Cotswold Cottages - A History

The Cotswolds is one of the most beautiful places in England, known as an area of outstanding natural beauty. It is unsurprising, then, that the local architecture is reflective of this world-famous beauty. Cotswold Cottages look as though they have been taken straight out of a fairy tale book depicting illustrations from a bygone era. It's little wonder then that their architecture is sometimes also referred to as the 'storybook style'.Many of our Cotswold Cottages are a perfect representation of the storybook style, combining history with contemporary decor. Country gardens, natural building materials and rolling green lawns all contribute to creating a classic Cotswold country experience that everyone can enjoy. From little chocolate box cottages suitable for small families to large country manor houses with room for 14 or more people, there is a home from home to suit everyone's needs and tastes.

Cotswold Cottages - Historical Architecture

The renowned 'storybook style' so famously associated with Cotswold architecture dates back as far as the sixteenth century and closely linked with the Tudor style. Typical features include steeply pitched roofs, thatched roofs, arched doorways, and prominent chimneys which lead down to large, inglenook fireplaces.Our Cotswold cottages range from stunning manor houses to cosy boltholes for two. Some are large and spacious, with open wild-flower gardens and surrounding woodland and some have smaller, irregularly shaped rooms, with exposed beams and sloping ceilings. Whatever suits your taste, what they do all have in common is plenty of charm and character.To experience Cotswold features at their best, take a look at Mary's Acre in Broad Campden. This beautiful grade II listed building has been tastefully decorated with modern dcor throughout and features low ceilings with exposed beams and flagstone flooring. The property also boasts a beautiful Cotswold country garden.

Cotswold Stone

The world renowned Cotswold Stone, of which many of our cottages are built, is a honey coloured limestone which gives the architecture across the region a warm, homely appearance. Cotswold Stone has been used in building around the Cotswolds from as early as the Saxon period. The stone itself has a history of millennia, made up as it is of the calcified, or fossilised, remains of ancient marine creatures. This is what gives it its unique colour and bumpy texture. Since the houses are literally built from the earth around the Cotswolds, it is no wonder they have such character and a feel of the ancient about them. The familiar golden hues make the area an attractive spot for artists and photographers, hoping to capture its warmth through print, oils or watercolour. People travel from all over the world to experience the quintessential beauty of Cotswold Stone against the backdrop of the idyllic English countryside.For those looking to see a fine example of a home built using Cotswold stone, Wolds End House in Chipping Campden features beautiful stone work both inside and outside the property, with many of the rooms featuring exposed stone walls. Perhaps the best example of this can be seen in the kitchen, which provides a beautiful contrast against the modern, fully equipped kitchen complete with exposed beams and flagstone flooring.

Living the Past

The storybook style which is so prominent amongst the architecture of many Cotswold cottages, really brings alive the feeling of stepping into a bygone era. Many of our smaller Cotswold Cottages would have belonged to tradesmen around 200 years ago. When you step into the properties and sit beside the inglenook fireplace, it's easy to picture the women of the house stirring a pot on the stove, or bathing the children beside the fireplace. The history of the properties are very much still alive and it is easy to imagine what life might have been like all those years ago.A lovely example of what was a tradesman's cottage is Top Cottage in Oddington- originally 4 workman's cottages, it has since been converted into a 3 bedroom home. It features the original inglenook fireplace with wood burning stove, window seats, flagstone flooring and an original bread oven.

Restoring the Past

There are a number of Cotswold cottages that have been restored from a number of old buildings which played an important part in local life for a number of centuries. These vary from school houses to churches, coach houses to old breweries. In restoring these unused buildings, the owners are of course salvaging pieces of old architecture that would have otherwise fallen into disrepair, but perhaps more importantly, they are keeping alive an important part of our Cotswold history.A truly beautiful example is the Old School House. This is another grade II listed property dating back to 1853. Situated next to the Victorian church of St Simon and St Jude, the property's gardens overlook the old church yard. If you are looking for more space, The Old Brewery, which sleeps up to 10 features a picturesque lake which used to run the old water mill attached to the brewery.

The Geography of The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds encompasses the most idyllic parts of a number of counties in south-west and west-central England, from Gloucestershire to Oxfordshire and everything in between. Scattered across the rolling hills, lush green grass and ancient woodland areas, are some of the UKs most culture-filled cities, including the World Heritage City of Bath and the Cotswolds Roman Capital of Cirencester. Despite covering a large part of England, there are only 85,000 people in the entire area. Each town and village is home to a comparatively small number of people, allowing for the landscape to remain in its state of ethereal loveliness.The areas distinctive beauty is well cared for, with the largest number of conservation areas of any English region. It is no wonder, then, that so many people from around the world choose to visit this breath-taking part of England, moulded by a long and rich history time and time again.

A History of the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds has been inhabited for hundreds of years. From as early as 500BC, it was ruled by Celtic Tribes, mainly around the Cirencester area. Even this very early history is preserved in the form of Neolithic remains, barrows, and iron age hill forts, scattered around the countryside. Not long after followed a period of Roman occupation, evidence of which is still well preserved in a number of Cotswold towns and villages.Visiting Roman ruins, such as the Cirencester Amphitheatre and the Chedworth Roman Villa, is a popular choice for many who choose to holiday in the Cotswolds. The long and varied history is also reflected in quirky place-names which can often seem bizarre or ominous. Many originate from the Anglo-Saxon period. Upper and Lower Slaughter, for example, are actually very pleasant little villages in Gloucestershire, despite the slightly gory associations their names suggest!The Cotswolds has always been a wealthy area, which began in the fourteenth century, when its famous wool trade reached its peak. For two centuries or more the Cotswold's became renowned for its goods and produce, which not only included wool but also silk, tobacco, and various types of stone for building. The long-held wealth of the area is clearly reflected in the local architecture, which varies from cosy thatched cottages to decadent manor houses tucked away on private estates. The area is also rich in heritage boasting a number of stately homes, churches and abbeys, including Blenheim Palace, Tewkesbury Abbey, Gloucester and Worcester Cathedral and the Royal Woodstock Grounds, birthplace of Winston Churchill. Whichever part of the Cotswolds you choose to stay in, you are never far from a magnificent piece of historical architecture.Over the years, the towns, villages and countryside of the Cotswolds have been able to maintain their age-old charm by remaining mostly untouched by industrialisation; something that much of the rest of England has been unable to avoid. The canal system is perhaps one of the only real indicators that the Cotswolds played an important part in the countrys industrial development. Built between 1775 and 1779, the Stroudwater Navigation carried goods from Stroud to the Severn Estuary. Today the canals only add to the charm of this beautiful area, adding another layer to its already wondrous depth of character. It is this ability to remain untouched in a world of industry and development that makes the Cotswolds such a unique holiday destination.

Take A Step Back In Time With A Stay In A Classic Cotswold Cottage

What better way to experience the history of Cotswold cottages than by staying in one? Each of our cottages offer a unique experience, combining timeless tranquility with the best in comfort and convenience. A holiday in the Cotswolds offers a wealth of variety for both sanctuary-seekers and adventurers, satisfying both those who wish to relax and those who want to experience everything the Cotswolds has to offer. So whatever takes your fancy, you can plan it all surrounded by centuries of history in any one of our delightful Cotswold cottages.


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