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Visit Stow on the Wold
Stow on the Wold is a popular Cotswold town in Gloucestershire, situated on a hilltop west of Chipping Norton.
An important event in the history of Stow took place on the 21st March 1646, when the final battle in the English Civil War took place here (the battle was won by the Parliamentary side, who defeated the Royalist supporters of Charles I).
Visit Stow on the Wold
The town centres around its large market square and the Church of Saint Edward (15th century, with some parts dating back 400 years before that) just off the square. The church has an amazing door with two Yew trees almost intertwined with it (the North door). It is even supposed to have inspired JRR Tolkien!
The square contains a large medieval cross, erected to encourage the market traders to trade honestly, and the stocks - for punishing those who didn't take the cross as seriously as they should and were accused of unfair trading! The alleys around the square and leading to it were established so that many thousands of sheep could easily be transported into the centre on market days.
The square is lined with attractive houses and shops in the local Cotswold stone and the main high street leads down to the bottom of the village from here with various roads radiating out. The architecture and decorative details on the houses is wonderful and the village is a treat to explore. Stow on the Wold has all main facilities, including a significant number of antique shops, art galleries, cafes etc. - the town has quite a reputation as a local antiques centre.
On the edge of town on the appropriately named Well Lane there are some wells and a view of the ramparts of an Iron Age fort.
There is also a Toy Museum in Stow which holds a large collection of antique toys. Fascinating - try and persuade your own children to put down their electronic games and play instead with a stick and a hoop for a few days!
Stow on the Wold is now well established as a regional centre for those visiting the Cotswolds, and is well placed with easy access to many of the highlights of the region (see the map on the main Cotswolds page).
There are lots of walks in the area and the visitor's centre in St Edward's Hall can provide maps and guide books.
Stow on the Wold Markets
Stow has a very long tradition of holding markets, that dates back to 1107 when Henry I first authorised the market. Because the town lies on several important communication routes, including the historical (Roman) Fosse Way, Stow proved itself to be ideally placed as a trading centre, and sheep and wool were traded, later replaced by horses as the regional wool trade declined. These large regional markets played a large part in providing the original wealth and importance of the town.
The larger markets (in May and October) are now held a little way outside of the town rather than here in the centre.
A farmers market is usually held on the morning of the second Thursday each month (subject to occasional change) and is a good opportunity to buy and try the local produce such as cheese, vegetables and cider.
Pubs in Stow on the Wold
Travelling around the Cotswolds, and many other places in England, you will come across many pubs with claims of great age and history. The Porch House (and hotel) in Stow is the record breaker of them all, and claims to have been in existence for more than 1000 years! It is beautiful on the outside and inside is lovely with low beams, little nooks and crannies and wood burning stoves. The fireplace in the dining room is medieval and has a "witch's mark' which was believed to prevent evil spirits entering via the chimney!
Fancy something more modern? Try the Kings Arms for a good selection of real ale in a pub that 'only' dates back 500 years, but has the extra honour that King Charles slept here before the Battle of Naseby (1645)!
There are plenty of others too and all housed in the lovely traditional Cotswold buildings of the village.
Places to visit nearby
The utterly charming villages of Upper Slaughter and Lower Slaughter are just down the road and not to be missed. Kingham to the east is another charming village. Bourton on the Water gets busy in the summer but is lovely out of season and good to visit with children as it has various attractions such as Birdland and a Motor Museum.
Nearby Burford has a very cute high street which is often said to be the prettiest in the UK.
The famous Hidcote gardens are not far from Stow and definitely should not be missed by any garden lovers. They are magnificent.
Photos of Stow on the Wold
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