At the top of an 800ft hill, 790 feet above sea level, lies an old English town with an exciting trade heritage going back as far as 987AD. The town’s heritage buildings, built with limestone from local quarries, lend to the site’s historic feel.
Old Norman Lords recognised the town, translated as ‘holy place on a hill’, as a good location for trade due to the junction of eight roads that includes the Roman Fosse Road. And it was a good call, as the famous market square in Stow-on-the-Wold would trade in up to 20,000 sheep on market days.
The market has been open since 1107 but can still not beat the age of the Royalist Hotel in Digbeth Street, which holds the record of England’s oldest inn. Exciting things to see here are the ‘witch’s marks’ to keep evil spirits at bay. And some people might make the acquaintance with a ghost or two. There are also secret tunnels reaching the cellars due to the English smuggling brandy in years gone by.
Stow-on-the-Wold is featured in the history books as the famous location for ‘The last Battle’ in the English Civil War between 1642 and 1646. This was where the Parliamentary ‘Roundhead’ forces had slain the Royalist cavalry of King Charles 1 before Sir Jacob Astley sat on a drum in surrender. It is said that so much blood flowed on the day that ducks could swim in it, hence the street Digbeth Street, which means Ducks Bath.
Currently, the town has a population of 2,042, with many visitors coming to visit its many fabulous tea rooms, attractions, market, and antique shops. At least ten cottages can sleep eight people, and the town’s charm wins over the cold and windy weather.
Little alleys between houses go narrower away from the market square which was used before for leading the sheep out. Then there are the many shops and tea-rooms.
The New England Coffee House gives readers an introduction to the lovely coffee shops of Stow-on-the-Wold. Learn more about this lovely town and what it has to offer in other blog posts.