"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

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!!!


Margaret Adamson said...

HI Thank you for taking us on a tour around this pretty market town. Interesting and varied post.

David Turner said...

A lovely looking town, the sort of old market town which seems to be disappearing fast :-( I particularly enjoyed the little tour of the church.

I like the idea of a 'transition town', especially since my local market town of Beverley gave up its soul a long time ago to supermarkets and national chains but it is good to see that some places are reversing this trend :-)

Em Parkinson said...

Great tour round a lovely town - thank you! The scarf is looking good too - nice colours.

Countryside Tales said...

I love your "visiting places" posts. What a super little town. Love that shop crammed full of everything and the yard too!

Very impressed with your knitting- very even. Am now feeling even more intimidated about posting pics of mine!!

The Bear & Ragged Staff was the Earl of Warwick's coat of arms (the King Maker, who put Edward IV, father of the Princes in the Tower, on the throne) hence it being everywhere in Warwickshire.

Thank you for putting the link to the new badger petition. I have of course signed and will put a link on my blog too. My step-father saved me an article from one of the papers last week saying that fewer badgers than "hoped" had been shot and the whole thing was starting to look like it was falling about Owen Patterson's inept ears. Hope so.

Lou Mary said...

What a lovely little town this looks! I do love independent shops that are full of little bits and bobs! Whitstable is 10 minutes down the road from me and is lined with such shops.

The scarf looks great! Lovely mustard yellow colour. I have done another couple of rows of my scarf this afternoon too!

Ragged Robin said...

Margaret Adamson - Thank you very much - so glad you enjoyed :)

David Turner - Thank you :) The church was lovely - sadly daughter isn't keen on church tours otherwise I would have spent longer there! Also spotted another nice old church in a village nearby at Tredington - very picturesque village - will try and return.

From reading about it being a transition town - residents are worried that if ever a supermarket took hold it could ruin the local shops :(

Em Parkinson - Thank you - glad you enjoyed. Must get cracking with the scarf as along with CT want to make a blanket too :)

Countryside Tales - Thank you so much - glad you enjoyed. Lots of lovely little shops.

Thanks for info re: Bear and Ragged Staff and reminding me!!! I did mention it once in a post but was too lazy to look it up again. Fascinating tale behind it all.

Thank you for your kind words re: my knitting - its very simple!!!!!! I am sure your's is as good if not better and crocheting will certainly look more impressive :)

Thanks so much for signing the badger petition. I have seen "rumours" that very few had been shot (thank goodness) in Somerset and they were way way below target. I think a figure of about 120 approx was mentioned. It was obvious to anyone with any common sense that the whole thing with free shooting was doomed to fail. Just wish they would cancel it before any more badgers suffer - a lot of rumours of badgers being shot in head (totally against guidelines) and been found by patrols.

Lou Mary - Thank you so much. Glad you have a similar place so close to home - you can spend ages mooching round such places.

Glad to hear you are knitting too :) As CT says we could start a new blog fashion with knitting and crocheting :)

Toffeeapple said...

Such a charming post. I enjoyed the tour. I have been near the town on nuumerous occasions but have never stopped there, I shall remedy that nex time.

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Thanks so very much - so pleased you enjoyed. Hope you visit next time you are near and enjoy as much as we did :)

As mentioned to David Turner - there is a very picturesque village only a few miles away called Tredington that looks well worth looking at too :)

Dean Stables said...

I agree...it looks like a very nice town indeed, Caroline. And backed up by some great images of it.

SeagullSuzie said...

What a lovely place to visit-the shops are great, I would have spent ages (and too much money) in the London House. Totnes is a transition town and just lovely to visit-don't think I've done a post yet, but will do. I will sign the petition-this is not the way to deal with protected wild animals.
You will all be able to have a good laugh at my winter sewing attempts-especially the conservatory blinds! Love the colours in your scarf-like being wrapped up in Autumn.

Ragged Robin said...

Dean Stables - Thanks so much Dean - so glad you enjoyed and liked the photos :)

SeagullSuzie - Many thanks - must admit it would have been easy to spend too much money there! Look forward to your post on Totnes and thanks for signing the petition.
Glad you liked the scarf - you are certainly a lot braver than me attempting conservatory blinds!!!