Tuesday 09 March 2021

History, Architecture and Timber Windows in Moreton-in-Marsh

Moreton-in-Marsh (GL56) is a small market town in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds.  Located in the Evenlode Valley, Moreton-in-Marsh is a popular historical market town.

With evidence of a nearby settlement dating back to the British Iron Age, the town has been important over the years due to its accessibility.  During the Roman period, Fosse Way was constructed linking the town to locations such as Bath, Exeter, Lincoln and Cirencester.

The town itself was first mentioned as a Saxon settlement, as part of the monastic property held by Westminster Abbey.

In the 1220s, the Abbott began developing the town as a market town, creating the wide High Street for this purpose and in 1227 the town was granted a charter to hold a market, which still happens every Tuesday.  During this time, Moreton-in-Marsh was mainly an agricultural town, with sheep being the main source of income.

By the 17th Century the town’s population had reached around 500.

The White Hart (Royal) Hotel was famously used by King Charles I to shelter during the English Civil War in July 1644.  A copy of the King’s unpaid bill is commemorated today on a plaque in the entrance lobby.

During the 1800s, the town was regularly used as a stopping point by coaches travelling by road between London and Worcester, with several inns providing travellers with somewhere to eat and rest.  The opening of a tramway linking the town to Straford-upon-Avon in 1826, followed by the introduction of a railway line from Worcester to Oxford in 1853, further increased the population of the town.

In 1940, a large area of land to the east of the town was used as a training airfield, largely by Wellington bombers.  Following World War II, the town has continued to develop, becoming a principal growth area of the North Cotswold.  However, the historical characteristic of the town remains.

J R R Tolkien and The Bell Inn

J R R Tolkien, is believed to have been inspired by Moreton-in-Marsh when writing his famous book, Lord of the Rings.  The J R R Tolkien Society claim that The Bell Inn in Moreton-in-Marsh is the inspiration behind The Prancing Pony, Middle Earth’s famous pub.

Tolkien was a regular visitor at the The Bell Inn during his years at the University of Oxford and there are multiple similarities between The Bell Inn and The Prancing Pony in Tolkein’s town of Bree.  These similarities include the three storeys and its entrance via a courtyard, along with the similarities of Moreton-in-Marsh to the town of Bree.

The Bell Inn is believed to have been built around the early to mid-19th Century.  A Grade II listed building, it still has several wooden sash windows with multiple glazing bars.

The Curfew Tower

The Curfew Tower is located on the corner of Oxford Street and High Street and is believed to be one of the oldest structures in the town, dating from around the 16th Century.

The Grade II listed monument comprises a stone structure with a stone slate roof and gabled turret and was used to lock up local drunks and minor criminals.

The bell was installed in 1633 and the clock was added in 1648.  The bell is said to have been run daily until 1860 to remind people of the risk of fire at night.

The 17th Century bequest of money to maintain the clock and bell indicates the important role that the tower played in the everyday life of the market town.

However, in the 1950s the clock mechanism was removed permanently.

Chastleton House

Located a few miles outside of Moreton-in-Marsh, Chastleton House was originally commissioned to be built by Walter Jones in 1607 and completed by 1612.

Like many houses in the local area, the Jacobean style building, which is Grade II* listed, was built from Cotswold stone.

The house was passed down generations of the family, including sideways to distant cousins, before being purchased by the National Heritage Memorial fund in 1991 and passed to the National Trust to maintain the building and open it to the public.

However, due to the amount of restoration work required, the house wasn’t opened to the public until 1997.

Timber windows in Moreton-in-Marsh (GL56)

Today, Moreton-in-Marsh is still a popular town and the only town with a mainline train station in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  Many of the old buildings are built using the characteristic Cotswold stone and date from the Jacobean and Georgian periods.

With so many period properties, wooden sash windows and casement windows can be spotted throughout the town.

At The Sash Window Workshop we have extensive experience repairing and replacing traditional timber windows and doors in period properties and have previously carried out work on several properties located in Moreton-in-Marsh and nearby villages.

To obtain a free, no obligation quotation for your windows or doors, contact us today on: 01344 868 668.

Bell Inn Moreton-in-marsh
Above image by Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Curfew Tower Moreton in marsh
Above image by Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons