"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

Monday, 19 February 2018

A Visit to the Cotswolds - Part 1: Moreton in Marsh including Tolkien connections

E was working last Saturday and B was meeting ex work colleagues in Malvern so after we had given the latter a lift to the station D and I decided to spend an afternoon visiting a few Cotswold villages. Moreton in Marsh is only an hour way (30 mins on the M42 and M40 and then half an hour along the A429) and was really the closest option and we arrived just before one o'clock.

It was very busy, to put it mildly!, and Timothy was pleased that we managed to find what must have been the last parking space on the main street.

Not too many photos of buildings because to be honest the parked cars up and down the street made taking pictures rather difficult.

Moreton in Marsh is one of the main market towns in the North Cotswolds and is located on the Fosse Way. It developed in the 13th century as a market town with a main street, back lanes and burbage plots. The market charter was granted in 1227.

Most of the buildings seen today along the High Street are 17th and 18th century.

We had a look round a craft fayre in the 18th century Redesdale Market Hall.

There was another reason for visiting this particular town - years ago when driving back from Avebury we stopped off at The Cotswold Cheese Company shop and the cheeses were delicious.

Just a few purchases and I can confirm they are even better than I remembered.


JRR Tolkien is believed to have had connections with the town and The JRR Tolkien Society, following extensive research, believe that the Bell Inn is the inspiration for the Prancing Pony pub in Bree in the "Lord of the Rings". Similarities between the two buildings include the 3 storeys in both pub buildings. the entrance via a courtyard and the two towns (Bree and Moreton in Marsh) also have features in common.


The oldest town building is probably the 16th century curfew tower on the High Street. Until 1860 the bell was rung each night to remind people of the dangers of fire. The bell itself is dated 1633. There is a tale that it once guided home a Sir Robert Fry who was lost in the fog.



Time for lunch and we decided on Tilly's Tea Room - highly recommended if you ever visit the area.

I had a Deluxe Milk Chocolate Melt and D had warm Milk, Honey and Nutmeg and

for lunch D had the all day Vegetarian Breakfast and

I had a Cheese and Tomato Toastie.

There were cakes but we were too full so bought some to take home.

The two hour parking limit was nearly up so we just had time for a quick look round a fossil shop - some very interesting examples but they were very expensive.

There was also some beautiful amber jewellery but too dear for me and I fell in love with this bench.

It is suggested that King Charles I stayed at the White Hart (Royal) Hotel after the Battle of Marston Moor on 2nd July 1644 during the English Civil War.

Before driving to Stow on the Wold I made a detour to show D the 16th century Four Shires Stone which is the historical meeting point of four counties - Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire and Oxfordshire - although boundary changes during the 20th century now mean the Worcester boundary is some miles away. I first discovered this fascinating stone when we visited Chastleton House. Again it appears there could be a Tolkien connection as it is believed he may have used the stone as inspiration for the Farthings Stone - a point in the Shire where three Farthings meet.


Finally, on the way to our second destination where


we visited a rather super church with the most amazing doorway which again could have provided Tolkien with inspiration. I'll write about this in Part 2.

*D - Photos taken by D with the Canon SX50 all other pictures by me with the Pansonic 330 bridge camera.


Springinsfeld said...

Fascinating post. I've driven through Moreton-in-the-Marsh dozens of times, but never realised a Tolkien connection. Only ever stopped to use the wc(which cost 20p!).

Ragged Robin said...

Springinsfeld - Thanks so much. I only found out about the connection when I did a bit of research before we went. Expensive toilets!! Luckily Tilly's tea room had some (free!).

Pam said...

What a lovely little town, the photos of the tearoom are making me hungry and who doesn't like cheese!

Rosie said...

Looks like a lovely place to mooch around. I know we have passed through it a few times on our travels. The buildings and shops look interesting and I didn't know of the Tolkien connection. Your lunch looks wonderful as does the fossil shop and the cheese shop. I was trying to work out what was on the bench you liked. An upside down white cat perhaps? No, just lots of feathers. Glad Timothy went along with you:)

Ragged Robin said...

Pam -Thank you - a lovely place to have a wander :)

Rosie - Thank you. Unless I went when I was a child it was the first time I have had a good look round.

Tea room there is highly recommended - lovely place and definitely worth buying cheese if you drive through again.

Lol re: the bench - sorry photo for some reason was a bit blurred - but as you say lots of feathers.

Pete Duxon said...

Hi Timothy.... you need your own twitter ;)

I'm pleased you got to the cheese shop it's lovely.

The drink looks LUSH :) I'm sure I've been in that tearoom

amanda peters said...

What a great place, the Hall is a stunning building, I know what you mean about having to take photos and cars ! for me it's all the bins in the way, houses in Settle have three bins each !

Cheese place looks lovely, I like the fish bowls.. and lunch looks a super spread.

Like the fossils , especially the one on the first photo, at the back with the three fish in. Shame they were to dear.

Great post with lovely photos.
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Pete Duxon - Thanks Pete and Mr Quacks :) Yes, I know Timothy should think of a Twitter account - am still prevaricating! What with my own and another one I look after for my son I keep putting off having one more!

Had some of the St Eadburgha's today - so gorgeous!

I am sure you will have found the tea room :)

Amanda Peters - Thanks so much. Bins must be as bad as cars!! So many picturesque places are ruined by loads of parked cars although I can't really moan as I have arrived in one.

Lunch was filling - only had biscuits and cheese for supper and no evening meal!

You would have liked fossil shop but every single one was extortionate (and in my view overpriced!).