Sunday, May 29, 2011

Chipping Campden the Cotswolds

Chipping Campden is a very old market town that appears to have stopped in time.  All the buildings are the honey color of the local limestone and retain most of their original features.

I'll take you on a little tour.

This is High St. which is the main drag.  Our cottage is located directly on this street so we are near to everything.  This is a picture taken from my bedroom window.

Here we have the old Market Hall built in 1627 where the merchants used to ply their trade.

This is Grevel House, the oldest house in town, built in 1380 (about 50 years earlier than my cottage.)

This is the Red Lion Inn located conveniently right across from the cottage.  It was built in the mid 1600's.

Here we have the Almshouses which were built for the poor in the mid 1600's are still in use today.

This is the car wash of its day.  It was used to wash wagon wheels and their beds.  They would drive the wagon into this depression which was filled with water that came up slightly above the bed of the wagon or carriage and then wash the entire bottom.

And here is the Gateway and St. James Church that adjoins it.  It is the largest in the area due to the proximity of the wealthy wool merchants who lived here.  This town was built on the wool trade before its decline due to the influx of cotton from the New World.

This is the 8 Bells Inn and pub.  The building originally housed the bells for the church while it was being built.  It has now been converted to a popular B&B and restaurant with great food and atmosphere.

Of course with a country and buildings this old one also finds a variety of artisans who have special skills and reputations for excellent workmanship. 
Need a stonecarver?

One of my favorite places in town is Hart's Silversmith. 

This workshop was founded by Charles Ashbee as part of the Arts and Crafts movement and has been in existence since the early 1900's.  Here is a photograph of Ashbee taken by Frank Lloyd Wright.  Coincedentally Ashbee lived in Rosary Cottage, my current home.

The Hart family is the last remaining members of the original guild and the workshop has not changed in over 100 years.  Rows of tools line the walls and they are so busy there is a month waiting period for any of their work.  They create original designs as well as perform delicate repairs to the many antiques found in this area.

They were featured recently on the television show Antiques Roadshow in the US.

Frank Lloyd Wright was a protege of Charles Ashbee and here is his signature where he signed their guest book in September 1910.

And here's Caroline.  She is Julian Hart's girlfriend and partner.  She designs beautiful jewelry.  (I have a set of her silver bangle bracelets myself!)

The Cotswolds Way is a popular series of trails through the Cotswolds which begin in Chipping Camoden. They are known for their spectacular natural beauty. 

These pictures will give you some idea of why they are so famous and what you can expect to see along the way.



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