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13 Amazing Facts About Chipping Campden

Feb 24, 2017

Did you know That………

1) The gardens at Burnt Norton House, just outside Campden, provided the inspiration for T. S. Eliot’s “Burnt Norton” one of the “Four Quartets”, written after a casual and chance visit there in 1934. Apparently Eliot thought the place belonged to a Birmingham businessman.

2) The Kiftsgate Stone (a holed stone) situated on private land near to Dovers Hill and adjacent to the Cotswold Way was the meeting place or moot site where local people met to discuss tribal issues. Also in Anglo Saxon times where the local “fyrd” or people’s army was raised, known as the Kiftsgate Hundred.

3) The author, Graham Greene, lived in Campden for a couple of years at Little Orchard in Hoo Lane. During his time in the Cotswolds, Greene wrote his first successful book, “Stamboul Train”, which was later, turned into the film Orient Express, – not to be confused with Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie. There is a plaque on the house commemorating his stay.

4) That one of the early pioneers of steam power, Jonathon Hulls, was educated at Campden Grammar School and lived in Darby’s House in the High St. He is also attributed with inventing an early form of slide rule. His grandson, Richard, built the chiming apparatus or carillon containing in St James’ church tower.

5) The Battle of Mickleton Tunnel in 1851 is reputed to be the last battle fought on English soil between 2 private armies, although in truth it was a brawl between 2 gangs of Navvies, one led by Isambard Brunel. The riot Act was read and various civil and military authorities turned out. For more info click here .

6) The Cotswold Lion is a breed of sheep and its wool was the source of medieval prosperity in the area, so much so that we had “the flower of English wool merchants”, one William Grevel living here, along with one or two others. For more info click here

7) William Morris, the co-founder of the “Arts and Crafts Movement” stayed regularly in Broadway Tower, situated on the Hill overlooking Broadway, just outside Chipping Campden. Indeed it was whilst staying at the Tower that William Morris started his campaign for the preservation of historic monuments.

8) The Campden Wonder is a true story of the Perry family, Joan and her 2 sons, Richard and John, who were executed for the SUPPOSED MURDER of the Campden House steward, one William Harrison, in Aug. 1660. Harrison walked back into Campden some 2 years later with a tale of abduction, piracy and slavery.

9) St James Church contains a 14th century priest’s cope, the oldest example surviving today and a 15th Century altar hanging. Its tower has recently been described as one of the 50 best in England.

10) Major General Sir Percy Hobart, the creator of “Hobarts Funnies”, the various specialised tanks used in the D-day landings in Normandy, served in Campden’s Home Guard for about 9 months, before he was recalled by Churchill in 1941.

11) Robert Dover’s Cotswold Olimpick Games which had been taking place on Dover’s Hill since their inception in 1612 were halted in 1850, by a combination of pressure by the local vicar Canon Bourne and the enclosure of the area by the landlord Lord Harrowby. They were not reinstated until 1952.

12) Old Campden House took 8 years to build from 1612 and was then partially destroyed by the retreating Royalist garrison in 1645, so it was only in use for 25 years.

13) Chipping Campden has the 2nd highest density of listed buildings in the country

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