One of the mornings during my stay at Lacock village, I had walked around the village a few times and was passing the bus stop, when I decided to check the bus times on a whim. I found that there would be one passing by, in a few minutes, in the direction of Chippenham. As there were still a few hours before the abbey or any of the stores in the village opened, I decided to take the bus and transfer to the Castle Combe bus in Chippenham. I had been intrigued by this village in the Cotswolds but had decided to make the decision on whether to visit it, once I was in Lacock. Decision made, I made my way to Chippenham and transferred to the Castle Combe bus.
Reaching Castle Combe, I found that I would have two hours to roam around before the next bus came to the village. So, I started my walk at the centre of the village, where the bus had dropped me off, at the market square.
The 14th century market cross was installed when the village was granted the privilege of a weekly market. Near the market cross, the remains of the 19th century butter cross can be seen.
Facing the market cross was St. Andrew’s church. Some parts of the church are from the 13th century while others, like the tower, was built in the 15th century.
At the entrance of the church, there was a sheet with explanatory notes for parents and teachers. It was from the sheet that I learnt that the East window above the altar was a Jesse window showing the ancestry of Jesus.The only female figure in the sixteen figures portrayed in the window was that of Mary.
I also learnt that the tomb within the church was that of Walter de Dunstanville, Baron Castlecomb and lord of the manor in 12th century. The monument is the oldest within the church.
There is an interesting 15th century clock in the church, which was an hour clock whose bells the farmers working in the fields would listen to.
After my visit to the church, I decided to walk past Castle Inn and under an interesting arch, onto Park lane. The archway cottage is actually part of the accommodation facilities of the Manor House hotel. I had been told that I could access the gardens of the Manor House hotel, which was open to the public, through a pathway off Park lane but I couldn’t find the path and it looked like as if it was a private residential area so I turned back.
I decided to drop into Castle Inn for a hot cup of coffee. I was the only customer at that time and I made myself comfortable by the fireplace, as I enjoyed my coffee.
After the refreshing hot drink, I walked out of the inn and took the second road away from the market square. The White Hart pub had been open in the village for the past five centuries.
This second road, that I was walking along, was the road that the bus had entered the village. There were two buildings that caught my attention on this road. I looked them up later and learnt that one was called the Castle house. This building was originally built as an alehouse called the St George and had been built by Nathanial Elver in 1672.
Right next to the Castle house is the Dower house, which has the shield of the Scope family, above the door. This house was featured in the 1967 musical Dr. Dolittle. More recently, Downtown Abbey was filmed in the village.
There was a footpath leading upwards, away from the road, opposite the Dower house and I took that path.
After a very short distance, I decided to turn back as I had wanted to explore the third street in the village and I thought the forest trail would be a lengthy one.
Walking back to the market cross, I looked at the famous view of the third street that I had seen in so many photos.
At the start of the street is the Court house, where proceedings were held in medieval times. I think it is someone’s home now as I saw a family coming in and going out of the building, while I was waiting for my bus later.
Opposite the court house and next to the bus stop is a memorial for villagers who died in the first world war.
Walking down that street, I reached the Bybrook bridge. I kept taking many photos, as I admired the pretty buildings overlooking the brook.
I continued along that street, until I came across another little bridge, and then decided to turn back as it was nearing the time for my bus.
The old village is tiny and basically has three streets going away from its centre, where the church and the market cross are located. If I had stayed overnight in the village at the lovely Castle Inn, I might have had time to explore the village away from its centre and especially its fascinating forest trails as well as looked for the Roman bridge. As it was, I had a lovely walk around the village’s three main streets for a couple of hours before I headed back to Lacock village.
For ideas on other pretty villages in the Cotswolds to visit, do check out Katy of Untold Morsels’ suggestions for a weekend in the Cotswolds.