Stow-on-the-Wold in the Cotswolds

Friday, 16 February 2024 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
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Market Square © Bs0u10e01/cc-by-sa-4.0

Market Square © Bs0u10e01/cc-by-sa-4.0

Stow-on-the-Wold is a market town and civil parish in Gloucestershire, England, on top of an 800-foot (244 m) hill at the junction of main roads through the Cotswolds, including the Fosse Way (A429), which is of Roman origin. The town was founded by Norman lords to absorb trade from the roads converging there. Fairs have been held by royal charter since 1330; a horse fair is still held on the edge of town nearest to Oddington in May and October each year.

In 1330, a royal charter by Edward III set up an annual 7-day market to be held in August. The royal charter granted a fair where sheep and horses were allowed to be sold. In 1476, Edward IV replaced that with two 5-day fairs, two days before and two days after the feast of St Philip and St James in May, and similarly in October on the feast of Edward the Confessor (the saint associated with the town). The aim of the annual charter fairs was to establish Stow as a place to trade and alleviate the unpredictability of the passing trade. These fairs were located in the square, which is still the town centre.

Stow played a role in the English Civil War. A number of engagements took place in the area, the local church of St Edward being damaged in one skirmish. On 21 March 1646, the Royalists, commanded by Sir Jacob Astley, were defeated at the Battle of Stow-on-the-Wold, with hundreds of prisoners being confined for some time in St Edwards. This battle took place one mile north of Stow-on-the-Wold. After initial royalist success, the superiority of the parliamentary forces overwhelmed and routed the royalist forces. Fleeing the field, the royalists fought a running fight back into the streets of Stow, where the final action took place, culminating in surrender in the market square.

Church Street © geograph.org.uk - Bill Boaden/cc-by-sa-2.0 Huffkins Bakery & Tearooms © geograph.org.uk - Richard Law/cc-by-sa-2.0 Market Square © Bs0u10e01/cc-by-sa-4.0 St Edward's Church and churchyard © flickr.com - Rebecca C./cc-by-2.0 'The Bell at Stow' © geograph.org.uk - Roger Templeman/cc-by-sa-2.0 © Rodw/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Charlesdrakew
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Huffkins Bakery & Tearooms © geograph.org.uk - Richard Law/cc-by-sa-2.0
As the fairs grew in fame and importance, so did the town. Traders dealing in livestock added many handmade goods, and the wool trade was always prominent. Daniel Defoe reported in the 18th century that 20,000 sheep were sold in one day. Many alleys known as ‘tures’ that run between buildings into the market square were used in herding sheep to be sold. From the mid-19th century, the Talbot Hotel was the venue for corn merchants carrying out their trade.

Most of the buildings around the market square dated from the 18th to 19th century including St Edward’s Hall, the present-day library (Cotswold stone).

As the wool trade declined, people began to trade in horses. The practice continues, although the fair has been moved from the square to a large field near the village of Maugersbury every May and October. It remains popular, with roads around Stow blocked by the extra traffic for many hours.

However, there has been controversy surrounding Stow Fair. The many visitors and traders have attracted more vendors not dealing in horses. Local businesses used to profit from the increased custom, but in recent years most pubs and shops close for 2–3 miles around due to the risks of theft or vandalism.

Read more on stowonthewold.info, explorethecotswolds.com – Stow-on-the-Wold, discovercotswolds.co.uk – Stow-on-the-Wold, cotswolds.com – Stow-on-the-Wold, cotswolds.org – Stow-on-the-Wold, Wikivoyage Stow-on-the-Wold and Wikipedia Stow-on-the-Wold (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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