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.
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.
Blackfriars Monastery (Gloucester)
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.