Cotswolds Trivia - Royal Connections

Malmesbury is the oldest borough in England and King Æthelstan is buried in Malmesbury Abbey.The hilltop town of Malmesbury in the southern Cotswolds is the oldest borough in England, created around 880 AD by charter from Alfred the Great. His grandson, King Æthelstan, was buried in Malmesbury Abbey in 939.

The ancient town of Wotton-under-Edge was destroyed by fire by King John's mercenaries as revenge upon his bitter enemy, the Berkeley family, who resided at nearby Berkeley Castle. It was rebuilt as a planned town in 1253 and became a borough.

The murder of King Edward II notoriously took place at Berkeley Castle in 1327. Edward was forced to relinquish his crown in January 1327 in favour of his son, Edward III, held him there for five months from April to September. King Edward II is thought to have been murdered at Berkeley Castle.During that time a band of Edward's supporters attacked, entered the castle and rescued him, only for him to be recaptured soon afterwards and he died in Berkeley Castle on September 21, aged 43, probably murdered on the orders of the new regime.

At the end of the English Civil War in 1651, King Charles II travelled through the Cotswolds during his escape after the Battle of Worcester on his way to France. On Thursday, September 11, the royal party reportedly passed through Chipping Campden and then to Cirencester, where it is claimed they spent the night at the Crown Inn.
Bourton-on-the-Water had earlier figured briefly in England's political history in 1644 when King Charles I and the Prince of Wales lodged one night there on the retreat from Oxford.

⇒ For modern-day Royal Cotswold Connections, see our feature in 101 Reasons to Love the Cotswolds

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