Thursday, 15 June 2017

Hotels and Inns in the Cotswolds

Hotels & Spas in the Cotswolds2017 has been declared the year of literary heroes by VisitEngland in a drive to celebrate the importance of authors and poets in the country. We took a look at our own hotels and inns in the Cotswolds to dig our some literary connections - and found a few surprises along the way!

Thinking of purely Cotswold characters, Laurie Lee comes to mind first. His novel Cider With Rosie (published as Edge of Day in the US) described childhood in the small (real) village of Slad, a world of cottages, the village pub (The Wool Pack is still there) and church. Cider with Rosie is a lyrical effort and his sequel As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning is if anything, even more poignant.

These days hotels and inns in the Cotswolds occupy some of those Stroud valleys and other Cotswold locations. The Painswick Hotel is nearby and also not far from Cranham, where local WWI poet Ivor Gurney walked, traumatised by his experiences in the Great War.

The area around Batsford, Sezincote and Broadway had its literary moment in the sun at about the same time. Nancy Mitford live at Batsford House during the Great War and based part of Love in a Cold Climate on her experiences there (It was called Alconleigh in the novels). She later lived at Swinbrook, where she is buried. After the war, J.M. Barrie spent time at Stanway House and returned the favour by buying a new cricket pavilion for the village.

Hotels and inns in the Cotswolds are well used to answering questions about local authors. One of the most common questions is about Shakespeare, who did describe Gloucestershire in Richard II and may have lived at Dursley.

I am a stranger here in Gloucestershire;
These high wild hills and rough uneven ways
Draw out our miles, and make them wearisome.
But I bethink me, what a weary way
From Ravenspurg to Cotswold will be found

Hotels and inns in the cotswolds and literature

Hotels in the Cotswolds & Spas If Shakespeare did live in Dursley , it’s pleasing that J.K. Rowling also contributed to that town’s fame by naming the family in her stories after the place too. J.K. was at school near the Forest of Dean and a couple of references popped up in her stories. The filmed stories used Gloucester Cathedral as a location.

Hotels and inns in the Cotswolds are often used for creative writing courses - often sessions include walking in the area - something that has inspired several literary greats in the past. J R R Tolkien took epic walks from Oxford and into the Cotswolds and is thought to have and the act of walking in the area has given participants and used the area around Chipping Campden as inspiration for ‘Weathertop’ and (as a lover of a good pub) is thought to have modelled The Bell Inn in Moreton in Marsh as ‘The Prancing Pony’ in Lords of the Rings.

Hotels and inns in the Cotswolds are within easy reach of Bath, which Dickens took a bit of a dislike to (Pickwick Papers) but which was celebrated, slightly mocked and immortalised by Jane Austen. She lived in the town from the time of her father’s retirement until his death - about 5 years, so she knew the place well.

Lewis Carroll The author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass spent significant time around Stow-on-the-Wold, where his friend Reverend Edward Litton was the rector of a church.

Graham Greene’s career, after poor sales of his first novel, brought him to Chipping Campden to concentrate full-time on his writing. Living in a cottage called Little Orchard, he completed Stamboul Train which was his first commercial success.

Hotels and inns in the Cotswolds offer many opportunities for touring and exploring - following a literary theme is a good way to discover some of the lesser-known parts of the area.

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