Fairford ... a potted guide

Places worth visiting...

The Royal International Air Tattoo

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The Cotswold Show & Food Festival

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Sitting on a lovely stretch of the River Coln, Fairford has been a market town since 1135 when Henry I granted permission for a twice-weekly market to be held in the town. 

The town owes its fortune to its location. It was an important coaching town on the old London the Gloucester route and some of its inns and hotels are reminders of this. Fairford's great glory is the parish church of St Mary, one of the Cotswolds' finest "wool churches", with a complete set of 28 stained glass windows.

The church was built by the Tame family out of profits from the wool industry. During the Reformation, Puritan reformers removed - and often smashed - much of the stained glass that adorned parish churches throughout England, but Fairford's stained glass windows somehow survived the purges and are a fine example of medieval work, coming from the studios of Bernard Flower, glass painter to Henry VII. 

Other notable buildings in Fairford include an early 18th Century free school decorated with plaques to esteemed teachers, the 17th Century Bull Hotel, Fairford Mill and the Oxpen.

Fairford is on the eastern edge of the Cotswold Water Park, an extensive complex of more than 140 lakes created out of gravel extraction, which now provide habitats for wildlife as well as centres for a variety of leisure activities and water sports.

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© Loving The Cotswolds. 2019.