Thursday, 19 September 2013
A Visit to Shipston-on-Stour - a Beautiful Market Town in South Warwickshire
Emily wanted to visit a market town on her day off this week. She initially suggested Leek in Staffordshire which is miles away and involves a journey along the dreaded M6 North through Birmingham and the Black Country - a stretch of motorway that always seems to be congested and I avoid it like the plague! I managed to persuade her that a trip to Shipston-on-Stour in South Warwickshire would be a lot less hassle and with a quicker journey time she'd have more time to look round the shops - argument won!!
This pretty little market town is in a lovely location situated on the banks of the River Stour. It was originally a Saxon Settlement located near a ford which was used as a sheepwash. In the eighth century the name had evolved to Scepwaeis (Old English for The Ton at the Ford called Sheepwash). In the Domesday book the settlement was mentioned as "having two hides that pay gold".
During the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries the town prospered due to its weaving industries. Once on the old Stagecoach route that ran from Birmingham to Oxford there are many old coaching inns and hotels.
Emily saw a Towncrier as we drove past the market square looking for a car park. Sadly, he had disappeared by the time we'd parked and walked.
Emily was in her element with around 50 small independent shops.
I bought some nice homemade chocolate biscuit crunch from this shop.
London House was just stuffed full of antique type items - everything from jewellery to baskets, china to paintings, books to walking sticks, toys to clothes - you name it they sold it.
At the back of the shop was an area selling "garden" goods and this was just stuffed full of items too.
A reminder that its not long to Hallowe'en!
This butcher seemed to sell everything - note the signboard on the far right detailing Exotic Meats!!!!! I thought at first it was a joke but to be honest am not 100% certain!!
An ammonite in building stone
An excellent message on this clock.
If I hadn't had Emily with me I would have been sorely tempted to go inside this shop and tell NFU exactly where to stuff its "mutual" and give them a lecture on the ongoing unscientific, inhumane badger slaughter. Some of the sights and sounds witnessed by peaceful patrols in the killing fields are just horrendous and so sad and unnecessary. By the way if you are against the badger massacres there is a link at the top of the page to a new petition (Brian May's can no longer be signed) calling for an immediate halt to the "cull".
A Bear and Staff on signs are very common in this part of Warwickshire.
The Council House
The Church of St Edmund - parts of which date back to the 11th century and the Tower is 15th century.
I managed to persuade Emily to have an exceedingly quick look round
I bought a guide book to the Church which was enclosed in an elastic band and when I got home and had time to have a look I found another rather charming book called "Local Recipes Through the Seasons - Shipston Specialities" which was a nice surprise.
We had lunch (well, a toasted sandwich and chips) at this early 17th century coaching inn
Some of the delightful house signs in the town.
Shipston-on-Stour is a transition town - a community led response to concerns about climate change and depletion of fossil fuels. The town holds harvest fairs, encourages the use of local shops (there are no national chains or supermarkets here), tree planting and the creation of outdoor play areas.
Now to finish off (just for CT!!) a photo of knitting work in progress. This is the Tom Baker Doctor Who style scarf I am currently knitting - note the autumal leaf type colours in the hope that I will blend in when I go birdwatching!!! Sadly, its taken me a year to get this far!!!