Day 18, December 27, 2019
Given that we’ve been rushing out in the mornings and that it’s been dark when we’ve come home I feel as though we’ve scarcely seen the town. It has, however, been a good stay. It’s a town that I’d like to spend more time in – outside of the Christmas season; I can only imagine how lovely Westonbirt Arboretum is in autumn…and I admit to a hankering to see Highgrove in the springtime.
Anyways, we’re heading out to our next accommodation, but have most of a day to fill in first…
Our first stop this morning was Painswick – also known as The Queen of the Cotswolds.
There’s evidence of a settlement here since the Iron Age, with Painswick first being referred to as Wiche, being a dairy farm, in the Domesday Book in the 11th century. The Pain part of the name came about a hundred years later – from the name of Pain Fitzjohn, a lord of the manor from the mid-1100s. There you go.
Like many Cotswold towns, this one was founded on the wool trade, with many of the attic rooms in the Cotswolds stone houses being once used as weaver’s workshops.
The church here dates back to the 1300’s, although there has been a church on this site since (at least) 1066 – although when you’re going back that far exact dates really don’t matter.
In the churchyard here are 99 yews trees – and yes, they’re all numbered. Legend has it that the devil won’t allow the 100th tree to grow and would pull any extra trees out. We did, however, find one tree without a number, so the devil must have been busy elsewhere.
The views from here are fabulous though – even though the day is a tad on the murky side.
Nearby are Prinknash Abbey and Upton-St-Leonards where Grant and I used to walk from Aunt Anne’s place outside of Gloucester when we were here all those years ago. The Abbey, which dates back to the 11th century, was known for its Prinknash Pottery, some of which we have at home both from that trip and some which we’ve been gifted by Grant’s mother. It’s quite distinctive with a metallic charcoal glaze that almost makes it look like metal. I hadn’t realised that it was all so close.
Leaving Painswick we drove (carefully) down a single laneway towards Sheepscombe (very pretty but nowhere to stop) and onto Bibury – just in time to see two coaches pull up. Great.
It was, by now, deteriorating weather-wise, but then each time we’ve been to Bibury the weather has been manky…not that it matters, this is a must-visit town (although I’d hate to live here!).
William Morris is reputed to have said that Bibury is one of the prettiest villages in the world. The travel guides say that Arlington Row, in Bibury, is one of the most photographed rows of houses in the world. They and William Morris could very well be right – even on a miserable day like we had, it’s romantically beautiful, escape to the country sort of beautiful.
We dodged the post-Christmas crowds and strolled through the streets before calling in at the gift shop attached to the trout farm and buying a few pressies to take home.
Lower Slaughter Inn
Our travelling companions would be spending the next few nights in a B&B at Lower Slaughter – just a mile or so away from our new accommodation at Wyck Rissington – so lunch was at The Slaughters Inn. I’ll tell you a bit more about Lower Slaughter another time – this stop was all about the lunch.
I had a fabulous parsnip soup with excellent black bread, Grant had mackerel pate and Sarah had what she said was the best Caesar salad ever. #bigcall.
Leaving our friends to settle in we chootled off to Stow on the Wold for some groceries before checking in at Wyck Rissington.
Tomorrow we’re off to Oxford for the day.
This was an excerpt from my travel diary. You can access other posts in this series here.