Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Cotswolds - Shipton-under-Wychwood

Road through Shipton under Wychwood in the Cotswolds by Martyn Ferry Photography

Shipton-under-Wychwood is a village in the Evenlode valley, its name refers to the fact that it used to be under the boughs of the ancient Royal Forest of Wychwood and was originally a royal manor, mentioned in the Domesday Book. Langley Lodge, on the east side of Shipton was the site of a Royal hunting Lodge that was built for Henry VII. Most of the Tudor monarchs stayed there when hunting in Wychwood Forest. Some remnants of the forest remain, but for the most part this is now open farmland.

Shipton is the largest of the three villages which include the historic Wychwood forest in their name. The other two being Ascott-under-Wychwood and Milton-under-Wychwood.

Shipton Court at Shipton under Wychwood by Martyn Ferry Photography
The rather grand Shipton Court

Shipton Court on the south side of the village was built for the Lacy family in 1603. It was bought and remodelled in 1663 by the Reade family, who retained it until 1868. Frederick Pepper, who bought the house in 1900, added both a new residential wing and a service wing to the property. The estate was broken up in the late 1940s. It is one of the largest Elizabethan manor houses in the country and is still in use as a private residence.

The entrance to Wychwood Wild Garden in Shipton under Wychwood by Martyn Ferry Photography
The entrance to Wychwood Wild Garden

Opposite Shipton Court, on the other side of the High Street, is Wychwood Wild Garden which was was laid out in the mid 19th century as a pleasure garden adjoining Shipton Court. The garden is 12.5 acres of avenues, woods and ponds much of which was laid out in the 1860's, and is home to wild life and many breeds of ducks and birds.  

The path that runs alongside the Wychwood Wild Garden
This tree lined path runs adjacent to the Garden.

In more recent times the Garden was sold off from the Court and has been in separate ownership since 1948. While some restoration work was carried out, the Wild Garden was managed as general woodland, with some 2000 trees having been planted in the last 30 years.

You can see some images from the garden looking beautifully autumnal, taken last year.

St Mary the Virgin church in the Cotswold village of Shipton under Wychwood by Martyn Ferry Photography
St Mary the Virgin church

St Mary the Virgin stands on the site of a Saxon minster, but the church that stands today is largely 13th century. The oldest part may be the tower, which was begun around the year 1200. The chancel arch is late Norman, and the two-story south porch was added in the 14th century.

Interior of St Mary's church at Shipton under Wychwood by Martyn Ferry Photography
Church interior with marble monuments.

High on the north wall of the chancel are two 18th century marble monuments to members of the Reade family of Shipton Court. 

Shipton under Wychwood church interior by Martyn Ferry Photography
A view of the old wooden pews.
The green at Shipton under Wychwood in the Cotswolds by Martyn Ferry Photography
Looking across the village green.

On the green there is a curious fountain which remembers an event in 1874 when seventeen Shipton residents lost their lives when the emigrant ship Cospatrick was lost 700 miles from the Cape of Good Hope. They  were seeking to escape the rural poverty, harsh living and terrible working conditions of the 1870s agricultural depression for a new life in New Zealand when a fire broke out and rapidly spread. They and their 460 fellow passengers and crew lost their lives.

The Lamb at Shipton under Wychwood by Martyn Ferry Photography
The Lamb, which dates back to 1580.

Shipton has three historic pubs, the Shaven Crown Hotel, The Red Horse and the Lamb Inn.

The Shaven Crown claims to be among the 10 oldest inns in England, having been founded in the 14th century by the monks of Bruern Abbey to house pilgrims and as a hospice for the poor and needy. Following the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century the Crown seized the hotel and Queen Elizabeth I later used it as a royal hunting lodge.

The Shaven Crown in the heart of Shipton under Wychwood by Martyn Ferry Photography
The Shaven Crown.

Subsequently it was given to the village on condition that it became an inn with the proceeds being used to help the poor. Early in the 20th century the inn passed into private ownership and was named the Shaven Crown in homage to its founders. Through the centuries it has maintained many of the original features, including the 14th century gateway and the double-braced roof structure of the iconic Great Hall.

So from one village that takes it's name from the once magnificent royal hunting forest, to another. Next up it's one of it's smaller siblings, Ascott-under-Wychwood.

You can see more images from the beautiful Cotswolds countryside on my website.

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