The town centre of Faringdon is divided into two separate areas as shown on the map – the Market Place (surrounding the Market Hall and extending up Church Street) and Cornmarket (a smaller area in front of the Corn Exchange).
In 1551 the centre of Faringdon was referred to as Highe Strete als [alias] Chepe Strete. Later it became Market Place presumably because the market, a Charter being granted by Henry III in 1218, was held there. Part of it on Church Street however was referred to as Port Well in deeds of the late 18th and early 19th C.
Faringdon Market Place surrounds the Market Hall and extends up Church Street as far as the corner at the church. Postal addresses usually follow this area rather than the actual road names found on standard maps.
The dotted line on the map shows the passage of a brook, which once divided Faringdon into the tithings of Port to the east, and Westbrook to the west. It used to be forded at this point but now passes under the road.
See Faringdon Streets for an indexed list of all streets in Faringdon.
See Market Place Shops & Businesses for a brief history of occupation
Views of The Market Place in the 18/1900s
1953 – Looking north from the Market Place, the Church can be seen at the top of the picture. On the right is #1 the Salutation Hotel with #2 Crowdy and Rose, solicitors, next door. Then comes #3 the butcher’s shop, owned at various times by Heavens, Boycott and Wright. Next is #4 the hardware and china shop owned by A. E. Lismore who also ran a converted bus to sell goods and paraffin to the outlying villages. The last building on the right is #5 the Community Centre. This had been the County of Gloucester Bank but was given to the town by Lord Faringdon for a peppercorn rent to be used as an ex-serviceman’s club. Opposite is #26 the corner of Portwell House which was formerly the Angel Inn and Post Office.
1880s – Looking down the east side of the Market Place from near the church. From the left is Pettifer, the builder’s. Next comes a barber’s, shown by the barber’s pole outside the shop. Under the overhang was a sweet shop where the lady owner would serve customers through the window but wouldn’t allow them inside. These three buildings were demolished in 1890 and replaced with #1 the Salutation Hotel and #2 now occupied by Crowdy & Rose Solicitors. The four white squares above the ground floor windows of #5 the Pump House are where the letters BANK were chiselled out when the County of Gloucester Bank moved there. The building was then used as offices by the Eagle Brewery followed by a club for ex-servicemen before becoming the Community Centre. The building where there is a protruding window was Liddiard’s grocery stores (???). The Portwell can be seen on the right-hand side.
c.1880s – Further down the east side of Market Place with London Street on the right. The entrance to Haines’ premises, who was a solicitor and also ran a postal lending library, was the doorway that can be seen just in London Street. From the left is #7 George Ernest, grocer and bacon curer; #7a Liddiard, grocer; #8 the County of Gloucester Bank; #9 Lay, baker and confectioner; #10 Cooper, Chymist . Most of these buildings had a separate passageway, from the Market Place, to gain access to the living accommodation, plus one from Swan Lane to the buildings used for the storage of goods and the stabling of horses.
1986 – On the far left of the photo, on the corner of London Street is #10 Market Place, which was then occupied by Cheltenham & Gloucester Building Society. Crossing over London Street is #11-12 Market Place, immediately to the left of the Bell Inn. This was Mortons in the year of its closure. It was a shop selling an assortment of goods bicycles, clothes, haberdashery and toys. It was well known that you could go into Swindon to buy something, fail to get it and come back to Mortons and find it. Previously this belonged to Wilkes (draper). The shop was then split into two, Faringdon Travel on the left and Blockbuster Video on the right. The shop to the left of Mortons is #2 London Street. It looks empty here and must be in the process of being converted from Baileys shoe shop to John Maxwell Hairdressers at this time.
c1913 – The Town Hall has had a chequered history and at one time was used as a lock-up for prisoners awaiting trial. The fire engine was kept underneath. Note the wooden framework on the side which was used for drying the hoses and the bell on the roof used for summoning the firemen. The Church bier was stored there and, during WWII, it was commandeered by the army for accommodating soldiers. In recent times it has variously been a meeting room, a library and finally a Red Cross Charity shop. The bell hanging outside the Bell Hotel can just be seen on the left of the picture. The gas lamps are hanging outside the draper’s shop. Further down on the left, at the junction with Southampton Street, is #14 Pocock, tailor, which later became part of Barclay’s Bank. Visible across the junction with Marlborough Street to the left of the Town Hall is #22 Ann’s Garage. It used to be Joseph Newman (blacksmith) from 1877. The building was demolished and replaced in 1910 to build the garage. Later it was taken over by Busby, newsagents, and has changed ownership but not use four times since.
* The saga of a Bailey Bridge in The Narrows. A firm had been laying a telephone cable and, in so doing, had damaged the old brick culvert taking the stream under the A420 through Faringdon. Sewage drains also went under the road and there was seepage of water and sewage. To inspect these pipes, use was made of TV cameras (one of the first times this happened) to discover what the damage was. It was found that bricks had collapsed from the brick culvert and were blocking the drains. At this time there was a lot of traffic passing through Faringdon; lorries from Pressed Steel were passing every two minutes, in addition to other traffic. The traffic could not be diverted or the road closed so it was decided to ask the army for help. The Ghurkas were given the job of erecting a Bailey Bridge over the road so that traffic could continue to use it while work carried on underneath. The road was closed from 6 p.m. on Saturday evening and re-opened at noon on the Sunday. The first vehicle to use it was the 2 p.m. bus from Oxford driven by Norman Skinner. The bus became stuck on the crown of the bridge as the incline was too steep, and had to be towed off. The incline was reduced and the traffic began to flow. However, the bridge was wide enough for two cars but not for two lorries, so traffic lights had to be put there because of the chaos caused with both traffic and pedestrians using the bridge. The work was completed in a week and then the bridge was removed.