Stow-on-the-Wold Visitor Information
Stow-on-the-Wold at 230 metres above sea level is the highest town in the Cotswolds, its 15th century church tower visible from miles around.
The area has a long history that includes the Iron Age period, the Romans and the Medieval period when a long period of great wealth from the wool trade began. A market charter was granted to the town by Henry I in 1107. The Royalist Hotel listed in the Guinness Book of Records as Englands oldest Inn (947 AD with Charles I staying in 1645) is still open of the many posting inns still open today.
Stow quickly developed as a cross roads and with the growth of the wool trade, the town prospered. Livestock (up to 20,000 sheep per day) were traded through Stow market from as far away as Wales. The town is criss-crossed by 'chures', narrow alleys formerly used to drive and count sheep to the The Square on Market Days.
It is from these 'chures' that Chure House has taken its name. 'In Europe the best wool is English and in England the best wool is Cotswold' (12th century saying). England's first Civil War (between 1642 and 1646) was a dramatic period in the history of Stow on the Wold. Stow remained loyal to the Crown, a fact confirmed by the number of Inns with names connected to royalty. Townspeople had to billet soldiers of either side - Roundhead or Cavalier.
Today Stow is a much photographed and happy blend of individually owned and unique shops, hotels and pubs. The town has an international reputation as a centre for antiques whilst visitors and residents alike enjoy its honey stone-coloured architecture. Nearby villages inlude Bourton-on-the-Water and the Slaughters.