Wotton-under-Edge

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.

Wotton-under-Edge
St MaryTheVirginChurchWootton-under-Edge.jpg
Church of St Mary the Virgin,
Wotton-under-Edge
Wotton-under-Edge is located in Gloucestershire
Wotton-under-Edge
Wotton-under-Edge
Location within Gloucestershire
Population5,627 (2011 UK Census)[1]
OS grid referenceST758933
District
Shire county
Region
CountryEngland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townWOTTON-UNDER-EDGE
Postcode districtGL12
Dialling code01453
PoliceGloucestershire
FireGloucestershire
AmbulanceSouth Western
UK Parliament
List of places
UK
England
Gloucestershire
51°38′17″N 2°20′56″W / 51.638°N 2.349°W / 51.638; -2.349Coordinates: 51°38′17″N 2°20′56″W / 51.638°N 2.349°W / 51.638; -2.349

HistoryEdit

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

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.

GovernanceEdit

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]

FacilitiesEdit

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.

TransportEdit

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.

GalleryEdit

Notable peopleEdit

Further readingEdit

  • E.S. Lindley. Wotton under Edge: Men and Affairs of a Cotswold Wool Town. Published by Museum Press, 1962
  • Simon Herrick. Under the Hill. (1979). ISBN 0-904387-36-4

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Parish population 2011". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  2. ^ "Anglo-Saxon Charters". Archived from the original on 2 April 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
  3. ^ http://opendomesday.org/place/SO8520/wotton/ Open Domesday: Wotton
  4. ^ "Deeds of Kingswood Abbey". Archives Hub. Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  5. ^ "Stroud District Council" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2012. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  6. ^ Wright, William Horace (1872). Historical Notes Relating to the Borough of Wotton,, And a List of Mayors of the Borough from 1660. Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  7. ^ Rudge, Thomas (1803). The history of the county of Gloucester. Gloucester, Printed for the author by G. F. Harris. p. 249.
  8. ^ "Director of Music and Organist" (PDF). St Mary the Virgin, Wotton-under-Edge. Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  9. ^ "Wotton-under-Edge Wedding Fairs". Gloucestershire Wedding Fairs. Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  10. ^ "Tubbs Online". Tubbs Lewis & Company. Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  11. ^ "Ward population 2011". Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  12. ^ "www.wottonscoutgroup.org – 1st Wotton-under-Edge Scout Group Log in". www.wottonscoutgroup.org. Archived from the original on 23 September 2009.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Facebook. Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 4 March 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Gloucestershire Federation of Gardening Societies". Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  15. ^ "Wotton Lions | Serving our community". Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  16. ^ "Construction and early years". Wotton Pool. Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  17. ^ Wotton Swimming Pool Ltd. "Wotton Pool". Wotton Pool. Archived from the original on 15 August 2010. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  18. ^ "Wotton Skate Park". Wotton Community PARC. Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  19. ^ a b "The Electric Picture House – A Short History". The Electric Picture House. Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  20. ^ "Slow Ways has the walks for Wotton-under-Edge, Stroud, Gloucestershire, England". beta.slowways.org. Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  21. ^ Sorensen, Lee. "Adey, More". Dictionary of Art Historians. Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  22. ^ "Where Are They Now? Bristol Rovers Division Three Champions 1989–90". The football league paper. 24 March 2017. Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  23. ^ "Thomas de Berkeley, 5th Baron Berkeley". Geni. Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  24. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Biddle, John" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  25. ^ "Sir Charles Blagden". Oxford Reference. Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  26. ^ Yanagihara, Hanya (7 September 2017). "Bruce Chatwin: One of the Last Great Explorers". New York Times. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  27. ^ Walker, Skip (6 May 2009). "Tributes are paid to poet UA Fanthorpe". Gazette. Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  28. ^ a b "Hale Family of Alderley". National Archives. Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  29. ^ Griffiths, Bill. "First World War Heroes of Wotton-under-Edge" (PDF). Wotton Heritage. Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  30. ^ "America's first Thanksgiving (1619)". Wotton-under-Edge Historical Society Museum & Heritage Centre. Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  31. ^ "Mamma Mia! writer Catherine Johnson returns to her roots in Wotton-under-Edge at Wotton Electric Picture House event". Gazette. Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  32. ^ Williams, Richard (8 September 2003). "Obituary: Ian MacDonald". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  33. ^ "Pitman House". National Heritage List for England. Historic England. Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  34. ^ Hughes, Janet (30 January 2020). "Celebrity Cotswolds GP Dr Mark Porter leaves BBC to spend more time with his patients". Gloucestershire Live. Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  35. ^ Williams, David (21 June 2016). "FOOTBALL: Wotton-under-Edge's Sean Rigg signs for League Two side Newport County". Gazette. Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  36. ^ Stephens, Jamie (8 June 2013). "Jamie Stephens from Wotton-under-Edge is released by Liverpool after his contract expires". Stroud News and Journal. Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2020.

External linksEdit

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