We stayed at an Airbnb in Stow-on-the-Wold. The name means ‘meeting place on the uplands’. Stow is a charming village – we had read that it was a bit crowded with tourists, but we found that only on Saturday afternoon when the Stow-on-the-Wold Motor Show was taking place. By evening, the streets were quiet and remained that way throughout our 3 day stay.
The Cross in the Market Square was erected as a symbolic reminder to the market traders of medieval times to deal honestly during the Charter markets which began in 1107. It is not a war memorial. The shaft, base and steps are 15th century. The gabled headstone was added in 1878 but was toppled in 1994 requiring replacement. Royalist forces were defeated near this spot in 1646.
Narrow alleys known as ‘tures’ lead from Sheep Street to the Back Walls. In addition to allowing access to houses at the rear, they were useful on fair days for counting sheep into the markets.
In 1651, King Charles I’s eldest son’s bid to regain the crown in the English Civil War failed when he was defeated at the Battle of Worcester. He fled to France, passing through Stow on September 11, 1651. The ‘Monarch’s Way” is a long-distance footpath which follows his escape route and passes through this alleyway. He returned to England in 1660 to become King Charles II.
St. Edward’s Church was built in the Middle Ages and is now a medley of fixtures from various centuries. There are fragments dating from the 1000s through the 1600s, as well as pieces installed during Victorian-era restorations. Two ancient Yew trees flank the arched wooden north door, capped by colorful stained glass windows. Local lore says it inspired J.R.R. Tolkien’s Doors of Durin, but there is no proof of this theory.
Hufkin’s Bakery occupies what is commonly knows as the Crooked House. The building dates circa 1450 and shifting of the beehive shaped bastions which support the house has caused the house to lean heavily to one side.
The Green in the Square houses stocks that are the latest in a series of replacements dating back to the 15 century.
The King’s Arms was a Posting House and Coaching Inn, probably licensed by King Edward IV in 1548 who, it is said, considered it the best inn between London and Worcester. We had a delightful Sunday Roast at the pub (the Yorkshire Pudding was amazing).
We had an equally great dinner at the Queen’s Head, located across the square.
We found Stow-on-the-Wold to be a delightful home base for our exploration of the Cotswolds and definitely recommend it!
Bev & Harvey
You guys look so comfortable. Don’t forget where home is!