Chipping Campden

The JEWEL IN THE HEART OF THE COTSWOLDS

Chipping Campden is a name that originates from the Saxon ‘campa’ ‘denu’.  It is an accurate description as the meaning is literally ‘a valley with cultivated fields ringed by unfenced hill pastures’. The word ‘Chipping’ meaning ‘market’, was not added until much later when the town had a market.

There local evidence of a Stone Age village in Weston Wood, a Roman grave at at Kingcombe and vineyard on the slopes of Dovers Hill, the Kiftsgate Stone stands on the “moot” site where local tribes met to discuss matters, from Saxon times in St James Church, the butresses on the Town Hall and a small barn in Westington. Little more is known about Campden before the Norman Conquest and the Domesday Book recorded a population of about 300.

The Lord of the Manor, Hugh de Gondeville was granted a market charter by King Henry II in 1185 and set out the plan of the town with the main street following level ground by the River Cam, a curve that helps to make the High Street and its regular plots of land called burgages to be occupied for a fee by craftsmen, traders and others providing services to the community.

The wool trade and its wealthy merchants brought prosperity to Chipping Campden and saw the building of St James Church, The Almhouses, Old Campden House, Greville House, Woolstaplers Hall and the iconic Market Hall, all of which you can still see today.

The fingerboard sign installed on the A44 at Cross Hands by the Izod family demonstrates that right through until the introduction of the railway; Chipping Campden was a critically important junction/resting stop on the road from everywhere to anywhere, particularly between Warwick and Gloster, and Woster and Oxford for several hundred years.

Today’s roadways have removed this vital need and Chipping Campden is now often referred to as “the hidden gem or jewel of the Cotswolds on the road from nowhere to everywhere”.

Chipping Campden has just about everything required of a visitor/holiday destination and it’s why Chipping Campden is so popular:

  • Campden has its own beauty which the historian G.M. Trevelyan described as “the most beautiful village street now left in the island”.
  • Campden’s historic buildings cover at least 500 years and many continue is use today as shops and eateries.
  • Campden is surrounded by beautiful Cotswold countryside, villages and attractions in every direction.
  • Campden is a good central location from which to reach Banbury Cross, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Hereford, Warwick and Worcester, etc.
  • Campden offers a tremendous range of good accommodation and plenty of places where you can enjoy a variety of delightful meals.
  • Campden has plenty for the more active amongst us by way of a myriad of linking local walks as well as being the northern end of The Cotswold Way.
  • Campden has plenty of gentle lanes and a variety of climbs for the cyclist.
  • Campden is within easy reach of the M5, M6, M42 and M40 and The Cotswold (railway) Line from Paddington, Birmingham Airport and the Midlands.

early days of chipping campden

The Early Days of Chipping Campden

Evidence of early life in and around Campden is limited to the remains of a stone age village in Weston Wood and a bronze axe which is now in Cheltenham Museum. As you journey from Chipping Campden on The Cotswold Way, you pass three forts: Shenberrow Hill fort above Stanton, Beckbury fort near Hailes Abbey which dates back to about 870AD and Belas Knap a Neolithic burial chamber dating back to 3000BC. It’s believed that this region was settled by a tribe of dolichocephalic or long-headed people who were farmers during the late Stone Age period (2900-2000BC).

There was a hill fort on Meon Hill near Mickleton. This was so close that we can be sure that people of the British tribe the Romans called the Dobunni knew this area. Some of their coins have been found elsewhere in the Cotswolds but none here – so far.

There is another unsolved question in who placed the Kiftsgate Stone in position and why – some have suggested it is prehistoric.  It stands on the “moot” site where local tribes met to discuss matters and is on the old path or lay-line from Brailes Clump to Bredon Hill.

old chipping campden house
Notable People of Chipping Campden

Campden has had the company of many Notable people over the years:

Lords of the Manor 1066 – 1273

King Harold of England became Lord of the Manor of Campden and Charringworth on the death of Edward the Confessor in 1053. He and died at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

Hugh d’Avranches The Earl of Chester (1066 – 1101) held Campedene for himself. Nicknamed ‘Lupus’ (the Wolf) and ‘Vras’ or ‘le Gros’ (the Fat); gifted the Manor of Campden by his uncle, William I [Reign of William I (1066-1087) & William II (1087-1100)]. Hugh was a doughty warrior who spent much of his life after the Conquest pacifying the more northerly part of England and then beginning the attempt to annex Wales. He died on 27th July 1101.

Richard, Earl of Chester (1101 – 1120) [Reign of William I (1066-1087) & William II (1087-1100)], son of Hugh [Reign of Henry I (1100-1135)] He drowned in the wreck of the White Ship alongside Prince William, heir to the throne of England, on 25th November 1120.

Ranulph le Meschin, Earl of Chester (1120-1129)

Ranulph de Gernon (1129-1153), Ranulph’s son [Reign of Stephen [1135-1154] ‘Gernon’ = moustache; Possibly inherited through his marriage to Matilda, daughter of the Earl of Gloucester, as a Charter of this period grants Campden to him at the time of his marriage. This might mean that the Earls of Gloucester held the manor from Richard’s death. Died 16th December 1153 having held the manor for the remainder of Henry I’s reign and most of the troubled reign of King Stephen.

Hugh de Cyveiliog (1153-1173) or Kevilock, his birthplace in Wales, Ranulph’s son [Reign of Henry II (1154-1189)] Gave homage to Henry II on 29th September 1162 for the earldom of Chester. Joined the feudal revolt in 1173 and in the following year the Earldom and lands were taken from him and vested temporarily in an agent of King Henry II. Died 30th June 1181.

Hugh de Gondeville (1174-1188) Held the manor on behalf of the king; he developed the township by laying out a market street on a new open site. He has in the past been identified as one of the knights who murdered Thomas à Becket in 1170. However it is now considered that this is incorrect. At that time at least three knights were known by that name, including one who was Sheriff of a county and another who was tutor to one of the king’s sons.

Hugh de Cyveiliog (1177-1181?) [Reign of Richard I (1189-1199)] The estate may have been restored to Hugh in 1177, when he was restored to the earldom of Chester, or it may have remained under the ‘management’ of de Gondeville.

Ranulph de Blundeville (1199-1232), son of Hugh de Cyveiliog [Reign of John (1199-1216) & Henry III (1216-1272)]. Gave homage to Henry II in 1188 for the Earldom of Chester and most, if not all, of the lands, including Campden. In 1218 he went on the 5th crusade. He died, aged 60, in 1232 and his lands were divided between his four sisters. Mabilia inherited Campden in right of her son.

Mabilia (1232-1235), the widow of William d’Aubigny, Earl of Arunde. During the minority of her son, Hugh, the manor was once again held by an agent for the king, Henry III.

Hugh d’Aubigny (1235-1243), Earl of Arundel. In 1235 Hugh gave homage for the earldom of Arundel and presumably gained the manor of Campden at the same time. He died in 1243.

Roger de Somery (1243-1273), Baron Dudley, husband of Hugh’s sister Nichola [Reign of Edward I (1272-1307)]. After Nichola’s death in 1240 Roger re-married. In 1273 Roger’s son by his second marriage, also called Roger, succeeded to the Barony of Dudley. However, Campden followed the female line of his marriage to Nichola, being divided between the husbands of his four daughters Margaret, Joan, Mabel and Maud.

After 1273 – Each part of the manor then had a different line of holders for several years through Ralph de Cromwell, married to Margaret; John le Strange, husband of Joan; Walter le Sully, husband of Mabel and Henry de Erdington married to Maud. So from 1273 to 1544 the estate was divided.

Robert Calf and his family were prominent wool-merchants in the later middle ages.   He built Woolstaplers Hall (opposite Grevel’s House) in 1340 which includes a large Tudor-arched fireplace with Calf family rebus in spandrels . For hundreds of years it was a Wool Exchange, attracting merchants from London and as far afield as Florence, to buy Cotswold fleeces for shipment around the world.

William Grevel (Greville) was perhaps the richest and most powerful of the wool merchants of the Cotswold of his time, and the chieftains of remembrance at Campden Church call him “a citizen of London and the flower of the wool merchants of All England”. He invested his profits in real estate from the market, built what is now known as Grevel’s house, and at the time of his death in 1401 owned land and houses to get rich to borrow money to meet the King.

He died on 1 October 1401, but little is known of his background, but as he was a member of the Guild of the Holy Trinity in stores, cafes and in his former company role, his father was William Grevel, campeden (died 1397), mariona, his wife, and Richard Grevel. The family was of Norman or Flemish origin, and,Around 1276 he settled at Chipping Campden.

He signed his will on 2 April 1401 and wanted to be buried” in the Church Of Our Lady of the Holy Land at Campden”, leaving 100 marks”for a new work to be done there”. He established a chapel and ordered four pastors to sing a mass for their souls and the spirit of their ancestors every day for ten years.

In his will, his sons John and Louis were his main heirs. Their other children were Richard, William, and two sons and daughter Alice, whose names are unknown. Louis settled at Drayton in Oxfordshire, while John’s shares included Lasborough and Sezincot.

His youngest son, John Greville (died 1444) of Sezincott, Glos. he began his career in his father’s company: in October 1395, both men received letters of royal pardon for violations,against the law regulating the purchase of wool; and perhaps the father’s confidence in John’s prudent business abilities led him to name him one of his own.

However, shortly after his father’s death, John abandoned his trading activities and focused on acquiring property.

chipping campden high street
The Chipping Campden Wool Trade and Further History

The Campden part of town derives its name from the 7th century Anglo-Saxon word ‘Campa-denu’ meaning a valley with fields or enclosures of cultivated land. The Chipping part, however, has a different origin. It is derived from the old English word meaning ‘Market Place’.

Sheep were originally farmed in Chipping Campden, as farmers found that the hills surrounding the town were perfect for grazing. Local abbeys and monasteries raised huge flocks of sheep which they exported to towns all over Europe. In fact, their wool became known for its quality and appearance with traders from all over Europe coming to the market at Chipping Campden to buy quality cotswold wool during 13th-15th century or the peak of Britain’s wool trade boom. By this time, Chipping Campden had become famous as a centre for the wool trade throughout Europe thanks to its perfect location.

Robert Calf and his family were prominent wool-merchants in the later middle ages.   He built Woolstaplers Hall (opposite Grevel’s House) in 1340 which includes a large Tudor-arched fireplace with Calf family rebus in spandrels . For hundreds of years it was a Wool Exchange, attracting merchants from London and as far afield as Florence, to buy Cotswold fleeces for shipment around the world.

For hundreds of years it was a Wool Exchange, attracting merchants from London and as far afield as Florence, to buy Cotswold fleeces for shipment around the world.

William Grevel was amongst the richest and most influential wool merchants of his era and was the leading purchaser of wool from the Cotswold Hills. He was financier to King Richard the second. The Greville family is believed to be of Norman or Flemish origin and had settled in Chipping Campden by 1276.

What was once his house is now the oldest constantly occupied house in the country. Dating from around 1380, it would have been the first to have had chimneys instead of simply holes in the roof. A plaque in St James Church describes him as “the flower of the wool merchants of all England”.

Many of the buildings in Chipping Campden date from this prosperous period. The 15th century Church of St James, for example, is perhaps the finest ‘wool church’ in the Cotswolds. Built on a grand scale it boasts a splendid 120 foot tower, spacious interior and one of the oldest (pre-Reformation) altar tapestries in the world. Each of the lime trees leading from the main entrance to the porch is supposed to represent one of the apostles and the church contains impressive statuesque brasses.

There was a Norman church on this site before AD 1180, though it was much smaller than the present one. It consisted of a squat tower, a nave of about the same length as today, but without aisles, and a lower, shorter chancel with a pitched roof. Around AD 1260 the Norman church began a slow transformation that was to last nearly 250 years.

The chancel was rebuilt, the North aisle constructed with arches to balance the the Thirteenth century south aisle and the south porch was added together with the windows and battlements of both aisles. About AD 1490 the nave was reconstructed with its magnificent arcading built on the foundations of the old Norman nave. The great window over the chancel arch was added, a rare feature of church architecture, which provides wonderful light for the nave.

Around AD 1500, the noble West tower was built, adding much grace and proportion to the whole. At 120 ft. in height it ensures that the Church is a landmark from whatever direction Campden is approached.

Preserved behind glass are wonderful survivals from the days before the Reformation: the unique pair of Altar Frontals (c.1500) and the Cope (c.1400). The Altar Frontals were copied by command of Queen Mary for the High Altar of Westminster Abbey for the coronation ceremony in 1912.

The finely carved canopied tomb of Sir Thomas Smythe is on the North wall in the sanctuary and is the most remarkable in the church. He was Lord of the Manor of Campden until his death in 1593. He lived at the court of Henry VIII and was the first Governor of the East India Company.

The Old Grammar School – John Fereby & his wife Marjerie were founders of the school in about 1440, he had worked for King Henry VI who was founding Eton at this time and it maybe this gave him the idea too. In 1547 it was recorded that normally 60 to 80 scholars attended the school. The 1688 will of George Townsend, provided for Scholarships to Pembroke College, Oxford for scholars from four Gloucestershire schools including Campden. In the 1620’s, there was a major legal case by Sir Baptist Hicks and others against the Feoffees of the School and one of the first results was that a new school was built in the High Street

Sir Baptist Hicks (1557-1626) was the hugely important English merchant who exerted a great influence over Campden. A one-time Mayor of London and close friend of King Charles I, he acquired vast wealth through lending money to King James I and spent much of it on improving the town for its inhabitants. He sat in the House of Commons between 1621 and 1628. King James I knighted him in 1603 and in 1620 he was created a baronet. The Jacobean pulpit and Flemish lectern in the church are gifts from Sir Baptist Hicks, whose ornate tomb is in the Gainsborough Chapel

Having purchased the land in 1608, Hicks built the magnificent Campden House (and mannerist gardens) at a cost of in excess of £40,000 that was destroyed by Royalists in 1645 during the English Civil War to prevent it falling into the hands of the Parliamentarians. All that now remains of the once imposing estate are the two gatehouses and two Jacobean banqueting houses. Lady Juliana Noel, Sir Baptist’s daughter, and her family lived at the converted stables near the site in Calf Lane, now called the Court House.

He built The Alms Houses in 1612 for £1,000 in the form of a capital I and their simple style shows the early influence in Britain of the Renaissance. They were and still are used as the homes of twelve pensioners, each dwelling has an upper and lower room and each front door is shared by two houses.

The Eight Bells was built to provide food and shelter for those who worked on the construction of these two buildings.

There’s a small crescent-shaped roofed building on Conduit Hill that contains 3 wells and water was piped from these wells to the neighboring houses.

The Jacobean pulpit and Flemish lectern are gifts from Sir Baptist Hicks, whose tomb is in the Gainsborough Chapel.

In 1627 he financed the building of a group of Almshouses, twelve which still exist today. They were erected to offer shelter to those who made their living selling cheeses, poultry and butter. He also financed the building of Chipping Campden’s famous Jacobean Market Hall.

chipping campden hilltop

A Profile of Chipping Campden

The Town is Located in the North of the Cotswolds

Chipping Campden, an area within the Cotswold District of Gloucestershire, UK and situated at the north-eastern end of the Cotswolds. Located within 25 miles from Banbury, Cheltenham, Warwick and Worcester. Stratford on Avon is a distance of 12 miles away while Evesham and Moreton in Marsh both offer mainline railway stations within 11 and 5 miles respectively. The nearest motorway access to the M5/M50 is Tewkesbury (20miles) while the M42 is located at Warwick (20miles) and M4 can be accessed by traveling through Swindon or Oxford (37miles). Birmingham airport can be easily reached making it just 45 minutes away with local airports Wellesbourne (Warwick), Staverton (Cheltenham/Glos.) and Oxford also available. The County Town of Gloucester is some 30 miles away.

It is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Chipping Campden lies within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty of the Cotswolds. An area of limestone runs some 70miles from Bath to Chipping Campden, and spurs can be found in Banbury and Bredon.

Chipping Campden is In fact Two Settlements

The Parish consists of two principal settlements. The Town of Chipping Campden and the Village of Broad Campden. The town lies in a bowl, to the north and south the ground rises steeply from 500–800 feet (150–240 m). To the east the rise is far shallower and the land broadens out to yield longer vistas of fine agricultural landscapes. Broad Campden lies to the south east of the main town and this settlement generally lies as single dwellings against the roadsides.

History in Stone

The Doomsday Book indicates that Campden had approximately 350 residents. It became more significant during the Wool trade of the Middle Ages, as the Market Hall was constructed around 1627 alongside some of the finer grade 1 star listed buildings of the High Street. The Church of St. James the Great is mentioned around 1180, but there was definitely a Church on this site as early as 1175 if not before.

During the Civil War, the area that Campden now sits on saw many battles. The town was originally built in 1351 and thrived throughout the Tudor period. However, during the Civil War, Campden House was burnt to the ground; this took place after a skirmish with Parliamentarian troops heading northwards on their way to join up with Sir Thomas Fairfax’s army who were heading south from Warwick headed for Banbury. It is believed that “The Conygrew,” an estate near what is currently known as Campden House was responsible for creating some of England’s most magnificent and imitated gardens during the 16th Century.

A Historic Town

The older built environment includes the almshouses constructed around 1600’s, whilst Grevels House predates it by a couple of centuries being built around 1380 and remains one of the oldest continuously occupied houses in the Country.   Woolstaplers Hall is another property that remains from the 14th Century.  The High Street has a wide mix of styles from the middle ages through to Victorian palladian and later.   Westington , an area to the south of the town has several fine cottages some with roofs of slate stone or thatch.   Also evident in the buildings is the coming of the railways when thatch was replaced with slate. Today there are some pastiche buildings with thatched roofs having been incorporated into this area.   The High street remains interesting as it shows mainly stone frontages, but red brick usage on the sides and rear of buildings and with some chimneys also using that material. The Town also has several council estates, notably Littleworth.

The Geography of Chipping Campden

Geologically Campden parish has part of the high wold with its’ attendant thinner brashier soils of the oolitic limestone.  However lying as it does towards the end of the glacial belt the land surrounding the town is agriculturally important for its’ generally deeper loam type soils, though on the northern edge there is a belt of clay.   Brick making clay is found at the edge of the parish and there is a brick works at Paxford which is towards the east.   Agriculture is evident in field names which show arable soils in cultivation since pre Saxon times.

An Agricultural Town

Chipping Campden remained mainly an agricultural town until the early 1900’s when due to its’ proximity to London, the Arts and Crafts movement ‘decamped’ to the town bringing at least 100 additional workers to the area.  Whilst it was a short lived experiment, there are many descendants of those families who remain within the town and associated with Arts and Crafts.

History of the Chipping Campden Agricultural Mill

n 1919 an old agricultural mill adjacent to the railway station was developed as an out-station of Bristol University .   In the 1920’s it discovered the Campden tablet – a process by which sodium thiosulphate was used to preserve fruit and vegetables and remains in use today and is especially useful for the home-brewer.    The station has moved through various stages and name changes. Today it is known as Campden B.R.I. and houses not only Chorley Wood (Baking Research), but also the Brewers Institute as well as it’s core scientific and training services to the food industry, worldwide.

Chipping Campden is Home to One of the Oldest Grammar Schools

Chipping Campden is able to boast one of the oldest ‘grammar schools’ in the Country. Although it is thought to predate Eton school the documentation exists only after the establishment of Eton.   The School in 1911 obtained Academy status.    The Town also has two further junior schools, both being faith based,  St James school was one of the first schools to enter the federated system and is co-joined to Ebrington School a neighbouring village to the east.   St. Catharine’s’ Roman Catholic school is situated in the lower High Street and like it’s counterpart draws children from an area both inside Gloucestershire and from its’ neighbouring counties. Pre-school education both full time and part time are catered for by a pre-school play group in Lower Park Road, and a fee paying nursery situated at Campden BRI.

Chipping Campden’s Population and Crime Levels

The population of Chipping Campden is ageing, with higher levels of retired and few in 16-64 especially the 20-55group. Crime rate is comparatively low, with occasional concentrated burglary periods.  Such events are seldom and crimes against the person are virtually absent.   There are several neighbourhood watch schemes in the area.

cotswold charm chipping campden night sky

Walking through Chipping Campden

The walk starts at Grevel House almost facing the junction with Church Street. This private house is the oldest building in Campden and was built in about 1380 for William Grevel, a wealthy businessman and wool merchant. Note the sundial – there are seven other sundials to be spotted as you stroll (ask for a copy of the Sundial Trail in the Information Centre).

Campden_Sign Keeping to the same side of the street and heading towards the Square, you’ll soon come to the old St. James’ Primary School built in 1831 and used until the 1960s.

Further along, you will come to the Market Hall built by Sir Baptist Hicks in 1627 for local traders. His coat of arms and the date can be seen. Each corner has a pediment and each gable a window (blocked in). The floor still retains its stone pitching and there is fine craftsmanship in the roof timbers. The Market Hall was used to sell dairy produce and vegetables and was in a sorry state until it was presented to the National Trust who restored it.

Beyond the Market Hall is the War Memorial and Town Hall. The Town Hall was originally a 14th century building that was used by the burgesses of the town as a gaol and later as a wool exchange or court house. Rebuilt in the 18th century, it was fully restored in 1897 when the new entrance porch was built for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

At the side of the Town Hall and adjacent to the Square is the stone that marks the start/finish point of the Cotswold Way long-distance footpath. Beside the War Memorial is the new sign to commemorate Campden winning the Bledisloe Cup for Best Kept Village.

The Cotswold House Hotel, an elegant building facing out over the Square, was built in 1815. Darby’s House was the home of Richard Darby, an early 18th century maltster who is credited with inventing the slide rule. Now pass between the Baptist Church (rebuilt 1872) and Island House (more correctly houses). This provides an illustration of a timber-framed 16th century building that has not been refaced.

The pathway between the two houses opposite is believed to be a ‘rope walk’, hence ‘Twine House’ at the High Street end and ‘Twine Cottages’ at the far end on Back Ends.

Continue along the same side of the street into Lower High Street. There was once a great elm outside Elm Tree House that became the hiring point for agricultural workers. The house dates from 1656 but has a Georgian bow window. C.R. Ashbee used it for his architectural practice and its outbuildings for a School of Arts and Crafts. The Old Bakehouse speaks for itself. Ernest Wilson, the explorer who was responsible for collecting over 1,200 species of plants from China in the early part of the 20th century, lived in the Lower High Street. (There is a small plaque on his house.)

When Catholics were given greater freedom to worship, the 3rd Earl of Gainsborough (descendant of Edward Noel) built the Church of St. Catharine in 1891 and named it after a medieval chapel now lost. A fine building in late Gothic style, it is worth a visit to see the stained glass windows made in Campden in the early 20th century by one of Campden’s famous craftsmen, Paul Woodroffe.

Cross the road to the Volunteer Inn that probably dates from 1859 when the volunteers came to the inn to sign on for the county militia.

You can extend your route to include Westington (originally a separate hamlet) with its thatched cottages, manor and farmhouses continue along this side of the road (Park Road) until you come to a gap in the houses with a footpath sign on the side wall. Follow this across the footbridge over the River Cam and uphill across the field, pausing at the top to enjoy the view over the town. Goalong the path between the houses to emerge in Westington.

Turn left and follow the road (past some much photographed thatched cottages) around a sharp bend into Sheep Street.

Resume themain walk at the Old Silk Mill – make your way back along the street towards the town centre and at the corner with the Robert Welch Studio turn right into Sheep Street. A few yards down on the right is the Old Silk Mill, which was the base for C.R. Ashbee’s Guild of Handicraft in the early 20th century.

The mill still contains working art and crafts studios including on the ground floor, [email protected], a co-operative of local artists and craftspeople. On the 1st floor, you can visit the workshop of Harts Silversmiths where descendants of the original Guild craftsmen still work.

Rejoin the High Street at the 17th century Red Lion Inn. Brewery receipts dated 28th February 1660 (found during renovations in 1929) reveal that Valentine Smith of Campden paid three shillings and nine pence for “one barrel and halfe of strong bears” (beers) in Excise duty (about 12p a barrel – a lot in those days!).

A close look at the Library building reveals its origins as a ‘Blue Coat School’ built in 1820 for pupils of primary school age. The Noel Arms, formerly ‘The George’, was the town’s ‘posting house’. The Noel Arms archway leads into George Lane, formerly a packhorse track for carrying wool from Campden to Bristol and Southampton. In the 1790s there was a wagon from London twice a week and it was an important coaching inn throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.

Just beyond the Noel Arms is The Old Police Station. Built in 1872 and now used as a community centre, this houses the Information Centre. Visit there for local information and a wide selection of guides, maps and souvenirs.

Continue past Caminetto, formerly ‘The Old Kings Arms’, until you come to the Old Grammar School. Now in private use, it was founded in about 1440 and the old school room dates from 1863. Above the principal bay window is a sculptured panel bearing the arms of the founder John Fereby, and Baptist Hicks who gave money to the school.

The Woolstaplers Hall was built in the 14th century at the height of the prosperity brought by wool. Nearby, Bedfont House looks as impressive as when it was first built in the classical style for a rich farmer in the 1740s. (Both houses are privately owned.)

Leave the High Street turning right into Church Street and, almost immediately, you’ll see the Eight Bells Inn. Probably the oldest public house in town, it derives its name from the peal of the nearby church. Glance to your right at the junction with Calf Lane to the Court House, converted from the former stables of the great house.

Follow the curve of Church Street and you’ll soon come to the Almshouses built in 1612 by Sir Baptist Hicks for £1,000. There are twelve houses each sharing a front door. Opposite the Almshouses is the old cart dip for washing the wheels of carts.

Set into the wall just beyond the cart dip is the 18th century Court Barn which now contains an exciting new museum of craft and design from the Arts and Crafts Movement

Behind the wall you see the impressive remains of Campden House. Built in 1613-20 in an ornate Italian style at the enormous cost of £29,000, the house and gardens covered eleven acres. Only 25 years later, a devastating fire destroyed it. Whether by accident or design, the fire effectively meant that the approaching Roundheads could not use the house, turned garrison, as

the Royalist troops within departed to reinforce the King’s flagging army. Limestone, when burnt, turns pink and you can still see pink stone around the town where material from the house has been re-used.

The gatehouse and lodges, each with a solid stone roof and Sir Baptist Hicks’ coat of arms above, survived the fire. The banqueting houses with astonishing spiral chimneys remain intact and parts of other ruins can be seen. The Landmark Trust has restored the banqueting houses and gatehouse and they are now let as holiday homes.

Seventeenth-century lime trees, representing the Apostles, line the path to the Parish Church of St. James. This is one of the gems of the Cotswold wool churches. Mostly built about 500 years ago in the Perpendicular style with a magnificent tower, it is a monument to the prosperity of Campden at the height of the wool trade. The area around the east window is probably the oldest part, although the 20th century glass celebrates the safe return of soldiers from war.

There are few monuments, but those there are worthy of note including a very large brass to William Grevel and his wife Mariana and the tomb of Anthony Smith with his 2 wives and 13 children. In the South Chapel are the two marble edifices to Sir Baptist Hicks and wife Elizabeth and to Juliana and Edward Noel.

The brass lectern, engraved 1618 and probably from Flanders, and the Jacobean pulpit were both given by Sir Baptist. On display within the church are 500-year-old altar hangings and a vicar’s ceremonial cope dating back to 1400.

Follow Cider Mill Lane around and back into Leysbourne, a continuation of the High Street. Turn left and after a short while pass through the archway into the Ernest Wilson Memorial Garden, opened in 1984 as a tribute to Ernest Wilson, the botanist and explorer who was born in Campden in 1876. He was responsible for introducing more trees, shrubs and flowers suitable for British gardens than any other collector.

On the opposite side of the road, North End Terrace, known as “Old Maid’s Row”, had probably been rebuilt from existing cottages in 1825. The Regency facade, with door fanlights reminiscent of Downing Street, hides earlier timber framed buildings. Continue along this side of the road to your starting point outside Grevel House.