Cotswolds Trivia - History

What remains of Cirencester Roman Amphitheatre today. Picture © English HeritagePeople have lived and worked in the Cotswolds for over 6,000 years.

A Bronze Age round barrow near Snowshill contained a famous collection of weapons and other artefacts now in the British Museum in London.

The Romans arrived in the Cotswolds in AD47. They built great towns such as Cirencester, along with an amphitheatre, and now famous roads including the Fosse Way.

One of the largest Roman cemeteries in Britain was discovered at Horcott, near Fairford, during gravel excavations in 2006.

The Great Hall of Berkeley Castle, which is the oldest castle to have been continually occupied by the same family, the Berkeleys.The Berkeley family, of Berkeley Castle, are one of only three families in England who can trace their ancestry from father to son right back to Saxon times. Berkeley Castle is the oldest to be continuously owned and occupied by the same family. It contains an antique four-poster bed that has been identified as the piece of furniture that has remained in continuous use by the same family the longest in the UK.
Nowadays the Berkeley family divide their time between the castle and their other home, Spetchley Park, just outside Worcester, which has been in the family's ownership since 1606.

The last battle fought on English soil between private armies took place around the Gloucestershire village of Nibley Green, near Wotton-under-Edge. The Battle of Nibley Green was fought on March 20, 1469, between the troops of Thomas Talbot, 2nd Viscount Lisle, and William Berkeley, 2nd Baron Berkeley.

St James Church, Chipping Campden, is one of the magnificent churches built in the Cotswolds thanks to the area's prosperous Medieval wool trade. In the Middle Ages, Cotswold wool merchants built themselves grand houses and endowed a number of magnificent ‘wool churches’ which still stand today, such as those in Cirencester, Northleach and Chipping Campden.

In 1633 the town of Tetbury was sold to seven townsfolk known as Feoffees, or trustees, who governed the town. Although they lost their power in 1894, the Feofees still perform some duties and have a respectful presence in Tetbury.

The White Hart (Royal) Hotel in Moreton-in-Marsh was used by King Charles I as shelter during the English Civil War following the Battle of Marston Moor on July 2, 1644. A copy of the King’s unpaid bill is commemorated on a plaque within the entrance lobby.

The very first American Thanksgiving was held by English settlers from the small town of Berkeley, to the south of the Cotswolds.
On December 4, 1619, a small ship, The Margaret, carrying a group of 38 carefully chosen craftsmen, arrived at Berkeley Plantation, Virginia, after a perilous journey from England.
The settlers immediately marked the event with an act of Thanksgiving, led by their Captain, John Woodlief. They fell on their knees on the riverbank and Captain Woodlief ordained that this day should be commemorated annually as a day of Prayer and Thanksgiving.
In 1963 President John F Kennedy recognised Berkeley Plantation as the site of the first official Thanksgiving.
Virginia’s first governor was William Berkeley and Berkeley Square in London is named after the family.

Stow-on-the-Wold’s town centre Square is a reminder of the Cotswolds' heritage as a major sheep market.
In one of his Cotswold travels, the famous writer Daniel Defoe (1660-1731), best known for his novel Robinson Crusoe, once recorded that 20,000 sheep were sold at Stow during a single day.
© Loving The Cotswolds. 2021.