Cotswolds
Up

Up
London
South West
South East
Southern
Wales
Cotswolds
Midlands
East Anglia
North West
Lake District
Northumbria
Yorkshire
Lincolnshire
Scotland

 

 

Berkeley Castle            Built over 800 years ago and still the ancestral home of the Berkeley family who still live there, the family, of course, have close associations with Berkeley U.S.A.  The oldest castle in Britain to have been continuously lived in by the same family.  Built as a fortress and used as a home, during its chequered history it has been the scene of sieges during the civil war and terrible deeds.  Its walls in some places over 14 feet thick, turrets and towers stand majestic.  This was the scene in 1327 of the frightful murder of Edward II, he was imprisoned in a cell close to the castle dungeon, a deep pit into which rotting carcasses and half alive prisoners were thrown.  It was anticipated the stench and filth from the dungeon would overpower the prisoner in the cell.  However Edward survived for 5 months and ended up being tortured to death by his jailers.  The castle is also the site of the great hall where the West Country Barons met before setting off to meet King John for the signing of Magna Carta in 1215.  Small but a real example of how we think a castle should look.
Web Link

Bibury                             Best seen in the fading light of a warm summer evening, the houses of golden stone many with cottage gardens facing the River Coln.  William Morris described Bibury as the most beautiful village in England.  Sit on the wall by the river watch the trout running in the crystal clear water and across on the island a protected nature reserve with wild duck and many species of bird.
Web Link

Blackfriars Monastery (Gloucester)    Founded in 1239 as a Dominican Friary the Church was consecrated in 1285.  The remains are the most complete Dominican Friary in England.  Still existing one of the first library buildings in Britain, complete with the original Carrells or compartments where the Monks copied out their religious texts.  The scissor beam roof structure is just as it was in the 13th Century.  The oak timbers used where probably 300 years old when cut from the the Forest of Dean.  See the remains of the church, cloisters and the refectory where the monks would have lived and the kitchen.
Web Link

Bladon                            Just outside Woodstock on the south side of Blenheim Park is the little village of Bladon.  The village church is simple, built in 1894 on the site of an earlier church, why then is the spire seen clearly from the drawing room of the palace? why were trees removed and lopped just a few years ago so this view could be maintained? what is so important about this church.  It is the last resting place of Sir Winstone Churchill.  In January 1965 he was laid to rest here at the head of the grave of his mother (Lady Randolph Churchill (the American Heiress Jenny Jerome) his father Lord Randolph Churchill is buried alongside. Winstones Tomb is a plain slab bearing the simple inscription Winstone Leonard Spencer Churchill 1874-1965.
Web Link

Blenheim Palace          The home of the present 11th Duke of Marlbrough.  The first Duke John Spencer gave battle to the Frence and Bavarian forces at the village of Blenheim in 1704.  He took a force of 50,000 men on a 600 mile march to the Danube were the enemy was waiting in a strong position.  By tactical brilliance and by the personal inspiration he gave his troops, he achieved a great victory.  When he returned to England he was created a Duke and granted the Royal Manor of Woodstock with a promise that a sumptuous palace should be paid for by a grateful country.  The architect of Blenheim Palace was John Vanbrugh who worked with Nicholas Hawksmoor on both Blenheim and Castle Howard in Yorkshire.  Marlborough went on to other famous victories at Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet.  The Palace was built between 1705 & 1722, it is set in over 2,000 acres of parkland (landscaped by Capability Brown) Blenhalm Palace is the birthplace of Sir Winstone Churchill who was born here on the 30th November 1874.
Web Link

Bourton on the Water    A picturesque village with the River Windrush flowing under low arched bridges alongside the main street, beside grassy lawns and Cotswold stoned cottages.
Web Link

Broadway                      The view of its long and broad main street, climbing up towards Fish Hill epitomises the perfect Cotswold village.  On both sides of the road are old cottages and fine gabled end houses, built of the golden mellow local Cotswold stone.  Some worthwhile places to admire include the Abbots Grange, dates from the 14th Century and once belonged to the Abbots of Evesham.  Farnham house late 17th Century construction. possibly the most famous building, the Lygon Arms (once known as the White Hart) at some earlier date it was possibly an old manor house.  It is recorded in 1742-1813 to have walls thick and a door oaken and wide.  During the years 1645-1651 it gave shelter to first Charles I and also Cromwell.  Its design gives rise to the thought of most beautiful house in the village, also loved by many is the Tudor house.  On the skyline is the Beacon Tower or Fish Hill tower built by Lady Coventry as a folly at the end of the 18th Century it stands over 1,000ft above sea level, on a commanding hill.  The Parish Church of St Eadbury at the end of the village dates back to the 12th Century with various additions up to the 17th Century.
Web Link

Burford                           Can certainly lay claim to being one of the most beautiful Cotswold towns.  A superb High Street slopes gently down to a three arch bridge spanning the River Windrush.  Some of the buildings such as the Bear Inn, Crown Inn and the Grammer School can readily identify their roots in the 15th Century.  A fine church exists, St John, hidden from view down a lane at the foot of the High Street.  A wonderful mixture of accretion (add on's as and when money became available or persons so decided) the tower is definitely Norman so is the West Doorway.  The Guild of Merchants chapel circa 1200 but remodelled in the 15th Century.  In May 1649 Cromwell imprisoned a group of mutineers in the church for 3 nights after which they were to be shot.  When three had been executed Cromwell relented, one of the group “Sedley” scratched his name on the font.  In even earlier times the Anglo Saxons defeated the Mercians at the battle of Edge now a playing field near the church.  It is also written that in 683 a council was convened at Burford attended by the King of Mercia at which the date of Easter was fixed for the English church.  The wealth of the region coming from the surrounding sheep country during the middle ages.  To really appreciate Burford take time to walk the High Street.
Web Link

Cheltenham                   Set on a sheltered ridge between the high Cotswolds and the Severn Vale the town enjoys a pleasant and equable climate.  Cheltenham is one of the finest Spa towns in Europe, with a wealth of regency houses bordering elegant squares, crescents, terraces and open spaces.  George III an inveterate frequenter of spas, visited the town in 1738 and set his seal of approval by staying at Bayshill lodge.  Lansdown Place and Montpellier Parade, among similar thoroughfares and the Rotunda, the design for its dome being based on the Pantheon in Rome.  Montpellier walk with its shops separated by Caryatids must be one of the most unusual shopping precincts in the world.  Out on the Bath Road are two of Cheltenham`s famous schools, Cheltenham College for boys was originally built between 1841 and 1843.  With the nearby Cheltenham Ladies college founded by Miss Beale, the ardent Victorian champion of good education for girls.
Web Link

Chipping Camden        It is one of the most typical towns of the affluent wool merchants of the 14th Centuries. there are many gabled stone houses with oriel dormer and mullioned windows with monastic looking doorways.  This gives a very good impression of how many of the richer market towns looked during the late middle ages.  Many of the houses date from the 17th Century.  At the end of the town stands a magnificent perpendicular church with an elegant 15th Century pinnacled tower.  The High Street is a time capsule of architecture preserved for over 400 years.
Web Link

Cirencester                    The Capital of Dobuni when as Corinium Dobunorum in 43A.D. it became one of the chief Roman administration centres for South West of England.  In the 4th Century with the withdrawal of the Romans the town went into decline until an Anglo Saxon town was built.  It slowly regained its importance with the development of sheep rearing on the rich Cotswold meadow lands.  The wealth from the wool trade was tremendous, so much so that the merchants of the town were able to build one of the greatest wool churches in the town.  The 15th Century St John the Baptist Church with its superb tower and three storied fan vaulted porch.  It has been judged one of the most beautiful perpendicular churches in England.
Web Link

Crickley Hill                    The West slopes of the Cotswold escarpment is divided by many small valleys onto flat topped hills.  In prehistoric times many of these hill tope were protected by banks and ditches forming enclosed areas within which secure settlements could be built.  Crickley Hill is a fine example of such a site and each summer starting in 1969 volunteers have uncovered evidence not only of two successive Iron Age hill forts circa 600 and circa 500B.C. but also of occupation during the Neolithic period circa 3000B.C.  Hundreds of leaf shaped flint arrowheads have been found among the ruins of the final Neolithic settlement. conclusive evidence of a battle which took place here some 5000 years ago.
Web Link

Haw Bridge Inn                Built in 1630 as a stop over place for boats, where the old toll bridge crossed the river Severn.  Many a boatman has taken a sip of ale and a Ploughman’s lunch within these walls, while watching the boats plying their trade on this once busy stretch of river.  Today, just pleasure craft glide slowly by. But the Inn still retains the ambiance of a bygone age nestling as it does on the banks of the river.  Flagstone floors, oak panelling & oak beamed ceilings.  Collections of horse brasses and Toby jugs adorn both walls and ceilings.  Home cooked food, enjoy this little piece of real England.
Web Link 

Gloucester                      Began life as a Roman fort which guarded the lowest Severn crossing and the legions route into Wales (Glevum).  The city later became the residence of Norman Kings, while here William the Conqueror decided on the Doomsday survey.  The city has long been an inland port with its own harbour master.  Famous for its Cathedral it has also been the focal point of other important historic occurrences.  The city's main thoroughfares still follow the Roman roads and meet at the Cross.  In Brunswick Street is a memorial to Robert Raikes who founded the Sunday School movement in nearby St Catherine Street.  The New Inn in Northgate Street was a half timbered 15th Century pilgrims hostelry.  The Ravern Tavern in Hare Lane, once the home of the Hoare Family who sailed in the mayflower to New England.
Web Link

Great Malvern Priory            Building work started in 1085 to establish a daughter priory of Westminster Abbey.  Being a Priory the monks here were subservient to Westminster Abbey which was controlled by the crown at that time.  The priory sits in the Wiocese of Worcester but as a priory church of Westminster the Bishop of Worcester had no jurisdiction over it, causing many arguments over the years.  In 1286 it was reported a disagreement broke out that eventually involved the Archbishop, the King and even the Pope.
The Priory buildings were greatly enlarged between 1440 and 1500 with stained glass windows donated by the crown.
Following the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539 the land and buildings were surrendered to the crown and sold off.  The Lady Chapel was bought by a local man for £1 and were then demolished for the stone and lead.  The towns people (only 115 families at that time) took 2 years to raise £20 to buy the church to use as their parish church.  They had no money left for repairs and the building suffered greatly for the next 200 years, before wealthy local business men started investing in the buildings upkeep.
The priory still houses the largest collection of 15th century stained glass in Britain.  The story goes that the towns people could not afford to replace it with clear glass, so it was left.  The bell tower still houses 10 bells, the oldest dating back to between 1350-1380.
Web Link

Malmesbury                   This is one of the oldest Borough`s in England.  The Old Bell Inn has a 13th Century window.  The town grew rich from weaving in the 7th Century.  The Abbey soaring above the town was originally Norman with 14th Century additions.
Web Link

National waterways museum            Located in a splendid old Victorian warehouse in historic Gloucester Docks.  The museum uses working models, audio visual displays, historic boats, galleries and interactive modules to bring the history of our waterways to life.  Climb aboard and explore old boats ranging from traditional narrow boats to a steam dredger.  Take a 45 minute boat trip in the Queen Boadicea II (a former little ship from the Dunkirk evacuation in World War Two)
Web Link

Northleach                      This town has a a certain faded beauty about the twisting streets and green swathed market place and a tranquil imperturbability that ignores the nearby traffic on the by-pass.  There are some very pleasant houses which have also ignored the passing of time.  16th Century Almshouses, timber framed houses with overhangs and a 17th Century Manor house.  A Cotswold village in a time capsule.
Web Link

Odda's Chapel                    Dating back to 1056AD this ancient building was lost for a while until it was rediscovered in 1865.  The building had been incorporated into the 16th Century building next door and had been used as a barn for many centuries all memories of its hidden past were forgotten.  Earl Odda had built this to remember his brother Aelfric who died on 22nd December 1053.  Earl Odda was a relative of Edward the Confessor and governed this part of the Kingdom. The lands and Priory at Deerhurst were conveyed to the hands of Westminster Abbey shortly before Edward the Confessor died.
Web Link

Oxford                              This great university town is, for its history and associations and for its architecture, one of the most rewarding in all England.  In spite of recent industrialisation, its beauty and dignity have emerged relatively unscathed.  The university is the second oldest in Europe, acknowledging only the Sorbonne in Paris as its senior.  In fact evidence of organised teaching can be traced to the 12th Century.  A Chancellor was appointed in 1214 and the collegiate system began in the latter part of the 13th Century with the establishment in Oxford of various religious orders.
Web Link

Christchurch, Oxford                     Quite unique, a Cathedral serving the Diocese of Oxford and a College Chapel serving Christ Church College.  It was made a Cathedral by King Henry VIII in 1545 after cardinal Wolsey had made it a Chapel of the College in 1525.  The building however dates back to the 12th Century when it was a priory of Augustianain Cannons.  The first recorded church on the site was in the 8th Century.  The spire incidentally, constructed during the 13th Century was the first in England the lovely Gothic chancel added in the year 1500.  A superb collection of stained glass windows still exists dating back the 14th Century with the oldest being the magnificent Becket window in the South transept (a rare example of 14th Century glass in situ).
Web Link

University Church of St Mary The Virgin            A church was recorded on this site in Anglo Saxon times.  Records exist from 1086 stating the church belonged to the estate of Aubrey de Coucy.  In the very early days of Oxford University the church was used as the first building of the University and congregations met there from 1252.  By the early 13th Century it was the seat of University government and was used for lectures and the awarding of degrees.
St Mary was the site of the 1555 trial of the three oxford martyrs when Bishops Latimer, Ridley and Archbishop Cramer were tried for heresy.  They were imprisoned locally and subsequently burnt at the stake just outside the City walls to the North.  The site now marked with a cross in the road.
During his time in Oxford John Wesley preached sermons in the church including the famous salvation by faith sermon on June 18th 1738.
A very historic and important Church to the City.
Web Link

Painswick                       
Web Link

Sheepscombe                Delightful undulating country centred around this hamlet rich in Cotswold stone cottages.  Cranham woods is a lovely beech forest.  The village is small but set in a valley someway off the main road.
Web Link

Sudeley Castle               Set against the picturesque splendour of the rolling Cotswold hills, the castle is alive with reminders of its glorious past and Royal connections spanning 1000 years.  The burial place of Queen Catherine Parr the last wife of King Henry VIII.  The castle is also famous for its beautiful rose gardens
Web Link

St Mary's Priory Church, Deerhurst        The actual dates of the foundation of a Church in Deerhurst are unknown but there is evidence that a church existed here by 804AD
During the 9th & 10th Century Deerhurst was the Ecclesiastical centre for Hwicce a sub kingdom of Mercia.  In the 10th Century St Alphege began his Ecclesiastical career here moving on to become the Archbishop of Canterbury. Much of Anglo Saxon England actually revolved around Deerhurst, though you would never know that now by looking at this tranquil spot nowadays.
Major restorations in 1861 rediscovered most of the Anglo-Saxon features you see today.  St Mary’s is one of the finest and most complete buildings in England to survive from before the Norman Conquest.  A substantial part of the building is considered to belong to the first half of the 9th Century.
Web Link

St Michael's Church, Ledbury            Parts of the church date back to Norman times and evidence exists of 12th and 13th Century walls in the Nave and Chancel.  The bell tower is built in four stages.  The bottom 3 date about 1230 and the fourth about 1733.  A lovely building much loved by the local community.  Do take time to view the timbered roof and its design dating back to the early 1400s.
Web Link

Tewkesbury                    An attractive old town with a wealth of ancient houses and timbered inns.  The Hop Pole being a good example, with a fine 14th Century fireplace before which, in dickens book, Mr Pickwick warmed his coat tails.  Tewkesbury is famous for 2 reasons.
Firstly it is was the scene of one of the bloodiest last battles of the Wars of the Roses.  On 4th May 1417, between Queen Margaret of Anjou for the Lancastrians and Edward IV for the Yorkists.  The Lancastrians where routed, quite a number finding refuge for the night in the Abbey before being turned out the next day, when they were arrested by the Yorkist followers and all executed in the town square.  The site of the battle is well known and can be seen clearly from Lincoln Lane just off the main A38 road.  The battle place is still known locally as Bloody Meadow. 
Secondly the Abbey, their is evidence that Monks were settled in the town by 715 and built a small church in the meadows by the river.  The present Abbey is Norman built between 1090 & 1121 by Robert Fitzhamon a kinsman of William the Conqueror.  The Abbey prospered for over 400 years before being handed over to King Henry VIII in 1540.  The townspeople to their horror, about to see their abbey being destroyed rallied round and raised the enormous sum (16th Century standards ) of £453 to purchase the church for their own use.  The Abbey's tower is the largest and finest surviving Norman central tower anywhere in the world, 46 feet square and 148 feet high.  The West front is dominated by the Great Norman recessed arch 65 feet high.  The massive wooded doors of the North porch are almost certainly the original circa 1121.  It is the second largest parish church in England.  The Abbey is 311 feet East to West, it is held up by 14 great Norman columns, which are the tallest in England, 31 feet high and 6 feet in diameter.  The 7 choir windows contain the original 14th century glass, in the centre of the choir is a brass plate which marks the burial place of Edward of Lancaster, Prince of Wales, who was killed at the Battle of Tewkesbury.  The chapels around the Abbey celebrate some of the families who have been associated with it during its long and somewhat turbulent history.
Web Link

The Cotswolds               Developed from the Anglo Saxon words Cot and Wold, Cot meaning sheep pen. Wold meaning high windy ground, that certainly can describe the area well, especially in the winter.  The soil is poor on the Wolds and not a lot of it but a great area for rearing sheep.  Hence the numerous villages with lovely churches (known as wool churches) built by wealthy landowners centuries ago.  The area is also famous for the Cotswold stone a soft stone which yellows with age.  Many cottages will be seen built of Cotswold stone.
Web Link

Cotswold Images

The Warehouse - Indoor Climbing Centre    Gloucestershires only indoor climbing centre.  Offering climbing for young and old with any ability, walls up to 13metres high and state of the art climbing technologies promise a great day out for the whole family.  Now also offering Indoor Caving in their custom built 100m long caving complex.
Web Link

Winchcombe                   Resting in the leafy Isbourne valley, this was once the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Mercia.  The town has retained many features of its long history and is largely unspoilt by commercialism.  St Peters Church is an excellent example so is the 700 years old pilgrims inn, The George.
Web Link