Stow on the Wold – The Cotswolds


Stow (the highest town in the Cotswolds) has attracted settlers since the Iron Age.

Settlers were drawn initially to the adjoining village of Maugersbury, but overtime the commercial success of Stow has seen the town establish itself as the pre-eminent town in the Cotswolds.

Located at the junction of six roads Stow was an important and natural meeting place of the Cotswolds. The famous Roman Road, renowned as a meeting point at its crossroads is The Fosse Way.

Since 1107 when King Henry II granted a charter, Stow has regularly held markets in the square. Known as Edwardstow, the town was founded circa 1100. Stow on the Wold’s heritage as the Cotswolds major sheep market is marked by the village square.  20,000 sheep were once reported to have been sold here in one day.

The narrow and winding streets off the square were designed as a way to control and count sheep. Old penal stocks in the square are now a famous Cotswold landmark.

The Royalist Hotel (Now the Porch) dining lounge still has a medieval fireplace showing "witch's marks" which were meant to ward off spells. The Royalist is not the only inn in Stow with historic connections. The Kings Arms, on the square was favoured by King Charles I before the Battle of Naseby in 1645.

In1646 a Royalist army marched through the Cotswolds to join up with King Charles at Oxford. They were finally confronted at Stow on the Wold by a Parliamentary force. The fighting was fierce and deadly. Over 1000 royalists were imprisoned within  the church.

Church of St Edward’s was founded in 11th century with later additions in the 15th century. The south porch is gabled, and the shallow north porch from the 17th century masks a 13th-century moulding on the north door, which is framed by yew trees and looks like a scene from a fable.

The church is steeped in history, connected with the Battle of Stow on the Wold. The final conflict of the First English Civil War, 1000 fighters were imprisoned in the church.

The battle was so bloody that it was said that ducks were able to bathe in the pools of blood that formed on the street leading away from the market square. This is said to be the origin of the street's name; "Digbeth", ("Duck's Bath") You will be able to touch the steps of the old stone cross monument in the Town Square next to which Sir Jacob Astley, sat on a drum prophetically telling his capturers ‘Gentlemen yee may now sit down and play, for you have done all your work, if you fall not out amongst yourselves’

Fosse Gallery  GL54 1AF

The Fosse Gallery is located in the Manor House on Stows Town Square, just a stones throw from the old monument.  No privately run art gallery in the Cotswolds has been established in the same place for longer – it is considered one of the most important UK art galleries outside London.

Restaurants & Cafes - A selection from those we recommend:-

New England Coffee House,1 Digbeth Street, Stow on the Wold not only offers amazing coffee but in wonderful rustic surroundings. The top floor room is really lovely with all the very old beams. Not good for the diet if you are tempted by their lovely range of home baked products.

The Porch House GL54 1BN Steeped in history with ale having been served on this site from C965 You can dine in the Bar, Lounge, Conservatory, Restaurant, or Garden. They welcome people wanting to look around the ancient interior (remember your camera)

The Old Butchers GL54 1AQ – This old butchers shop has been turned into one of the most popular restaurants in the Cotswolds. Contrary to its name the menu is very diverse but with a leaning to Seafood & Fish.