The attractive market town of Wotton-under-Edge occupies a delightful spot under the edge, or at the foot of, the Cotswold escarpment some three miles south of Dursley.
Wotton was burnt to the ground in the early 13th Century by King John's mercenaries as revenge upon his bitter enemy, the Berkeley family who resided at nearby Berkeley Castle.
It was thus re-built as a planned town and became a borough in 1253. The Church of St Mary the Virgin was consecrated a little later in 1283. This imposing church has a fine perpendicular tower
and large heavily restored interior.
The contents of the Church include several interesting monuments and a splendid late 14th century brass of Lord and Lady Berkeley. Whilst the latter is not normally on view you can see a fine
glass fibre replica which is on permanent display.
The wool trade brought prosperity to the town in the 17th and 18th centuries and the Perry Almshouses in Church Street, near to the Falcon Inn, were built in 1638.
If you walk through the doorway into the courtyard and look back above the passage, you will see a list of regulations for the residents.
The building occupied by Lloyds Bank was originally an inn and a staging post for coaches going to Cirencester while the property on the corner of Market Street and the High Street, known as the
little Tolsey House, served as a market court in the 16th century.
To delve further into the history of Wotton visit the museum which is located at Ludgate Hill, adjoining the country library. Close by is the 17th coaching inn, The Falcon which is reputed to have
its very own ghost, an old lady who resides in the attic.
To some, Wotton may appear a somewhat old-fashioned town with a quaint and slightly sleepy air about it, but in reality it is a thriving and bustling market town with a variety of interesting
shops including a good country sports shop, bakeries, art galleries, and a hardware shop.
It also has its own cinema which in a time of the multi-screen is somewhat refreshing. Another good reason to visit Wotton is its monthly auctions held in Tabernacle Road (Wotton Auction Rooms
Ltd, tel: 01453 844733) where fine antiques jostle with more mundane household objects.
The town's senior school, which bears the name the Lady Katherine Berkeley continues the close historical association Wotton enjoyed with Berkeley Castle and its incumbents.
For those wishing to explore the surroundingcountryside, the Cotswold Way passes through the town and if you follow the route northwards towards Dursley and Stinchcombe Hill you will come across
the imposing Tyndale Monument. This 111ft high tower was erected in 1866 in the memory of William Tyndale, who made the first translation of the New Testament into English.
Travel southwards along the route and you will reach the Somerset Monument and Horton.