map and satellite photograph

Our trip took in a number of sites of interest.

Chipping Campden is located in the north Cotswolds. It is a 'typical' Cotswold town, in that many of the buildings were built from the local oolitic limestone known as Cotswold stone, and the High Street in particular has some fine examples, particularly in the central area known as the Market Place.

Many of the buildings were built between the 14th and 17th centuries by wealthy merchants. In an effort to maintain the original character of the centre of the town in current times, the Campden Trust have restored a number of buildings and ensured 'intrusive' shop fronts, telegraph wires and power cables are not evident.

Chipping Campden was a rich wool trading centre in the Middle Ages, a time when wool was England's main export.

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Standing by the Square and adjacent to High Street is the Town Hall. Originally a 14th Century building, it was largely rebuilt in the early 19th Century by Richard Hulls. Over time, it has been a gaol, court house and wool exchange.

Further up the long, broad High Street, at its centre, is the 400-year-old Market Hall. Erected in 1627 by the silk merchant and one-time Mayor of London Sir Baptist Hicks, and bearing the Hicks coat of arms, it is still in use today, under the care of the National Trust. Originally, it was intended only for the sale of cheese, butter and poultry.

 

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Beyond the Market Hall is the town's war memorial. It is the official start/finish point of the 100-mile Cotswold Way, the far end of which is in Bath.

 

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Further north along High Street is Grevel House, once home to the highly successful William Grevel, who was known as 'the flower of the wool merchants of all England'.

It is said to be the oldest building in Chipping Campden, having been built around 1380. It has finely decorated windows and its original gargoyles.

 

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Turning right from High Street into Church Street leads to St James' Church, and on the outside of the bend just before the church is the gateway to the old Campden House.

It was built in the 17th Century by Sir Baptist Hicks but was burnt down to prevent it falling into the hands of the Parliamentary forces during the Civil War. Today, only a fragment of the house remains.

The gateway on Church Street stands between two pepperpot lodges; additionally there are two Jacobean banqueting houses (restored by the Landmark Trust) opposite one another across a terrace.

Although much of today's striking architecture of St James' Church dates from the 15th Century, some parts of earlier work still survive, including features from the 13th and 14th centuries. Aspects of tower closely resemble those of the cathedral at Gloucester and the nave, built onto the existing church around 1488, is very similar to that at Northleach church (see SWAG Past Visits, September 2008). Both the Jacobean pulpit and Flemish lectern were donated by Sir Baptist Hicks in the early 1600s. Later work includes general restoration in 1875-6 and the almost complete rebuilding of the vestry in 1960.

The church is famed for having one of the oldest (pre-reformation) altar tapestries and largest brass in England. 

 

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