used to answer the question and my own knowledge of the site of Stratton itself.
I used many sources to find out the relevant facts about Stratton, that we needed to know in answering our question. The many sources range in age, reliability and helpfulness. Some of these included things like the Stratton town trail and the brief history of Stratton, which are quite new and reasonably accurate. But there were some older sources such as the famous Doomsday book, dated as far back as 1086, mentions Stratton being split into its own division called the Stratton Hundred.
Stratton being its own hundred shows it was quite a well populated place of great importance. Another piece of evidence we can use to prove this is the Stratton Tythe barn, which was used in order, to take a tenth of any produce that Stratton had, and have it given to the church. This shows that Stratton had enough food and other produce to give to the church, and still had enough for themselves and to sell for money, and therefore create a living.
According to the Doomsday Survey, Robert of Morton was given 293 manors in Cornwall alone, by his half brother William the conqueror, this proves that Cornwall was thought of very highly at this time. This proves that Cornwall in general was very important and had many thriving towns at the time, such as Stratton.
At this time the town of Stratton itself was very important because of its many significant commodities such as an open salt making works and a tannery.
From the early 16th century we knew as a busy market town with a thriving population,
The soil was very fertile so crops were easy to grow and bought in a lot of the towns income.
We can see by using the most important source ( the site of Stratton itself ) that the town has a lot of wild garlic, growing in the more secluded parts of the village, we can see from reading about the history of some of the road names, such as spicers lane, that Stratton was well known and praised on their thriving spice industry, that they could name a road after it.
Stratton was largely self governing and self sufficient.
By this time the town was brimming with workers, craftsmen and traders these people mostly had houses with workshops and steadings behind , which were accessible through covered cart ways, this also suggests that Stratton also had a lot of houses as well as shops, we can see that Stratton was well populated for needing such things. We can see this from reading Cyrus Redding’s illustrated itinerary (1842). The best source we could use was Stratton itself, this is because we can see from looking
Hannah Baldwin 10Sw
around that a lot of old houses and shops, still stand around Stratton.
At the time when Stratton was a thriving, lively, well populated town Bude in contrast was a ‘sand encombed’ retirement area.
In Cyrus Redding’s illustrated itinerary, he talks about going to a cafï¿½ a waitress says, when asked for a cup of tea from a teapot, “the urn is churning sir; we do not use kettles, like the Stratton people. Using this piece of information we can see that when Cyrus Redding wrote his itinerary, there was perhaps a bit of rivalry between Bude and Stratton, which could suggest that Bude could be “growing up” and is getting a higher status, and somewhat of a good reputation.
We can see that Stratton was once a very important place from looking at the sources.
These sources show that what is now a small, residential backwater used to be a thriving community.
Many sources are written but one very important source is the sit of Stratton itself, we know this is reliable because we have seen it for ourselves.
We saw a lot of important and useful evidence on our trip to Stratton.
Some of which was the use of the small windows and cob walls on some of the old buildings.
This shows that Stratton was around a long time before Bude because there is little evidence that Bude is an old settlement at all.
Some of the buildings in the middle of Stratton were made to look older but were actually reasonably new in comparison. This made some of the trying to date buildings a lot harder.
Also some of the older dated houses, had low big windows and we know by analysing the Stratton town map that these ( now houses ) were originally shops.
We saw many of these old shops in the village square and near the sanctuary area.
Also by looking at the town map we can see there are a few listed buildings,
We can check this by looking at the listed properties register.
There are other things we can do to check that Stratton was an old and a place of great importance.
We can do this by looking at the street names which were named after trade influences such as spicers lane which was named so because of the wild garlic and spice industry at the time.
Union hill was another influential road name, named so because of the workhouse that was erected at the top of the hill.
We know that Stratton’s trade was a big income for a lot of people then, but many were
workers, ale sellers and blacksmiths. We can see from the directories what people were working as from as far back as Robson’s (1840) to Kelly’s (1897).
This gives us a great insight into what people were working as at the time and also where they lived this was great to show how people were moving from Stratton to Bude.
Stratton when it was at its peak of population was an important place for things like religion and trade, which are important needs to somebody in that time living there.
We can see from backed up sources that there was once about 5 churches and cathedrals in Stratton.
Stratton seemed to be the full package, it had lots of housing, shops, churches, and a good trade network, so why did it happen?
When the canal was built in Bude that was the beginning of the end for Stratton’s diminish, and workers and tradesmen would move to
Bude to be closer to where the trade was. We can back up all this information using such sources a Stratton town trail.
Bude became more densely populated and was no longer a sandy retirement village.
Even until up about 20 years ago Stratton was still calling itself a town.
There was a big divide between Stratton and Bude at this time.
People thought that there was a big difference even though they are in such close quarters
People that lived in Bude started by this time to think they were a bit better than the people in
Stratton. There was an argument that happened between a waitress that was living in Bude and one of the author Cyrus Redding of the source An Illustrated itinerary of the country of Cornwall.
He disagreed with the Bude waitress about a tea kettle, she insulted ‘Stratton folk’ and he put her in her place.
This shows there was a bit of conflict between the two places.
Bude eventually became the place of work and trade.
So has Stratton always been more important than Bude?
The once divided communities have managed to merge themselves into one.
This is shown on a more recent source, the Bude and Stratton newspaper. There was always a big divide between Stratton and Bude, at first, Stratton and was well populated and had all the shops and the houses and Bude as the small quiet backwater village now they have changed roles and now Stratton is the retirement backwater and Bude has the majority of the population , but what used to be such a bug division is now not even thought of these two once very different places have over the years merged together somehow over time.