English summer

Over the past couple of weekends, I have spent some time in the Cotswolds (an area located roughly between Oxford in the east and Gloucester in the West, Stradford in the north and Bath in the south, famous for its golden sandstone), both rambling and taking photos, and visiting friends. We have had two glorious weekends, and suddenly the landscape has gone from barely spring to height of summer.

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Not sure what these little guys are, but I love the look of them.

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I love cowparsley. Have I mentioned this?

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The park of Cornbury Park, a country house near Charlbury.

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Bridge over the river Evenloe.

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These oaks in the Cornbury Park are so majestic.

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This is built of the Cotswolds sandstone – the colour is very distinctive. The village where Downton Abbey is filmed is in Warwickshire, and the houses are all made of this stone; makes the show rather pretty, but also makes it look nothing like the Yorkshire, where it’s supposedly set.

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Swinbrook village.

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Freddie the ridiculously photogenic dog.

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Hawthorn.

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Widford chapel. Cotswolds is supposed to be positively gothic, and I heard two stories over the weekend that certainly were. Widford is very close to the Mitford family house near Swinbrook; it’s still called hamlet in ordnance survey maps, but in reality nothing remains if this 13th century village but the church. The residents all died during a plague epidemic, and the houses were stolen – taken away stone by stone until only this chapel remained. Painted on the walls are saints and the devil – red, with horns and claws and a trident-shaped tail. The Medieval murals have been painted over, so nothing but ghosts of these images remain.

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The other story was about a place called Dancer’s Hill. Pretty enough name, but it doesn’t really refer to dancing. On the hill, there was a 16th century gaol, and outside it a hanging tree. “Dancing” refers to the twitching movements of those hanging from the tree while they died…

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Swinbrook church.

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2 thoughts on “English summer

  1. Found this while seeking info about Dancer’s Hill — thanks! On an old map ca. 1800 I saw it marked as “Daniel’s Hill” but sometimes the map makers just made errors when writing things. It seems to have been known as Dancer’s Hill at least by 1804.

    Would you say it is actually a hill or is it one of those “hills” so-called because it’s the only thing that doesn’t flood when it rains?

    • Glad to help! It is an actual hill – my friends live on top of it. The footprint of the hill isn’t very big, but it is a very steep elevation on the town centre side, with a difference of about 10 metres maybe. Going to Charlbury, the town rises from the Evenloe, and Dancer’s Hill is the top point.

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