Keynsham and Saltford are English towns in the county of Somerset, close to Bristol in West England. Keynsham, the older of the two towns, has been occupied since prehistoric times due to its temperate climate and fertile soil. A number of Roman villas were built in the area after the Roman conquest of Britain, the ruins of which are still visible today.
There is a particularly well preserved villa and burial site between Keynsham and Saltford. The towns remained settled when the Romans left Britain and were united in the Hundred of Keynsham, an Anglo-Saxon feudal system which provided a defence force and levied taxes. Keynsham was named after Saint Keyne, who reputedly lived in the 5th century. The legend is that the local king told St Keyne that the area was plagued with snakes, preventing people from living there. After St Keyne prayed, the snakes were turned to stone, the remains being the fossilised ammonites that can be found in the area.
Keynsham was an important market town for the area, partly due to the nearby abbey which contributed to the town’s growth. Keynsham Abbey remained in operation until the dissolution of monasteries by King Henry VIII. The site is now protected by English Heritage. Saltford also is home to a number of old and protected buildings, chief among them being Saltford Manor House, dating from 1160, which is claimed to be the oldest house in England which has been continuously occupied.
Keynsham hosts a festival, called the Keynsham festival, each year, which attracts a crowd of 16,000 to listen to a wide range of music, from opera to modern favourites. This is one of the most highly anticipated events that occurs in the area. Both towns have trained and achieved sporting success, with Keynsham producing a number of professional cricket and rugby players, such as Luke Sutton and Mark Regan. These sports bring in many who enjoy the sport and a bit of competition.
Saltford is home to the Avon County Rowing club, which is used by the Bristol university squad for training. The club has achieved considerable success at British rowing championships, such as Henley Royal Regatta and the British Rowing Championships.
Keynsham and Saltford are most definitely towns that live out the history of England as great as any town possibly could. A visit to the area can fulfil all desired to learn more about the interesting history.
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