Another Cotswold Village, and more thatched roof Cottages.
I wandered around, enjoying these beautiful home's, and then I noticed these were a little different.
Located on top of the roof on several home's, were thatched Bird's!
I wondered what the purpose was, just for show or to keep Bird's away or something else?
The answer was....The ornament “it would show who had thatched it”.
Straw ornaments on the thatch of houses have been recorded as far back as 1689.
Old country beliefs were they would keep away both birds and witches. The designs were originally of a religious nature, thus intended to scare away witches, now day's aeroplanes, fishes, pigs, dragons, anything really can be thatched, but traditional pheasants and foxes are still the favorite's.
The craft of thatching often runs in families, and the creative skills are passed down.
Now I know why, all very interesting!
Just 3 miles east of Chipping Campden is Hidecote Manor Gardens, a National Trust site but well worth a visit if you a keen gardener or garden lover. There are extensive gardens that will take a couple of hours to get around and appreciate.
Originally the work of American Major Lawrence Johnston he gave the gardens to the National Trust in 1948 and they are still being enjoyed by thousands of visitors every year.
Its expensive even by National Trust standards (£8.60 adult admission as at May 2010) but worth it (just).
There is a cafe and shop on site and plenty of parking room.
Just a couple of miles south of Chipping Camden is the interesting and picturesque little village of Blockley, often overlooked by its more famous (and prettier) neighbours, Chipping Camden and Broadway. Its worth a detour though as its another Cotswold village with its own character and being set in the bottom of a small valley quite different from the places nearby.
Visibly from nearly everywhere, St. James Church towers impressively on top of a hill in the middle of Chipping Campden. The church was built from the 13th century on on the site of a former Norman church. It is a good example for England's Perpendicular style which was popular at the time the wool business flourished in the Cotswolds. You can find the grave of one very successful wool trader, William Grevel, in the church.
Chipping Campden's High Street is the place to be. The street is lined with typical Cotswolds houses which appear very neat and original. This is due to the Campden Trust, a lobby group that aims to preserve the local properties as beautiful as possible. Therefore, "intrusive modern shopfronts" are not allowed, and neither are telegraph and power cables. While this makes the High Street look very nice and picturesque, the Trust should have gone further and ban cars from the sides of the street as well. It is kind of hard to imagine oneself in the good old times when the tourists (and locals) have their S.U.V.s or vans parked nearly everywhere...
Just 2 miles west of Chipping Camden is the 18th century folly of Broadway Tower. One of the highest points on the Cotswolds the views are truly outstanding here. The tower is part of a country park that includes a herd of deer. You can enter the tower for a fee but the views are just as good from the hill it stands on.
Nearby at the car park there is a shop and cafe.
This is one of England's great gardens. It is actually more like a complex of several garden areas in one location, each section with its own personality. Tall hedges and walls separate the gardens into what seem like rooms full of different textures and colors. Some are more formal than others, some have water features, but all are interesting. From several locations three are good views of the surrounding pastoral countryside.
You may want to check their website to see what is available at different times of the year. They have activities such as painting and gardening workshops occasionally, and also let you know what to expect to be in bloom.
We just returned from a trip to London. We wanted to go to the Cotswolds, but we didn't want to relocate, so we made a day trip.
We took a train from Paddington Station to Cheltonham Spa, about two hours. There we were met by David Walker (http://www.tour-cotswolds.co.uk/index.html) who drove us for the day at a cost of ninety pounds for the two of us. It was a gorgous day with a knowledgable guide who thoroughly enjoys his work.
I can't praise him enough. Check it out. He does various tours of the area, cutomized for the client.
The is the most fabulous palace in all of England, or so I'm told...and the birthplace of Winston Churchill. The grounds are fabulous and enormous and the tour of the castle is free!! The Duke of Marlborough is actually still in residence. There is a beautiful lake with an awesome bridge, a boathouse, a waterfall, and much more. You can spend a full day here I'm sure. There is a restaurant and gift shop.
We were on our way out, heading north to Dethick in the Peak District but, in usual Ian Smith can't-go-past-anything-remotely-interesting-without-taking-a-picture mode, I stopped. Actually, I knew I was going to stop some minutes before. Any church with a steeple that stood out as this one did had to have some history. One is never disappointed as they are so often the receptacles of history thoughout Europe, not always for the right reasons which makes them nonetheless even more interesting.
I had wandered out to the graveyard, fascinated yet again by the headstones whose age can roughly be told by the ease of decipherability. Most before the 1800's are unreadable if exposed to the weather.
It was not so much the graves that caught my attention however, it was a building next door in a paddock. If I had been born a cat I would have died a thousand times over, such is my curiousity. I was inexorably drawn to this edifice and not even a fence was about to stop me. (continued)
I took a photo of this building without knowing what it was. I simply thought it was lovely: it looked really ancient - made of stone and with a stone porch, a clock and many other interesting features. Back at home I tried to find its characteristic shape on the Internet - in vain. Instead, I found a link to the Campden Archives where they invited inquiries and sent an e-mail to them. The reply came almost immediately - thank you, Carol Jackson - the building was the Town Hall of Chipping Campden. Dating back to the 1400's, it stands in the middle of the Market Square and over the years has had many uses. It has served as a school room, a gaol, a Court House, a Wool Exchange, a library, a dance hall and even housed the fire brigade wagon. Nowadays it is used for meetings, exhibitions, lectures and hired for weddings and other celebrations. Wouldn't it be great to have your wedding party there?
The Catholic Church of St Catharine was built in 1891 in the Victorian Gothic style, but with some arts and crafts touches, e.g. woodwork, carving, stained glass windows. The land for the site was provided by the 3rd Earl of Gainsborough, Charles William Francis Noel, whose father had converted to Catholicism, so there was a need for a Catholic church in Chipping Campden. The architect was William Lunn of Malvern. The church boasts beautiful stained glass windows made by Paul Woodroffe.
The Church and its school run by nuns played an important role after World War II when there were many displaced Polish families living nearby at the Springhill National Hostel for displaced persons. Hidden up a lane behind the church are some sad Polish graves of those who did not live to see Poland free.
I wish to thank Carol Jackson of the Cadhas Archive Room Team for information on this church.
The High Street of Chipping Campden is lined with many superb Cotswold stone buildings. Varying in style, they were built by wealthy merchants between the 14th and 17th centuries. At its north end is the 14th century Grevel House, the oldest house in the town, with its beautifully decorated windows, gargoyles and a sundial set in one of the walls. Another building which we did not get to because of the heat. But the other houses are just as beautiful and each is different, representing a great diversity of styles and tastes. Inside there are numerous businesses, many of them continuing the long held traditions of local crafts: potters, jewellers, stonecarvers, silver and gold smiths, builders specialising in traditional Cotswold building and many more.
I think it is because of the heat, which kept people in their houses, that the town looked sleepy and deserted on the day we came. But the people that were there all seemed to know each other, standing in the street exchanging news and gossip, or just saying hello to the passers-by.
The Market Hall, in the centre of the High Street, is probably the best known building in Chipping Campden. It was constructed in 1627 by Sir Baptist Hicks, Viscount Campden, to give shelter to market traders. Sir Baptist Hicks is renowned for his generosity to the poor and needy. In 1612 he founded the Almshouses where twelve poor men and women lived on an allowance given to them weekly. They are now inhabited by twelve pensioners. Although the Market Hall is now owned by The National Trust, it is still used for its original purpose and a notice inside lists the rules of its use.
Part of the church was granted by the town's people to house the grave of Sir Baptist Hicks and his wife. The huge marble mausoleum (see next tip for pics) shows the pair in late Elizabethan/Jacobean clothing, and is similar in effect, but not in spirit, to the contemporary Tanfield mausoleum in Burford - the Tanfields were detested in Burford, whereas Hicks spent lavishly on public works. Hicks built the twelve almshouses on the road leading to the church, spent large sums on the church itself, and built the splendid market hall in the High Street.
Hicks became Viscount Campden, and his heirs became the Earls of Gainsborough. His house, though beyond a scale that you or I would associate with the word, stood adjacent to the church.
However, much of it was burned down during a desperate siege in the Civil War and, according to legend, it was not the attackers that did much of the damage. Nay, it was destroyed from within to deny Cromwell's men. Reportedly set fire to by Hicks. The Cotswolds were the scene of many a bloody battle during this time.
The lodgehouse, a piece of wall and a pavilion with extraordinary limestone spiral chimneys, remain. This then is what I saw.