Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Exploring the Cotswolds

We travelled from Yeoville to Cheltenham on the Friday an on our rest day on Saturday 13 June we set out to explore the Cotswolds. It rained most of the day so we decided to begin the excursion by visiting Sudeley Castle, near Winchcombe,which is not far from Cheltenham.
There had been a manor house on the property from Saxon times however the present castle was built in the 1440s. During the Wars of the Roses it became the property of Edward IV who granted the property to his brother Richard of Gloucester. 
Remains of the Banquet Hall built when Richard III owned the castle
The castle was used as the base for the Battle of Tewkesbury in May 1471 In 1478 Richard exchanged the castle for Richmond Castle in Yorkshire but Sudeley Castle remained a royal property. 
In 1483 when Richard became King Richard III the castle returned to his possession again. After the death of Richard II at the Battle of Bosworth the castle had a number of owners including Sir Thomas Seymour who married Katherine Parr after the death of King Henry VIII. They made the castle their home in 1548. Later that year Katherine died and is buried at the Chapel of St Mary on the property.
Chapel of St Mary
 King Henry VIII had visited the castle in 1535 with Anne Boleyn so it has a history of royal connections.  The house belonged to the Brydges family for the next 100 years. During the Civil War 1642 to 1649 part of the castle was destroyed by the Parliamentarians and remained in a ruined state for the next two hundred years. In 1837 members of the Dent family purchased the property and began restoring the castle.
The castle gardens are magnificent.
Remains of the tithe barn still remain on the property.
There is also a display of stones of Winchcombe Abbey which was built in 798.
This was a magnificent building and grounds to visit, even in the rain.

The next stop was at the Cheese and Trumpet in Broadway where we had lunch before continuing our exploration of the Cotsworlds.
On the way to two villages called The Slaughters we stopped at a field near Stanway which housed the cricket ground used by J M Barrie for many of the matches played by his team of friends - the Allahakbarries.
Barrie stayed at Stanway House across the road from the field. While there he paid for a pavilion to be built.
The rain eased as we visited two more villages on the way back to Cheltenham. The first stop was at two villages known collectively as The Slaughters. We stopped to explore Lower Slaughter, another picturesque Cotswold village.
The old mill and water-wheel is a feature of this village.
Continuing the drive we passed through Upper Slaughter which is considered to be a 'sainted village' meaning that nobody from the village serving during the First World War died.

Bourton-on-the-Water was our final destination.
Feature outside  car and toy museum
While we were in the village we watched the start of a half marathon which is run in the hills.

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