Cotswolds Trivia - Buildings

Local stone has been quarried in the Cotswolds since Roman times. Stone from quarries near Burford was used to construct some of Britain's finest buildings including Blenheim Palace at Woodstock, St Paul's Cathedral in London and some of Oxford's famous colleges.


The Porch House in Stow-on-the-Wold  is said to be England's oldest inn.The Porch House inn at Stow-on-the-Wold – formerly known as The Eagle and Child Inn and The Royalist - has been the scene of many historical discoveries over the centuries.
The building, said to be England's oldest inn, was founded in 949AD as a hospice that was to shelter lepers. In fact, a leper hole can still be found in the oldest part of the cellar.
Other significant finds at the Porch House have included a 10th Century Saxon shoe, two crucifixes, a Royalist commander's letter, and a tunnel that leads from the bar to the church across the street. There is also evidence of a bear pit.
Another historic Cotswold hotel which claims to be the oldest in England is The Old Bell Hotel in Malmesbury, which dates back to 1220.

 
 
Beverstone Castle, near Tetbury, is among the more battle-worn castles in England.
 
Centuries ago, the south Cotswold village of South Cerney had its own castle which was captured by King Stephen's forces in 1139.
The small Norman castle was built by Miles of Gloucester during a 19-year period of the breakdown of law and order known as the Anarchy.
The castle was built to protect the strategically useful village of South Cerney along the River Churn.
The subsequent fate of the castle is unknown and only slight earthwork remains exist today.
 
 
Beverstone Castle, situated in the village of Beverstone, a couple of miles from Tetbury, has a chequered history.
The site was the location of an important battle around 1140AD between the opposing English armies of King Stephen and Empress Matilda.
Maurice de Gaunt constructed the original castle around 1229 without a royal licence.
During the English Civil War in the mid-17th Century, much of the castle was destroyed after Roundhead forces attacked the castle twice.

Painswick is home to the oldest building in England to house a post office. Picture © Cotswolds Conservation Board.
One of the oldest tithe barns in England can be found in the Cotswold village of Siddington, near Cirencester.
The ancient stone-tiled barn, next to St Peter's Church, dates from the mid-13th Century when the manor was given to the Knights Hospitaler of St John.


New Street in Painswick, which was constructed around 1428, contains the oldest building in England to house a post office.
14th Century houses in Bisley Street, Painswick, include two original "donkey doors" which are wide enough for panniered donkeys who used to carry the wool from the numerous local mills along the surrounding valleys. 

 
The 16th Century Curfew Tower in Moreton-in-Marsh is one of the Cotswold town's oldest buildings.On the corner of Oxford Street and High Street in Moreton-in-Marsh is one of the town's oldest buildings, the 16th Century Curfew Tower which was also used as a lock-up.
The tower has an ancient clock and its bell used to be rung at 6am and 8pm every day, apparently to remind people of the risk of fire at night.
The story goes that the sound of the bell once guided home Sir Robert Fry, lost in the fog. He endowed £1 a week for winding the clock and 10 shillings for ringing the bell.
After 1860 the bell was rung to call the fire brigade.

 
Chipping Campden's row of almshouses, just below St James' Church, were built in 1612 at a total cost of £1,000 to house six poor men and six poor women. To this day they are still used to house 12 Campden pensioners. Across the road from the almshouses is a cart dip, which was used for washing cartwheels. 


With a fascinating history, Woodchester Mansion, located in a hidden valley in the southern Cotswolds, is now a popular film location.The Cotswold village of Naunton, near Stow-on-the-Wold, used to be a centre for the production of stone roofing slates. At one time 30,000 slates a week were dug from the thin stone seams in nearby mines.
Naunton is home to a magnificent dovecote, which was built in 1660 when doves were valued as meat. The historic structure, which has 1,176 nest holes for doves, has been restored by villagers in recent years.
 
 
Woodchester Mansion, near Stroud, a 19th Century Victorian Gothic masterpiece, was mysteriously abandoned mid-construction in 1873.
Hidden in a secluded Cotswold valley, the Grade 1 Listed building has been saved from dereliction, but will never be completed.
The mansion, which is now a popular visitor attraction, has featured in a number of TV productions, including the 2006 BBC production of Dracula, when it was used as Dracula's dilapidated castle.

 
English Heritage designates 117 buildings within the village of Bourton-on-the-Water as having Grade II or higher listed status.

 
© Loving The Cotswolds. 2017.