Wotton-under-Edge

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Wotton-under-Edge
St MaryTheVirginChurchWootton-under-Edge.jpg
Church of St Mary the Virgin,
Wotton-under-Edge
Gloucestershire UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Wotton-under-Edge
Location within Gloucestershire
Population5,632 (2021 Census) [1]
OS grid reference ST758933
District
Shire county
Region
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town WOTTON-UNDER-EDGE
Postcode district GL12
Dialling code 01453
Police Gloucestershire
Fire Gloucestershire
Ambulance South Western
UK Parliament
List of places
UK
England
Gloucestershire
51°38′17″N2°20′56″W / 51.638°N 2.349°W / 51.638; -2.349 Coordinates: 51°38′17″N2°20′56″W / 51.638°N 2.349°W / 51.638; -2.349

Wotton-under-Edge /ˈwʊtən/ is a market town within the Stroud district of Gloucestershire, England. Located near the southern fringe of the Cotswolds, the Cotswold Way long-distance footpath passes through the town. Standing on the B4058, Wotton is about 5 miles (8.0 km) from the M5 motorway. The nearest railway station is Cam and Dursley, 7 miles (11 km) away by road, on the Bristol to Birmingham line.

Contents

History

The first record of the town is in an Anglo-Saxon Royal Charter of King Edmund I, who in AD 940 leased four hides of land in Wudetun to Eadric. [2] The name Wudetun means the enclosure, homestead or village (tun) in or near the wood (wude). The "Edge" refers to the limestone escarpment of the Cotswold Edge which includes the hills of Wotton Hill and Tor Hill that flank the town. In the 1086 Domesday Book listing, Wotton was in the hundred of Dudstone. [3] Kingswood Abbey was founded in 1139, [4] but all that remains is a 16th-century Cistercian gatehouse. Nearby historical buildings include the Tudor houses of Newark Park and Owlpen Manor, both open to the public at set times. The medieval former public house The Ancient Ram Inn dates back to 1145. [5] The original town was burnt down during the reign of King John (1199–1216); it was rebuilt in 1252 and a charter granted to Johanna de Berkeley authorising her to hold a market and a three-day annual fair on the Feast of the Cross. In 1272 the inhabitants of the borough were authorised to elect one of their members as a Mayor, a practice that continued every year until 1886. [6] [7]

St. Mary the Virgin was consecrated in 1283, and is the oldest and largest church in the town. [8] The Katharine Lady Berkeley's Grammar School was established in 1384 and is now a comprehensive named Katharine Lady Berkeley's School although the present modern building is a little outside of the town on the way to the village of Kingswood. The British School was established in the village in 1835.

The Battle of Nibley Green occurred near the Ancient Ram Inn in 1470 (or 1469 under the calendar of the time), when the building was owned by Thomas Talbot, 2nd Viscount Lisle. William de Berkeley, 1st Marquess of Berkeley led the forces that beat the Viscount, and after the battle his men sacked the manor. Overlooking the town on the top of Wotton Hill are a collection of trees planted in the 19th century to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo. These are situated on the site that housed one of the early warning beacons used to warn England of the approach of the Spanish Armada in 1588. [9]

A map of Wotton-under-Edge from 1946 Wotton-under-Edge1946.jpg
A map of Wotton-under-Edge from 1946

New Mills, founded in 1810, prospered by supplying both sides in the Napoleonic wars but after a century of decline the mill was near to closing in 1981 when it was acquired by Renishaw plc. [10]

The town's corporation status was abolished in 1886 following the Municipal Corporations Act of 1883.

Governance

An electoral ward with the same name exists. The ward mainly covers Wotton-under-Edge but also stretches to North Nibley. The total population of the ward taken at the 2011 census was 6,510. [11]

Facilities

The town is relatively well served for a town of its size. It has several pubs and a hotel, and a range of takeaways and restaurants. It has several active social groups, such as Scouts, [12] Guides, [13] a gardening club [14] and the Wotton Lions. [15] In 1958, local people and school students built the town swimming pool, which was completed in 1961. [16] Subsequently the pool has had solar and electric heating installed. In 1999 with the fund raising support of community groups, a retractable enclosure was fitted to prolong the swimming season. [17] In 2015, a skate park was opened to improve sporting facilities in the town, with traffic-free paved access. [18]

In 2002, following the closure of the local cinema, a group of volunteers raised funds for a refurbishment to become one of the first digital cinemas in the UK. [19] It re-opened in 2005 as a 100-seat facility inside an old stable yard, once part of the Crown Inn which closed in 1911. Films were first shown in the old Banqueting Hall of the Inn and moved to the stable yard some years later, due to the popularity of films. The Wotton Electric Picture House (the original name) is now a thriving venue. [19]

The walk from Wotton Hill through Westridge Woods towards the Tyndale Monument, near North Nibley, is a popular local route – especially with dog walkers and families.

On the hills immediately to the east, the Wotton-under-Edge BT Tower formed part of the microwave communication network between Bristol, Corsham and London during the Cold War before decommissioning, and remains a prominent local landmark (albeit without its distinctive original horn antennas). Nearby Newark Park is now operated by the National Trust as a popular heritage attraction within walking distance of the town, along with the Neolithic long barrow on a prominent position atop Blackquarries Hill.

Transport

Wotton has never had a railway station due to the difficult terrain of the Cotswold Edge, although Charfield railway station just to the west on flatter ground was within walking distance from 1844 until its closure in 1965, and is proposed to reopen in 2024 along with a possible traffic-free pedestrian and cycling link between Wotton, Kingswood and Charfield to improve connectivity.

The town is served by multiple bus routes linking to Charfield, Dursley, Yate, Chipping Sodbury, Nailsworth, Stroud, and Thornbury, as well as a once-daily service to Bristol city centre.

As well as the Cotswold Edge long-distance footpath, the Slow Ways traffic-free accessible walking project also connects Wotton to Dursley, Yate, Thornbury, Tetbury and Sherston. [20]

Several long-stay car parks are available in the town free of charge.

Notable people

Further reading

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cotswolds</span> Protected area in south central England

The Cotswolds is a region in central-southwest England, along a range of rolling hills that rise from the meadows of the upper Thames to an escarpment above the Severn Valley and Evesham Vale.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gloucestershire</span> County of England

Gloucestershire is a county in South West England. The county comprises part of the Cotswold Hills, part of the flat fertile valley of the River Severn and the entire Forest of Dean.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">South Gloucestershire</span> Unitary authority area in England

South Gloucestershire is a unitary authority area in the ceremonial county of Gloucestershire, South West England. Towns in the area include Yate, Chipping Sodbury, Thornbury, Filton, Patchway and Bradley Stoke, the latter three forming part of the northern Bristol suburbs. The unitary authority also covers many outlying villages and hamlets. The southern part of its area falls within the Greater Bristol urban area surrounding the city of Bristol.

Dursley is a market town and civil parish in southern Gloucestershire, England, almost equidistant from the cities of Bristol and Gloucester. It is under the northeast flank of Stinchcombe Hill, and about 3+34 miles (6.0 km) southeast of the River Severn. The town is adjacent to Cam which, though a village, is a slightly larger community in its own right.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Stroud District</span> Non-metropolitan district in England

Stroud District is a district in the ceremonial county of Gloucestershire, South West England. The district covers many outlying towns and villages. The towns forming the district are Dursley, Minchinhampton, Nailsworth, Painswick, Stonehouse, Berkeley, Stroud and Wotton-under-Edge. The district is geographically located between the Tewkesbury district to the northwest and northeast, Gloucester district to the north, the Cotswold district to the north-northeast. east and southeast, The Forest of Dean district to the north-northwest, west, and southwest and the South Gloucestershire unitary authority to the southeast, south, and south-southwest. The largest settlement by far is Stroud, followed by Cam and Stonehouse.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">North Nibley</span> Human settlement in England

North Nibley is a village in Gloucestershire, England about 1.9 miles (3 km) northwest of Wotton-under-Edge.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kingswood, Stroud District</span> Village in Gloucestershire, England

Kingswood is a village and civil parish within the Stroud district of Gloucestershire, England. It is southwest of Wotton-under-Edge and has a population of 1,290, increasing to 1,395 at the 2011 Census.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Cotswolds (UK Parliament constituency)</span> Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1997 onwards

The Cotswolds is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament by Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, a Conservative, since its 1997 creation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Stroud (UK Parliament constituency)</span> Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1955 onwards

Stroud is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament. It is held by Siobhan Baillie of the Conservative Party. Formerly a safe Conservative seat, Stroud has been a marginal seat since 1992, changing hands four times in seven elections since then.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cam, Gloucestershire</span> Human settlement in England

Cam is a large village and civil parish in Gloucestershire, England, situated on the edge of the Cotswolds and contiguous with the town of Dursley, north of Bristol and south of Gloucester. The Cotswold Way runs less than a mile from the village.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cam and Dursley railway station</span> Railway station in Gloucestershire, England

Cam and Dursley railway station is a railway station serving the village of Cam and the town of Dursley in Gloucestershire, England. It is located on the main Bristol-Birmingham line, between Yate and Gloucester, at a site close to where Coaley Junction railway station was situated from 1856 to 1965.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Owlpen</span> Human settlement in England

Owlpen is a small village and civil parish in the Stroud district of Gloucestershire, England, set in a valley in the Cotswold hills. It is about one mile (1.6 km) east of Uley, and three miles (4.8 km) east of Dursley. The Owlpen valley is set around the settlement like an amphitheatre of wooded hills open to the west. The landscape falls within the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so designated in 1966. The population of the parish in mid-2010 was 29 (est.), the smallest in Gloucestershire.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Katharine Lady Berkeley's School</span> Academy in Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, England

Katharine Lady Berkeley's School is an academy school near Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, England, for ages 11 to 18.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Stroud and District Football League</span> Association football league in England

The Stroud and District Football League is a football competition based in England. The league was established in 1902 and is affiliated to the Gloucestershire County FA. It has a total of six divisions with the highest, Division One, sitting at level 14 of the English football league system. It is a feeder to the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League (GNSL).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bradley, Gloucestershire</span>

Bradley is a small village in the Stroud District, in the county of Gloucestershire, England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rose Hill School, Alderley</span> Preparatory school in nr. Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, England

Rose Hill School was a co-educational, boarding and day, Pre-preparatory and Preparatory School for children aged 2–14 years old. It was situated in Cotswold countryside in the village of Alderley, near to Wotton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire, England. Its motto, 'conando floreamus', translates as 'We are distinguished through effort'. The school closed on 2 September 2009 to merge with Querns Westonbirt School, together forming Rose Hill Westonbirt School which is co-located with Westonbirt School in nearby Tetbury.

References

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Following the Cotswold Way
Towards
Bath
Towards
Chipping Campden
20 km (12 miles) to
Old Sodbury
11 km (7 miles) to
Dursley