Favorite thing: Gloucestershire was originally inhabited by the ancestors of the Welsh and other British Celtic tribes throughout the Iron Age and Roman periods. The Anglo Saxon conquest of the Severn valley began in 577 AD. In 628 the west Saxons were defeated by the Mercians and it is thought that this was when the Kingdom of Hwicce was created. The Kingdom corresponded roughly to the counties of Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.
Because the Cotswolds straddle several counties it can be hard to know where to go for information, but there are several good websites on the region. Interestingly, more than one of these claims to be the “official” website of the Cotswolds, but that aside, all have their useful points.
www.the-cotswolds.org – written in English and Japanese, with an emphasis on practical information such as places to stay and attractions
www.cotswolds.info - particularly strong on external links to tour companies and attractions, and also on the history of the region
www.cotswolds.org - has the usual sections on accommodation and attractions, but is also updated regularly with news and events, though its coverage of individual villages is less comprehensive than some of the other sites
www.cotswolds.com - one of several claiming to be the “official” website, but in my view less comprehensive than the others in its coverage
www.cotswoldswebsite.com - has an interactive map but is really only useful for the larger villages and towns
Historically, the Cotswold Hills were a rich area, their wealth built on the wool trade. In medieval times the native sheep, the “Cotswold Lions”, were famous throughout Europe for their heavy golden fleeces and the superior quality of their wool. The abbeys and monasteries raised huge flocks of these sheep, and an active trade developed. At that time 50% of England's economy was due to wool. The Cotswold wool, being of such superior quality, commanded a high price, and the wealth generated by the wool trade enabled prosperous merchants to leave their mark by building fine houses and wonderful churches, known as “wool churches”, many of which remain to this day.
Wool became so important to the British economy that an act was passed in the reign of King Charles II for the express purpose of increasing the consumption of English wool. This Burial in Wool Act (1667 & 1678) decreed that all bodies were to be buried in wool only, unless they had died from the Plague and an affidavit sworn accordingly. The penalty for not doing so was £5.
"No corps should be buried in anything other than what is made of sheep's wool only; or put into any coffin lined or faced with any material but sheep's wool, on pain of forfeiture of £5."
This act was repealed in 1814, but the wool trade continued to be of great importance to the Cotswold economy in particular. Other local trades have included silk production; tobacco farming (during the 16th and early 17th centuries, but later banned to protect production in the colonies); quarrying, naturally; and trading in salt. More recently tourism has become an important source of income, with the region being designated “An Area of Outstanding Beauty'” (the largest such in England and Wales).
Great canal boat museum and advertising museum.
Fondest memory: Go before you go though, the toilets don't open till ten o'clock.
Went on Sunday. The grounds are magnificent. The hotel tired and decorated in a terrible passe bad...more
I use the gym at this hotel, it is a very nice and clean hotel. It has a gym, swimming pool, sauna,...more
Willersey Hill, Broadway, Worcestershire, WR12 7LF, United Kingdom
Good for: Solo