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Winchcombe

Winchcombe is over 1000 years old and was the capital of the old Saxon Kingdom of Mercia. The modern town is small and unspoilt and the beauty and the history of the area acts as a magnet to draw tourists from all over the world to amble along the narrow streets.

Vineyard Street, Winchcombe A view across the valley to the Cotswold Scarp The Queens Garden, Sudeley Castle

Wherever you go in the town, history is prominent. The town has is famous for Sudeley Castle, home to the last wife of Henry V111 and the nearby ruins of Hailes Abbey. Hailes Abbey , a Cistercian Abbey founded in 1246 by Richard of Cornwall. Richard's son Edmund brought a vial of the Holy Blood, reputed to be from Christ as a gift to Hailes in 1270. He and many other people certainly believed in its authenticity at the time, and like many other relics it was genuinely venerated for some years. Lttle remains of the Abbey which is administered by English Heritage and the National Trust.

The parish church is dedicated to St Peter and is perpendicular in design. Within the walls are two stone coffins said to be from an earlier period and from Winchcombe Abbey. It is reputed that one of the coffin's contain the remains of St Kenelm, but both are empty. It is believed that Kenelm, the King of the Mercians, was murdered in the Forests of Worcestershire and his body taken to the Mercian Abbey at Winchcombe where he was buried with honour.

The narrow streets of the town are lined by an assortment of  buildings that twist and bulge into the street and many hide the true age of the building.

The Town Hall is home to the small but interesting museum and relates the day to day stories of Winchcombe folk and an unusual collection of police memorabilia from around the world.

Along the main street is the small Winchcombe Railway Museum and the visitor can see real steam at the GWR Railway at Toddington, a short car ride from Winchcombe.

The Neolithic burial chambers of Belas Knap can be seen on the surrounding hillside near Honeybee Woods and a roman villa can be found at Spoonley Woods on the Sudeley Estate.

Walkers are spoilt for choice with several long distance routes passing through the town including the 100 mile long Cotswold Way. 

Map

Other Links
www.winchcombe.co.uk

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Around Bishops Cleeve and Winchcombe  
David Aldred
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