Our trip into the Cotswolds was much too quick but very enjoyable. The area is bucolic and lovely.
Chipping Campden was the little town we spent the most time in.
“Chipping” is Old English and means Market Place. This town prospered in the Middle Ages from the wool trade. While there I explored a beautiful church, strolled through its cemetery and visited with some sheep.
A prominent family by the name of Hicks still live in the town. Sir Baptist Hicks was a wealthy silk merchant. Here you see a gate house that once stood guard over his family’s estate.
I had a ball just standing there watching the sheep. It was a beautiful day!
The Hicks’ grand estate, the Campden house burned in the English Civil War. Just two gate houses and two Jacobean banquet houses and “Lady Juliana’s gateway” are standing. Some ruins are just visible though off limits to the public. Apparently they open for tours/functions on a very limited scale.
St. James Church was warm and welcoming to guests with a docent sharing information. I enjoyed watching a woman walk around watering and misting the many, many live floral and lush greenery arrangements throughout the inside. I believe the original structure was built in the 13th century.
The entrance you see below is old, probably from the 14th century. The outer doors are thought to be from the 13th century. It just spins my head to think I placed my hands on something that has seen so much time and people pass.
The Cotswolds are famous for locally quarried limestone buildings that turn lovely shades of yellow that vary in intensity by location (honey colored in the N and NE, golden in the central and south areas and pearly white in Bath.
I very much enjoyed looking for carved faces and features in buildings while in England.
An empty niche above the south door:
Multiple memorials to members of the Hicks family, crucial patrons to this church and the town, adorn the inside. Many restorations have happened over the years.
Here’s a glimpse upward from the spot where I enjoyed the sheeps’ antics. Imagine the grandeur of church towers in those times, always stretching taller and taller, symbols of wealth, how extravagant they must have seemed to some. And imagine the specialty and skill of the stone workers and the risk that came with hoisting such heavy stone.
We walked to High St., the main road through. One passes a cart wash that was restored in 2015. Built in the early 1800’s, its purpose was just for that. Carts would drive through and wash off the mud and soak the wooden wheels to prevent the iron from falling out when the wood contracted and dried. I found this little local newspaper article about the resotrations festivities. Neat!
High St. has a mix of residential and commercial spaces.
The yellow stone glows. I took in the details like colored windows, reinforcement bars, slate roofs.
A tudor structure. Look at those beams.
This is called the Market Hall, built by Sir Baptist Hicks (of above mentioning) in 1627. This structure sheltered traders with goods like cheese, butter and poultry. The stone floor is worn in smooth, deep grooves. It’s easy to imagine the pattern of traffic moving through, carving those grooves out.
The town raised money to save it from a pvt. sale and the National Trust now protects it.
Look up and you see the underbelly of a slate roof. This fascinated me.
And a trip through the cotswolds wouldn’t be such without thatch-roofed cottages.
Thanks for following me through this trip. There’s lots more to come. Lots!