Things to do in Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire
Moreton-in-Marsh, the lovely old market town in the north Cotswolds, grew up around the Fosse Way, the old Roman road which runs through the wide main street.
Several inns and hotels originating from the coaching heydays still exist in the High Street, and offer hospitality to the traveller of today, who arrive in Moreton in more modern forms of transport.
The buildings along the high street are mainly of the local golden limestone, some date back to the 17th and 18th centuries.
The White Hart Royal a 17th century coaching inn, is an interesting building where King Charles I stayed in 1644. Today there are claims that it is haunted by a ghostly male figure.
At the end of the High Street is the lovely 16th century Manor House, now an hotel.
The Curfew tower on the corner of High Street and Oxford Street, dates from the 17th century and retains the original bell dated 1633. This bell was in use daily until 1860, and used in later years in times of emergency for the fire brigade.
Centrally situated in the High Street is the Market Hall, which dates from the mid 19th century and is known as the Redesdale Hall, named after the Redesdale family of Batsford House who were benefactors to the town.
The Church dedicated to St. David, was re-built in 1859 and replaces a smaller church from the 13th century.
Moreton-in-Marsh has one of the earliest railway stations in the country. The Moreton to Stratford tramway opened in 1826, and the London-Oxford-Worcester main line followed in 1853.
Moreton is the home of the well known agricultural show of the same name, which is Gloucestershire's county show, held annually on the 1st Saturday in September.
Batsford Arboretum, just outside the town is open March to October and is well worth a visit. Planted in the 1880's by Lord Redesdale after his return from a posting in Tokyo, the garden has a strong Japanese influence, and is thought to be the largest private collection of rare trees in England.
Origins of Moreton-in-Marsh
Prior to the Norman Conquest Moreton-in-Marsh was the property of the Earls of Mercia.It is shown in the Domesday Book to be the property of Westminster Abbey.
The name 'Moreton' means Moorland settlement, the 'in Marsh' was thought to be originally 'Henmarsh', marshy land where wild birds were found.
However another explanation of the word Marsh is a corruption of the word march, meaning boundary.
Until changes in county boundaries last century, Moreton was the meeting place of four county boundaries: Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire.
A short distance from the town, stands the 'Four shires Stone', marking the crossroads of the four counties.
Moreton-in-Marsh was first granted a market charter in 1227. In 1638 King Charles I granted a new charter and in 1267, a charter for a fair to be held.
Moreton is famous for its large street market, held weekly on Tuesdays, and a funfair visits the town for a few days each year.