Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Cotswolds - Kingham

St Andrew's church in Cotswold village of Kingham by Martyn Ferry Photography

Situated in the Evenlode valley, Kingham, which was anciently known as Konigsham, is a beautiful unspoiled Cotswold village with some beautiful cottages mostly dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. 

The beautiful Cotswold village of Kingham in the afternoon sunshine by Martyn Ferry Photography
Some of the elegant houses in the afternoon sunshine

The main road through the village, Church Street, has an attractive mix of houses and cottages, a village shop and a couple of pubs. At the north end of the village is a large green surrounded by stone & thatched cottages and at the other end is the village church, St. Andrew's.

Beautiful gardens at Kingham in the Cotswolds by Martyn Ferry Photography
Gardens in bloom
The Church of St Andrews in Charlbury, Oxfordshire by by Martyn Ferry Photography
The Norman Church of St Andrew's

There has been a church on the site for at least 900 years. The font is 13th century; the spire, built as a slim replica of Magdalen Tower in Oxford, is 15th century. The nave roof, dated 1774, has carved and gilded wooden bosses. The rest of the church was remodelled in 1851-3 in Decorated style, but is fortunate in having the lightness of Georgian gothic rather than heavy Victorian.

Lych gate at the KIngham church of St Andrews in the Cotswolds by Martyn Ferry Photography
The Lych gate was erected in 1912 in memory of the Rev. S.D. Lockwood, Rector 1880-1911.

To have a look inside the church, which is rather light and welcoming, visit it's page on 360 Degrees for a panoramic view. 

The Kingham Plough a Cotswolds pub by Martyn Ferry Photography
Kingham Plough

With the restaurant set in an atmospheric tithe barn, since opening in 2007, The Plough has won various awards, and this year Chef Proprietor Emily Watkins was winner of BBC’s Great British Menu.

The Wild Rabbit pub in Kingham Oxfordshire by Martyn Ferry Photography
The Wild Rabbit pub

As if having one award winning pub wasn't enough, Kingham is also home to The Wild Rabbit, which was announced as the Pub Of The Year in the 2015 edition of the Michelin Eating Out in Pubs Guide. The pub has links to Daylesford Farmshop, located just up the road, probably the most famous farm shop in Britain, and founded by Lady Bamford, whose husband is the "B" in digger manufacturers JCB.

The local shop in the Cotswold village of Kingham by Martyn Ferry Photography
The local shop that sells locally grown produce and even does your dry cleaning.

Blur bass-player Alex James lives on a sheep and dairy farm outside the village, which is also the location of The Big Feastival, an annual festival of music and food, staged in collaboration with Jamie Oliver.

An 18th century house in the Cotswold village of Kingham by Martyn Ferry Photography
One of the many listed buildings in the village

In 2004, a Country Life panel judged Kingham to be "England's Favourite Village". Not only that but, after assessing more than 100 popular villages, the Daily Telegraph in 2010, decided that Kingham topped the list as the best village of them all. Add to that mix a train station up the road, which takes passengers into Paddington in around 90 minutes, and it's not surprising to learn that house prices are slightly on the astronomical side.

Plants cover the front of a cottage in Kingham Oxfordshire by Martyn Ferry Photography
Plants cover a line of terraced cottages

So for a rather small and unassuming village, Kingham more than holds its own. It is definitely something of a mecca for food lovers, and for those commuters who want live in a village environment, and can afford it. Thankfully though it still has a very old world feel to it, as it doesn't attract many tourists, and despite it's popularity, a majority of the properties are still owned by local families, so the village atmosphere is very much alive.

Often referred to as a picture book village, thanks to its thatched honey-coloured ironstone cottages, the next stop is Great Tew.

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

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