With a new year upon us, and well into the month of January the 2017 calendar challenge begins with Castle Combe Wiltshire.
The village takes its name from the 12th century castle that stood 600 metres to north, the site of the Castle is little more than earthworks now. Originally it was a British hill fort which became occupied by the Romans due to its proximity to The Fosse Way. After the Romans, came the Normans, who built the fort up into a Castle.
In the 14th century a market cross was erected when the privilege to hold a weekly market in Castle Combe was granted ,this stands where the three principal roads in the lower village converge ,next to the cross is situated one of the villages two water pumps ,the stone steps by the cross were to allow horse riders to mount and dismount.
The village prospered in the 15th century when it belonged to Millicent, the wife of Sir Stephen Le Scope and then of Sir John Fastolf ,a Norfolk knight who was lord of the manor for fifty years,he was instrumental in promoting the woollen industry in the village ,supplying his own troops and others that were participating in Henry V’s war with France. The spinsters and weavers lived in the cottages (hence names such as “Weaver’s House”) and the river, still known as By Brook, provided the power to run the mills.
The Church of England parish church of St Andrew is a grade I listed building. Part of the chancel is 13th-century whilst the majority of the building is from the 15th, reflecting the prosperity of the local wool and cloth industry. The tower was begun in 1434 and completed in 1576. In 1850–51 nearly all of the building, except the tower, was taken down and reconstructed to almost the same plan.
Castle Combe motor racing circuit is located on the former RAF Castle Combe Airfield .
The Castle Combe airfield opened in May 1941. The land which the airfield occupied belonged to the Castle Combe estate, which was owned at that time by the Gorst family.It was used as a practice landing ground by nearby RAF Hullavington, home of No. 9 Service Flying Training School RAF. Flying training expanded considerably and the facilities were upgraded. Waterlogging was a frequent problem for the grass surface, so two runways of Sommerfeld Tracking were laid and a tarmac perimeter track constructed around the field.
It was a refreshing change to find the village has a free car park, this is located at the top of the hill, it is a little way to walk down to the old village, but it is a pleasant walk under the trees with much to see. Most of the village is double yellow lined, and is frequented by traffic wardens so beware.
There are various places to eat and of course after the walking around drink, The Old Stables Deli & Coffee shop in the heart of the village , The Castle Inn Hotel in the centre can trace its origins back to the 12th century and many features of the original construction remain today. A Michelin starred restaurant The Bybrook situated in The Manor House a Luxury country estate and golf course .
Other places to stay and visit :-
White Hart pub
Being the First Calendar Visit this was quite nice as it is close to where we live ,I recommend that if you are in the area pay a visit to Castle Combe it is a quintessential English village.
Thank you and I will be back soon as February is just around the corner 🙂