Wool Town

Sunshine yesterday, and a reasonable nights sleep for the one with lurgy meant we were up for a quick trip out and about. Somewhere nice. So not Tescos then.

We live, practically, on the threshold of the Cotswolds. Which means, inevitably, that we hardly ever go there (you always seem to forget about what’s right on your doorstep). Yesterday, right on the doorstep seemed just about the right distance to go. So we went.

The Cotswolds is a bit of a sweeping term for what is actually quite a big area covering parts of Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Warwickshire. What links them together is the beauty of the stone that is predominantly used for building. A stone whose colour seems to change with the seasons and the weather, that knows “the trick of keeping the lost sunlight of centuries glimmering about them” (JB Priestley). At times it can be a bit chocolate boxy – some of the villages seem preserved/restored in a very unnatural, eye for the tourist way- but there can be no denying the beauty of the area.

So, we went to Chipping Campden. One of the Cotswolds wool towns (Campden was a big centre for the collection and export of Wool from the Middle Ages on) and much of the building was done on the back of Wool money.

The church, St James, is a largely Perpendicular (English Gothic) beauty

20130922-095405.jpgSt James. There are some stunning monuments inside

20130922-095524.jpgLady Noel

20130922-095640.jpgLord Campden
and a peaceful, meandering churchyard

20130922-095815.jpgSt James Churchyard with some very interesting tombstones

20130922-095909.jpgOrmonde Plested

20130922-100018.jpgTeapot Williams
The kids spent ages exploring the churchyard, looking at the graves, trying to find the oldest and youngest inhabitants, most ancient grave, most beautiful, most unusual etc. Makes a mother proud :-).

Campden has lots of other buildings to gaze at and admire. The Jacobean pavilions of the old Manor House are wonderfully Gothic

20130922-100606.jpgCampden Pavilion. The village proper has more of the warm, olde worlde charm that you expect from the Cotswolds with Almshouses

20130922-100804.jpgCampden Almshouses and a higgledy piggledy (love that phrase!) High Street with early Seventeenth Century market hall

20130922-101026.jpgMarket Hall. It has the obligatory Gifte Shoppes, but also a fabulous second hand book shop and a French Boulangerie so you can happily wander the streets, browsing the shops and nibbling a French stick (or pork pie in the case of my eldest ), whilst you soak up the reflected warmth from the stone of the buildings and lust after the beautiful old houses.

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