We respect the integrity of our town’s history and will preserve Frome’s unique character

Historic Saxonvale

When you respect and preserve the history of a town, you preserve and respect its personality. The very thing that gives Frome its unique character. The thing that has brought an influx of new residents and new breath.

Preserving our history has many benefits, from improving our economy to becoming more environmentally conscious.

  • Weaving Frome’s old town wall through the proposed buildings 
  • Preserving Frome’s historic Merchants Barton
  • Residential Hill village designed in the style of Frome’s iconic Innox Hill 
  • The heights of buildings will be appropriate to Frome’s central district.

Saxonvale has a rich employment history, which made Frome the place it is today.

The Merchant’s Barton, Frome’s ‘Missing’ Barton

Originally three cottages stood at the eastern end of the Merchant’s Barton which were demolished by the engineering company, Notts Industries. Frome Society for Local Study marked the location of No.2 with a blue plaque where Alsie Seeley, (Lady Harris), an early anti-slavery campaigner lived between 1882-1888. The town’s several bartons, (a narrow passageway common to textile towns), are a protected part of Frome’s architectural treasures. After the Busmann-Cooper factory closed, Merchants Barton was annexed behind a steel barrier and became the ‘missing’ barton of Frome. 


Since 50% of the bartons curtilage is formed by the abattoir’s southern facade, Acorn’s total demolition of this area would bring about the destruction of half of all that remains of this historic pedestrian route.

Old Town Wall

This ancient and unregarded wall is an important architectural feature in Saxonvale. It runs from behind The Wheatsheaves on Bath Street, along Eagle Lane and Church Street making a boundary with the site of one of Frome’s founding buildings, St John’s Church. It then crosses over into Merchants Barton and runs opposite the Silk Mill & Old Offices before finally ending in an interesting connective point directly below the upper end of Vicarage Street.

Our wall is under threat of demolition, sign our petition to Save Frome’s Historic Town Wall.


Acorn’s illustrative masterplan shows no retention of this wall which in any case, would fall under reserved matters and it will be demolished by them.

Frome Abattoir

The abattoir site is what survives of a collection of small dwellings and gardens which included one of Frome’s classic Merchants Houses, demolished by Mendip District Council to build a new access road down to the Kingsway Precinct. A structure known as ‘The Corner House’ dated to the period of the Silk Mill still stands.

Knock it all down summarises Acorn’s plan. Complete demolition of the abattoir means the loss of half of the Merchant’s Barton and The Corner House – historic fabric bordering the protected Central Conservation Area which ought to be valued and preserved.


History matters

Acorn recommended the rubble of the historic Merchants Barton wall could be reused as building stone in the same location.
Is this really the best that we can do?
Mayday wants to protect our town’s special heritage architecture which Acorn is ready to sacrifice so carelessly in historic Saxonvale.

Merchant’s Barton Spring

The Merchant’s Barton Spring is an undiscovered and under-used resource currently piped underneath the abattoir and then on underground until reaching the river Frome. This water has been tested and passed required levels of purity which means that potentially the town has access to an important new supply of natural spring water. Acorn have known about this spring water supply but for them it doesn’t have a use so have simply ignored the possible benefits. The Mayday Plan locates the Merchant’s Barton Spa in this setting offering employment, sauna facilities and centrally-located spa bathing. There will also be a suite of treatment rooms provided for massage and natural therapies.