Unicorn & The Hext Alms Houses
If we continue up West Street, admiring the old shops on either side of the road, we come to The Unicorn. This is another medieval pub, with a 16th century front, for which there are records that date as far back as 1756.
The District Council has recently bought the land to the rear of the building which is being used as an extension to the car park next to the Brunel Precinct.
We now come to the Almshouses on the left hand side of the road. Sir Edward Hext, the same person responsible for the Town Hall, built these back in 1626. He died before the completion of the project, so was never able to witness the splendid buildings. His widow took over the project until its completion. They are now known as the Hext Almshouses.
The Almshouses originally housed 8 poor men, who were unable to work and so were paid coal and a monthly cash payment to live there. In return they had to attend church every Sunday, or they were fined part of their monthly money.
Last century these 8 houses were reduced to 4, because it was thought each house was too small. In recent years there have been 3 new Almshouses added behind the original set.
End of Tour