Saturday, 28 April 2018

Hotels in a Cotswolds setting

Hotels in a Cotswolds settingBuilding styles in the Cotswolds have evolved to fit the landscape and local building materials, a style known as Cotswold vernacular. The buildings with the greatest character, for the visitor today, are surely the farm houses, cottages and manor houses which date from the 16th to 18th centuries. Many hotels in the Cotswolds are from this period, when a great influx of wealth accrued from the staggering success of the local wool trade. Cotswold breed wool attracted high prices in the wool markets of Europe. Hotels in Cotswolds buildings from this time display dormer windows (attic windows essen-tiually), gables, steep pitched stone-slated roofs. Typically Tudor windows continued long after the Elizabethan period because it suited the local build-ing materials and style.

If it seems unlikely that Cotswold buildings should have survived for so long (they are after all made of a very soft and crumbly limestone), it’s surprising that we have in part to thank Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries. Skilled masons were attached to the monasteries and were effectively freed up by the dissolution and many, plus the following generations, turned their hand to domestic construction. You’ll often see finials, embelishments and decorations in places where you might not expect to find them. Another factor that leads to the harmony of many Cotswold villages is that they were often built in a planned way by landowners for workers. Some hotels in the Cotswolds follow a later style of porches, sash windows and doorways - they tend to still blend in, in their village setting. because they are rarely large enough to stand out.

Hotels in the Cotswolds…(and Rome)

Hotels in the CotswoldsIt might be surprising that the hotels in the Cotswolds are a great base for exploring aspects of Roman Britain.

Hotels in the Cotswolds are never far from a Roman site - there were over 50 Roman villa sites in the Cotswolds although many have almost entirely disappeared. Chedworth Roman villa, has a romantic setting and a typical courtyard setting, there is evidence of a sophisticated bathing system and various mosaics. Pleasingly, the villa was discovered by a farm worker who found some tesserae whilst digging out a ferret. There is a stunning mosaic floor at Woodchester Villa, near Stroud which is sadly rarely uncovered.
Bill Bryson wrote about the remains of the villa at Spoonley Wood near Sudeley Castle, seemingly overwhelmed by the fact that a Roman mosaic is available to see simply by lifting the couple of stones that weigh down a black bin liner.

If you are setting off from hotels in the Cotswolds to explore a little Roman history, try heading straight for the Corinium Museum in Cirencester, which has a collection of coins and objects that belies its relatively modest size. Cirencester even has the remains of an amphitheatre to explore.