The Cotswolds


R and I were invited on this year’s Ashram Holiday, staying near Stow-on-the-Wold in the Cotswolds. It’s not very far from where we live, but neither of us had ever visited the area.

Saturday: Kelmscott and Great Coxwell

On the first full day the entire group drove south (and technically out of the Cotswolds) to visit Kelmscott Manor, which was the home of well-known 19th century designer William Morris and his family. It’s now a museum filled with lots of examples of their textiles and such.

Tabletop with bowl.
1/60 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO800
Fireplace tiles.
1/30 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO800
R walking up the stairs.
1/20 at f4, 23mm, ISO800
Cheerful crocodile; part of a bedspread embroidered by Jane Morris.
1/15 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO800
Paris with clothes on; Venus, Minerva, and Juno without. Bit of sexism going on there...
1/15 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO800
Three-seater privy in an outhouse (no, you aren’t allowed to use it).
1/30 at f4, 23mm, ISO200

On the way back we stopped at Great Coxwell tithe barn, which is a very large T-shaped barn that was built for Beaulieu Abbey in about 1292.

South entrance.
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Moon-shaped light on floor.
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View through north entrance.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200
West entrance (windows above closed gate).
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Roof of main barn.
1/30 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO200
Light shadowed by columns.
1/15 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO200
Looking up to roof.
1/30 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO200
Looking into the barn through one of the holes in the side.
1/15 at f16, 23mm, ISO200
East side of barn.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200

We stopped briefly at Lechlade on the way back.

Shadow on choir bench, Lechlade church.
1/30 at f4, 23mm, ISO400

Sunday: short local walk

On Sunday we took a short walk around the local area, beginning by walking along some country lanes and past a local brewery.

Tree by lane.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°56′59″N 1°45′38″W
Donnington Brewery.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°56′52″N 1°44′58″W
River Dikler and the lane (and somebody’s very fancy house between).
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°56′44″N 1°44′55″W

We looked inside St Mary’s church in the village of Upper Swell.

1/1000 at f4, 23mm, ISO200 51°56′23″N 1°44′39″W
Gravestone in floor (Thomas Pitman).
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°56′23″N 1°44′39″W

Slightly alarmingly, another plaque in the floor commemorated the death of Revd. Samuel Marshall, in 1711. I made it outside with no ill effects, however, and we walked back to the place we were staying.

Falling-down concrete building at the edge of the grounds.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°56′45″N 1°45′58″W

In the afternoon we walked out to Stow.

Nice doorway.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°55′54″N 1°43′25″W

Monday: cooking and Condicote

R and I were down to cook the evening meal on Monday so we spent a good chunk of the day on that. In the afternoon when it was ready, we took a short walk to the nearest village of Condicote, which doesn’t have much except a church.

Mother’s Union banner.
1/15 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO1600 51°57′11″N 1°46′51″W
Shadows by altar rail.
1/8 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO1600 51°57′11″N 1°46′51″W
Niche in wall.
1/15 at f5.6, 23mm, ISO800 51°57′11″N 1°46′50″W
Norman arch.
1/30 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO200 51°57′11″N 1°46′50″W
West wall and bell tower.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°57′11″N 1°46′51″W

Tuesday: Bourton-on-the-Water

We took the bus to the nearby small town of Bourton-on-the-Water. It’s very pretty and has many tourist shops, but the best part is the model village.

Street in model village. They update the street signs.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°53′0″N 1°45′18″W

Walking back, we stopped at the mill in Lower Slaughter (great name), which has a small museum. The previous day had been the village’s annual fête and there were still some decorations tied up.

Knot a bad alternative to bunting!
1/500 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO200 51°54′5″N 1°45′48″W
View into upper floor of mill. I don’t know why they lit it in pink; just because it looks nice?
1/15 at f2, 23mm, ISO1600 51°54′6″N 1°45′49″W

Our route led through Upper Slaughter, which is also less dangerous than it sounds, although there is a ford.

Chimney through hole in hedge.
1/30 at f16, 23mm, ISO200 51°54′27″N 1°46′32″W

We returned to our cottage via an old Roman road, which is now a fairly straight footpath and is signed as unsuitable for vehicles. Presumably chariots are okay.

Tree by the road.
1/60 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°55′59″N 1°46′25″W
I can’t resist saying ‘motors’ in a South London accent. Just me?
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°56′41″N 1°46′46″W

Wednesday: Rollright Stones

The Rollright Stones is a collection of three Neolithic / Bronze Age stone monuments. The first, called the King’s Men, is a stone circle. Not quite as impressive as Stonehenge, but at least you can get up close to it.

Ribbon-tied sticks placed in one stone.
1/250 at f11, 23mm, ISO200 51°58′31″N 1°34′14″W
Butterfly and ribbons on tree by the stones.
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Part of the circle.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°58′32″N 1°34′15″W
Leaf in stone.
1/1000 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO200 51°58′32″N 1°34′15″W

A short distance away, the Whispering Knights is apparently the earliest of the monuments.

Three knights. If you stretch your imagination a bit.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°58′30″N 1°33′55″W
Another view of the three.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°58′30″N 1°33′56″W

The final monument is called the King Stone.

I like its nice circular railing.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°58′34″N 1°34′12″W
My dad (left) and David D.
1/1000 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°58′34″N 1°34′12″W
Ragged tree (back by the cottage).
1/60 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°56′45″N 1°46′7″W

Thursday: longer local walk

We took a longer walk around the local area, starting toward the village of Broadwell.

Barn near where we stayed (and a suspicious circle in the grass).
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°56′52″N 1°46′3″W
Straw bales.
1/1000 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°56′59″N 1°45′51″W
Tree and clouds.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°56′59″N 1°44′6″W
Wall to keep the plebs out of Donnington Manor.
1/1000 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°57′8″N 1°43′18″W
Colour-coded gravestones in Broadwell Church (Sarah, James, and Hannah Rose).
1/60 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°56′50″N 1°42′34″W
Wool bale tombs.
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Planted grave.
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Mushroom gravestone (Thomas Henry Slatter).
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Barn in Broadwell.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°56′45″N 1°42′29″W
Small playground on village green.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°56′43″N 1°42′15″W

We then took lanes and footpaths back to Stow.

Shadowed footpath.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°56′19″N 1°42′39″W
St Edward’s Well (1).
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St Edward’s Well (2).
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Shadows on Parson’s Corner.
1/1000 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°55′54″N 1°43′20″W
Archway near Stow Church.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°55′47″N 1°43′23″W

Stow Church has a back door which is universally referred to as ‘Tolkienesque’ because it’s quite small and has two trees growing right next to it.

Tolkienesque door.
1/30 at f4, 23mm, ISO200 51°55′48″N 1°43′26″W
The trees don’t quite grow into the stone.
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Everybody respects the sanctity of the churchyard.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°55′48″N 1°43′27″W
Gravestones and shadows.
1/60 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°55′47″N 1°43′26″W

We went back via Lower and Upper Swell.

Large modern stables building.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°55′7″N 1°44′12″W
Raised bank across ridged field.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°55′5″N 1°44′19″W
Bridge over the River Dikler.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°55′2″N 1°44′25″W
Mill house.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°55′2″N 1°44′25″W
Gap in trees.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°55′3″N 1°44′28″W
Gravestone shadow, Lower Swell churchyard.
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We left on Friday morning.

The field behind where we stayed (on a farm that had been converted into holiday cottages).
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°56′45″N 1°46′5″W

That’s all. It was a really nice holiday, quite varied and with some lovely countryside (albeit a slight shortage of derelict buildings). Maybe we’ll visit the area again some time.

All images © Samuel Marshall. All rights reserved.