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Cotswold Homes Magazine


EDITOR’S WELCOME Welcome to the Spring 2015 edition of Cotswold Homes magazine.

AT HOME WITH LADY ASHCOMBE We chat to Sudeley chatelaine on the castle’s past, present and future


Since the publication of the Winter issue, we’ve all seen a fair bit of the Cotswolds on the telly, beginning with Sky Atlantic’s Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death and followed by Wolf Hall and The Casual Vacancy. Which villages have you spotted on screen? Perhaps it’s all the Tudor drama that inspired us to pay a visit to the chatelaine of Sudeley Castle, Lady Ashcombe, and hear in her words not only the estates very long and rather eventful history, but also the story of her custodianship of a quintessentially English castle. Later, we interview equestrian superstar Charlotte Dujardin and two very talented, very different artists – Rupert Till and Melodie Cook – and getting caught up in the excitement of the Cheltenham Festival turn our eyes to Warwick Racecourse and the Badminton Horse Trials. We also present our pick of Cotswold events (including two special literary festivals for all you bookworms) and have filled our property pages with the most exciting Cotswold property to be found. Oh, and don’t forget to enter the bounty of competitions we’ve packed in, with tickets to Badminton and Sudeley Castle amongst the prizes waiting to be won.

WARWICK RACECOURSE Why Warwick Racecourse is a must-visit

SPRING WEDDINGS Wedding planner Julia Sibun shares wedding wisdom and secrets to success

All in all, a pretty strong selection, we think. If there’s anything you’ve enjoyed reading about – or anything you think we should check out – do let me know at matt@cotswold-homes.com .Thanks for reading, and have a great Spring.

112-114 Design team: Alias www.wearealias.com

0845 257 7475 sayhello@wearealias.com

Star Chamber Offices, Hollis House, The Square, Stow-on-the-Wold, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL54 1AF


Cotswold Homes Magazine


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Wire artist and star of Chelsea Flower Show Rupert Till shows us his Winchcombe studio

The artist on her striking new portrait of Giffords Circus star Nancy



CHARLOTTE DUJARDIN The champion equestrian interviewed by Cotswold Homes

Collette Fairweather’s Badminton Primer



36-37 LOCAL V ONLINE Estate agent Karen Harrison debates the value of the internet

62-63 HOT PROPERTY Ask the Experts & top Cotswold property picks

EVENTS Our pick of top events from Spring to Summer




We examine the filming of The Casual Vacancy in the Cotswolds and the minor scandals caused by a fake sex shop

Wolf Hall puts us in the mood for Tudor scenery

116-117 Cotswold Homes Magazine Our next edition, Summer 2015, will bring you more upcoming events, offers and articles showcasing the local area – helping you to get more out of life in this beautiful part of the world. We will be distributing the next magazine from late June 2015.

120-121 To speak to a member of our team, please telephone 01451 833171 or email: Marketing and Sales: rachel@cotswold-homes.com Editor’s Desk: matt@cotswold-homes.com Property: karen@harrisonjameshardie.co.uk








Meet the newly crowned King of the Jungle and 4-time WBSK Champion Carl Fogarty, see over 100 rare cycles, gasp at the stunt show, take a sidecar ride and run the famous Prescott Hill with these tickets to the best biking event in the Cotswolds.

Car pass and personal admission for 2 people. Valid for all 5 days 6th – 10th May 2015 Great news for Cotswold Homes magazine readers as in this issue we’ve got a very special prize to be won: one lucky reader will win a Season Ticket for all five days of this premier equestrian event. Each May - by the kind invitation of the 11th Duke of Beaufort - the ordinarily tranquil parklands of Badminton house play host to an extravaganza of equine sportsmanship, the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials. Competitors come from the eventing elite. It’s a true test of both horse and rider, who must

dominate in the disciplines of dressage, crosscountry and show jumping over an intensive few days. To enter the competition, all you have to do is email admin@cotswold-homes.com with BADMINTON in the subject field by 15th April. Remember to include your address, email and telephone number so we can contact you in case you win. No cash alternative is available. Entries from employees or affiliates of Cotswold Homes magazine or Badminton are not admissible. For more information on Badminton Horse Trials, see www.badminton-horse.co.uk.

Owned by the Bugatti Owners Club, the Prescott Hill Climb track is one of the UK’s most prestigious Hill Climbs and the centre of much motoring fun every year. Don’t miss out on your chance to win a great day out! To enter the competition, all you have to do is email admin@cotswold-homes.com with PRESCOTT in the subject field by 1st April. Remember to include your address, email and telephone number so we can contact you in case you win. No cash alternative is available. Entries from employees or affiliates of Cotswold Homes magazine or the Festival are not admissible. Find out more about the event at www.prescottbikefestival.co.uk


Cotswold Homes Magazine

eXcLUsIVe comPeTITIoNs aNd oFFeRs

eXcLUsIVe comPeTITIoNs aNd oFFeRs FROM COTSWOLD HOMES WIN TWO FAMILY DAY PASSES TO SUDELEY CASTLE* Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Cotswolds, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Sudeley Castle & Gardens is just eight miles from Broadway & Cheltenham. It has played an important role in the turbulent and changing times of England’s past, with royal connections that stretch back over 1000 years. Today it is a much-loved family home and popular visitor attraction. Inside, the castle contains many fascinating treasures from ancient Roman times to the present day. Outside, the castle is surrounded by award-winning gardens and a breathtaking 1,200 acre estate – all in the heart of the Cotswolds.

*Reopens 16th March

Sudeley Castle & Gardens is also the only private castle in England to have a queen buried within its grounds – Katherine Parr, the last of Henry VIII’s six wives. Today our visitors can explore the beautiful 15th Century church where she lies entombed.

To enter the competition, all you have to do is email admin@cotswold-homes.com with SUDELEY in the subject field by 30th March. Remember to include your address, email and telephone number so we can contact you in case you win.

WIN AN ANNUAL FAMILY TICKET (2 X ADULTS + 2 X CHILDREN) TO ADAM HENSON’S COTSWOLD FARM PARK Visit Adam Henson’s fabulous Farm Park all year round with this great pass. Feed the goats and pigs while teaching all the little ones all about livestock, food production and rare breeds at this award-winning attraction. To enter the competition, all you have to do is email admin@cotswold-homes.com with FARM PARK in the subject field by 30th March. Remember to include your address, email and telephone number so we can contact you in case you win.


Entry to the competition is open to all except the employees (and their families) of Cotswold Homes or Harrison James & Hardie. Winners will be drawn at random and notified via Facebook, by e-mail or by phone and may be posted on our website. No alternative prize or cash substitute is available for any of the prizes. In the event of a winner being unable to accept their prize then another winner will be drawn. This giveaway is open to residents of the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland aged 18 years or over, except employees of Cotswold Homes Magazine, their families, agents or anyone else professionally associated with the giveaway. It is a condition of entry that all rules are accepted as final and that the


From May to September, Giffords’ famous familyrun vintage circus will be touring the Cotswolds with their all-new show Moon Songs. Directed by Cal McCrystal, Moon Songs invites audiences to enter the world of the Victorian Lunar Park, a fairground run by larger than life illusionist and man of magic and mystery Odoroff, and his Little Man assistant, David. The signature theme of this wonderful touring production is an idiosyncratic, eclectic fusion of performance art, using elements of theatre, opera, dance, puppetry, acrobatics, dogs, horses and a much-loved goose in an hour and a half of fabulous entertainment. Dancing gymnasts, a Clown in the Moon, bears on ponies and living carousel horses will make Moon Songs a show to remember. To enter the competition, all you have to do is email admin@cotswold-homes.com with GIFFORDS in the subject field by 15th May 2015. Remember to include your address, email and telephone number so we can contact you in case you win.

competitor agrees to abide by these rules.The decision of the judges is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

reserves the right to award the prize to an alternative winner, drawn in accordance with these terms and conditions.

Entries must be emailed to admin@cotswold-homes.com (or as specified in entry terms of a specific prize) and entry is restricted to one per person. Late, illegible, incomplete, defaced or corrupt entries or entries sent through agencies and third parties will not be accepted. No responsibility can be held for lost entries and proof of dispatch will not be accepted as proof of receipt.The winner will be drawn at random from all entries received by the closing date and notified via Facebook message or contact details supplied.

The prize is described as available on the date of publication and all prizes are subject to the terms and conditions of the supplier.The prizes do not include travel insurance, food and drink, personal expenditure, or incidental costs, other than where mentioned. All elements of the prize are non transferable and there are no cash alternatives.The winner may be required to take part in publicity. Events may occur that render the prize draw itself or the awarding of the prize impossible due to reasons beyond the control of the Promoter and accordingly the Promoter may at its absolute discretion vary or amend the promotion and the entrant agrees that no liability shall attach to the Promoter as a result thereof.

The winner will be contacted within seven days of the closing date of the prize draw. Should the Promoter be unable to contact the winner or should the winner be unable to accept the prize, the Promoter



eXcLUsIVe comPeTITIoNs aNd oFFeRs

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Lady ashcombe


cOnVersatIOn with

Lady ashcOmbe The chatelaine of sudeley on coming to inhabit a castle, her friendship with outspoken historian, David Starkey, and the domestication of badgers…

It’s 2015, and the Tudors are sexy again – not that they ever really stopped being sexy, even hundreds of years after the dynasty has ended. The longawaited adaptation of the author Hilary Mantel’s smash hit Wolf Hall has hit British screens, stoking the long-simmering interest in the machinations of the rapacious Henry VIII – plus the sprawling cast of plotters, scapegoats and unfortunates who had the mixed fortune to live alongside these indomitable titans. There is a place in the Cotswolds where this corner of history is particularly well tended. It is Sudeley Castle, the place where Henry’s final wife – Katherine Parr – lived out her last days, enduring beyond the death of her wife-slaying husband only to end up in a love triangle with the young Princess Elizabeth and the charismatic, dark-intentioned rogue, Thomas Seymour. Katherine’s remains lie there, still: Sudeley is in fact the only private residence to have an English Queen buried in its grounds. Yet, there’s far more to Sudeley’s history than the Tudor bit. The estate’s long story entwines with those of some of England’s most celebrated monarchs – and her most notorious monsters. The beleaguered Charles I used the castle as his base during the Civil War; Richard III came into ownership of Sudeley twice but was killed in battle before he could see his own grand additions; Mad King George discovered its remains and promptly fell down a tower. Sudeley has seen extravagant royal parties, greats sieges, ruination and abandonment: its many owners have been crucified by fate just as often as they’ve been kissed by it. And the castle’s present custodian, Elizabeth, Lady Ashcombe, is no stranger to adversity, even if the battles fought over the last few decades have been a question of balancing books rather than aiming cannons. Under her watch, a once-draughty old house has again become a private kingdom of artisan gardens, sumptuous antiques and evocative ruins. And with plenty worth preserving, thank goodness Sudeley is well looked after today. Lady Ashcombe was introduced to Sudeley via her first husband, Mark Dent-Brocklehurst, in the sixties, and has weathered all manner of storms to remain here since. Her story almost has the aura of a fairytale about it – a girl from an American family becoming chatelaine of a wildly beautiful English castle – but the reality is somewhat different.


Cotswold Homes Magazine

... when I fIrst LaId eyes On the castLe I neVer knew that I wOULd end Up here. I neVer knew that I was gOIng tO marry mark and that thIs LIfe wOULd UnfOLd.

Lady ashcombe

Lady Ashcombe (Will Juhasz)

I greet Lady Ashcombe in the room known as the ‘big kitchen.’ Belonging to the family’s private apartments, it is not accessible to the public. With beautiful paintings and portraits lining the walls, it is certainly grand for a kitchen – but it is cosy, too, and causes one to think of the many people, some famous and illustrious, to whom this castle has served as a family home. ch: Tell us about your family and the years before Sudeley. La: My family are from the South: my mother from Virginia and my father from Mississippi, and we lived in New Orleans and Virginia. I went to boarding school and had further education in New York and Paris. Back in New York I went to design school, and that’s where I met Mark Dent-Brocklehurst who would become my husband and introduce me to Sudeley, the family home. Banqueting Ruins (Val Corbett)

How did you feel when you first saw the castle?



Lady ashcombe

Church (Nigel Schermuly)

It was such a long time ago…when I first laid eyes on the castle I never knew that I would end up here. I never knew that I was going to marry Mark and that this life would unfold. It was always his mother’s home and even when we married, that was the intention. I suppose we knew that one day we might come to live in Sudeley but we didn’t come to consider it much in those days. I was twenty…quite young when I first came to England. Mark and I lived in London and I had a business there, which I was very focused on, and we started a family. Maybe about six or seven years later, Mark’s mother said to us that she thought it was time that we thought about coming to live at Sudeley. She bought a house quite nearby and moved away. Actually, it came as quite a surprise…it was a daunting idea. First of all we had to give up our life in London. Second of all we wanted to know exactly how we could possibly live in a house like this. It was caught in a time warp and certainly wasn’t open to the public.There had been very little modernisation since the 1930s. It was cold, creaky, drafty, spooky. I remember it not with huge fondness.


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So, was it an almost frightful prospect, taking Sudeley on? It was a shock and a challenge. It had come at a time in our lives that we hadn’t expected it to. However – we decided to fold up the tent, pack up our life in London and take our children to start a new life here in Gloucestershire, send them to school locally. It was my husband’s idea – after much thought and consultation – to open it to the public. Which it deserves to be – it’s a very historic building with a very interesting history.’ Sadly, Mark died very soon after we came here, which was a huge tragedy. Sudeley was opened in 1970, and here we are almost fifty years later. Were you both confident in the idea of opening to the public? At that time I didn’t know anything about the business of making it open to the public – and neither did Mark, but he was a businessman and he consulted other estates.

It took us two years to get it open. We had to put in new infrastructure, facilities, a car park…we had to create a tour in something that my mother-in-law had been living in as a family home for a number of years. We divided up the chores – I was responsible for the exhibition as I had a design background, and other things like that, while Mark was responsible for the estate and the business side of things. But I think we were confident. I don’t remember not being confident. When Mark died, it absolutely blew everything out of the water. He died in 1972, when there was hugely high taxation and death duties.There was no spouse exemption, so the taxes on the house, estate, contents, everything were absolutely enormous. So from that date to now there’s been a huge challenge in trying to balance it and make sense of it again. And it’s not that easy. I guess I don’t mind saying this, it’s probably good to be honest – we’re probably one of the few houses that are as big as this with so little land. We needed to sell a lot of acreage, a lot of assets to be able to pay the death duties in 1972. So we’re very

Lady Ashcombe

dependent on tourism as opposed to other sources of income. When Mark and I took it on, we had an estate that had other sources of income, but it’s been whittled down a lot. So what we’ve [still] got is the quintessential Englishness, the history – that’s what we do. And it works reasonably well, it doesn’t work perfectly [laughs]. We want more and more visitors. Do you feel that you’ve struck a decent balance between visitor attraction and private family home? Yes. We are a comfortable private home, having divided the private part into three apartments. I have one, my daughter and her family have one and my son has one. My son Henry spends most of the year in Hawaii at the moment – I’m hoping he’ll relocate here eventually – but while he’s away we spread out and use his rooms as well. So it’s quite concertinaed, but it works quite well. It’s lovely as a family gathering place, and the reason I’ve been so keen on keeping it going.Yes, I love having it open to the public and I think that’s the way it should be. But that’s not the reason I’ve done it – it’s my passion as keeping it as a family interest. We have completely different lives. Mollie is the director of an art gallery in London and my son chose to live in Hawaii for a period of time, as his wife’s family live there.The only thing I would say is that I think the time is coming soon when they should be coming back again! I’ve heard that the family kept a badger as a house pet? Not an animal I would have thought that could be easily domesticated…

of you with a badger in your pram?” She said she supposed they got used to it and would eventually remark about how both Mollie and the badger had grown.They just accepted him. And Brock came to live here at Sudeley after getting into trouble in London digging up people’s gardens. And he didn’t adapt well to the castle life. It was hard for him to figure it out. He ripped up some valuable curtains and would jump out at people’s ankles having hidden behind the settee. But for a wild animal, he absolutely adored the nanny and Mollie and Henry and Mark, though he didn’t much care for the rest of us. One time he went missing and when he was found he snuggled up in the nanny’s arms and suckled her ear. He would follow them around, trying to figure out what on earth you’re supposed to do if you’re a badger living with humans in a castle. And it was simply fascinating watching him try to figure this out.

Then there are community things to do with Winchcombe – entertaining a vicar who is leaving, for example. Once a week I meet up with our Head Gardener, Stephen Torode. I’m very involved in developing the gardens. I write lots of letters and am in regular correspondence with various people. It’s a proper business. Most of it is pleasurable and rewarding, but a bit is tricky. What are some of the major changes you’ve made to Sudeley during your residency? We’ve made huge changes.There’s little here that would be recognised [from before]. When I first came this room was the servants’ hall – though we didn’t have any servants, but that it was in Victorian times.The ground floor was the below stairs when I first came here.

In 1979, I married my second husband, Lord Ashcombe, who sadly died last year. For a few years we lived at his property outside Dorking in Surrey, Sudeley has such a rich history – it’s not ‘just’ a and Sudeley was getting increasingly run down and nice country house. Does being the caretaker of wasn’t getting enough attention, so we decided that heritage ever feel like a burden to you? to move back in and make it our permanent home. In the early eighties there was enormous I think it is important to succeed. I think it would modernisation in everything – roof, plumbing, heating, decorating – making it comfortable for a 20th century family and for the public. It One weekend I had remained was a Renaissance – we were starting all over with a very positive hope that it would in London with the children again, become a home as well as preserving the and Mark came back with heritage.

two baby badgers in a box. That was the start of this experience, this relationship with a badger, who we called Brock.

Well, it certainly was domesticated. Mark loved animals and wildlife and he started a wildlife collection here, in the early days, but even before he came to Sudeley – he used to go back when his mother was still living here and we were in London. One weekend I had remained in London with the children and Mark came back with two baby badgers in a box.That was the start of this experience, this relationship with a badger, who we called Brock. It actually became very interesting and fascinates me still to this day.They are very intelligent creatures. The other badger went to live with Mark’s mother and he didn’t fare so well. She left him outside in the kennels and he was killed by other territorial badgers…it was very sad.

Brock was brought up in our nursery with my two children…My daughter was a baby and we had a nanny who first objected to the badger but then bonded with it. She brought it up like she would one of her charges: kept it clean, fed, smacked if it did something wrong, brushed its teeth, combed its hair, got it ready to go to the park…She’d take it out to the park in the pram and I asked her one time, when she came back many years later, “What did those other nannies in Kensington Gardens think

be a great sadness – a tragedy, in a way – if Sudeley wasn’t open to the public. If my family were unable to stay here that would only ever be for financial reasons, because we simply couldn’t make it work. [I imagine] that it would only be us who would want to keep it open to the public…and it would be a huge shame for the community and the story of Sudeley. It gets more fascinating day to day, the more you live with it. Tell us about a day in the life of Lady Ashcombe. What are your responsibilities? I work here three days a week – Mondays,Tuesdays and Fridays. Wednesdays and Thursdays I’m in London. If you look at my diary there are meetings all the time, and they’re completely varied. I meet at least once a month, if not more, with all the different teams that work here.Yesterday, for instance, I had a meeting regarding exhibitions next year (we’re having a Wellington exhibition), and then a 2015 marketing review. In January I go to Hawaii, and that all has to be ready by Christmas – because by the New Year it’s all underway for the re-opening in March.

It’s incredible to think of how it looks now after spending a couple of hundred years in dereliction…Even in the last few years much has changed.

Last year we really looked at where we wanted to go with the business. What the problems were with it, what the visitors were saying. We looked at TripAdvisor, particularly the negative comments – from people who felt they didn’t see enough of the castle, and so on. So we opened four new rooms in the castle. We opened a whole new itinerary so visitors could walk through the history of a thousand years inside and outside. Tudor history, Elizabethan history, walking through the ruins…switching in to where we live, learning about Katherine Parr – it’s an interesting walking experience, snaking in and out through the site. Somehow we got it right. People just love it here. So now we’re having a big new think about the gardens, which are wonderful – perhaps something really exciting happening, which I can’t quite say what here…introducing unusual plants, collections of plants. But you have to keep going.You can’t just sit back. There have been some interesting anniversaries and events in the last few years: the quincentenary of Katherine Parr’s birth (and the re-enactment of her funeral at Sudeley), the discovery of Richard III’s remains in a car park… That was amazing.



Lady ashcombe

Chandos Bedroom (Nigel Schermuly)

And of course he had created the great Banqueting Hall at Sudeley, which was ruined…

the Tudor period is and has been just so popular. It encourages tourism from all over the world.

When Richard was Duke of Gloucester, he was given the castle. I don’t know if he was telling the architect what to do, exactly, but at that time this magnificent hall was created (on the site of something else, and we’re not quite sure what that is).

Is that the period of history that you are most interested in?

What really catches my breath is that if you approach it in a certain way - which I encourage visitors to do - is if you go to the Dungeon Tower first (which is quite dark) and then see it. Wonderful. And of course it’s the backdrop to so many wonderful stories.Think of all the people who were here – Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I, Katherine Parr, Lady Jane Grey,Thomas Seymour, Charles I… you know, all wining and dining and dancing or feeling awful, or being, whatever they were doing, in that setting… And all of those important historic personages must be of great asset to Sudeley, because there’s no end of commemorations and anniversaries that you could celebrate here… We don’t have mementos from a lot of them, but the stories are there to develop and refer to.There’s a lot more interest now in other areas of history –


Cotswold Homes Magazine

It’s the period that we have promoted at Sudeley for two reasons.The first is because of the great interest in Henry VIII and his six wives – and the wife that survived, the fact that she’s buried in the garden. You know that Sudeley is the only private house with a queen buried in the garden. So we’ve created our story with the Queen’s gardens, and the Victorian chatelaine, Emma Dent, collected a lot of Tudor paintings and memorabilia - Katherine Parr’s ring, her hair, and so on – so we have that as an exhibition. When Mark and I decided to open the house to the public we already had a collection of beautiful things – Dutch pictures and a few mementos – but previous generations had not really thought about celebrating the history so much, so our first thought was ‘well, what are we going to show the public?’To resolve that problem we engaged a theatrical designer who was a friend of ours, an opera designer, and he designed the story of Sudeley, taking inspiration mainly from the Tudors and going up until the time of Cromwell, the Civil War.The art and the memorabilia that we already had were displayed, and we got David Hockney to produce a new work.

The exhibition was innovative for its time, all sound and light when you walked around, things lighting up, but unfortunately the machinery became antiquated, finally broke down. So we became known as a Tudor exhibition, and we developed the theme in the gardens. It’s lately that we’ve extended it to welcome Richard III… He was a particularly short-lived king. Did he get to see Sudeley, see the banqueting hall? Yes, because he left, then came back for a little while for the Battle of Tewkesbury. History’s a little vague and some historians don’t agree with each other. But Richard III’s fascinating: he’s got a huge supporting audience, a fan club who don’t think he was quite as guilty as Shakespeare made him out to be. I saw the documentary where Philippa Langley had an incredible passion for his story and an unshakeable belief that he’d been maligned, and these things ultimately led to the discovery of his remains, in that car park… That’s right, and in the most extraordinary way, because she intuited they were there, she has this feeling as she stood over that bit of ground. How strange. You just mentioned the David Hockney artwork – that’s an interesting piece, because it represents

Lady ashcombe

The Knot Garden (Val Corbett)

Knot Garden & Ruins (Nigel Schermuly)

Library (Nigel Schermuly)

the art and the memOrabILIa that we aLready had were dIspLayed, and we gOt daVId hOckney tO prOdUce a new wOrk. a love triangle between the young Elizabeth I, Katherine Parr and the roguish Thomas Seymour… I always felt David Hockney was a little unkind to Katherine Parr because - first of all - she was meant to be very beautiful. OK, she was supposed to be older, about 38 or something, but nowadays that’s hardly considered old at all. Of course, Elizabeth was then 14. I think it is true that Seymour was a ladies man – if not rather lecherous as well. But Katherine Parr with whiskers sticking out? Come on, that’s not fair!

read between the lines – to be quite henpecked, sort of told what to do. [Obviously] there’s also our association with Elizabeth I and Katherine Parr. We like to follow the thread of feminine influence through Sudeley. King Ethelred the Unready’s daughter was given Sudeley just south of the palace in Saxon times [that was] in Winchcombe – it was called South Place. She was Goda, the first ruler of Sudeley. And she too was a survivor, against the odds, in what was a very brutal time.

But I think David Hockney was illustrating some fairytales at the time, so the artwork is done in a similar style. It was meant to be humorous in tone…

There have certainly been some very turbulent times for what has elsewise been a very gentle environment.

It is interesting how the story of Sudeley is one of strong women and some very powerful, but very flawed men…

Tell us about Sudeley’s relationship with the historian David Starkey.

It appears that way. Emma Dent was a hugely vibrant personality here, in Sudeley and the community. Her husband, John Dent, appears – when you

He’s a great fan of Sudeley. When he was making the television documentary The Six Wives of Henry VIII he used a couple of background shots of Sudeley. So I got to know him…become friends with him, really.

He’s a most engaging character. Challenging, but delightful and brilliant. He’s been a great supporter and has helped me a lot…He’s a great historian, and he knows his facts – and I think he knows them better than anybody. He also understands what the visitor would like to see, and how much time they would like to spend – he understands all that very well. And he’s a showman as well, so he’s been extremely helpful in bringing it alive. He teases me about it as well, and we take licence with certain ideas. Finally, what can you tell us about next year at Sudeley? Much is under wraps but we have just entered into an exciting partnership with the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.They’re creating a willow maze which will have a badger set in it and will show children all about wildlife in the Cotswolds…But you’ll have to come back and interview me later if you want to know more. With thanks to Lady Ashcombe



Lady ashcombe


a pOtted hIstOry A more detailed look at the history and features of Sudeley is available in the book A Story of Kings and Queens: A Guidebook to Sudeley Castle and Gardens


Ownership: King Ethelred ‘The Unready’, his daughter Goda and the ‘de Sudeley’ family ---The notorious Ethelred – infamous for ordering the massacre of all Danes who had settled in England - had passed Sudeley to his daughter as a wedding gift before he was replaced after his death by the Danish king, Cnut. Against the odds, Goda survived and retained Sudeley. The de Sudeleys were resident for over three centuries, participating in the crusades and siding with Matilda in the 12th century civil war known as The Anarchy. Matilda’s adversary, Stephen, seized Sudeley and built a garrison there that was destroyed before the war’s end. ----

1369 - 1469

Ownership: The Boteler family including Ralph Boteler who built the castle where it stands today ---John de Sudeley died fighting for the Black Prince in Spain in 1367. As he was childless, the estate passed to the Boteler family through his sister. Ralph Boteler campaigned in France under Henry V and VI and became captain of Calais (and also, curiously, the King’s Butler). By 1443 he had become High Treasurer of England and was made Baron Sudeley, setting to constructing a castle to match his stature. His design, which formed the essence of the castle we know today, even included the then-luxury of glazed windows.The Portmare Tower and partially ruined Dungeon Tower survive from these times. ----

1469 – 1485

Ownership: Edward IV who gave it to his brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester who became Richard III ---But when Edward IV took the throne from Henry VI, Ralph was penalised for his affiliations with the Lancastrians and he was forced to sell Sudeley to the new king. He never saw Sudeley again, dying a mere four years later. Edward granted Sudeley to his brother, Richard, the Duke of Gloucester (and Shakespeare’s notorious ‘hunchback’), who in time would become Richard


Cotswold Homes Magazine

III. First Richard exchanged Sudeley for Richmond Castle, but when Edward died (and Richard infamously had his sons kept in the Tower of London before declaring them illegitimate and taking the throne) he came to possess Sudeley once again. Richard made a number of improvements, including a grand banqueting hall, but he was soon killed at the Battle of Bosworth (the last English king to die in battle). In September 2012 his remains were exhumed from a Leicester car park under the direction of the Richard III Society. ----


Ownership: Henry VII, Jasper Tudor, Duke of Bedford and Henry VIII ---The victorious Henry VII succeeded Richard and the castle found its way into the hands of the notorious Henry VIII (after first passing through the hands of Henry VII’s childless uncle Jasper). Henry VIII spent a week at Sudeley with Anne Boleyn in 1535 (the year before he had her beheaded). Henry was accompanied by his most infamous agent,Thomas Cromwell, who was accommodated by Winchcombe Abbey. Together they orchestrated the Dissolution of the Monasteries. From Winchcombe Cromwell sent out his ‘visitors’ who were instructed to report on the moral and financial status of the country’s religious institutions – a flimsy pretext for the smash ‘n’ grab that was to follow, as Henry VIII seized control of the Church’s considerable assets.

of Henry’s son, Edward, and new Baron of Sudeley – revived his relationship with Katherine Parr, Henry’s widow, after the king’s death. He set to improving Sudeley - and is also said to have pursued Princess Elizabeth at Chelsea, visiting her in her bedchambers. A few months after her marriage to Seymour, Katherine fell pregnant and decorated the nursery with twelve grand tapestries portraying the months of the year. Meanwhile,Thomas schemed against his elder brother, Edward Seymour, who had been made Protector of the young King Edward VI (a title Katherine had perhaps expected to receive herself). But the ambitions of Thomas and Katherine came to nothing. Katherine died of fever a mere seven days after the birth of her daughter. Lady Jane Grey served as Katherine’s Chief Mourner as she was entombed in the Chapel of St Mary – tragically, Thomas was not in attendance, as he had departed for London in fresh pursuit of Princess Elizabeth. For his audacity,Thomas was ordered executed by his own brother, and was denounced by Bishop Latimer as ‘a wicked man, covetous, ambitious and seditious.’ Elizabeth herself remarked: ‘This day died a man with much wit and very little judgement.’ Little record remains of Katherine’s orphaned daughter, Mary, suggesting she died in infancy. ----


Ownership: Mary I, Sir John Brydges, Lord Chandos of Sudeley and the Castle remained with his descendants. During the Civil War, Charles I took refuge at Sudeley ---Sudeley passed to the crown again after the untimely end of Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Days’ Queen, and Mary I gave it to the man who had escorted Lady Jane Grey to her execution: Sir John Brydges, Lieutenant of the Tower. He was named Baron Chandos of Sudeley, and his descendants ruled Sudeley for the next century. As Queen, Elizabeth visited Sudeley – the home of her late stepmother, Katherine – several times

Winchcome Abbey and nearby Hailes Abbey – which claimed to have a phial of Christ’s blood (later denounced as duck’s blood) - were ruined. Having lost its important Abbey, Winchcombe’s status declined and Sudeley was largely neglected until Henry died. Cromwell, having fallen foul of his king, was executed in 1540. ----


Ownership: Edward VI, Sir Thomas Seymour who married Henry VIII’s widow, Katherine Parr, and her brother William Parr, Marquis of Northampton ---The caddish, conniving Sir Thomas Seymour – uncle

Sudeley Castle Roses (Clive Burling)

Lady ashcombe

dUrIng wwII, the area that Is tOday knOwn as the VIsItOrs’ car park serVed as a pOw camp – cOmpLete wIth wIre fences and watchtOwers – where ItaLIan and german prIsOners tOILed In the fIeLds. Roses Ruins (Will Juhasz)

as she toured her kingdom. Celebrating the defeat of the Spanish Armada, Elizabeth and her retinue descended on Sudeley and embarked on three days of partying and feasting which nearly bankrupted the Baron and his family, who received little in the way of the social advancement they had hoped for in return. Years later, in 1642, Civil War broke out and the Sixth Lord Chandos sided with the King, marching out with 1,000 men. Oliver Cromwell’s commander, Edward Massey, attacked, captured and looted Sudeley, abandoning it when they heard Chandos and Prince Rupert of the Rhine had taken nearby Cirencester. Charles I himself decided to lay siege to Gloucester, but failed, and returned to Sudeley with his tail between his legs. In 1644, the castle was besieged a second time (a fired cannonball decapitating a man and smashing a hole in the Octagon Tower, which can still be seen). A defecting lieutenant opened the gates and the castle was quickly overwhelmed. Although renouncing his support for the Royalists, Chandos was fined and ruined, and the victorious Cromwell ‘slighted’ Sudeley’s roof, leaving it to nature to dismantle the remains of this grand castle. ----


Ownership: The castle lay in ruins but became a tourist attraction. Visitors included George III ---Sheep and rabbits occupied the remains of the once-proud buildings. Indulging the fashionable taste for ruins, ‘Mad’ King George tried to climb the Octagon Tower, but fell. George’s fall was interrupted by Sudeley’s Housekeeper, Mrs Cox, who was rewarded for her efforts when the king offered a commission in the Guards to her son, William. In 1782, a lead coffin was uncovered bearing the inscription Here Lyeth Quene Kateryn, Wife to Kyng

Henry VIII. When opened, the remains of Katherine Parr were said to be ‘entire and uncorrupted’, but after her coffin was opened several times they began to decay. By the time they were relocated to the restored chapel in the 19th century, they were no more than ‘a little brown dust’. Sudeley is still the only private home to have a Queen of England buried in the grounds. ----


Ownership: Brothers John and William Dent, John Coucher Dent and his wife Emma Brocklehurst. Most of the castle was habitable again. Henry DentBrocklehurst and Major Dent-Brocklehurst ---The brothers John and William Dent – two wealthy glove makers from Worcester with a passionate interest in antiques – purchased the estate (the castle and 12,000 acres) from the Duke of Buckingham, who balked at restoration costs, in 1837. During their ambitious renovation, the brothers decided to leave the medieval buildings as untouched as was possible, and compiled a veritable trove of Tudor treasures that they stored at the castle. The Dent brothers died childless, and the castle passed to their nephew John and his wife Emma, who for 45 years worked single-mindedly to improve Sudeley, planning the gardens and extending the collections - and researching the castle’s extensive history. She and John built almshouses and a school in Winchcombe, and after John died she rebuilt the road from Winchcombe to the castle and created the town’s first piped water supply. Emma died at the age of 76 having toiled endlessly to revive the castle, and having exhausted her considerable energies on countless philanthropic projects within the town. She planted the avenue of beech trees along the main drive so that they ‘would

cast pretty shadows…even when there was no one left to remember the old lady who lovingly planted them.’ On her death, the castle passed to her nephew, Harry Dent-Brocklehurst, who she and John had wished would become ‘the perfect country gentleman.’Though Harry’s son, Jack, was sent to fight in France during WWI, he survived, but death duties meant that when Harry passed much land belonging to the estate had to be sold off. During WWII, the area that is today known as the visitors’ car park served as a POW camp – complete with wire fences and watchtowers – where Italian and German prisoners toiled in the fields.The Tate Gallery stored numerous pictures in the castle, safe from the inferno of the Blitz.The Gallery’s Director and the Curator (together with their families) came along with the pictures, having themselves little desire to face the bombs and flames. ----


Ownership: Mark Dent-Brocklehurst and his wife Elizabeth succeeded his mother as owners. Elizabeth was widowed in 1972 but remarried Lord Ashcombe in 1979. She remains in residence with her 2 children, Henry and Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst, and their families. ---Little work was done on the castle after the 1930s until Mark and Elizabeth decided to open the castle to the public and embarked on a massive programme of restoration and refurbishment.Taxes and death duties meant that many historic houses across the country were thrown into a state of financial precariousness, but Sudeley’s unique history – plus large investment in its infrastructure, and willingness to sell acreage to balance the books – meant that the castle remains open to the public to this day, whilst simultaneously serving as a family home for Lady Ashcombe, her children and grandchildren.



RupeRt till


Cotswold Homes Magazine

RupeRt till

Inspiration strikes in the strangest places. They say Archimedes had his great revelation in the bathtub. Isaac Newton was illuminated when he was clonked on the head by a falling apple. ‘I actually tripped over my lightbulb moment,’ laughs Rupert. ‘I had returned from Chelsea Art School and was walking my parents’ dogs in Yorkshire, looking for a nice view to sketch, when I fell over. Simple as that. It was a length of wire that had tripped me, half-buried in bracken…Just four or five inches showing, but enough to trip on....’ Years later, and now a regular award-winning exhibitor at the Chelsea Flower Show (where he is now on more than nodding terms with one Alan Titchmarsh), Rupert has since forged a successful career out of making wire sculptures that are often inspired by the natural world. Boxing hares, prowling foxes, statuesque elephant heads; his home and studio are populated with the lifelike creations that have sold like hotcakes both nationally and internationally.

We visit the home of Winchcombe’s resident master of wire sculpture, the internationally recognised Rupert Till – an artist who can count Jilly Cooper and Alan Titchmarsh amongst his fans – to discuss the art market, the meaning of animals and the lucky fall that started everything…

Think of an art school and one might imagine coffee, cigarettes, nude models, languid afternoons in a whitewashed studio and boozy nights spent philosophising around a pub table. But as a student Rupert had the inestimable advantage of direction – and the instinct to sell. He insisted on attending a practice-focused course at Chelsea and by the time of his ‘trip’ back home, he was poised to make art a lasting vocation. After his fateful fall in Yorkshire, he began to make sculptures from wire that seemed to quickly gather attention. ‘I stayed with some friends in the Cotswolds – the author, Jilly Cooper, and her son, my friend Felix. I told her what I was doing and she asked me to sculpt her dog Hero. So I did, and then I bit the bullet and I did the Country Living fair in Islington. I made animals you’d see in a garden, little things out of chicken wire, dipping them in red oxide paint so they’d last.’



RupeRt till

Rupert soon realised that people were drawn to these wire forms. ‘I was selling them for £300, £500 at the max, actually making an income – and without involving a gallery. Just representing at fairs.’ For around twenty years Rupert ran that as his business model. About two years in, he realised he could also sell to trade – introducing his pieces to garden centres around the world. After choosing the most fitting venues for his work, Rupert was finding he was getting out about thirty pieces in a week. He then spent some years in Ireland, where he got more into racing and horses. ‘For ten years I ran a farm so it meant I could buy animals and 22

Cotswold Homes Magazine

draw from them – all still without involving a gallery. ‘But I really wanted to keep ahold of Chelsea Flower Show as a key part of my business. Sadly, with September 11th, sending metal in containers became a tricky business. So for many reasons, some fickle, I decided to return to the UK market.’ ‘That’s why I love Chelsea Flower Show. It encourages people to think outside the box: you can put wonderful things in your garden and view it as an extension.’ Perhaps, I suggest, gardens are good indicators of national character: the restrained English are

…The artworks adhere so closely to their natural forms there’s almost something Edenic about the making of these creatures - they seem suffused with life…

afraid of overdoing it, but our forthright American cousins want sensation, accumulation… ‘I’ve come to know Alan Titchmarsh very well through Chelsea and his programmes are all about highlighting gardens as spaces – but people still want a big lawn with nothing in it. It’s a shame!’ What about this year’s Chelsea Flower Show? ‘We’re all ready to go. I’ve had the same stand position for about twelve years. It’s wonderful: people come to me who first saw me in the ‘90s – circumstances change, finances change, and the people who liked the work but had a flat before now have a house and want to buy their first piece. I’m making another jumping horse to install.’

Speaking of commissions: do buyers typically come to Rupert with a concrete idea, a particular beast they’d like made? Or are most clients looking for guidance?

canvas – we’ll have a budget, know what we can spend, what we like and don’t like…The last kind will have three or four ideas and ask me to blow them up, see if they work.’

‘It’s an interesting thing. I’d split my clients into three groups. The first [kind of] client comes and knows exactly what they want. The second kind are the great clients – they’re the ones who have seen something and wish to make it their own – they’ve seen a few pieces, ask me to visit their garden. And then you get the best clients of all, the ones who sit with you around the kitchen table with a sketchpad and we just layer it up with ideas. They’ll have a few places where they think they’ll like something – but they’ll have no idea what they might have. It’s not entirely a blank

Situated just outside of Winchcombe, Rupert’s home and studio are gorgeously situated and populated with his creations, some in varying states of completion. A fox stands on the lawn, frozen in mid-dart, while hares box against a backdrop of sumptuous Sudeley hilliness. Fullscale elephant heads (complete with specially blacksmithed tusks) are propped up outside, while armatures stand waiting to be sinewed in wire. There’s almost something Edenic, or at least Kipling-like, about the making of these creatures – www.cotswold-homes.com


Rupert Till

not least because the artworks adhere so closely to the natural forms of their subjects. Thanks to close observation, sketching and research, they do seem suffused with life. ‘People find it interesting: “How do you get the muscles and ligaments right?” It sounds macabre but as a child I was fascinated with dead animals and knackeries. Dead horses and calves on the ground. There’d be nothing more tempting for me than to pick up a leg and move it, to see how the thing moved from the pelvis down, the ligaments and little muscles…And if you understand these things, you can understand why a horse will never move a leg up so far – because it can’t.’ ‘When I look at horse sculptures the first thing I think of is: can they sculpt a hoof? Because it’s like the hands in portrait painting. The artists that are incredible are the ones who can do the hooves properly. In the late eighties I went to Florence with school and saw the huge frescoes in the Duomo: knights and horses and their big, bold structures. Powerful heads, huge feet. In my work I pride myself on what some people would call the boring details. It bogs me down but I love it. That’s why I keep a horse and ride him every day – I love all the areas, the voids. The underneath of an animal is just as exciting as the head.’ Rupert invites me into the studio to watch him at work. His only tools: pliers and an ancient, blunted hammer (and apparently he doesn’t really even use the hammer). Taking the pliers in hand, he deftly begins to wrap wire around an armature already partially swaddled in the material, a form half-emerged. ‘I don’t need heat. People usually can’t believe it’s just gloves and pliers. It’s almost like crochet,’ he says. ‘I love the little glimpses of light you get through the body.’ Is there a therapeutic benefit to spending a day engrossed in making? ‘Totally. You can lose yourself. I make a lot of my work outside, usually in any weather.’


Cotswold Homes Magazine

Rupert Till

“When people are buying sculpture they want to know one thing: will it last? I got that in the early days. But these could be tossed around by a hurricane and suffer minimal damage.” ‘I wish I’d spent more time learning physics and chemistry at school. Knowing the order in which metals corrode each other is valuable. I never appreciated it at the time: I was the silly rubberflicking boy.’ Built to last, these beautiful and durable pieces make a striking addition to the garden or home. Anybody thinking of acquiring a sculpture can be assured of a work that will captivate for years to come. To see more of Rupert’s work, we suggest visiting his website, www.ruperttill.com, where you can view various commissions and sketches. And if you’re planning on visiting the RHS Chelsea Flower Show from 19th to 23rd May, you can visit Rupert on stand RGB3. Additional photography by Lucy Driver www.cotswold-homes.com



Hey Diddle Diddle,

The Little Man Laughed! Giffords Circus is Back In Town with A Victorian Moonlit Extravaganza – and you can win tickets

From May to September, Giffords’ famous family-run vintage circus will be touring the Cotswolds with their all-new show Moon Songs. Directed by Cal McCrystal, Moon Songs invites audiences to enter the world of the Victorian Lunar Park, a fairground run by larger than life illusionist and man of magic and mystery Odoroff, and his Little Man assistant, David. The signature theme of this wonderful touring production is an idiosyncratic, eclectic fusion of performance art, using elements of theatre, opera, dance, puppetry, acrobatics, dogs, horses and a much-loved goose in an hour and a half of fabulous entertainment. It’s a particularly heady circus extravaganza this time - there’s a giant troupe of dancing gymnasts, Clown Tweedy is shot from a cannon and then turns himself into the man in the moon, a bear gallops past on a pony, the carousel horses come to life, the weather in the tent turns wintry, the jugglers are suddenly upside down, the little man laughs and chaos reigns in this topsy-turvy lunatic world.

“... Clown Tweedy is shot from a cannon and the into the man in the moon, a bear gallops past n turns himself carousel horses come to life, the weather in on a pony, the wintry, the jugglers are suddenly upside dow the tent turns laughs and chaos reigns in this topsy-turvy n, the little man lunatic world.” Giffords Circus’ traditional tent, together with their burgundy and gold showman’s wagons, are now synonymous with our Cotswold village greens. Moon Songs opens at Giffords Circus’ new HQ at Fennells Farm, Stroud on 15th May. Along the tour, Giffords Circus will visit many destinations including Sudeley Castle, Daylesford Organic Farm and The Fox Inn at Barrington in the North Cotswolds before returning to Fennells Farm, bowing out at their final curtain call on 20th September.

on 0845 459 7469. Tickets are priced at £22 for adults and £14 for children. (Children under 3 free, if sitting on a lap!)

For a full list of tour dates, locations and to book tickets, visit the Giffords Circus website at www.giffordscircus.com or call the Box Office

All entries must be received by 15th May 2015, when the lucky winner will be selected at random from the circus top hat and notified by e-mail!

Lucky Cotswold Homes readers have a chance to win a family ticket to a performance at The Fox Inn Barrington on Monday 20th July, at 5.00 pm. To enter the competition, simply e-mail admin@ cotswold-homes.com with your full name, address and telephone number and GIFFORDS in the subject line.



MeloDie CooK

MI SS n A nC y W e InT e R VIe W A RT I ST, M elOD I e C O O K , An D D IS C O V e R Th e W O R K InG P RO Ce SS Be h InD h eR ST UnnI nG PAS Te l PO RTR AIT O F G IF F O R D S C IR CUS S TAR, nAnCy, F OR Wh I C h Sh e R e C e n Tly R e C e IV e D Th e PR e S TIG IO U S FA BeR CAST e ll AWA R D AT T h e 2 0 1 5 PAS Te l S O C Ie Ty O Pe n e Xh IBITIO n .

Melodie, you haven’t always been an artist, have you? Since childhood you’ve had three particular ambitions, and you’ve managed to fulfil all of them… Basically I started a career as a model and started working out of London and Milan, loving Italy so much that I moved there. I continued to be a model for three years or so and changed to designing for the fashion industry. I designed for major Italian brands like Benetton, Replay.... I had a great time, but after eighteen years I got very fed up with fashion and decided to leave it behind. What did you find exhausting about the world of fashion? My passion was high street fashion – not couture – and there are only so many pairs of five-pocket jeans you can design! When you get to the next season you’re thinking ‘gosh, now what am I going to do?’ It gets a bit repetitive, though it was always exciting. The art side of me started calling, and I decided to set up a design studio – primarily because at that point I still didn’t know what kind of art I wanted to do. I tried ceramics and glass and stationery and paper products and murals. That was all wonderful, but after 27 years I decided to leave Italy and return to the UK – which I never thought I would do – to pursue my artistic career. Because I feel it is much easier [here]…not because I’m English, but because art is not so supported, let’s say, in Italy. Really? That’s surprising. It sounds funny, because Italy is such an artistic country. But becoming an artist there would have been very difficult, and I wanted to go to art school. That’s how I eventually emerged onto the art scene in 2013. 28

Cotswold Homes Magazine


MeloDie CooK

Nancy Trotter Landry and Bobby

So what was the problem with becoming established in Italy? The galleries? All of it, really.You can see that I’m of a certain age…I wasn’t really helped or pushed at all. Here it’s more of a serious subject, although there are some colleges in Italy – I studied in Venice for a bit – but here there’s all kinds of help, all kinds of websites and supportive artists around. So, in the end, I came full circle, really. I went to The Art Academy near London Bridge, where they focused on figurative drawing and portraiture, which has always been my passion. And now you’ve made the transition to working artist, are you happier than you’ve ever been? Oh totally, yes. Totally. I absolutely adored fashion – I had to do it and get it out of my system. I should have gone to art school long ago but I had to be a model first…you can’t really do it the other way round! What are your connections to the Cotswolds? I live in Hertfordshire, but I went to school in Oxfordshire. My family are all based in Oxfordshire. The Cotswolds I absolutely adore. So how did you encounter Giffords Circus? I was looking for a project that would inspire me – but also appeal to the public. It sounds terribly corny, but through creating art I hope to give something back to society. So I decided I wanted to make a show of large-scale portraits and donate a percentage of sales to the United Nations refugees. And then I discovered that Giffords is also a supporter, which certainly put me in favour when I wrote to them. Barba Rossa

Christine T

So the first work is Nancy, and I’m about to start a big picture of Tweedy in his horse costume – it’s going to look great. www.cotswold-homes.com


MeloDie CooK

Cherry Tree Horse

Il Principe Tranquillo

Tell us about the portrait of Nancy. The circus invited me down for two days. The first day I went to view the show, to get a good feel of it. And on the second day I had a limited time to take pictures and study the performances. Nancy was wonderful because she gave me fifteen minutes with Bobby the cockerel…One of the pictures I’d shown Giffords was a portrait of a lady with a cockerel as a hat. They thought that was hilarious, because that’s exactly what Nancy does in her performances with Bobby. So after fifteen minutes and a few photos this is what came out. I gave it a very black background. Nancy was actually outside, but most of the other pictures I took were against the black curtains in the circus. They looked so dramatic and wonderful that’s what I thought they should all look like. Because it’s quite a retro circus, I toned the colours down a little bit. It gives it a traditional portrait [feel], almost like a renaissance picture. It has a dramatic look, but has that Giffords irreverence at the same time. And it also feels quite contemporary, I think. 30

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Do you have a composition in mind for the Tweedy picture? I do! In fact I’m going back in April to spend more time and I’ll be making more drawings and more studies from their new show. So this is not just about The Thunders – which is last year’s show – but is a more general [representation] of Giffords. Circus performers must be interesting for you to draw. It satisfies all my creative sides. I come from a fashion background, so the style and fabric and colour and the people underneath all come together pleasingly. Where can we see the planned exhibition? I’m hoping for London and Oxford and definitely in the Cotswolds but I haven’t decided where to do it yet. I’m getting the work done first – it’s got to be as good as it can be, and I’ll be making affordable limited editions as well.They’re going to be on sale from the middle of March. See more of Melodie’s artwork at www.melodiecook.co.uk


Win a pair of tickets to John Ford’s rarely performed play at the Royal Shakespeare Company

Based on a true story, John Ford’s rarely performed play Love’s Sacrifice, tells the brutal and tragic tale of lust, desire and manipulation. Director Matthew Dunster (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) brings this passionate and thrilling revenge tragedy to the RSC’s Swan Theatre from 11 April, and you could win a pair of tickets to see this exciting new show. With echoes of Shakespeare’s Othello, John Ford (‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore) writes a powerful story powered by the destructive force of unrequited love. Struck by love at first sight, the Duke of Pavia has married the beautiful Bianca. But he’s not the only one who loves her. Unknown to him, his best friend Fernando has also fallen for Bianca, and with each day that passes, he finds it harder to conceal his true feelings. Love’s Sacrifice is playing as part of a season of sinful plays in the Swan Theatre by Shakespeare’s contemporaries. The season includes Christopher Marlowe’s controversial and gripping play The Jew of Malta and the greed driven Volpone, directed by Trevor Nunn with a cast including Henry Goodman.

To win a pair of tickets to this passionate play of lust and love, just email admin@cotswold-homes.com and answer the following:

Which playwright wrote Love’s Sacrifice?* a William Shakespeare b John Ford c Christopher Marlowe

Entries will be drawn on the 30th of March. Remember to include your name, email, telephone number and address so that we can contact you in the event that you win.The lucky winner will be able to select a performance date and time, subject to availability. *Terms and conditions apply. Prize cannot be refunded. Tickets valid for date as chosen by the winner. If unable to accommodate that date, RSC will find an alternative. www.cotswold-homes.com


Dujardin and Valegro

A Winning Combination Collette Fairweather reports on the rise of Charlotte Dujardin and the unrivalled Valegro, and poses the equestrian star the question: where to from here?

Of all the equestrian disciplines, Dressage requires possibly the most patience, poise and practice of all. The intricate combination of seemingly instinctive and effortless movements is the result of years of schooling for both horse and rider. However, Dressage has always received fewer column inches in the media than other sports, however through Dujardin, this has changed significantly since London 2012. Sometimes dubbed pretentious, with a scoring system that boggles even the finest mathematical minds, it has seen a slower rise into mainstream recognition than the other adrenalin-fuelled equestrian disciplines have so easily captured. That is, until now. This is a tale that began in 2012, when London played host to one of the most successful equestrian Olympic squads, and there was one combination that dominated the games: that of Charlotte Dujardin and the mighty Dutch Warmblood gelding, Valegro. Even the uninitiated could appreciate the unrivalled quality of their combination. The peerless duo went on to scoop the individual and team gold alongside her teammate, trainer and Valegro’s part owner, Carl Hester. Building on her Olympic success, 2014 saw Dujardin gain her OBE from the Palace and become European and World Champion. She also acquired all three dressage world records. Their success has catapulted a previously exclusive sport into the mainstream – Charlotte’s accomplishments reflected with her recent triumph in becoming the Sunday Times and Sky Sports Sportswoman of the Year 2014, the BT Action Woman of the Year and at BBC Sports Personality of the Year, where over 75,000 votes saw her finish fourth overall.


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We ask Charlotte about how she built on a childhood enthusiasm for ponies to become Britain’s golden girl of Dressage. Tell me about your first pony. My very first pony was a Shetland called Sally. I had her for my second birthday. How did you balance competing and school? Very early mornings! I would ride before and after school. I knew I had to put the hours in to get where I wanted. How did you come to train with Carl Hester? Carl was my idol and I used to watch his DVDs when I was young. When I had my horse Fernandez, my mum went up to him and just asked if I could have a lesson with him, which I did.Then he asked me to cover for one of his staff members for ten days and I never left. Carl is a great trainer and influences me everyday. He is very compassionate with the horses and I could not have got to where I have without him. Tell me about Valegro - what makes him so brilliant at his job? He's just a gentleman of a horse, with a great attitude to work. He loves life and is a complete scholar on dressage. He is a pleasure to be around and just wants to make you happy. A horse like him comes along once in a lifetime, if you're very lucky that is.

discuss music ideas with the composer / arranger. Often I take inspiration from films, my latest music being from How To Train A Dragon which I love. Valegro loves performing to it. With all your success, you have brought a welcome spotlight onto the sport of dressage - and yourself. Have you found the media attention difficult? It was hard at first because I wasn't used to it and I did find it very difficult. I have my own personal team now though; they help me with all my business and media affairs, so that has been a huge support.The more I have done it though, the more confidence I have gained and I am truly grateful to the media for their support and all they do for our sport. Tell us about Sports Personality of the Year. Well it was amazing to be nominated and to then come fourth in such company like that. A dressage rider has never been shortlisted so again it’s good for the sport as a whole, which is great. It was a lovely night and nice to have the opportunity to dress up, which doesn't happen often for me. It’s all breeches and jumpers normally! Sometimes I honestly have to pinch myself! With every major title under your belt, what does the next season look like for you?

How do you go about choosing the music and choreographing the routines for the freestyle competitions?

Hopefully just continuing what we do with Valegro and some of the younger horses and (fingers crossed) some more medals.The thing is,Valegro has nothing left to prove. He's an exceptional horse who is one in a million, so now we're at the stage of just keeping him healthy, happy and just enjoying his work.That’s priority for me now.The rest is just a huge bonus.

We initially put together a floor plan and then I


DujaRDin anD ValegRo

He's just a gentleman of a horse, with a great attitude to work. He loves life and is a complete scholar on dressage. He is a pleasure to be around and just wants to make you happy.

Photography by Jon Stroud



BaDMinTon HoRSe TRialS


BADMINTON HORSE TRIALS Our equestrian correspondent Collette Fairweather provides a primer Each May - by the kind invitation of the 11th Duke of Beaufort - the ordinarily tranquil parklands of Badminton House play host to an extravaganza of equine sportsmanship, the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials. Competitors comprise the top one hundred of eventing’s elite. It’s a true test of both horse and rider, who must dominate in the disciplines of dressage, cross-country and show jumping over

Cross Country 2014 - Kristina Cook riding De Novo News


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The first two days of competition are devoted to dressage. Each competitor harmoniously completes a complicated combination of movements before a panel of judges.The scores obtained in the dressage arena will ultimately determine their success over the entire competition.

an occasion for courageous riding. Cross country day is the most hotly anticipated and welcomes the lion’s share of the 160,000 visitors that flood the gates over the week.The four mile cross country track is studded with at least thirty imposing fences that reach up to 1.45m high, pushing horse and rider to their limits to complete fault free within the allocated time.

After the poise and precision of dressage comes

After the adrenaline high of cross country day

an intensive four days.

BaDMinTon HoRSe TRialS

Cross Country 2014 - Jodie Amos riding Matt

And, after building up a thirst from exercising the wallet, quench it at one of the many on-site bars that surround the live feed big screens. Dressage 2014. William Fox-Pitt riding Parklane Hawk

comes the show jumping, and those that have completed the cross country course will compete to determine the winner, with riders negotiating a course of coloured knock-down poles. With competitors drawn in reverse order, the crowd is kept in tantalising anticipation, as last to ride is the overnight leader. And as any equestrian supporter will note, the title isn’t won until the last pole is cleared. I encourage all visitors to walk the cross country course, with plenty of viewing room around each fence, you will be close enough to smell the action, and feel the ground shake as the hooves roar past. Take the time to pitch up next to one of the combination fences, and take advantage of one of the countless eateries around the course. Why not treat your loved ones (or indeed yourself) by booking in to one of the members enclosures for a little added luxury. Available on all of the event days, they are not as expensive as one might believe and really make an occasion. Due to the vast acreage of the site, the event can easily accommodate the battalions of supporters, and indeed cater for every whim with nearly five hundred stalls, selling everything from sandwiches to stately homes. Make sure you leave enough time to meander the maze of stalls. And, after building up a thirst from exercising the wallet, quench it at one of the many on-site bars that surround the live feed big screens.

Cross Country 2014 - Oliver Townend riding Armada

Don’t worry about wasting valuable time away from the competition, as you can keep up to date with the current runners and scores via the Badminton App - or via Radio Badminton, which will be running throughout the event.

remember – plus, when you get home you can put your feet up and watch it all on the BBC. Perfection.

It really is a wonderful family day out - whilst dogs must be kept on leads, children are encouraged to roam free range.There’s an abundance of public conveniences and ice-cream vendors, major contributors for a whinge-free outing! Combine that with plenty of shopping, lots of eating, a little walking, and plenty of action and you have an occasion to

Photographs courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors and Kit Houghton

Be in with a chance of wining tickets for the whole week, by entering our competition on page 6.

For further information visit www.badminton-horse.co.uk or call +44 (0)1454 218375




Warwick Racecourse

Racing thrills and spills aren’t just confined to Cheltenham. Warwick is a historic course with plenty of exciting new developments ahead. If you haven’t been introduced already, says Alison McConkey, it’s time to get acquainted…

Warwick Racecourse


s one of the oldest racecourses in the country, Warwick has certainly played its part in the history of horse racing.

All eyes are now firmly on the future as the racecourse that was the first to stage jump-racing in 1831 embarks on an exciting new era in its first season as an all-jumps track.

“The decision to become an all-jumps course secures Warwick’s long-term racing future and we have no doubt that it is going to be a very bright one,” says Huw.

With a new focus, clear identity and enhanced race programme, the move is designed to help the Jockey Club course thrive over the long-term with a five-year vision to become one of the UK’s leading small jumps courses.

“It is fair to say that our jumps programme was more highly regarded than our flat racing and we are now taking it to another level with significant investment that will attract top quality racing and ensure that Warwick continues to play an important role in the development of the sport as a whole.”

It is a bold and yet achievable ambition given the already high regard for Warwick as a jumps course, and that strength will only be boosted with plans to invest several million pounds to make it an elite track in the coming years. For general manager, Huw Williams, and the whole team at Warwick Racecourse, it is much 38

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more than a new chapter in a rich history spanning over 300 years, with the inaugural race having been held there way back in 1707.

An early indication of Warwick’s draw in its new guise was one of the biggest ever fields lining up for this year’s Betfred Classic Chase, a stand-out race of the year and renowned for attracting those with an eye on Grand National glory.


Historic images of Warwick Racecourse

his yard near Alcester, jumped at the chance to help put Warwick on the racing map in its new era.

“We are just a stone’s throw from one of the country’s most popular attractions, Warwick Castle, whose visitors of around 800,000 a year are said to spend some £50 million in the wider area.”

In fact, Warwick has a reputation for being the birthplace of champions, and three of the last five winners of the Grand National – Auroras Encore, Ballabriggs and Don’t Push It – raced there in the build-up to their Aintree triumphs.

jockey Harry, enjoyed his first ever winner at his local track. And victory for one of the country’s brightest young trainers was topped off with the announcement of his new role as ambassador of the racecourse.

That day in January also went to Warwickshire trainer, Dan Skelton, who, with younger brother

Dan, who continues to make a huge impression in his second season as a National Hunt trainer from

“I am excited to be able to promote a racecourse with such a rich National Hunt history, as well as being my local racecourse during my childhood and now during my formative years as a trainer,” he says. “I look forward to supporting Warwick Racecourse in its new incarnation as an all-jumps track and feel certain that it will uphold its rich racing heritage.” In the horse racing world, March is of course synonymous with its sister course Cheltenham, and Warwick’s Irish Day held the weekend before The Festival is a favoured taster particularly among the huge influx of racegoers from the Emerald Isle. The Festival delivers a welcome knock-on effect for the economy right across south Warwickshire, providing an early lift for hotel and other leisure business. www.cotswold-homes.com



Enjoying Ladies Day at Warwick Racecourse

“In fact, Warwick has a reputation for being the birthplace of champions, and three of the last five winners of the Grand National – Auroras Encore, Ballabriggs and Don’t Push It – raced there in the build-up to their Aintree triumphs.”

Youngsters getting a taste for success during a family fun day at Warwick Racecourse General manager Huw Williams at the stables at Warwick Racecourse


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“The decision to become an all-jumps course secures Warwick’s long-term racing future and we have no doubt that it is going to be a very bright one” Working with local business, and the wider community, is a key objective for Warwick as it looks to grow the popularity of its racedays, which attract seasoned and novice racegoers alike. And whilst racing will always be the primary focus, bringing in business on non-racedays, from conferences to celebrations hosted in the stands boasting breathtaking views over the course, is also a main target. “It is as important as ever for us as a major presence within Warwick to support and be involved in the local community, from teaming up with other businesses in the town on promotional initiatives to staging family-themed racedays,” says Huw. “We are just a stone’s throw from one of the country’s most popular attractions, Warwick Castle, whose visitors of around 800,000 a year are said to spend some £50 million in the wider area.” “We, too, are a historic jewel in the crown for Warwick and we want the local community and economy to continue to enjoy, and benefit, from us being here.”

Racing at Warwick Following the Irish Day on Sunday, March 8th, the remaining fixtures for this season are Midweek Jumps (Wednesday, March 18th), Easter Holiday Racing (Monday, March 30th), St George’s Raceday (Thursday, April 23rd), Family Fun Day (Monday, May 4th), Mardi Gras Party Night (Saturday, May 9th), and Ladies Day (May 20th). General admission can start from just £5 for tickets bought in advance. Restaurant and private box packages, which are often sold out in advance, are also available along with group offers. Annual membership is available from £150. Further information can be found at http://warwick.thejockeyclub.co.uk

Jumps action at Warwick Racecourse

WARWICK RACECOURSE THROUGH THE YEARS 1707 Inaugural race held 1831 First British racecourse to include a race over obstacles at an established meeting 1847 A hunter called Chandler cleared a brook and his fallen rivals to record the longest ever leap at 39 feet. He went on to win the Grand National in 1848 1910 National Hunt Chase run for the last time at Warwick before moving to Cheltenham where it remains part of The Festival 1950 Separate National Hunt course introduced at Warwick 1967 Jockey Club Racecourses takes over – and a two-year-old Red Rum wins at Warwick 1968 Evening meetings introduced 2002 A.P. McCoy beats the long-standing record of 269 winners in a season with a victory at Warwick 2014 First season as an all-jumps course 2015 National Hunt trainer Dan Skelton made ambassador



DEATH OF A SALESMAN Gregory Doran directs Antony Sher and Alex Hassell in Arthur Miller's great American tragedy

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE Shakespeare's uncompromising tragedy, directed by Polly Findlay (Arden of Faversham, 2014) In the melting pot of Venice, trade is God. With its ships plying the globe, the city opens its arms to all, as long as they come prepared to do business and there is profit to be made. With the gold flowing all is well, but when a contract between Bassanio and Shylock is broken, simmering racial tensions boil over. A wronged father, and despised outsider, Shylock looks to exact the ultimate price for a deal sealed in blood. Royal Shakespeare Theatre 14 May – 2 Sept 2015

OTHELLO Iqbal Khan directs Hugh Quarshie and Lucian Msamati as Othello and Iago. Arthur Miller

Othello is the greatest general of his age. A fearsome warrior, loving husband and revered defender of Venice against its enemies.

In the land of the free, each man is in charge of his own destiny. Willy Loman knows and cherishes this truth. After a life of honest hard work, it's Willy's birthright to retire with his loving wife and watch his two athletic, handsome sons continue his legacy.

But he is also an outsider whose victories have created enemies of his own, men driven by prejudice and jealousy to destroy him. As they plot in the shadows, Othello realises too late that the greatest danger lies not in the hatred of others, but his own fragile and destructive pride.

Yet as old age begins to take hold and retirement beckons, Willy's dream seems further away than ever. Decades of graft have somehow failed to translate into wealth and his eldest son refuses to follow the path his father has chosen for him. As actions buried in his past re-surface, Willy struggles to reconcile his long cherished dream with the life he has actually lived.

After more than a decade working in film and television on projects from Star Wars to Holby City, Hugh Quarshie returns to the RSC to play Shakespeare's Othello. He was last seen with us in Faust and Julius Caesar (1996). Hugh will play opposite Lucian Msamati in the role of Iago, returning to the RSC following his role as Pericles in 2006. The production is directed by Iqbal Khan (Much Ado About Nothing 2012)

Following their performances as Falstaff and Prince Hal in Henry IV Parts I & II (2014/15), Antony Sher and Alex Hassell play Willy Loman and his son Biff. Arthur Miller's 1949 play, Death of a Salesman is surely the greatest American tragedy ever written. Directed by RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran, this production celebrates the centenary of Miller's birth. Royal Shakespeare Theatre 26 March - 2 May 2015


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Royal Shakespeare Theatre 4 June – 28 August 2015

Hugh Quarshie


WE PREVIEW THE PRODUCTIONS COMING TO AUDIENCES AT THE RSC IN STRATFORD. THE JEW OF MALTA Justin Audibert makes his RSC debut to direct Christopher Marlowe's subversive play Malta is threatened with invasion by the Turkish Empire. The Christian Governor attempts to buy off the invading fleet with monies levied from the island's Jewish population. When the prominent Jewish merchant, Barabas, protests the levy, the Governor seizes his entire fortune to pay the bribe. As men of all faiths ruthlessly pursue their own interests hidden behind a mask of religious hypocrisy, the enraged Barabas plans a swift and bloody vengeance that threatens to destroy the entire island. Justin Audibert makes his RSC debut to direct Christopher Marlowe's subversive play. Justin previously worked as an Assistant Director on the RSC Ensemble 2009-2011. He is also an Associate of HighTide Festival Theatre. Swan Theatre 18 March – 8 September

LOVE'S SACRIFICE Ford's rarely performed play, with echoes of Othello, is brought to life by Matthew Dunster Struck by love at first sight, the Duke of Pavia has married the beautiful Bianca. But he's not the only one who loves her. Unknown to him, his best friend Fernando has also fallen for Bianca, and with each day that passes he finds it harder to conceal his true feelings. While the Duke is unaware of his friend's dilemma, his sister soon realises what is happening. Racked with jealousy by her own desire for Fernando, she begins to manipulate her brother, encouraging him to act against his friend. With echoes of Shakespeare's Othello, John Ford's rarely performed play is a thrilling revenge tragedy powered by the destructive force of unrequited love. Director Matthew Dunster makes his RSC debut. His most recent productions include Mametz (National Theatre Wales),The Lightning Child (Shakespeare's Globe) and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre). Swan Theatre 11 April – 24 June 2015

VOLPONE Trevor Nunn returns to the RSC to direct Henry Goodman in Jonson's timeless satire Volpone is already a very rich man. But he worships gold, he understands greed, and he wants to get even richer. He knows that the bankers and lawyers and businessmen in the city around him will stop at nothing to make money... more and more money. Sound familiar?

Henry Goodman has most recently played Arturo Ui (for which he received an Olivier Best Actor Nomination) at Chichester Festival Theatre and in the West End. He returns to the RSC to play Volpone, having last appeared with us as Richard III (2003).

The RSC’s former Artistic Director, Trevor Nunn, returns to the Swan Theatre that he created, to direct Ben Jonson's comic, satiric, angry, timeless play. Nunn's most recent work with us was directing King Lear (with Ian McKellen) and The Seagull, which both played in Stratford-upon-Avon before touring the world. Justin Audibert

Swan Theatre 3 July - 12 Sept 2015




We highlight some places of interest for the Tudor aficionado.

Hailes Abbey

Hailes Abbey Want to witness the destructive handiwork of Henry VIII and his most effective agent Thomas Cromwell first hand? You won’t get to see Winchcombe Abbey – it’s been completely demolished, its fine stones absorbed into building projects – but its equally illustrious rival, Hailes Abbey, has fared a little better. Hailes is now a scenic collection of weather-chewed arches owned by the National Trust and managed by English Heritage, and an excellent spot for a stroll and a picnic. This once-proud Abbey was a place of pilgrimage 48

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for years before the dissolution of the monastery – and little wonder, as they had an extra special relic: a phial of Christ’s blood. One of Cromwell’s suspicious inquisitors later determined the truth: the phial contained nothing more than duck’s blood, regularly topped up. There may no longer be any blood to see (whether divine or duckish in origin) but there is a nice museum, an audio tour and a pleasant church with wall paintings just next door. www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/ hailes-abbey

Hailes is now a scenic collection of weather-chewed arches owned by the National Trust and managed by English Heritage ...


The Almonry, Evesham

At one time, Evesham housed the third largest abbey in all of England – until Henry VIII and Cromwell came along.

Gloucester Folk Museum

The Almonry, Evesham

Situated in two of the oldest buildings in the City of Gloucester (a Tudor merchant's house and a 17th-century town house) the museum, at 99–103 Westgate Street, is devoted to the social history of Gloucestershire. The splendid timbered frontage is certainly pretty to look at, plus there are plenty of artefacts inside and a Folk Tea Room.

At one time, Evesham housed the third largest abbey in all of England – until Henry VIII and Cromwell came along. The last Abbott, Phillip Ballard, took up residence in the 14th century almonry – today a heritage museum with a bounty of artefacts inside. Elsewhere in town, the grand Bell Tower, some cloister arches and two churches are the sole reminders of the Abbey’s former prestige.

It is the story of the martyred Bishop Hooper that makes the building of particular interest. Chaplain of Edward Seymour – the Lord Protector of the young Edward VI following the death of Henry VIII – Hooper was sent to die at the stake in Gloucester during Mary I’s five-year reign. He spent his last night in the building – and now you can see the ‘Hooper Stake’ he was burnt at in the Folk Museum. Simply delightful. www.thecityofgloucester.co.uk/things-to-do


Owlpen Manor A Grade I listed Tudor manor house situated in Owlpen village in the Stroud area. The Daunt family constructed the greater part of the estate in the years 1464-1616. In the 20th century, areas were repaired and restored by the Cotswold Arts and Crafts craftsman Norman Jewson. Today it is occupied by the Mander family. You may be more familiar with Owlpen than you think: much filming has been conducted in this largely unchanged estate. Prince Charles once referred to Owlpen as ‘the epitome of the English village.’ www.owlpen.com

Sudeley Castle We couldn’t very well leave Sudeley Castle off the list, a beautiful estate offering the quintessential Cotswold Tudor experience. Home (and resting place) of the last wife of Henry VIII, Katherine Parr, and visited by Henry himself, Elizabeth I and countless other kings and queens during its long history, Sudeley is a must-visit for anybody interested in the period – or English history in general.

Sudeley Castle







THE FESTIVAL, CHELTENHAM RACECOURSE 10TH - 13TH MARCH 2015 Come to the Home of Jump Racing for all the thrills, spills and flutters of The Festival. The event ‘encompasses everything that is great about Jump racing, whilst delivering an unbelievable occasion as the finest horses, jockeys and trainers battle it out for the highest honours.’ www.cheltenham.com

THE INDEPENDENT BATH LITERATURE FESTIVAL 27TH FEBRUARY – 8TH MARCH 2015 It’s the 20th Anniversary of the Independent Bath Literature Festival and to celebrate they’ve booked a solid line-up of authors, including the great Kazuo Ishiguro, Rachel Cusk and David Nicholls. Featuring the debate topic ‘The American Dream is Dead’ and appearances from Mary Portas and Alistair Campbell. www.bathfestivals.org.uk/literature/

FESTIVAL OF BRITISH EVENTING, GATCOMBE PARK 22ND - 23RD MARCH 2015 By kind permission of HRH The Princess Royal, Gatcombe again plays host to the Festival of British Eventing – a mecca for lovers of all things equestrian. As well as a weekend of top class eventing there will be a shopping village, arena attractions and entertainment for all the family.

MADE IN MORETON, MORETON-IN-MARSH VARIOUS DATES, MARCH 2015 A month-long celebration of everything produced in and around the town, from artisan furniture to delicious cakes. There will be five categories under the Made in Moreton umbrella: Food & Drink, Arts & Crafts, Interiors, Music & Literature and Boys Toys. Front-line producers such as local farmers, as well as those making unique food by hand, like Cacao Bean, the Konditorei (German pastry shop) on Moreton High Street, will fall under the Food & Drink category, while Arts & Crafts will embrace companies such as Robin Furlong’s high-end bespoke furniture. Keep checking the website for dates and events as they are determined! www.madeinmoreton.com


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PRESCOTT BIKE FESTIVAL 12TH APRIL 2015 The Festival will celebrate all things two- and three-wheeled and a key attraction is your opportunity to ‘Run the Hill’, your chance to be the star of the Show. The Prescott Hill Climb track, owned by the Bugatti Owners’ Club, is one of the UK’s most prestigious Hill Climbs and rarely does the public get the chance to ‘Run the Hill’. www.prescottbikefestival.co.uk


BANBURY SONG AND ALE WEEKEND 10TH - 12TH APRIL 2015 Enjoy a right rustic knees-up at Banbury this April as this merry little fundraiser for the Folk Festival ‘sings’ into spring. Quaff ale and sing your heart out at Drayton Leisure Golf Centre, Warwick Road, Banbury, from 7pm on Friday until 5pm on Sunday. Includes Grand National sweepstake!

SPRING CONCERT, CHELTENHAM CHORAL SOCIETY, HOLY APOSTLES CHURCH, CHARLTON KINGS 18TH APRIL 2015 For their 2015 Spring Concert, Cheltenham Choral Society will be performing Mozart’s Requiem & Vespers. The Concert will take place at Holy Apostles Church, Charlton Kings, Cheltenham on Saturday 18th April at 7.30pm. http://cheltenhamchoralsociety.webs.com/concerts-events

PAXFORD POINT-TO-POINT, NR. CHIPPING CAMPDEN EASTER MONDAY, 6TH APRIL 2015 A fun family day out with bookies, picnics, trade and food stalls (and bar…). Find the event at Bank Farm, Paxford GL55 6XS. Entry sign posted off the B4035, 2 miles east of Chipping Campden. Gates open at 10.30am and First Race at 1pm. Entry £25.00 per car. www.pointingwm.co.uk

CHIPPING NORTON LITERARY FESTIVAL 23RD – 26TH APRIL 2015 Bookworms rejoice as Chipping Norton’s own literary festival returns, with a stunning line up of guests including David Baddiel, Jesse Armstrong, Judy Finnegan and M.C. Beaton. Amongst this year’s workshops you’ll still find the hour-long sessions on areas such as creating tension, building characters, and tackling rewrites, but they’ve also introduced a one-day creative writing course: Trade Secrets. See what’s available on the superb website. www.chiplitfest.com

TEWKESBURY VINTAGE FAIR 19TH APRIL 2015 Visitors to Tewkesbury are in for a nostalgic treat on Saturday 19th April when the town steps back in time to celebrate everything vintage. Discover Tewkesbury’s Vintage and Antiques trail (pick up a leaflet from the Tourist Information Centre) there’s lots of hidden gems in town to uncover, and then head over to the George Watson Hall in Barton Street for Tewkesbury’s popular Vintage Fair. www.cotswold-homes.com



Wartime in the CotsWolds at GWr, toddinGton 25th – 26th APRIL 2015 Keep Calm and Ride a Steam Train! Step back in time, pack up your troubles in your old kit bag, and smile, smile, smile. Travel this beautiful heritage line between Cheltenham Race Course Station and Toddington, stopping at Gotherington and Winchcombe on a steamhauled train. Members of the public are encouraged to attend the weekend in period dress - civilian or military (but no Nazi uniforms or firearms – replica or otherwise – are permitted). Visitors will be issued with an ID card, which could be asked for at any time - don’t forget there is a war on. http://www.gwsr.com/planning-your-visit/2015-events-calendar/wartimein-the-cotswolds.aspx

british asparaGUs Festival, evesham 23Rd APRIL – 21st June 2015 The Vale of Evesham is renowned for its production of this most luxurious vegetable – asparagus or ‘Gras’ as it is locally known. Many asparagus-related events take place throughout the Vale between 23rd April and 21st June each year, offering the opportunity to taste, buy, cook and learn about one of the nation’s most beloved foodstuffs. Treasure hunts, cookery courses, folk-dancing and Asparabus tours are just a few of the things on the menu. www.britishasparagusfestival.org 52

Cotswold Homes Magazine


stratFord literary Festival 26th APRIL – 4th MAY 2015

ChippinG Campden mUsiC Festival 10th – 23Rd MAY 2015

Celebrating its 8th year in 2015, The Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival is an exciting mixture of debate, ideas, celebrity author events, workshops and humour. Alongside this is a programme of education events in Stratford and local schools involving favourite authors, poets and illustrators, entertaining and inspiring children from 2 to 18.

The first Chipping Campden Music Festival was held in 2002, since when it has grown in stature and size year on year. It is now widely recognised as one of the uK’s leading festivals with visitors coming from Europe, America and Australia, as well as from all over the uK. The venue has become a favourite with many of the world’s finest musicians who all look forward to returning to this most beautiful of all the Cotswold towns.

The Literary Festival is the highlight of the regional calendar and one of the most significant in the UK, attracting thousands of people who share one passion: a love of books, writing and reading. www.stratfordliteraryfestival.co.uk

Cheltenham JaZZ Festival 29th APRIL – 4th MAY 2015


tetbUry WoolsaCk raCe 25th MAY 2015

Medeski Martin & Wood and the Pablo Held Trio are just some of the acts confirmed to appear at the 2015 Festival. This year will also feature a special appearance by Phronesis, who play in pitch darkness, immersing the audience in pure sound for an enhanced sensory experience. More acts are continually added to the website.

The Woolsack Races have no greater aim than for individuals and teams to demonstrate their strength and fitness by racing whilst carrying a sack of wool – up and down a hill that reaches a gradient of 1 in 4. Around this the town celebrates with a street fair that aims to please many with street entertainers, local stalls and amusement rides. The many catering establishments in the town also join in to provide a very local fare for visitors.



hUnter Chase eveninG, Cheltenham raCeCoUrse 29th APRIL 2015 your last chance to see horseracing action before the start of the new season! Catch thrilling chases over distances expected to range from an extended two miles to four miles and one furlong. Amateur jockeys get their chance at the spotlight, with the first race beginning at 5.05pm. www.cheltenham.thejockeyclub.co.uk

draGonboat reGatta, GloUCester doCks 10th MAY 2015 Thirty teams battle it out in 40ft long boats, cheered on by thousands of spectators. In addition to the racing there will be live entertainment throughout the day, plus numerous stalls and a funfair. First race approx. 10am, last race approx. 5.30pm, FREE entrance for spectators http://www.wherecanwego.com/event/848265-dragonboat-regatta/ events.aspx

CotsWold olimpiCk Games, ChippinG Campden 29th MAY 2015 you may not realise it, but the modern Olympic movement has its historic roots in a small rural event in Gloucestershire, England Robert Dover’s Olimpick Games. In 2012, they celebrated the 400th anniversary of what are now often called the Cotswold Olimpicks, which features as its most notorious event the brutal Shin Kicking contest – and a moving torch-lit procession. Tickets available on the day of the Games from the Square, Chipping Campden, from 11am, or on Dovers Hill at the gate, from 6.30pm www.olimpickgames.com



section header COTSWOLD CALENDAR

Cheltenham Festival of Science 2nd – 7th June 2015

Ashton Under Hill Open Gardens 13th – 14th June 2015

Guest directed by ever-popular wildlife enthusiast Steve Backshall, the 2015 Cheltenham Festival of Science throws all areas of science and discovery into the mix, from outer space to the ancient past of Earth. Keep your eyes on the website, where more news and guests will be confirmed nearer the date.

Over 20 gardens will be open from 1.00 to 6.00pm on both Saturday and Sunday. Admission to the event is just £5.00 per person, with children free (Saturday tickets also valid on Sunday). Free use of the special bus service throughout the village is included, allowing you time to see all of the gardens at your leisure. There’s also ample free parking for cars and coaches.



Classic Vehicle Day at GWR, Toddington 14th June 2015 Combine the scene of historic road transport with a backdrop of vintage trains and you have a very special event. The GWR’s Classic Vehicle Days, held this year on June 14th and September 13th, provide you with just that when Toddington Station car park is covered with around 120 classic cars, motorcycles, commercials, buses and more. Cries and sighs of ‘I (or my Dad) used to have one of those’ are constantly heard, so go and indulge yourself in some great transport nostalgia. www.gwsr.com

CHIPPING CAMPDEN OPEN GARDENS 20th – 21st June 2015 Are you in the mood for more gorgeous open gardens? In the attractive village of Chipping Campden there will be over 25 private gardens open on the weekend from 2-6pm. Tickets are available from Campden Tourist Information from beginning of June (£6 per day or £8 for both days). Teas and plants are available. http://www.chippingcampden.co.uk/

AsparaWriting Festival, Evesham 6th - 13th June 2015 The second ever AsparaWriting Festival – a festival designed for new and aspiring writers, whatever their level. With writing workshops, talks and a short story competition, the festival is a celebration of all things literary. Confirmed for 2015 are N.J. Cooper, Ruth Downie, Janet Laurence, Philip Gooden, Karen Maitland and Robert Low. Michael Jecks will be making a welcome return. The short story competition prizes will be presented by historian and writer, Dr Ian Mortimer. www.asparawritingfestival.co.uk


The Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival 12th – 14th June 2015

Midsummer Speed Fest at Prescott Speed Hill Climb, nr. Gotherington 27th – 28th June 2015

Shire foodies rejoice: with over 226 exhibitors, this Cheltenham festival is a gastronomic delight. You’ll find an astonishing variety of victuals from oatcakes to aphrodisiac Quince, the widest range of baked goods, meats, fish, cheeses, jams, chutneys and much more on offer. This is the regional food event not to be missed. Open Times: Friday 12noon to 7pm; Saturday 10am to 7pm; Sunday 10am to 5pm.

Can you handle the speed, or will the weekend be too fast, too furious for you? This June, the Prescott Hill Climb will be playing host to many racing classes competing over the weekend, including the 6th Round of the 2014 Midland Hill Climb Championship supported by TTC Group, and the 2nd Round of Prescott Gold Cup. Come and see classic vehicles duke it out over a hillside scramble.



Cotswold Homes Magazine


Burford Festival Friday 5th – Sunday 14th June

Music, theatre, literature, very special guests and beautiful Open Gardens make this year’s Burford Festival a must-visit, declares Festival Chairman Hugo Ashton a 10-day celebration with musical evenings, literary events, special interest talks, theatrical events, and Burford's open Gardens, the biennial Burford Festival runs from Friday 5th to Sunday 14th June this year. arrange your holiday to be in Burford, invite friends to come and stay, tell everyone you know that Burford will be buzzing! With around 50 events, there will be something to suit every taste. The first weekend of the Festival starts with the Banquet in the Parish Church on Friday 5th and the Open Gardens on 6th and 7th, displaying the private gardens of Burford residents. We are also very privileged to have three major guest speakers over that weekend: Baroness Rebuck (Chair of Penguin Random House uK Publishers), Mary Keen (renowned garden designer) and Deborah Warner (international opera and theatre director). The weekend is rounded off with a Baroque music chamber concert arranged by, and featuring, Michael Bochmann. During the week we have a wide range of literary activities with talks from authors (including Jack Straw, Peter Tickler and Scatty Chef - Katherine Frelon), creative writing workshops, a Speed Book Review evening, local historian Raymond Moody presenting a talk about the churches and churchmen of Burford, as well as an exhibition of art in Burford Library. These are supplemented by an eclectic series of talks on a wide variety of subjects, including an evening with Lord Hurd. Two professional touring groups will bring theatre to Burford mid-week. On Tuesday 9th, Scary Little Girls will present a ‘Living Literature’ event set around Burford’s secret places, and on Wednesday 10th the Lord Chamberlain’s Men will perform Shakespeare’s Twelfth night. The final weekend will feature the Corinium Players, a Cotswold-based classical guitar

Our special guests this year include Chair of Penguin Random House UK publishers Baroness Rebuck, Jack Straw and international opera and theatre director Deborah Warner. ensemble, our ‘Party on the Rec’ with even more events than last time, the ever-popular ‘night at the Musicals’, and a grand finale concert with the Burford Singers presenting a modern choral feast of Karl Jenkins’ Gloria, John Rutter’s Feel The Spirit and Bob Chilcott’s Little Jazz Mass, which will be performed with the fantastic Cotswold youth Choir. Don’t miss this charming Festival. We look forward to welcoming you! Hugo Ashton, Chairman, Burford Festival 2015 Organising Committee 01993 822114 / hughashton@btinternet.com Images by Derek Cotterill www.cotswold-homes.com




this april, the chipping norton Literary Festival returns, bringing with it a fine pedigree of guests and a bewildering variety of things to see and do. With over 50 events spread over venues such as the theatre,the chequers and bookshop Jaffé & neale, organisers have crafted four special packages (including the crime Festival for crime lovers, and the ultimate Festival offering nine events) for those having trouble cherrypicking from a fine selection of literary offerings. Authors visiting this year include comedians David Baddiel (discussing his children’s book The Parent Agency) and Helen Lederer (author of Losing It), plus everybody’s favourite TV power couple, Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan, who’ll be discussing the Richard and Judy Book Club with author Julie Cohen. We’re looking forward to TV and film comedy supremo Jesse Armstrong (Peep Show, Fresh Meat, Babylon, Four Lions, Black Mirror The Thick Of It and In The Loop) who’ll be talking about his debut novel Love, Sex and Other Foreign Policy Goals. The multi award-winning, ‘boundary breaking’ author Matt Haig will be turning his attentions to mental health with Reasons to Stay Alive and slam 56

Cotswold Homes Magazine

poet Megan Beech will be bringing laughter to The Chequers with her razor-sharp wit. There are also plenty of workshops to inspire budding writers, with hour-long sessions on creating tension, building characters and the tricky business of re-writing.

– will teach children the fundaments of character, plotting and good old fashioned mayhem (recommended ages 7-12). The hugely talented and award-winning author, Petr Horáček, will be creating a live window display in Jaffé and neale. Petr's bold and imaginative

WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO TV AND FILM COMEDY SUPREMO JESSE ARMSTRONG (PEEP SHOW, FRESH MEAT, BABYLON, FOUR LIONS, BLACK MIRROR THE THICK OF IT AND IN THE LOOP) WHO’LL BE TALKING ABOUT HIS DEBUT NOVEL LOVE, SEX AND OTHER FOREIGN POLICY GOALS. But we’re most excited by the one-day creative writing course entitled Trade Secrets, with tips from Helen Black, Richard Smyth,Tim O’Rourke and Peter Buckman on everything from structure to e-publishing to grabbing the eye of a literary agent (just make sure you bring your 250-word pitch with you!).

illustrations captivate children worldwide. Don't miss seeing how this incredible illustrator works.

Kids won’t be disappointed with this year’s programme. For the artistically inclined, a comiccreation workshop hosted by neill Cameron – Pirates, Dinosaurs and Swashbuckling Adventures

With much else to see and do, it’s best that you check out the new, re-designed website to view the full schedule and plan your visit – see www. chiplitfest.com for more details.

Continuing with the arty theme, animator Helen Piercy will be teaching children the tricks of stop-motion animation at the Crown and Cushion Hotel.


Ruth Downie

michael Jecks

nJ cooper

CallinG all aspirinG Writers! Head over to Evesham in June to the talks and workshops hosted by the AsparaWriting Festival 2015

Launched in 2014, and now in its second year, evesham’s asparaWriting Festival is designed specifically to help aspiring writers of every level to learn more about the writing and publishing of books. inspired, in part, by the annual festivities celebrating the vale’s word-famous asparagus, the asparaWriting Festival gives attendees the opportunity to get to know our guest authors personally, working closely with them in a workshop setting as they share their love of writing. The 2015 festival includes a short story competition, offers aspiring writers the chance to learn more of the craft of writing through informal half-day workshops, has an Open Mic event hosted by Fergus McGonigal (Worcestershire’s Poet Laureate) for those wishing to present their poetry or prose…and for those who just love books and reading, there’s a series of evening talks by the writers. There really is something for everyone (and you don’t even have to like asparagus). The event ends with the Festival Finale, when Time Traveller’s Guide author and historian Dr Ian Mortimer will award the short story competition prizes. The workshops all take place in the friendly and comfortable surroundings of The Evesham Hotel.

evening talks

Writer’s Workshops

saturday 6th June, 7pm philip Gooden

saturday 6th June, 2 – 5pm philip Gooden

Getting language right in historical fiction

Beginnings and endings

sunday 7th June, 7pm ruth downie

sunday 7th June, 2 – 5pm ruth downie

Stories in stones

I’ve done the first draft, now what?

Monday 8th June, 7pm karen maitland

Monday 8th June, 2 – 5pm karen maitland

Characters in conflict

Devilish plots

tuesday 9th June, 7pm Janet laurence

tuesday 9th June, 2 – 5pm Janet laurence

Reinventing myself – the path to publication

Characterisation and plot – two keys to a successful crime novel

Wednesday 10th June, 7pm n J Cooper How I did it!

thursday 11th June, 7pm robert low and michael Jecks My dragons were fiercer than yours

Friday 12th June, 7pm dr ian mortimer The Mortimers of Wigmore: Twelve generations of violent revolt (and even more violent loyalty), 1075 – 1425

saturday 13th June, 5.15pm, evesham Library Festival Finale (Presentation of prizes for Short Story Competition) For details of venue for the evening talks, see our website www.asparaWritingFestival.co.uk. Tickets for the evening talks are £12 (£18 for Robert Low and Michael Jecks), with discounts for multiple bookings. For tickets for any of the above, see our website, contact Sue Jenkinson (tel: 01386 765 566), or visit the Almonry Heritage Centre, Evesham. Admission on the night, space permitting.

Wednesday 10th June, 10am – 1pm n J Cooper Creating suspense

thursday 11th June, 2 – 5pm robert low How not to write hysterical fiction

Friday 12th June, 10am – 1pm michael Jecks Plotting for murder

saturday 13th June, 5.15pm, evesham Library Festival Finale (presentation of prizes for Short Story Competition) The Mulberry Room at The Evesham Hotel is the perfect venue for these friendly and informal workshops, where you have the chance to improve your skills under the encouraging guidance of the professional writers. The cost of each workshop is £30, including tea and coffee. numbers are limited. to book a place, visit our website www.asparaWritingFestival.co.uk. www.cotswold-homes.com


Oxleigh & Honeysuckle COTTAGES, Bourton on the Water A pair of imposing traditional cottages situated within the heart of Bourton on the Water.

£720,000 SALE AGREED

Honeysuckle Cottage - Entrance Porch | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Cloakroom | Utility | Three Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: D | Ancillary Accommodation Comprising of Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Bedroom with Ensuite | Utility Room | Sitting Room/Bedroom Two | Bathroom | Reception/Laundry Room/Study | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: D | Oxleigh - Entrance Porch | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Cloakroom | Three Bedrooms | Bathroom | Shower Room | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: E Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 824 977

Station House, Bourton on the Water £550,000 SALE AGREED This attractive four bedroom house is constructed of natural stone, and sits within its own generous and mature plot. Entrance Porch | Dining Room | Kitchen | Sitting Room | Study | Cloakroom | Four Bedrooms | Bathroom | Gardens | Parking | EPC Rating: E

Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 824 977

Bourton on the Water | Moreton in Marsh | Stow on the Wold | Mayfair | Lettings

Rushdale, Naunton ÂŁ435,000 SOLD A delightful Cotswold stone cottage situated in the idyllic village of Naunton, retaining many original features including window seats, mullion windows, exposed beams and beautiful inglenook fireplaces. Entrance/Dining Hall | Kitchen | Sitting Room | Bathroom/Shower Room | Two Bedrooms | Study | Garden | Studio Outbuilding | Summerhouse | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: E Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 824 977

2 The Avenue, Bourton on the Water

ÂŁ400,000 SOLD

A beautifully presented double fronted Grade II listed character property which has been refurbished to a high standard. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Additional Reception Room | Kitchen | Garden Room/Dining Area | Master Bedroom with Ensuite | Three Further Double Bedrooms | Bathroom | Rear Courtyard | Outbuilding | Front Garden | Off Road Parking | EPC: Exempt

Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 824 977

Country Homes from harrison james & hardie

Steppes Cottage & The Wool Shop, Blockley ÂŁ860,000 SALE AGREED An exceptional opportunity to acquire an exquisite village property, forming part of the history rich High Street of Blockley and enjoying breath taking views over far reaching countryside.This discreetly positioned property enjoys the very best of such a sought after village, and also benefits from a bijous self-contained cottage (The Wool Shop) which is currently used as ancillary accommodation for the property but could also offer an excellent investment opportunity. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility Room | WC | Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Three Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Mature Garden | Garage | The Wool Shop consists of Sitting Room | Kitchen | Bedroom | Bathroom | EPC Rating: D Fine and Country Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 653 893

The Old House, Ascott ÂŁ700,000 SOLD An attractive detached period cottage, situated on a quiet lane in this unspoiled and much sought after hamlet. Reception Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | WC | Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Further Double Bedroom | Second Floor Double Bedroom | Bedroom Four/Nursery | Jack and Jill Bathroom | Garden | Garage | Driveway Parking | EPC Rating: E Fine and Country Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 653 893

Moreton in Marsh | Bourton on the Water | Stow on the Wold | Mayfair | Lettings

1 Red Lodge, Little Compton ÂŁ550,000 SALE AGREED A stylishly presented Victorian property situated on the edge of this sought after Cotswold village and benefitting from a self-contained annexe. Entrance Hall | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Sitting Room | Family Room | Utility Room | W.C | Master Bedroom with En-suite | Two Further Double Bedrooms | Shower Room | Office/Music Room | Workshop | Open Fronted Double Garage | Driveway and Garden | Annexe comprising Bedroom | Shower Room | Sitting Room with Kitchenette | EPC Rating: D

Fine and Country Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 653 893

Christmas Cottage, Great Wolford

ÂŁ550,000 SOLD

An attractively presented and extended village home occupying an edge of village location with open countryside views and a beautiful garden. Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Snug/Dining Room | Sitting Room | Downstairs Master Bedroom with En-suite | Three First Floor Bedrooms | Bathroom | Studio/Office | Garage | Off Road Parking | Generous Garden | EPC Rating: F Fine and Country Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 653 893

Country Homes from harrison james & hardie


Ask the experts


Karen harrison

Why should I pay good money to a local estate agent when I can advertise my house for a fraction of the cost with an online agency?

When we first set up our independent agency we launched with our own website, cotswold-Homes.com. Sites like prime Location and Rightmove didn’t even exist and none of our local competitors were even online, but within no time we were getting over a million hits a month. today, our company invests many thousands of pounds every month on hundreds of worldwide portals including Rightmove, Zoopla and Fine & country. the web is our virtual shop window and we are completely sold on its virtue so why compromise when you can get us to do it far better and in all the right places, ensuring your house is presented to its beautiful best? that, after all, is the easy bit, and it’s free. (no sale, no fee!) if selling your house were the same as selling your car or a fridge we would have gone completely on-line by now, dispensed with the uber-expensive high street premises and all our experienced, highly paid staff. anyone can put granny’s priceless vase on eBay but only an established auction house will know the right person to buy it at the best possible price. the web is all about information and nothing about control and proper communication. if your buyer has direct access to you, the power is in the wrong hands. it’s like letting your granny open the door to a stranger. your potential buyer will already have checked out what you paid for your home and how much your neighbour paid for his house - he might even look you up, too, once he’s met you. too much information - it’s all out there, and given half a chance your buyer will use that information against you for his benefit. your home is your most valuable asset and you really don’t have the know-how, the strategies or the experience to deal directly with your buyer if you want the best possible price. You need a local agent to protect you from that very first viewing. you shouldn’t have to meet or talk to your buyer at all because this is a business deal. Experienced agents know all about the hard stuff, all the tricks of buying and selling, the stuff you won’t know much about unless you have been in the marketplace for half a lifetime. yes, I agree a couple of per cent might sound a lot to pay, but it’s very easy to lose


Cotswold Homes Magazine

that amount without even knowing it was on the table in the first place and even easier to lose the whole lot whilst your back was turned. Great local agents exist not just because we are excellent copywriters who can take a fab photo, rather because it takes a really skilled negotiator to extract the best price, someone who knows the local market and can overcome objections on price. Think of your agent as a polite, friendly, professional bodyguard who is there to protect you from your buyer’s quest for a cheap deal, making sure he’s the real deal, too, speaking to his agent and his buyer’s agent, and the financial consultant and all the solicitors in the chain even before agreeing the deal, then standing squarely between you throughout the process, checking and prompting all those other elements surrounding your sale once its agreed until exchange - because things inevitably will go wrong. A third of house sales in England and Wales fall through, even higher for private sales. An experienced local agent will pick up the signs, anticipating difficulties, arguing your price with the lender, sweet-talking the surveyor and instinctively sniffing out when things start to unravel down the chain, even when your solicitors might not suspect a thing. Avoiding fall-through is the real challenge, not finding a buyer in the first place.Your solicitors, by the way, are not good substitutes.They can be deliberately kept in the dark by the other side because they cannot communicate directly with your buyer or onward vendor except via their legal representatives (and not at all with any other link in the chain) whereas a local agent will be on the phone every day up and down your chain, having established great working relationships with all the local solicitors, and able to make sure everything is going to plan, reading the situation constantly. Solicitors are not good substitute negotiators either. When things start to get tricky, they rely on communicating via the dry written word - and if you have ever taken offence at the wording of an e-mail or text you will understand why no sensitive negotiation should be done by letter. Also, most solicitors will charge you even for an abortive transaction, whereas your agent gets no fee unless there has been a satisfactory exchange of contracts. He will be absolutely on your side.


Ask the experts When you pay too much you lose a little money, that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing you bought it to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot. It can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder it’s well to add something for the risk you run and if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better. - John Ruskin

Many sales have been saved by the sheer ability and formidable reputation of a local agent as “the squeaky wheel”, someone who keeps on asking all those difficult questions until he gets a satisfactory answer and a positive outcome. To ensure the best end result you need an invested, motivated, clever tactician accustomed to using informal, open, probing and empathetic questions, someone with invaluable local knowledge and long experience of sales progression, a lateral thinker with excellent interpersonal skills, expert in all the nuances of tone, body language, anger management, presentation and control, who will have heard all the euphemisms for evasiveness and delay a thousand times before and will instinctively know the right thing to say or do in any given circumstance. If your agent manages to negotiate in your favour after a damning structural survey or successfully argues with the buyer’s lender against a parsimonious down-valuation, or works wonders with a fragile chain to keep every link in place, or miraculously has kept a back-up buyer “just in case” so you don’t lose your onward purchase, then he is immediately worth his fee. And although he has probably been working on your sale for at least three months, he won’t yet have charged you a penny. That’s the glory of a No Sale No Fee agreement - you won’t find his calibre for the price of a cheap online deal! Your house is far less likely to sell at its best price the longer it remains on the market, no matter what the prevailing trend, and moving house is always expensive in more than just pounds, shillings and pence. If you make your decision on the promise of a cheap fee rather than on the basis of proven ability, you stand to lose far more. The process becomes increasingly difficult, more impactful on health, happiness and sanity the longer it drags on, widely accepted as one of the most stressful life experiences after a death in the family or divorce. Why would you put yourself through the stress of DIY or leave such a precious transaction in the hands of a distant online agency, trusting a faceless person to play chicken with your most precious asset - someone who

doesn’t know you, let alone your buyer? Estate agency, at least done properly, is an expensive, complex and demanding business. You won’t find sophisticated, experienced agents working over the phone for an online company – they’re at the helm of great local independent agency! At Harrison James & Hardie we are deeply invested in community and reputation precisely because the people we work for are our neighbours and friends. We devote endless hours upon getting the right result, not just because of the financial reward at the end of a successful transaction but because we really care about the outcome. We don’t profess to be cheap but we do spend a great deal of money, time and energy in order to achieve that extra ten or twenty thousand pounds for our clients, and we invest our fees straight back into our business to ensure we continue to offer the same exceptional standard, securing highly qualified, friendly and professional staff, using the most up to date and innovative marketing methods and providing an unbeatable standard of service. It’s a work ethic that ensures that our average fall-through rate is only 20% – that’s as many as thirteen sales in every hundred that would typically otherwise have fallen through. Last year we sold and let over three hundred local properties, and one in five of those were originally on the market with another local agency. That’s a lot of eventual converts to the incontrovertible fact that skill and standards of service are what truly count. And it was ever thus - you get what you pay for! Karen Harrison is co-founder and owner of HARRISON JAMES & HARDIE estate agency, a local independent company that has enjoyed consistent success as market leaders and specialists in Residential Sales and Lettings of North Cotswold properties for fifteen years, and is the appointed agent for Fine & Country in the North Cotswolds. To speak to Karen, telephone 01608 651000 or 01451 822977 or e-mail karen@harrisonjameshardie.co.uk To view properties for sale or to let, visit www.harrisonjameshardie.co.uk



hot ProPertY - asK the eXPerts

Ask the experts

Sue Ellis

Taking the first step on the housing ladder


My daughter is a first-time buyer – what is the mortgage market like these days, for young people hoping to get on the housing ladder? As I explained in my column before, the Mortgage Market underwent a major review in 2014. Lenders are being held more accountable, needing to demonstrate how they assess lending, ensuring that borrowers can afford mortgages not only now (with rates at an historic low) but also with the likelihood of any future rises. For your daughter, buying a first home can seem a daunting prospect, even knowing where to start. However, the good news is that one major lender very recently reported the greatest increase in the number of first-time buyers recorded over the last seven years, an encouraging fact for anyone hoping to take advantage of the low interest rates that we currently enjoy. I help many first-time buyers and nothing gives me greater pleasure than seeing them getting the keys to their first property, but it pays to be prepared when looking for a mortgage so that your daughter has the best possible chance of getting her dream home. Whether your daughter uses a broker (like me), or whether she approaches a lender directly, the main obstacle that most first-time buyers seem to come up against is the amount of deposit they have available. Savings can be difficult to build up if applicants are already renting, however the ‘Help To Buy’ schemes brought in by the Government have certainly helped to boost the market and require only a 5% deposit – and it is worth noting that these are also available for movers as well. Other than that, lenders are also quite happy to accept ‘gifts’ from family members as deposits, providing they are genuine and that no form of interest or charge on the property will be made. The larger the deposit then the better the interest rate will be, so this is well worth bearing in mind.

Another important point for your daughter to consider is her financial history. Lenders will check with one of the three main credit-referencing agents to glean information on financial data that is held on file about her, in order to assess whether they are prepared to lend. Most people these days have a bank account - I have found it is useful for applicants to have a credit card as well, with the proviso that it has always been used sensibly and has always been paid off in time. A lender wants to see that any prospective borrower is financially ‘savvy’, so having no credit history can be a minus on the score, because the agency is searching for a reliable indication of the way in which monthly budgets and income are managed. Likewise, of course, over-indebtedness and being lax with money can be a no-no when an underwriter assesses a mortgage case. There will also be a requirement to provide proof of income: payslips if employed (or accounts / HMRC Tax Assessments if self-employed) and bank statements are the usual ones and she should have such documents immediately to hand when applying. One final caveat - your daughter must anticipate other costs, apart from the deposit: stamp duty fees, legal costs, survey fees and lenders/brokers fees, etc. However, most borrowers will be better off as a result of the recent change in the Stamp Duty structure that was announced at the end of last year. Combined with low interest rates (and in some experts’ opinion, likely to remain steady for several months) this really is a good time to be starting out on the housing ladder! Sue Ellis works alongside Johnny Magee as a Mortgage Broker at Jem Financial Planning. The team has over 50 years’ experience in investment, retirement and inheritance planning, mortgages, protection and general insurance. To speak to Sue or Johnny, telephone 01386 840777 or visit www.jemfinancial.com

Authorised & Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority 64

Cotswold Homes Magazine

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Ask the experts

Michael Steedman

Commercial Conundrums - Business Brain Box


“A sensible exit strategy is part of any successful expansion plan…”

I run a small business from home. I need some commercial space to pursue a great opportunity but possibly only for a short while, so I am not keen on signing up to a long formal lease. What can I do? Landlords will sometimes offer premises on a short-term basis to offset the liability for non-domestic rates, or just to assist cash flow and reduce outgoings, but you must ensure there are no nasty surprises by checking out the extent of your liability throughout the lease period. Firstly, don’t find yourself with a surprise rent review half way through the term. Seek a fixed level or a stepped rent that increases by agreed increments. You might want to link these rises to a specific index such as RPI or, given these can prove volatile, perhaps a cap on the increase, stating a fixed maximum figure on any rises throughout the term. Similarly, watch out for service charges and secure a cap on this amount (even if it’s a little more than the current annual figure). Secondly, beware multi-let properties with shared responsibilities. Even if there is no formal service charge the lease may well contain a requirement to contribute towards common facilities or services, such as a parking area, a lift or a roof. Such facilities may periodically require a substantial capital payment and it would be very unfortunate if, say, a lift replacement took place during your short lease! Limit your obligations with an internal-only repairing covenant where the landlord has responsibility for the external / structural parts of the building and your liabilities are restricted to the internal spaces you occupy, those merely of a cosmetic nature. Invest in a schedule of condition at the beginning of the lease to identify any existing disrepair or re-decoration that is required and agree to keep the premises in no worse condition than shown by this schedule. Better still, ask for a licence rather than a lease. This would normally only contain an obligation to keep the premises clean and tidy and to make good any damage caused.

Next, and most importantly, seek a break clause. Even if you have a fabulous business plan before moving in, you might find the level of business is not what you expected. Other external influences, as many businesses suffered in the last recession, can affect trade to such an extent that the premises are no longer viable. Should the worst happen, you don’t want to find yourself unable to escape your obligations to the landlord. By incorporating a break option, this will give you the ability to bring that lease to an end and to look for more suitable premises. It is important to ensure the ability to exercise the break clause is entirely within your control, not reliant upon some third party approval and conditional only upon notice being given. It is common for leases to incorporate an obligation to pay the annual rent (plus any VAT) as a condition of the break and for the premises to be left empty with no third party occupier, a stance recommended in the Code for Leasing. But be aware that some landlords will try to make such a break conditional upon compliance with all lease covenants, which for all practical purposes nullifies the ability to terminate the lease early! A sensible exit strategy is part of any successful expansion plan. Many businesses are woefully under-prepared for the complexities of commercial leasing. Spending a little money on proper advice now may save you from unexpected and potentially hefty expenditure. Make the most of your business opportunity. Don’t simply work to a precise budget but engage in a thorough negotiation of the lease terms. Do this properly at the outset, together with a review of the wording of the final form of lease, and you will thank your lucky stars later on down the line! Michael Steedman heads the Commercial Property team at Thomas Legal Group. Should you have any business concerns, contact Michael directly on 01452 657988 or e-mail michael. steedman@tlg.uk.com.



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Ask the experts

Robert Hamilton

Dodging and bodging

– how not to present your house for sale!


I am doing up my house to sell. What are the jobs I need to do from a surveyor’s point of view? Surveyors tend to be wary when a property has been rather obviously “done up to sell”. A plethora of get-rich-quick property programmes have encouraged would-be developers into DIY, but slip-shod work and bodge jobs can actually render your property impossible to sell. It’s a risk and a waste of money trying to conceal faults or blemishes, so here are my top ten cover-ups and cheats that I most hate to see. Even sadder, from my point of view, is the issue of taste. Vendors often spend a lot of time, love and money to present their house to the best advantage - but the purchasers then go on to rip out expensive new fittings as soon as they move in. Don’t replace a kitchen or bathroom just to sell your property but save the money and install a fab one in your new home!

My Top Ten Most Suspicious ‘Cover-ups’

New bathrooms and kitchens without a water softener system. Local water is very ‘hard’ so pipes will scale up very quickly. On my desk, I have a ¾ inch aperture copper pipe that years of lime-scale have reduced to less than ¼ inch. Think what that will do to flow rate! Poor ventilation causing condensation and internal damp. Large sofas and soft furnishings are often used to hide damp or mouldy patches when the best way to dry walls out is to move everything away from the area. In older properties, using water-based emulsion paint allows evaporation both ways.

Modern plastic-framed double-glazing in old properties. Original windows often provide structural support but only the best companies ensure professional engineering input before re-fenestration. Secondary glazing is often a better answer, anyway. Fortunately, if rather late in the day, FENSA member companies have now designed a range of strong, durable, pre-treated, pre-painted hardwoods.

Lack of Building Regulations. Although you don’t always need planning permission, most work must pass Building Regulations. Loft extensions, windows, roofs, electrics, etc., must conform to Building Control standards and lack of certification can prevent a sale, and it will be impossible to get a mortgage. Employ a professional builder / electrician, to ensure works are signed off without problems.

Filler and several coats of paint disguising wet rot decay in frames. Cut away the softened wood, treat with wood hardener plus wood preservative, splice in new pre-treated timber and sort out those leaking gutters that are probably causing the problem in the first place!

Wood strip flooring in apartments. In most leases there will be a ‘carpet clause’ obliging owners to have close-fitted carpets and underlay. Lack of written consent can delay exchange of contracts.

Felt coverings over failing flat-roof decking. Designed to stop a leak perhaps, this doesn’t address decay beneath. Ensure flat roofing has a good lifespan by frequently clearing drains of leaves and debris, and when re-roofing ask the contractor to provide a guarantee that can be passed on to new owners. Painting over natural clay bricks to ‘freshen up’ appearance. This can damage the natural breathability of the walls so they become waterlogged, frequently from the inside only, and cause internal condensation.


Inept installation of extractor fans and cooker hoods. Cooker hoods must be ducted properly otherwise they merely recirculate odours, grease and products of combustion. Shower extractors should be 12v type humidistat-controlled to remove steam and water vapour effectively to the outside.

Cotswold Homes Magazine

Finally, a little bugbear of mine - plug-in deodorisers. Why? To conceal dry rot, damp, smoking? I’m already suspicious! Also, easily confused with mice deterrent plug-ins! Central Surveying has offices in the Cotswolds and Knightsbridge, specialising in independent professional surveying and property consultancy services for commercial and residential clients in the Cotswolds, South West and London. Robert Hamilton works from Naunton in the heart of the North Cotswolds. To contact Robert, telephone 01285 640 840 or visit www.centralsurveying.co.uk.

Bolton Farm

A Slice of the Good Life Bolton Farm in Offenham is a Georgian property dating back at least to 1780, with some evidence of earlier buildings on the same site including Threshers Barn, now a separate property. Complete with approximately 10 acres and a lake, it has seen a great deal of historic change over its three-century span but the famous 1840 Tithe Map clearly shows the property with more or less the same boundaries as today, (minus barns) described as a small-holding. It was first owned by the Lords of the Manor of Bretforton (the Ashwin family) and then by a Philip Rock of Aldington, inhabited for most of the time by tenant farmers, notably by William Bolton and his family after whom the property was named. Remarkably few families have actually lived here – after the Boltons, principally the Tredwells, the


Cotswold Homes Magazine

Beans (one being a former Mastermind champion and local historian), the Cooks and then the current owners, and most of those were growers – at one time there were over one hundred and thirty growers in the local area. Originally with four principal bedrooms, the farmhouse would have had ancillary rooms on either side of a courtyard to the rear but probably fairly late on in the nineteenth century these rooms were improved, creating typically high Victorian ceilings by incorporating half-height storage rooms above. Around the same time, sash windows were installed to most of the rooms in the gable ends, the courtyard was enclosed and an additional bedroom constructed above, but bathrooms did not feature until the early twentieth century.

Bolton Farm

“We shall be very reluctant to leave. Our time here has been our own little slice of the Good Life, growing and enjoying wonderful fruit and vegetables, living simply in harmony with the changing seasons ...�

Other outbuildings around the property came and went over time, including a barn erected in World War Two by prisoners of war. In 1990, the Cooks created the lake, added an extension to the side of the farmhouse and then sold off the barns. The current owners have lived in Bolton Farm for sixteen years, continuing to carry out refurbishment whilst respecting the age of property and using reclaimed materials as far as possible, intent upon making the property work better for them as a family home.They recreated the internal courtyard style, discovering an original well in the process as well as a time capsule dated 1905 (which, rather disappointingly, only gave details of prices of vegetables and other housekeeping matters). Inspired, they have left another time capsule that hopefully contains some things of more general interest to a future generation to discover.They have nothing but fond memories to take away with them: “Our main delight has been the wonderful view over the lake that greets us each morning. We have so enjoyed rowing over it and picnicking on the decking in the shelter of the boathouse with the rain bouncing off the surface, keeping ducks, watching swans come and go, spying an occasional otter and a wide array of wildlife as well www.cotswold-homes.com 69

Bolton Farm

as domestic animals on the surrounding land – of course, sheep, lambs and horses but also deer, rabbits, you name it! The lake is self-managing, being spring-fed and discharging into the brook beyond, whilst the land is mostly and usefully very level for grazing or cultivation.The soil is particularly good, with a partial irrigation system and a few outlets. It’s been a great adventure playground for children but the previous owner used one field as a golf course in his retirement and the acreage could just as easily be managed as a wildflower meadow or cut for bedding hay, or used for various hobby-interests and more commercial applications including livery of some kind, husbandry of rare breeds, niche crops and so on – one can make it as much or as little work as you want it to be. “Above all, the farmhouse has been a wonderful and flexible family home, brimming with character and interest, placed in a unique setting, providing ample space for our extended family and many visitors.The most we had at once was twelve, all in proper beds and not falling over each other! It’s also, other than superbly suited to a large family and for entertaining, a fantastic place to work from home. Only minutes from Broadway and the beautiful North Cotswolds, we are less than an hour’s drive to Cheltenham, Worcester, Stratford upon Avon, Birmingham and Solihull. Equally, there’s a good train service from Evesham to London Paddington or via the main station at Worcester to other destinations, including Malvern and Hereford.


Cotswold Homes Magazine

“Our main delight has been the wonderful view over the lake that greets us each morning.”

“We shall be very reluctant to leave. Our time here has been our own little slice of the Good Life, growing and enjoying wonderful fruit and vegetables, living simply in harmony with the changing seasons, overlooking the frozen lake and white grounds of the winter months to the lush greens and dappled light of high summer, and we could not have loved it more.To our successors we say – just enjoy!” Marketed via Fine & Country North Cotswolds; for further information please contact Tom Burdett, Branch Manager at Moreton in Marsh, on 01608 651000.

The Dower House

The Old

Dower House


Cotswold Homes Magazine

The Dower House

The Old Dower House has its own sweeping, gated and gravelled drive, bordered by landscaped gardens with spreading manicured lawns and mature trees.

The Old Dower House forms one wing of an impressive and historic manor situated in the heart of Bourton on the Water, certainly one of the most important properties in the village today. Originating in the late 1700s and first updated during the Georgian era, the manor underwent a significant conversion and separation from the Dower House relatively recently, towards the end of the twentieth century. The Old Dower House perfectly illustrates the definition of a hidden gem, tucked away from all the comings and goings of this busy, popular Cotswold village. Most residents, let alone visitors, are

completely unaware that it even exists. Situated in the village centre - neighbouring the equally historic, ancient and reclusive Foxes Farmhouse - it is completely hidden from sight beyond a courtyard of four modern, architectdesigned homes built during the conversion of the manor house and grounds. Set behind high stone boundary walls,The Old Dower House has its own sweeping, gated and gravelled drive, bordered by landscaped gardens with spreading manicured lawns and mature trees. Now an innately desirable Grade II Listed property, it has been comprehensively and sensitively www.cotswold-homes.com


The Dower House

updated, to provide a comfortable, luxurious familysized home with well-proportioned, individually characterful rooms. On the ground floor the principal living space offers a large square sitting room, a formal dining hall, and a kitchen/breakfast room opening out onto a conservatory, with three bedroom suites situated on the two upper floors. The stable block that faces the house provides two garages with a studio and en-suite bedroom on the first floor - ideal provision, perhaps, for a children’s nanny or as occasional guest accommodation. The most evident examples of its manorial heritage are to be found in the huge, ornate fireplaces in the sitting room and also in the master bedroom above, where the grandeur is emphasised by a vaulted, beamed ceiling. Such ancient period detail bestows a sense of substance and timelessness throughout and each room is set apart by light-filled hallways that offer the luxury of privacy, an arrangement where one might choose to be sociable or solitary according to mood. The present owner has lived here for the last twenty years and is understandably reluctant to leave. “I shall miss this house immeasurably. It suits 74

Cotswold Homes Magazine

The Old Dower House perfectly illustrates the definition of a hidden gem ...

me very well to live in relative tranquillity, to have all the amenities of the village within a short stroll and the benefit of lovely neighbours close to hand, without having to see a soul if I don’t wish to do so!” This property is currently under offer. For further information, please contact Katy Freeman, Branch Manager at Fine & Country North Cotswolds in Bourton on the Water, on 01451 822977.

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Chatcombe, Bourton on the Water


Windrush, Nr Burford


A spacious, established detached property offering flexible accommodation situated on the eastern fringe of the village. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Dining Room | Family Room/Bedroom | Shower Room | Three Double Bedrooms | Bathroom | Double Garage | Off Road Parking | Gardens | EPC Rating: E

A Cotswold stone period, semi-detached three bedroom cottage situated in a tucked away location backing on to neighbouring countryside. Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Outbuilding/Studio | Additional Stone Coal Store | Three Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Front Garden | EPC Rating: E

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

The Patch, Bourton on the Water


18 Poplar Farm Close, Milton under Wychwood


An opportunity to purchase a detached chalet style property in a private yet central location within walking distance to the centre of this desirable village. Entrance Hall | Cloak/Shower Room | Bedroom/Reception Room | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Snug/Study | Garden Room | Three First Floor Bedrooms | Bathroom | Eaves Storage | Front and Rear Garden | Six Garages | Workshop | EPC Rating: E

A well-presented detached family home situated in a cul-de-sac location, backing on to neighbouring countryside.The property benefits from planning permission to extend (Erection of two storey extension to side/ rear - 14/01794/HHD). Entrance Hall | Kitchen | Utility | Cloakroom | Dining Room | Snug | Sitting Room | Master Bedroom with Ensuite Shower Room | Three Further Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garage | Driveway | Garden | EPC Rating: E

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977


Bourton on the Water | Moreton in Marsh | Mayfair | Lettings

4 Copins Court, Bourton on the Water


7 Bibury Corner, Bourton on the Water


A well-presented four bedroom semi-detached property situated on the edge of Bourton on the Water, the property benefits from off road parking and garage. Entrance Hall | Cloakroom | Kitchen | Sitting/Dining Room | Conservatory | Master Ensuite with Dressing Area and Shower Room | Three Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Integral Garage | Parking | Rear Garden | EPC Rating: C

A well-presented detached modern property overlooking open parkland to the front. Entrance Hall | Cloakroom | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility | Master Bedroom with Ensuite | Two Further Bedrooms | Bathroom | Front Garden | Generous Rear Garden | Garage | Driveway | EPC Rating: B

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

17 Moore Road, Bourton on the Water


16 Parkland Mews, Stow on the Wold


A Cotswold stone property set in a sought after location, having been lovingly updated providing comfortable living as a family home. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Playroom | Cloakroom | Three Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden | Parking | NB. We understand that there is a pedestrian right of way to access the rear of the property for the adjoining neighbour. Prospective purchasers should seek clarification of this from their solicitors prior to exchange of contracts | NB. The property has a restriction giving local people an automatic consent to purchase; anyone from out of the area must get approval from the Cotswold District Council | EPC Rating: D

A Cotswold stone, ground floor apartment situated within a gated community within walking distance of the town centre of Stow on the Wold. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Two Double Bedrooms | Bathroom | Parking | NB. We understand the property to be leasehold with the freehold held by the Residents Association | EPC Rating: D

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

view all our properties at harrisonjameshardie.co.uk

1 Hercules Close, Moreton in Marsh


Kymalton, Moreton in Marsh


An immaculate and substantial newly built detached family home, located within a private gated close on the popular Moreton Park development. Entrance Hall | Living Room | Dining Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Study | Utility | WC | Master Bedroom with En-Suite Shower Room | Four Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Generous Garden | Detached Double Garage | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: B

A detached and immaculately presented family home, situated on the outskirts of a popular market town. Dining Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen | Utility | Garden Room | Library | Study | Four Double Bedrooms (three with en-suite facilities) | Family Bathroom | Gardens to Front and Rear | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: F

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Rest Harrow, Longborough


Meadow Cottage, Little Compton


A detached property situated within a sought after Cotswold village and benefitting from a generous and southerly facing rear garden. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Downstairs Bedroom/Study | Utility Room | Garden Room | WC l Master Bedroom with En-Suite Shower Room | Further Double Bedroom | Dressing area | Family Bathroom | Southerly Facing Garden to Rear | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: E

A traditional Cotswold stone cottage with a generously proportioned garden and stone build outbuilding, ideal for guest accommodation or a home office. Entrance | Sitting Room | Kitchen | Conservatory | Shower Room | Two Bedrooms | Bathroom | Stone Built Office/Guest bedroom | Large garden | EPC Rating: G

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000


Moreton in Marsh | Bourton on the Water | Mayfair | Lettings

Ivy Stump Cottage, Moreton in Marsh


1 Sankey Grove, Moreton in Marsh


A substantial detached family home offering flexible accommodation with ample parking and a well-proportioned garden. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room open to Dining Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Study | Four Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garage | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: D

A detached three bedroom bungalow with well-presented accommodation, a private rear garden, garage and parking. Entrance Hall | Sitting/Dining Room | Kitchen | Conservatory | Three Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garage | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: D

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Autumn House, Moreton in Marsh


The Cottage, Moreton in Marsh


A link detached three bedroom family home providing conveniently arranged accommodation located on the Northern edge of the town. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room open to Dining Room | Kitchen | Three Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garage | Garden to Front and Rear | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: D

This Grade II Listed period cottage has been sympathetically refurbished to restore its original character and charm. The Cottage has previously been run as an extremely successful holiday cottage and benefits from a tucked away although very central position. Entrance | Kitchen open to Sitting/Dining Room | WC | Master Bedroom with En-Suite Bathroom and Stairs Leading from Master to Second Floor Bedroom | Small Courtyard Garden | EPC Rating: F

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

view all our properties at harrisonjameshardie.co.uk


U P P E R A great family home, good for thirty years, with plenty of potential, lots of space and brimming with inherent character, is increasingly difficult to find. rising values have created a trend for multigenerational living and less downsizing. With the average age of a first time buyer now above thirty years old, parents are finding it difficult to offload their adult offspring and so these large, comfortable village properties are simply not coming to market. Londoners have seen their central townhouses rocket in value but are increasingly dissatisfied, made anxious by the fight for places in the best schools, living cheek by jowl with crowds of strangers, less and less enamoured with the attractions that city life once held. Country life becomes so much more alluring with young children in tow, especially with an established career that will support a reasonable commute. Cotswold homes situated in peaceful ancient villages amongst beautiful countryside offer a cosy, 80

Cotswold Homes Magazine

B R A I L E S traditional lifestyle, particularly appealing to thirtysomething couples yearning for rural community values yet needing to be within an hour or so of town. Hill House in Upper Brailes is a lovely example of a great family home, last on the market in the late 80s. A 1930s double-fronted detached villa with a simple exterior and great interior proportions, it is solidly built, flooded with light, blessed with open fireplaces and high ceilings, arranged in a traditional fashion, the kitchen/breakfast room complete with obligatory AGA. Tucked into the hillside, situated on a climbing plot approaching an acre and backing onto woodland, it is the last property along a little lane overlooking the village of Upper Brailes. With glorious views towards the surrounding countryside one of its joys is a really fabulous garden visited by a vast array of wildlife (including a herd of fallow deer on occasion), with plenty of places for children to

build dens or to kick a football whilst adults can relax and enjoy the peace of a summer’s evening, far from the hustle of city life. The current owners have lived here extremely happily for twenty-eight years and can attest to its suitability - it has been a beloved family home but now the children have grown up and moved away, it’s suddenly too big. They can see it has also become a little tired, in need of some updating and revision. The top floor, for example, is just a vast attic storing the usual family detritus but could easily provide luxurious guest accommodation or a playroom. Having recently secured planning permission for an extension where the old conservatory currently doubles as an informal dining room, they could make a start on all that potential but thankfully for the next inhabitants have been sensible enough to resist temptation, content to let new owners get creative with fresh ideas instead. Priced sensibly to take


Brailes is a great village, an ideal location for anyone needing to split their time between the Cotswolds and London.

account of the work that will realise its full worth, Hill House now presents a seductive opportunity for a young couple with a long wish list and a desire to live the good life with their children. “We shall be really sad to leave,” says Mr MaxwellWood. “Brailles is a great village, an ideal location for anyone needing to split their time between the Cotswolds and London.There are many excellent private schools including Bloxham within easy distance, and of course the local state schools are also extremely good. It’s only a short drive to Banbury station where frequent trains take an hour to get into Marylebone Station and if you fancy a day at the seaside with the children in the summer holidays there’s even a direct train to Bournemouth in about two and half hours. Day to day, we have four

shops and a great pub - it’s a welcoming community where our neighbours have become lifelong friends but equally one can really enjoy the solitude of rural life, immediately surrounded by beautiful open countryside. As a sculptor, this location has been a place of serenity and inspiration in my work, too. There is undoubtedly so much opportunity to be explored by the next owners - I only hope they love the house as much as we have done, bringing up our family in such a healthy environment.” Marketed by Fine & Country North Cotswolds at the offices of Harrison James & Hardie in Moreton in Marsh, to find out more about Hill House or to arrange a viewing strictly by prior appointment, contact Branch Manager Tom Burdett on 01608 651000.



Wyck Hill Lodge, Stow on the Wold


Wyck Hill Lodge is a delightful and traditionally styled Cotswold stone lodge listed Grade II and constructed originally of natural Cotswold stone under a slate roof. It has a pretty front gable facade with a stone mullion window flanked either side by covered areas set on pillars one of which has retained the original Cotswold stone mullion window and the other of which has stone mullion window filled in. The property has been extended more recently in natural Cotswold stone under slate roof and now provides extensive and versatile accommodation. Entrance Hall | Drawing Room | Study | Dining Room | Kitchen | Utility | Bedroom | Ensuite | First Floor Bedroom | Ensuite | Second Floor Bedroom | Ensuite | Garden | Stable Block | Paddock | EPC Exempt Fine and Country Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 824 977

Bourton on the Water | Moreton in Marsh | Stow on the Wold | Mayfair | Lettings

Star Cottage, Bourton on the Hill

Offers in Excess of ÂŁ500,000

A beautifully presented Grade ll listed cottage with an abundance of character and charm. The property benefits from a well-proportioned rear garden, large stone built garage and off road parking. Entrance | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Inner Hall | Kitchen | Family Room | WC | Three Bedrooms | Two Bathrooms | Garden | Garage | Parking | EPC Rating: E

Fine and Country Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 653 893

Country Homes from harrison james & hardie


Ask the experts

Andy Soye


Mat Faraday

Investing In Property

I have been watching the Super-Rich series on the BBC recently - it’s time to invest in property, it seems! Can you give me some hot tips on investing in the holiday let market? We think investing in a holiday cottage in the Cotswolds is an excellent idea! Why? Let us explain… Firstly, the Cotswolds is an ideal location for a holiday cottage, due to its natural beauty and its central location, meaning you will get bookings all year round, providing a solid rental income base. Secondly, the Cotswolds is a highly desirable area in which to live and investors can aim to cash in on the long term capital growth of the property, as character-filled, period properties will always remain in demand. Furthermore, there are often excellent tax advantages associated with holiday letting a cottage, such as potentially being able to offset mortgage interest against holiday letting profits, or obtaining Entrepreneurs Relief on the eventual sale of the cottage, which could significantly reduce the applicable tax rate on any capital gain. Sold? So, what to buy? In our experience, whilst one and two bedroom properties do well, larger houses with three, four or more bedrooms typically do even better. This is primarily because income increases relatively linearly with the number of guests that a property can accommodate, whereas some property costs remain relatively fixed as the sleeping capacity increases. The most important advice for potential holiday let investors, whatever your budget, is to “buy smart”. This often means looking for property features that would be perceived differently by residential purchasers. For example, a cottage with a large garden may have a high value as a residential purchase but it will not make too much difference to the price a guest will pay to stay there. Conversely, a residential purchaser may not place much value on a second living room, whereas this may be perfect for a sofa bed, enabling two additional guests in a holiday cottage.

Predicting income for holiday homes is dependent upon many factors – however, the following table provides an indication of the annual gross income that you might expect for a luxury property in a pretty village in the Cotswolds, marketed via Character Cottages:

Maximum Occupancy 6 8 10

Gross Annual Income £35,000 - £45,000 £40,000 - £60,000 £50,000 - £70,000

The profit you can expect to make is calculated by taking this gross annual income and then deducting all the costs associated with holiday letting, for example letting agent fees, housekeeping costs, insurance, council tax (or business rates), utilities and maintenance costs. At Character Cottages, we are very experienced at marketing and maximising the returns on properties sleeping six or more people. We offer owners a wide and detailed range of support and advice on many key holiday letting factors, including furnishing, pricing, occupancy, security deposits and overall property management. To find out what your cottage can do for you, just get in touch with us and we can help you forecast a likely return. Andrew Soye and Mat Faraday are both qualified Chartered Accountants and are the founders of Character Cottages, one of the leading luxury holiday letting businesses in the Cotswolds. Telephone: 020 8935 5375 Website: www.character-cottages.co.uk Email: owners@character-cottages.co.uk




Wise Investment


Andy Soye and Mat Faraday own Character Cottages, a holidaylet company specialising in Cotswold properties. Following on from Andy’s advice in his Ask The Experts column on page 85, Andy and Mat illustrate how to make a wise choice when purchasing a property specifically intended for the holiday-let marketplace.


Station House garden

Regarding potentially excellent returns in the Cotswold holiday-let marketplace, especially your thoughts about maximising returns with larger properties, I have around £500,000 immediately available to invest. What would you suggest as a solidly reliable first purchase for my planned holiday-let portfolio?

Andy Soye says: “A larger property based close to a popular centre will attract friendship and family groups, therefore open to a wider number of potential holidaymakers. Our marketing strategy particularly focuses upon creating additional opportunities to let, including flexible start and finish dates, with short breaks being particularly popular in the traditionally quieter winter months – again, to maximise your return by ensuring occupancy all year round. Without a doubt, if you want a really safe option for your first holiday-let property, then Bourton on the Water is a sensible place to start.Tourists from all over the world – European, South African, Japanese and American alike - always smile in recognition at the mention of Bourton on the Water.This gorgeous village is renowned as a wonderful holiday destination, absolutely synonymous with the tourist marketplace in the North Cotswolds, and where visitors are guaranteed to arrive any day of the year. From the depths of winter to high summer, a holiday home in or close to Bourton on the Water will be a proven attraction and as such, provide a dependable and regular return. The trick, as I mentioned in my column, is to look carefully at the potential accommodation as much as the location of the property. Does it have a second reception room that might be turned into


Cotswold Homes Magazine

a ground floor bedroom, for example? Is there an outbuilding that might be converted to provide further accommodation? Beyond kerb appeal and presentation, it is important to focus on the number of guests that a property can accommodate, best case – if you can see a way to maximise occupancy then this will maximise your return, accordingly. My choice is Station House, Bourton on the Water. Priced at £550,000, I admit slightly over budget but certainly worth it, in terms of its potential. This is a beautiful looking period home built in warm Cotswold stone with a really gorgeous garden, situated only a few minutes’ walk from the centre of

Station House

the village yet enjoying considerable privacy, being tucked quietly away from the main thoroughfare. The interior offers an attractively presented and well-designed open-plan ground floor, great for families who want to cook and socialise together. There are four bedrooms upstairs with the option to sleep two more guests by converting the study on the ground floor – again, this opens out the opportunities to include a less mobile grandparent staying with a young family, for example. I have no doubt that such a property would be in substantial demand and capable of generating in excess of £50,000 gross revenue per annum.”


Open Plan Ground Floor

Station House




The field at Paxton Place


Mat Faraday says: “The property I have chosen to illustrate our advice is Paxton Place. Priced at £500,000, bang on budget, it’s a substantial semi-detached house on Wyck Hill, a mile or so from Bourton on the Water and Stow on the Wold, situated on the road to Burford (only about ten minutes’ drive away). With large grounds and fabulous rural views over the surrounding countryside, the interior of Paxton Place also has a great layout - lots of space and a large, sociable living room to gather in the evenings especially when the open fire is lit, warm and cosy against the worst of a Cotswold winter! The open countryside location makes it really desirable in summer, of course - children can run about in the field and make as much noise as they like without fear of disturbing neighbours and handily, very close by is the renowned Wyck Hill


Cotswold Homes Magazine


Based on its location and accommodation, this home is a solid holiday let proposition and therefore should be capable of generating up to £50,000 gross revenue per annum. Open Plan Ground Floor

Paxton Place garden

House hotel. Renowned for good food, the gardens and views of this hotel are outstandingly beautiful - a superb place to spend a lazy summer’s afternoon basking on the terrace, drinking a few Pimms and devouring a cream tea!

Paxton Place

Based on its location and accommodation, this home is a solid holiday let proposition and therefore should be capable of generating up to £50,000 gross revenue per annum.” Station House and Paxton Place are marketed by Harrison James & Hardie, Fine & Country North Cotswolds. At the time of going to press, both were currently under offer. To discover more about the local area and to view properties in a similar location contact Katy Freeman, Branch Manager at the Bourton on the Water office, on 01451 822977. www.cotswold-homes.com


Can’t Buy, Won’t Buy

Can’t Buy, Won’t Buy – Fine Country Living Without The Price Tag

In the UK, where property ownership is considered by most as the only sensible thing to do and when renting is a fleeting thing one only does en-route to buying something suitable, it is becoming increasingly hard to find a prime Cotswold village family home without at least three quarters of a million pounds to spend. Most of us will be borrowing more than half that money – let’s not kid ourselves, then, that the real owner is still the bank not us - it’s just renting with security. If you want something gorgeous on the outside, plenty of room on the inside, fabulous views and a rural position, there’s also the on-going maintenance to take into consideration on top of the hefty mortgage. A property with a few thousand feet of space will typically add a five 94

Cotswold Homes Magazine

“Broadway House at Flagstone Farm in Condicote is big enough to house all your extended family and to host all your friends in an exquisitely rural situation yet still within a few minutes’ drive of Stow on the Wold ...” figure sum to your annual spend, at least to keep everything in tip-top order - big ticket items like bathrooms, kitchens, listed windows and old stone roofs will deteriorate if not updated and repaired regularly – and then, there’s council tax on top. It’s so tempting to keep on stretching your budget

for that elusive wish list when you buy, but there’s the sweat of worrying if interest rates will make a great swoop upwards just as your standard variable rate kicks back in and your boss starts talking about belt-tightening measures. Plus, for frustrated house-hunters there’s the other problem - anyone with a sizeable village property

Can’t Buy, Won’t Buy

who might have been expected to downsize by now just can’t, because they are still housing all their grown-up offspring who can’t get on the mortgage ladder, so there is nothing on the market of note to buy, anyway. So, if you want the luxury of country living without the price tag, are fed up of searching and content to tuck your nest-egg somewhere nice and safe in the meanwhile, you might choose to rent instead. Amy Coldicott, of Harrison James & Hardie’s Lettings department says: “Broadway House at Flagstone Farm in Condicote is big enough to house all your extended family and to host all your friends in an exquisitely rural situation yet still within a few minutes’ drive of Stow on the Wold, and

equipped with such luxury that it comes with an en-suite for every one of its six bedrooms, and two kitchens, and a games room, and tennis courts, and fourteen acres, with enclosed gardens, fields and woodland for your children to enjoy… All for the price of £3,500 a month, to include council tax.” Fancy it? Better be quick, because rental properties in all price ranges are still being snapped up super-fast, even though the sales market has been steadily hotting up for the last couple of years. Caroline Gee, director at Harrison James & Hardie, says on average it takes only two viewings to let a property through their company and that the answer, if you want to be the first to hear about a suitable property, is to register your requirements in advance.

“We have over one hundred managed properties on our books as well as the properties that come on as introduction only, so at any one time we might have something coming up that will suit. If we know what potential tenants are looking for, evidently they will be among the first people we think of when an existing tenant gives notice, but they also have to be prepared to keep in regular contact as we have lots of people registering in every price range. Often, by the time a property is listed on our website it’s too late – we have already agreed the new tenancy, sometimes within hours of it becoming available.” To speak to Amy about Broadway House or to register your requirements with Caroline, telephone Harrison James & Hardie’s Stow on the Wold office on 01451 833170. www.cotswold-homes.com



Burghfield Cottage, Bourton on the Water


A very well presented hidden away country cottage enjoying views over adjacent countryside set within the beautiful town of Bourton on the Water. Entrance Lobby | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Dining Room | Drawing Room with Log Burner | Cloakroom | Four Bedrooms | Two Bath/Shower Rooms | Detached Summer House/Home Office | Off Road Parking | Gardens | EPC Rating: E Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 833 170

High Beeches, Snowshill


A very well presented detached Cotswold family home situated within the heart of Snowshill, enjoying views over adjacent countryside. Entrance Hall | Cloakroom | Utility Room | Large Kitchen/Diner | Boot Room | Dining Room | Drawing Room | Four Double Bedrooms | Two Bath/Shower Rooms | Double Garage | Front and Rear Gardens | Ample Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: E Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 833 170

Bourton on the Water | Moreton in Marsh | Stow on the Wold | Mayfair | Lettings


Stone Walls, Long Compton

£1,395pcm LET AGREED

1 Holly Bank, Longborough


A unique thatched cottage enjoying character features mixed with modern day living with a separate annexe. Dining Hall | Cloakroom | Drawing Room with Log Burner | Kitchen with Integrated Appliances | Ground Floor Bath/Shower Room | Two Double Bedrooms in Main Cottage | Separate Deatched One/Two Bedroom Annexe with Shower Room | Garage | Enclosed Garden

An attractive stone built cottage situated in an elevated position and benefitting from beautiful views of the picturesque High Street and surrounding countryside. Sitting Room | Dining Hall | Kitchen with Integrated Appliances | Bedroom with En Suite Shower Room | Two Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Front and Rear Gardens | EPC Rating: F

Harrison James & Hardie, Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 833 170

Harrison James & Hardie, Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 833 170

29 Park Farm, Bourton on the Water

£945pcm LET AGREED

3 Milton Court, Blockley


A very nicely presented detached home with garden and off road parking in a quiet cul de sac location. Entrance Hall | Cloakroom | Sitting Room | Kitchen with Integrated Appliances | Conservatory | Three Bedrooms | Shower Room | Integral Garage | Courtyard Garden | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: D

A fully furnished, spacious period apartment located in the picturesque village of Blockley. Entrance | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Sitting Room with Log Burner | Master Bedroom with Ensuite Shower Room | Second Bedroom | Bathroom | EPC Rating: D

Harrison James & Hardie, Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 833 170

Harrison James & Hardie, Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 833 170

Country Homes from harrison james & hardie

uPPeR Rissington

SPRING 2015 uPdate on uPPeR Rissington tHe neW ViLLage HaLL FoR uPPeR Rissington, and tHe neW sCHooL BuiLding designed to seRVe PuPiLs oF gReat Rissington PRiMaRy sCHooL on a sPLit site, aRe noW Ready FoR oCCuPation.

New Village Hall

New school Building

mrs Bannister, Head Teacher, is understandably delighted. “It seems we have been making plans for a very long time and certainly, it’s been a bit of a struggle since September. We have had 135 pupils crammed into the old school building when the capacity is sensibly less than a hundred. managing hot school dinners has been made possible with the welcome help of volunteer parents and we have been able to use the old village hall at Upper Rissington for sports lessons. The amazing fundraising efforts of the Friends allowed us to purchase a minibus which will ferry pupils between the two sites. It has proved invaluable in so many ways. I shall be particularly glad to wave goodbye to the temporary terrapin, which has accommodated the class of Year Two/ Three pupils who are moving to the new site along with another class of Reception/ Year One pupils who have been using the school hall for their lessons. It has been hard work but despite all the organisational headaches, it has been worth the wait! I have also been extremely grateful to Colin Campbell, who has kindly allowed the children to use his garden as a temporary playground.” Light, bright and futuristic compared with the old Victorian school in Great Rissington, the new school building has been imaginatively designed by architect Dan Cottrell and built to an impressively swift schedule by Kier construction, a firm of local constructors also responsible for the recent multi-million pound facelift of Cheltenham Racecourse. The main building is wrapped around a broad, welcoming central atrium, a perfect spot for a library and joint class activities, leading onto four classrooms where washroom facilities are 100 Cotswold Homes Magazine

New Village Hall

organised in a sensible Jack and Jill arrangement. The main hall is vast and double height, fitted out as a gymnasium and also serving as a dining room. With a commercial grade kitchen, all school meals will be cooked here then ferried back within a few minutes to the children at the Great Rissington site. The original site in Great Rissington will continue to accommodate children from the surrounding villages whilst the new school building will provide for all primary-age children of Upper Rissington. Approached by a wide tree-lined avenue from the new-build homes - or a shortcut on foot across fields from the older homes in this former RAF village - the new site will have masses of

outside space including a football pitch and hard courts plus a part-sheltered tarmac playground for cold, wet days and a wonderful school field for children to run around freely during the warm summer months. For all the children living in Upper Rissington, who will undoubtedly choose to make their way to school now without transport, there’s even a bike rack. no excuses – everyone can get fitter and be more ecologically friendly, including the parents! How will the school celebrate? “We will be having a formal opening of the new school site, currently planned for Friday may 22nd, which will include a parachute display by

uPPeR Rissington

New Village Hall

We WiLL Be HaVing a FoRMaL oPening oF tHe neW sCHooL site, CuRRentLy PLanned FoR FRiday May 22nd, WHiCH WiLL inCLude a PaRaCHute disPLay By tHe FaLCons

The Falcons” says Colin Campbell, Chair of Governors. “As part of that celebration, and being particularly mindful of the long and important history of our old school building to the village of Great Rissington, some of the children are putting together a time capsule. Along with architect Dan and project manager Steven Threadingham, who have both worked so hard to design and build an absolutely beautiful school, we will bury this in the school grounds for future generations to discover one day.” meanwhile, the neighbouring new village hall is in the process of handover to the parish, having been similarly built to a very high standard by Kier Construction. It is an impressive building offering a multi-sports indoor hall, double height for a badminton court, providing ample storage for a stage and sports equipment. Separate male/ female changing rooms and showers are a real luxury that very few other village halls can boast. For the dayto-day, there is a community meeting room large enough to host a toddler group and children’s parties, yoga classes and sewing bees, all served by a brand new kitchen, with a barbecue area and patio for larger social events during the summer months. As with the new school building there is an abundance of outside space, using the existing village field and the welcome new provision of plentiful off-road parking.

Dean Beard, Chairman of the Trustees who will oversee the use and care of the hall in due course, is not only delighted by the standard of build but also by the wide-ranging opportunities the hall creates for many different interest groups to get together regularly. He is sure that everyone will be equally enthusiastic, eager to make proper use of all the facilities as soon as they can. “The village is an increasingly sociable place already. Touch-rugby and football are now played each weekend and there’s a popular youth club run by Rob French of CURVE. The parish council regularly organises summer activities for primary age school children plus we have a new mothers and toddlers’ group, too, so there are existing opportunities to meet regularly, particularly with children in tow. However, this expands the possibilities for clubs and societies, to residents of all ages and for many different purposes – sports, recreational and social. This village hall really is an amazing facility that can only help to get everyone together more often, to enjoy to the full the many improving benefits of living in Upper Rissington.” Having overseen the construction of two wonderful amenities, project manager Steve Threadingham has successfully united the old with the new and created ample provision for

generations to come. He applauds the sense of goodwill in the community, confident of a great future for the village.

“As a local company, Kier has been delighted to be involved with these excellent projects for the local community. The village hall is a fantasticlooking building and the school will provide spacious twenty first century teaching facilities for pupils who will also be able to experience outdoor nature classes, a substantial play area and sports fields. On a personal level, I have thoroughly enjoyed the nine months we have been on site. We have had a hugely positive interaction with the local community including school visits, resident site tours and coordination meetings to discuss building details. I have met many interesting members of the Upper Rissington community and I wish them every success in running the new village hall.” When the hall is formally signed over to the parish, a process taking around three months, it can begin to be used. Dean and his fellow trustees are already considering ways in which the whole community can share and celebrate the formal opening. For those wishing to get involved as Friends Of Upper Rissington, or simply keen to book the hall when it finally opens, please contact 07857 340836 or email urvh@btinternet.com. www.cotswold-homes.com 101

Log House Holidays

I am not a good traveller. I hate planes. Not afraid of flying but of being squashed into a too small space with a fuzzy head and plastic food for five hours, squeezed up against an unfamiliar and less than fresh travelling companion. I hate long car journeys. Reference my childhood, trapped in the boiling, airless back seat of our ancient black Wolseley on the painfully slow winding road to Cornwall, my sweaty legs sticking to the red leather upholstery, eau de sick emanating from one sister, endless rounds of I Spy with the other. Ditto, I hate ferries. One step on board and the thrum of engines beneath my feet, the stench of the car deck, of petrol fumes and rotten fish and the misery rushes up, hits me in the nostrils, turns me green in a nano-second. Eight long hours, leaning into the endless, freezing blast of wind and sea spray, praying for sight of Roscoff. Trains. In my mind I am in love with trains: Celia Johnson meets Harry Potter, Daddy oh my Daddy Railway Children, etc., but actually it’s not, except on the Golden Pass or the Orient Express, perhaps. It’s Charge of the Light Brigade or corridor floor, other people’s mobile phone conversations, polystyrene tea, fear of falling 102 Cotswold Homes Magazine

asleep with my mouth open, minding the gap, missing connections, losing my ticket. There are monumental exceptions to the rule. Approaching Venice at midnight on a quiet motorboat, the long crackle of ice as we slipped over the dark water, crumbling stone bridges looming out of the mist, clambering onto the jetty of the Hotel Monaco helped by a doorman dressed like an Agatha Christie bellboy. But don’t give me any hippy speak – it is so not the journey, it’s the destination – I don’t love the getting there, I just love the being there. Do we really need the “Are We Nearly There Yet” to feel we have escaped, to unwind completely, to be liberated and different, energised, healthier and happier? We live in the North Cotswolds and I am very fond of Cowley Manor - twenty minutes down the road thank you very much and we could be anywhere, taking tea, admiring the view, floating in a deep foamy bath, waited on hand and foot. Lovely. And so when I was invited to experience Log House Holidays, just four miles from Cirencester, the lack of journey didn’t diminish the delight of arrival, not one bit. Are

we nearly there yet? Yes, kids, yes we are. No kids actually, just me and my husband, mid-week, midFebruary, mid-winter, staying in a luxury log cabin on the banks of a wide frosty lake, up to our necks in a steaming hot tub contemplating the starry night sky. The location is a physical tromp l’oeil and it really feels good. In our office we have a whole wall of digital wallpaper – a hill in Chipping Campden, a wide, beautiful Cotswold landscape, a bright blue summer sky – you know it’s not real but it feels so much better. At the lakeside looking out to the far bank and the dimly-lit windows of another log cabin half a mile away across the still water, I knew I wasn’t in Sweden or New England but it felt like I was, somewhere in the outback, taking deep breaths of fresh, cold air, savouring the space, the loneliness and the quiet. It’s not the middle of nowhere but it doesn’t matter. Here is slow and still, peaceful, different, beautiful, and you could be anywhere. We arrive just before dusk, with a brief stop off at Waitrose beforehand for essentials – wine, chocolate, wine, cheese, crusty bread, grapes, wine and Parma ham, wine, etc. We have brought

Log House Holidays

“What feels so good is the lack of Butlinesque holiday-corporate-campery… a sustainable family business where the owner Anthony swims out every day enjoying the fruits of his labours and son James does the meet-and-greet”

next to no luggage because we aren’t going to see anyone so we don’t have to change out of yesterday’s clothes – lumberjack shirts, jeans and muddy boots, warm coats, thick gloves, check, done. A short drive along a narrow road and we are here in our log house, scent of cut timber and wood smoke, very grown up Little House on the Prairie, so not Center Parcs (pine trees, more pine trees and lots of people dangerously careering past on mountain bikes pulling all-terrain buggies, busier than the A40). This is the real McCoy. Keno Lodge is big and solid, engineered, beamed down from a snowy mountain, furnished with antiques, a barley-twist gate-leg kitchen table and a glassfronted corner dresser for the china, two long squashy sofas in front of the log burner, a stack of hardback books that I might actually read, a superking-size bed where I drink my morning cup of tea www.cotswold-homes.com 103

Log House Holidays

and look out over the balcony at the cold lake and the heavy grey sky, a luxury bathroom with a freestanding tub bath, blanket-lined curtains, underfloor heating, old-fashioned cast-iron radiators. Frankly, it’s heavenly. For the first two hours I occasionally say rather urgently to my husband: “We have to share this, I feel so guilty, so-and-so would love this, let’s phone them now!” Two hours later, I have no impulse whatsoever to interrupt our temporary simple paradise and have given in entirely to guilt. Love guilt. Love it. But it is a place to share, especially in the height of summer, especially if you have children who can swim reasonably well, who can dip in and out and potter around in the shallows, setting out like Swallows and Amazons to the far banks, or scooting around the lake’s perimeter on their bikes, forty minutes on foot through the path of trees, round and round and back again without coming across a soul. There are only a handful of chalets hundreds of yards apart and you can’t even see your neighbours (unless you walk or row past) except the one I want to go to next time - the grand new one that sleeps eleven, out in the middle of the lake, where I imagine my five children, their friends, our dogs, the boats, the picnics and all the fun we might have, hiring Friday island for a day and having a barbecue, sitting beneath the scruffy thatched pergola out of the sun, or playing volleyball by the shore. It’s only two miles around the lake from start to finish but it’s another world, a microcosm, a Narnian stitch in time that takes no effort to get there. I don’t have

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to worry about what’s happening at home or at the office, because I could always pop back, not that I had the slightest inclination to turn on my laptop or fire up the mobile. Nope. I didn’t know how much I needed this brief bit of doing nothing until I had the chance. Reader, I loved it. What feels so good is the lack of Butlinesque holiday-corporate-campery – this is a worthy ecological project, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a former gravel pit transformed by sheer physical effort and vision over more than three decades into a perfect illusion of timelessness, a clear spring lake banked with trees planted by hand, a sustainable family business where the owner Anthony swims out every day enjoying the fruits of his many years’ labour and his son James now does the meet-and-greet. Charming, goodhumoured, earnest and outdoor healthy, as if he has just popped over from the Ag college or on a break from filming First Time Farmers, James is full of interesting information about ground-source heat pumps and directional solar panels, the Finnish origin of the cabins and hot tubs, the high insulation values of recycled paper pulp, the deeply minus temperatures of Nordic winters and so on, onto the plans they have yet to instigate, refreshingly not to over-populate the site with more cabins but to plant yet more trees, to introduce more variety, to attract more wildlife. He is conscious of his heritage, his good fortune and the work he is doing for a future generation; I am conscious of more than a little touch of envy, but I appreciate exactly that this is luck made by constant hard

"The thing about this lovely place is that it is what you want it to be. If you want absolute solitude, somewhere to heal your tired mind and refresh your body with a spa treatment or two, you can."

Log House Holidays

work and it’s admirable. He offers to channel a path through the ice on the lake in the morning so we can take out our rowing boat and sure enough, on my second cup of tea in bed, we hear the distant crackle, snap and pop of splitting ice as James forges through from the opposite side of the water, leaping from aft to stern to check on progress occasionally. We do make it out later, canoe-like with my husband as cox, our oars dipping and prodding the broken glassy surface, the lake slopping and banging and echoing beneath us. We have worn life jackets not so much for safety but the prospect of hypothermia in the shallow

depths if we were to fall in, and they insulate us nicely against the cold, just like the toasty-warm lodge we return to afterwards. The thing about this lovely place is that it is what you want it to be. If you want absolute solitude, somewhere to heal your tired mind and refresh your body with a spa treatment or two, you can. If you want sporty mad, early morning leaps off the jetty, three times round the lake before breakfast, you can. If you want a romantic getaway, no neighbours no pack drill, just you and your beloved snuggled up in front of a log fire all day,

you can. If you want a wild and noisy, happy-golucky big family outdoorsy get-together, you can. The best thing for me is that it took no time to get there and no time to get back, so I could hold on longer to the dreamlike sense of being better for it because there was no delayed flight, no M25 twelve-mile tailback, no backseat bickering and no barrier to that feel-good feeling, just enough time to enjoy every moment before I got back home. Yesterday, I went on holiday to a Swedish lake house. Yes, I did. Review by Karen von Speyr www.cotswold-homes.com 105

TreeBus Tea rooms

Fresh From the Fish Market Living about as far inland as it is possible to be, one of the loveliest things about a holiday on the British coast is the taste of fresh fish straight from the sea, into the pan and onto your plate. For seafood lovers, the great news is that you don’t need to drive to Devon for the pleasure, because Treebus Restaurant in Stow on the Wold serves a fabulous Friday and Saturday fish supper, direct from Brixham market to your table that same day. When Dave and Jayne set up Treebus Restaurant in Digbeth Street in February 2013, they combined a serendipitous skill set – Jayne had been in catering all her working life, albeit on a somewhat larger scale, creating banquets for civic functions and managing a motorway restaurant before becoming a full time lecturer. Dave had plenty of business nous, with a background in team-building and quality management, and a passion for great food and fine wines. Their burning desire was to open a little bespoke restaurant offering wonderful, organic, free range and locally sourced food. “Local produce is plentiful and easy to come by, but we choose suppliers who share our passion for free range, animal welfare and high standards. We source all our lamb, beef and pork from Todenham Farm near Moreton, for example,” says Dave. After running for a year or so, doing market research in and around Stow on the Wold, they decided to major in fresh fish, also employing head chef Daniel from Portugal to ensure their seafood menu was as good as possible– and what a menu!

“Dover sole, bouillabaisse, poached halibut, tempura oysters, hand-dived scallops, wild sea bass, crab and great big juicy lobsters are some of the most popular dishes." Dover sole, classic bouillabaisse, poached halibut in a cream and wine sauce, whole plaice, tempura oysters, hand-dived scallops, turbot, wild sea bass, crab and great big juicy lobsters are some of the most popular dishes. Guests are invited to book a table for the whole evening and their meals are cooked to order. No clock-watching necessary, as their cosy, friendly restaurant puts the emphasis on quality of service as well as the best food. “We are happy to provide a bespoke private party experience,” says Jayne. “Last year we hosted a hen 106 Cotswold Homes Magazine

party, a golden wedding anniversary, a big family reunion, several local business staff parties and plenty of birthdays. We always decide upon the menu with our clients and design the room to suit the event. We also do everything we can to make the party go with a swing without the hassle of organisation for our guests – we provide everything from the invites to the transport home!” To celebrate your special occasion or to book a table on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday evening, simply telephone 01451 870210 or 07456 467315. www.treebusevents.co.uk

Farm ParK

Springtime at the Farm Park with Adam Henson It’s been a busy and exciting time on the farm, with our first lambs born on February 8th. Soon after, on Valentine’s Day, we re-opened to the public after a short winter break. Our ewes were first put with the rams in mid-September, so with a five month gestation period, we knew that the first of our expectant mums would be due to give birth close to opening day. We always like to start the new season with a bang!

We also had some special new arrivals for the lambing season this year, in the shape of two breeds that we haven’t had here at the farm before; Zwartbles, originating from Holland, and Gotlands from Sweden. 30 expectant ewes in total arrived to take their place alongside our native rare breed and commercial ewes in the Demonstration Barn. The Zwartbles in particular have very distinctive markings, so it’s been great to see visitors’ reactions to their little black-and-white-striped faces. They’re a very friendly breed and their markings certainly make them stand out in the lambing shed! Each year, hundreds of visitors to the Farm Park have the opportunity (if the timing’s right) to witness those first moments when a lamb or goat kid makes its entrance into the world. The first bleat to mum, those first tentative steps or their first feed.

Each year, hundreds of visitors to the Farm Park have the opportunity (if the timing’s right) to witness those first moments when a lamb or goat kid makes its entrance into the world.

I know it’s a favourite time of year for many of the staff and visitors of the Farm Park and I can certainly understand why. For many people, lambing signals the start of spring, a time to celebrate new life as the natural world begins to shake off the frosts of the winter.

The Cotswold Farm Park is open from 10.30am daily, with lambing taking place 14th February – 12th April. Check www.cotswoldfarmpark.co.uk for more details. www.cotswold-homes.com 107

The Farm of the Future

The High-Rise Farm of

the Future

The ‘only way is up’ for feeding an overpopulated Earth, as ‘Vertical Farming’ tech advances fast

By 2050, the earth will be required to support some 9 billion people, up to 80% of whom will inhabit urban areas – that’s a lot of hungry mouths to feed. We’re going to have to establish some kind of agricultural Utopia, and fairly quickly. But with scarcely any extra land available for growing food, how do we begin to tackle this problem? The answer perhaps lies in maximising available space in ways previously thought impossible. It is the invention of farming that has taken us from primitive hunters to coffee-drinking, citydwelling networkers in a mere 10,000 years, and since those distant days, farmers have always had to be canny with their usage of space. Around certain areas of the Cotswolds and Midlands, one can still see the corrugated-looking legacy of the ‘Ridge and Furrow’ farming style so prevalent in 108 Cotswold Homes Magazine

Europe during the medieval ages. These strip fields made for self-draining seedbeds, and the raised ridges helpfully demonstrated where your plot ended and Mr Boggins’ began.

regulated by technological means. Your greenhouse met with iPod-levels of sophistication.

But since the advent of enclosure farming, all land is pretty much owned and accounted for… and can the countryside really cope with urban expansion, greater demand and chaotic weather generated by global warming? So why not go skyward in our search for sustainable food production, and feed our benighted urban areas from within?

Since ecologist Dickson Despommier refined the concept of ‘vertical farming’ in the late 20th century, this idea has sometimes been maligned as pie-in-the-sky thinking, as designers clamoured to share their grandiose visions of green skyscrapers with the world. At first, only smallscale local initiative-level farming (sometimes conducted in disused urban spaces by ingenious and painfully trendy young urbanites) seemed practically feasible.

The idea is a simple one. Instead of farming huge swathes of land outside, we go inside and up. Picture something like an industrial warehouse merged with a supermarket: shelves and shelves of fresh produce extending ever upwards, nurtured by a carefully controlled environment where humidity, light and chemicals are monitored and

‘What happened is that architects started imagining what vertical farms could be like and started designing these multi-storey tower blocks with food in them,’ says Carolyn Steel, architect and author of Hungry Cities: How Food Shapes Our Lives, in a 2013 Radio Four documentary. ‘[All] gleaming with glass and everything. But then

THe Farm oF THe FuTure

"we want to aChieVe the Best CoMBination oF photosynthesis DurinG the Day anD BreathinG at niGht By ControllinG the liGhtinG anD the enVironMent." - SHIGEHARU SHIMAMURA

Of course, an indoor system like this has drawbacks, namely energy usage, the cost of refitting existing infrastructure and business rates, as well as the broader implications: would such facilities end up in state or private hands – under such a model, who controls the food supply? And what about shocks to a sophisticated urban foodproduction system, such as a natural disaster? One of the countries to invest heavily in indoor farming technology is Japan.The volatile land – where significant earthquakes, tsunamis (or even nuclear meltdown) can disrupt or ruin farmland – and limited space has provided ample reason for furthering this production methodology.

on the thirtieth or fortieth floor there would sprout a forest. Solving the world’s problems with a vast, phallic tower...’ ‘I’m delighted that architects are thinking about these food issues, but to really feed a city from within itself, then you would need, genuinely, thousands and thousands of tower blocks with food growing at every level. So my question is: where’s London gone?’ Exactly how different is a fully realised Vertical Farm to its traditional outdoor counterpart? The answer is: in almost every conceivable way. Nutrient solutions could replace soil, and stacked shelves supplant fields. Heat and light intensity would be under complete control, becoming utterly customisable to optimise yields. Under a roof, the cumbersome tractor has gone the way of the dinosaur: perhaps manual workers, too, as well as season-specific production.

After the devastating events of 2011, plant physiologist Shigeharu Shimamura has transformed a former Sony semiconductor factory into the world’s largest LED-illuminated farm. At 25,000 square feet, it produces an incredible 10,000 heads of lettuce a day, each heated by LED lights with a ‘day and night’ lighting cycle designed to optimise growth. ‘What we need to do is not just setting up more days and nights,’ says Shimamura. ‘We want to achieve the best combination of photosynthesis during the day and breathing at night by controlling the lighting and the environment.’ Water usage has been cut to 1% of that of a conventional outdoor farm’s, and waste has been reduced to a mere 10% of a harvest. Productivity per square foot is up a hundredfold.The indoor lettuces are just as delicious and vitamin-packed as a ‘natural’ head.The results are of great interest to cities such as Singapore and Hong Kong, where residents may one day soon enjoy a bounty of ultra-locally produced veg and salad.

That’s great, but so much for lettuce: what about staples? Can wheat, rice and grain be grown in an indoor setting? Advancements in LED lighting are key – both in reduced cost and efficiency.The nutrients – such as proteins and starches – take more energy to produce than more watery vegetables. Stan Cox, a scientist at the Land Institute in Kansas, once calculated that to grow America’s 53 million acres of wheat within an indoor facility, you’d need more than 8 times as much as all American utility companies produce per annum – and that’s just the lighting. Such a statistic is incredible, and only if the world transitioned to renewable fuels or a nuclear-orfission powered electrical supply, could adopting the technology at such a scale be feasible. But the amount of fossil fuels consumed by current practices is staggering, and measured not just by the consumer’s pocket, but also by the impact on the environment, especially when we can’t afford to turn over any more land to agricultural purposes – with 38% of the earth’s landmass already in use (we’d need roughly as much land as Brazil to keep pace, with current technologies). Chemicals and run-off can have devastating consequences for the local ecologies. We might associate traditional farming with sunlight, soil and wholesomeness, but the truth is that a lot of harm is, and has been, done to the environment by more ‘typical’ farming techniques. The future of food production may well resemble the future of energy production – mixed, with technologies now in their nascency expanding to take a much greater share of the pie. So don’t throw in the trowel and let the allotment grow wild just yet. www.cotswold-homes.com 109

Farmer's WiFe

SPRING I am not a fan of the awkward technically-theend-of-winter-but-not-quite-proper-spring months. Indecisive weather often results in multiple changes of clothes (not including getting dressed up to walk the dog), the log pile starts to seriously dwindle and everyone is just fed up with drizzle. We usually start dropping hints to our London-based cousins for a visit as we fantasise about being clean and away from mud. I wish that our life mirrored the images that the Joules clothing catalogue portrays but the reality is less “vintage floral” and more “bedraggled Mountain Warehouse”. For my husband, this is the time of year when his focus switches to calving, a job that can be the best of times and worst of times all rolled into one. On the whole, the cows are pretty easy calvers but the heifers can be hit and miss, and we do suffer the occasional loss. He tells me (and I believe him) that he is always humbled at the sight of new life coming into the world. Having said that, the end game is never far from sight. Last year he had to call upon his brother Angus to help with a difficult calving and, as they stood back afterwards to watch the new born calf suckle from its mother, Jimmy said: "Anna's got a cracking piece of beef lined up for supper

"This Spring we also have my sister's wedding to look forward to. For a while there was talk of having the reception at our house but, happily, we have dodged that bullet in favour of a local wedding venue." on Saturday"… a comment Angus felt not entirely appropriate. This Spring we also have my sister's wedding to look forward to. For a while there was talk of having the reception at our house but, happily, we have dodged that bullet in favour of a local wedding venue. Not before we had panicplanted several hundred bulbs, though. So, we are now looking forward to the cheerful sight of daffodils to distract us from the monotony of mud, and hoping that the waterproofs and wellies can soon be put away. Anna MacCurrach www.cotswold-homes.com 111

JuLia siBuN

A Beautiful Spring Wedding ··· Top Tips for The big day ···

JULIA SIBUN is a wedding planner and direcTor of wesley house evenTs based in winchcombe. she has been planning weddings for nearly fifTeen years, so she Knows preTTy much everyThing There is To Know abouT geTTing married in The coTswolds! as we are approaching prime wedding season, coTswold homes asKs Julia To reveal some of her wisdom, and her liTTle secreTs To success.

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When choosing venues, suppliers and so on, a good way to consider options is to chat to friends who have recently married for their recommendations.

JuLia siBuN

“I still find each and every one of the weddings I have helped to organise completely unique and memorable but my best advice to any bride and groom would be - as everyone says and is absolutely true - that the day passes very quickly. It is so important to enjoy every moment and not to rush the day. The bride should make sure she gives herself plenty of time for the ceremony, reception and party, no matter how organised every detail, otherwise so much can go by in a blur. Whilst it is tempting when everyone has a digital camera to rely on guest snap shots, a professional photographer knows exactly how to capture all those memories, standing exclusively by the bride and groom’s side, poised and ready to record those wonderful moments that they might otherwise miss, to treasure and look back on with pleasure in days to come.” “A top tip for any couple is always be honest with their own choices and decisions - it is their one and only day so it is really important that the day reflects their own personality and wishes, to allow their dreams to come true. It’s important to

keep a clear focus on what they would both like for the day. They should try not to succumb to pressure to conform to others’ expectations, even if parents are contributing financially.” “When a couple first starts planning their wedding day, it’s wise to sit down together (with parents if they are helping out with the costs), to work out a proper budget before starting to book suppliers and so on, and to try to be realistic. Keeping to that limit during the planning stages will help to minimise stress later. Of course, the couple should be mindful that they may need to ask for their parents’ input from time to time but not to ask too many people for their opinions, as sometimes this can become confusing on the best way forward.” “The key items to book are the church and venue, the photographer, the wedding dress, the catering, the bar and then the entertainment, then afterwards work on all the smaller details. When choosing venues, suppliers and so on, a good way to consider options is to chat to friends who have recently married for their recommendations."

As the saying goes, the devil is in the detail, and this is particularly true for a successful wedding.

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Whilst good planning will ensure a successful day, the couple should also be prepared for the unexpected and just remember that it is okay, not everything needs to be perfect down to the last tiny detail. “It’s equally helpful to ask those suppliers to recommend people they have worked alongside, too. A small network of suppliers will work together extremely well and achieve excellent results because they are really familiar with how everyone works best.” “When the date has been decided, I always advise to send out invitations earlier than they think they need to because people do require plenty of notice, especially if they are coming from a distance. A ‘Save The Date’ card is a great idea but one should always give an RSVP date earlier than needed on the actual invitations – inevitably, some guests will have to be chased for their replies!” “As the saying goes, the devil is in the detail, and this is particularly true for a successful wedding. For example, I always ensure that the 114 Cotswold Homes Magazine

band arrives, sets up and sound tests in good time before the reception so that guests have a complete surprise and, especially if the bride and groom are getting married at the same venue, to ensure no one is disturbed during the ceremony or wedding breakfast. It’s the little things, the caring touches that help things along or will be remembered with fondness, such as allocating the flower table arrangements to family and friends at the end of the evening - a lovely surprise to take home. For example, providing little bags of colouring books and pencils for tiny children will help ease the boredom of speeches and distract them from bad behaviour!” “Whilst good planning will ensure a successful day, the couple should also be prepared for the unexpected and just remember that it is okay, not everything needs to be perfect down to the last

tiny detail. Inevitably, some arrangements will not go quite as anticipated on the day itself. The main thing is to relax and not to stress about the small stuff. Their loved ones, family and friends are there to be with them and won’t even notice any little hitches.” “Let someone else worry – the bride and groom deserve a happy, carefree few hours after all the months of planning and preparation. As a wedding planner, I can take the stress away for the couple at every stage from negotiating, coordinating and overseeing the various suppliers and contractors, to being responsible for the timing on the day. The very best part for me in my job is seeing the bride and groom able to enjoy those precious few hours without any sense of anxiety, stress or responsibility, blissfully happy and blissfully unaware!”

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From the moment you hear Michael Gambon’s deli owner Howard Mollison utter the words ‘junkies and plebs’ from his expansive antique bed, you know the knives are out for village politics in the BBC’s adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy.

Bellows of ‘my licence fee’ and ‘liberal propaganda’ issued forth from the nether-regions of rightlunging websites, while more moderate media portals urged viewers to take a less contentious view and instead enjoy a well-assembled drama as well as ogle all the pretty scenery.

But provincial politics have seeped out of the fictional village of Pagford and joined a broader quagmire: the eternal battle between Left and Right. Described by the Guardian as a mash-up between The Archers and Benefits Street, the drama scooped up an incredible 6.6 million viewers, but managed to ruffle some feathers in the process.

And what scenery it is. Filming locations included Stroud, Painswick, Minchinhampton and Northleach (where Gambon was spotted filming in pyjamas – his character Mollison’s deli is in real life the Black Cat café). The inhabitants of Painswick were particularly foxed (and many outraged) when what appeared to be a sex shop, ‘Samantha’s Boudoir’, opened up in the village, with some happily browsing customers turned away from what was ruefully explained to be a filming set. The Cotswolds have long been beloved by television crews (especially in recent years – see Wolf Hall, Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death and Father Brown) and they sure look stunning on screen. But we believe there could perhaps be a deeper connection between author and area here… Ever since the publication of the squillion-selling Potter books, UK towns and cities have tied themselves in knots claiming to have inspired the author. This writer feels our geographical area has a stronger claim than most: J.K. Rowling is, after all, a Gloucestershire girl (born in Yate in 1965). But is this the honour it at first seems to be? Beneath the honeyed façade, J.K.’s Pagford is a deeply divided place, with the Haves attempting to ‘lower the portcullis’ on the estate-dwelling, drug-taking Have Nots. And, if one suspiciously reads between the lines in the Harry Potter series, one might begin to see earlier, more furtively hidden slights. Take, for instance, the name of Hogwarts Headmaster Dumbledore’s childhood village: Mould-on-theWold. Is this a potshot at or a homage to our very own Stow-on-the-Wold – or merely a funny rhyme?

Painswick, where the sudden appearance of a sex shop flummoxed locals

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And what about the Dursley family, who so unwillingly foster the orphan Harry, forcing him to sleep underneath the stairs until his true people – the freewheeling wizards – arrive to whisk him away?


Burford, formerly home to Julia McKenzie


J.K. Rowling named this odious clan after a real-life Gloucestershire market town, close to Yate, bearing a name that the author thought ‘sounded dull and forbidding.’ Consider, also, the author’s insult of ‘Dursleyish’, which the website Harry Potter Lexicon defines as coming to represent traits such as ‘unimaginative, intolerant, fearful, repressed, bullying and prone to violence.’ Ouch. Such a bashing prompted blogger (and former Dursley resident) Ken Savage to pen an angry riposte entitled Why I hate J.K. Rowling or In Defence of Dursley, in which he details many of the town’s fine qualities (including ‘Madonna bought a house there but changed her mind’ and ‘Rose West, the

UK’s biggest serial killer was tried there’). ‘If it was London, Paris or New York getting the shaft in this way there would be an outcry, people would be protesting in the streets,’ writes Savage. ‘But no one cares about a little town in the middle of nowhere.’ Whether or not J.K. was attempting to ‘shaft’ the area of her birth, The Casual Vacancy actor Julia McKenzie, who plays Mrs Shirley Mollison, revealed the following to the Independent’s Gerard Gilbert: ‘I lived in the Cotswolds for about 14 years. In Burford, not too far from one of the villages where we filmed. Some people wanted to

provide a new notice board for the village and the arguments about whether it should have a glass front and so on – they argued for about two and a half years and it never got done.’ But we’re inclined to think The Casual Vacancy, in both printed and televised form, is more than a simple poke at the preserved, conservative villages that stud the English landscape. If Rowling’s story (the working title of which was Responsibility) is a clear political fable for our times, with boundary disputes a stand-in for the machinations of an austerity state and portcullislowering snobs, then we’re only too happy for the Cotswolds to serve as a microcosm for our troubled times. After all, it beats just being ‘a pretty place to live’ – and it makes for rather good television. www.cotswold-homes.com 117



‘A wit as thick as Tewkesbury mustard’ – so Shakespeare’s greatest fool Falstaff said of empty-headed lowlife Poins in Henry IV. It’s even said that Tewkesbury’s famous mustard balls were served up, gold-leafed and all, to the visiting King Henry VIII. The town’s fiery local horseradish root and cannonball-ground mustard flour made what is oft said to be the hottest condiment in the kingdom – figuratively and literally speaking. But it’s more than mustard that makes 120 Cotswold Homes Magazine

Tewkesbury so proud of its heritage. One of the most decisive battles of the War of the Roses – the Battle of Tewkesbury – took place here on the 4th May 1471, where the 5000-strong Yorkist forces met (and mullered) the House of Lancaster, who marginally outnumbered them. The Prince of Wales was found ‘cowering’ in a grove and was killed, whilst many Lancastrians sought refuge in Tewkesbury Abbey (the second largest parish church in the country, and a stirling example of Norman

architecture). The killings that subsequently occurred in its walls meant that it had to be closed for a month while it was cleansed and purified. During the Dissolution, the last abbot John Wakeman co-operated with the king’s forces and was later ordained as the first Bishop of Gloucester – but it was the people of Tewkesbury who truly saved their abbey, banding together and paying off the persecutors with £453 (the estimated sum that would have been made had the lead roof


been melted down). Who says that community activism doesn’t work? Today the Battle of Tewkesbury is commemorated by re-enactments that traditionally occur on the second weekend of every July. The Tewkesbury Medieval Festival draws battle-lovers from all across Europe, and it is one of the largest festivals of its kind. In 2014, The Battle was also honoured with the erection of two enormous horse sculptures that preside over the Stonehill Roundabout. Five metres tall and made from Gloucestershire green oak, the sculptures took fifteen years to plan and cost £65,000 to make – this sum raised by the Tewkesbury Battlefield Society. Today, Tewkesbury is well known for its timber-

framed Tudor buildings and its riverside strolls (a Walking With History tour is available for free download at www.visittewkesbury.info). The waters of the rivers Avon and Severn have shaped the town, and at one time two water mills stood here. But much of the past remains remembered: see the Tewkesbury Heritage Centre at 100 Church Street, where the history of the town – from earliest settlers on – is detailed. There are some very old drinking houses here – the Black Bear dates from 1308, and The Royal Hop Pole Hotel was mentioned in Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers. Cultural appetites are well catered for by The Roses Theatre, a popular arts centre with a bar and 370seat auditorium. Mixing art, film, comedy and entertainment, it brings a diverse programme to residents and visitors year on year.

THERE ARE SOME VERY OLD DRINKING HOUSES HERE – THE B L A C K B E A R D AT E S F R O M 1 3 0 8 , A N D T H E R O YA L H O P P O L E H O T E L WA S M E N T I O N E D I N D I C K E N S ’ T H E P I C K W I C K PA P E R S . The Roses Theatre also bears the distinction of being the last place to have hosted a performance by Eric Morecombe – the beloved comedian collapsed immediately after a charity appearance here in 1984 and was rushed to Cheltenham Hospital where he passed away. In honour of Morecombe’s final performance a conference room was named after him. There’s plenty to do in Tewkesbury. Museum and history lovers can also swing by the Tewkesbury Museum, situated in a Tudor house and also the John Moore Museum, which celebrates natural history alongside heritage (and don’t forget to take a trip to the Abbey and see the 12th century ceiling). Boat trips along the Avon are usually available from April to September. It’s a good spot for walkers, too, with access to the Gloucestershire, Severn and Cotswold Way trails (and the Sustrans route available for cyclists). Those who’d rather stick to the town will be rewarded with independent shops and a number of eateries. Ashchurch station provides rail access, with Tewkesbury town centre minutes away by bus. Try to when there’s a farmers & crafts market (second Saturday of every month) to fill your tum with artisan grub – or visit on Saturday 11th of April, where a Vintage Fair will indulge nostalgia lovers of all ages. More information about Tewkesbury is available at www.visittewkesbury.info

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of 20 seconds at 90% HR then 10 seconds of recovery, 8 times over 4 minutes. Performed on a stationary bike or concept II rower, 3 times a week will elevate your fitness dramatically.

CROSS COUNTRY running up and around muddy tracks, rugged pathways, over fences, sprinting up hills in fresh air 2-3 miles a time will improve endurance and stamina.


such as boxing, spinning and bodyweight are especially good to drive you forward when working within a vibrant group of like-minded fitness fanatics!


is one of the best forms of exercise to improve direct strength, pack on lean (non bulky) muscle and lose weight. 3 times a week of 60 minute total body workouts with a varied and balanced programme will see first class results.


– carrying sandbags, flipping tyres and sprint shuttles mixed with bodyweight exercises hit major muscle groups and add sizable gains in strength and stamina.

CROSSFIT or Cross Training classes inside the gym will create a lean and strong body composition with the added bonus of challenging yourself to exercises such as monkey bars, box jumps and a variety of lifts over time.





– ‘Obstacle course racing’ is becoming one of the most popular forms of outdoor exercise. Find a training ground, get practising and enter a crazy themed Muddy Run.

TRIATHLONS are in abundance, so if you like the idea if swimming,

cycling and running start with a sprint tri, you get into great shape and have a lot of fun doing it.


have always been at the centre of exercises and fitness, weight loss and stamina, so if you enjoy these sports add a little resistance training to your schedule and make huge gains in speed and power.

AGILITY BALANCE & CORE RACQUET & BALL sports are always great to build fitness, but will also improve proprioception, balance and co-ordinated movement.


has been around for some time but is excellent in balancing your body, understanding how to switch off and on relevant muscle groups when required. A must for any fitness enthusiast as a complementary workout or those who wish to regain correct movement & posture or those seeking a balanced class adding flexibility.

YOGA goes without saying that this ancient art will add flexibility and core stability to day to day life. Popular amongst sports men and women and not just for those needing relaxation.

Track your progress on one of many latest GPS/Training gadgets. Strava & Map My Run are great tools to use.



Dental Health

Matters Jaw Problems and Headaches

Dr Trevor Bigg, Milton Dental Practice BDS, MGDS RCS(Eng), FDS RCS(Ed), FFGDP(UK)

Did you know that 60% to 70% of us clench or grind our teeth, at night or during the day, perhaps when we’re driving or using a computer? Repeated clenching or grinding of teeth is called “bruxism” and this can have a profound effect on our mouths. What does ‘bruxism’ do to our mouths? Bruxism can affect: • Teeth – causing wear or fracture of enamel and restorations, and pain particularly with hot and cold foods or on biting • Gums – occasionally the bony support for the teeth can be loosened causing the teeth to rock • Chewing muscles – the chewing muscles work in pairs as a sling. Some are fixed from the lower border of the jaw to the cheekbones and some from the joints to the temples. If they’re stressed they go into spasm causing pain and it’s these muscles that can sometimes cause headaches, particularly first thing in the morning if you’ve been grinding at night. • Joints – causing pain around the joint in front of the ear, clicking or locking of the joint. These are “ball and socket” joints, with the balls at either end of the jaw and the sockets in the base of the skull. Because they are joined together there is double the potential for damage if the joints are stressed in any way. • Ears – one tiny chewing muscle is fixed to the inner ear. Spasm in this muscle can cause pain, deafness and tinnitus, or ringing in the ears 124 Cotswold Homes Magazine

“Headaches can have many causes, but as dental treatment is so simple it’s worth trying this first to see if they can be cured.” • Eyes – pressure from over-active muscles can cause pain behind the eye and fuzzy vision on waking.

How do we prevent jaw problems and headaches?

that’s worn at night. Headaches can have many causes, but as dental treatment is so simple it’s worth trying this first to see if they can be cured.

• Make small adjustments to relieve the bite on some teeth

If you want more information about the contents of the article, go to the British Dental Health Foundation web site at Tell Me About/Jaw problems and headaches, or contact Penny at Milton Dental Practice: 01993 831 396 or email penny@drbigg.com and come to see us for a consultation.

• Provide an appliance to wear. Initially this may be a small plastic prop made to fit over the front teeth to relax the muscles, but can be changed for a soft or hard plastic mouthguard

To accompany this article, we are offering a New Patient Examination at the reduced fee of £62.00 (normally £93.00) and a free Denplan Examination.

Depending on how bad your symptoms are the dentist may: • Give you a set of exercises to relax the jaw


The Meaning of

Easter Easter means more than just a bank holiday, writes Reverend Rachel Rosborough – it’s a story that touches on the whole wealth of human experience As we begin to see the spring flowers emerge through the frosty ground, as we hear the increased volume of birdsong around us and as the days lengthen and temperatures begin to rise, even a little, my thoughts begin to turn, as a Christian minister, to Easter. The signs that it is approaching are on their way all around us as winter turns to spring and as the shelves fill up with eggs and bunnies and chicks and lambs. Easter, what does it offer us? A long bank holiday weekend? A break from the school run? A chance to get back into eating chocolate having first given it up as a new year’s resolution and then again for Lent? Or something more?

“Easter is complex, deeply complex. While the message of Christmas can perhaps be summed up in a single snapshot – Immanuel, God with us – Easter needs a whole photo album.” of on Good Friday, to the silence of a dead body in a sealed tomb, we capture so much of human experience in this world.

Easter is complex, deeply complex. While the message of Christmas can perhaps be summed up in a single snapshot – Immanuel, God with us – Easter needs a whole photo album. There are different themes and chapters that together build to something quite epic. That is why there are often rather a lot of church services on offer in churches through Lent, Holy Week and Easter, a chance to pause at each bit of the story and reflect. And while the story itself may feel rather bewildering, set as it is in another time, another land, another culture, the themes are ones that are rather familiar.

The themes of joy and celebration, of friendship and love, of fear of the future, of betrayal, of pain, of apparent hopelessness and death are, no doubt, common to most of us. But the Easter story does not end with the sealed tomb. Friday has passed. Sunday has come. There is now an empty tomb. There is new hope, reconciliation and new life. The winter may have felt long and dark and hard but spring always comes and the shoots of a new season begin to emerge. Things don’t go back to how they were but there is a new chapter full of hope, a new season of life and growth. A new normal emerges.

As we travel from Jesus’ joyful and triumphant entry to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, to a meal with close, close friends on Maundy Thursday, to a betrayal and a denial, to the pain, injustice, political wrangling, forgiveness and death we read

The story we are invited to enter at Easter fleshes out the simple message of Christmas, God with us, as it captures so much of life, good and bad but sees God still at the heart of it all. It takes us to what appears to be an end, a

death, hopelessness, the extinguishing of a light but on through to the spring days of new life, of reconciliation and hope for always. Rev Rachel Rosborough Rector, Bourton on the Water with Clapton & the Rissingtons www.cotswold-homes.com 125

WHAT THE GAMEKEEPER SAW This striking portrait of a barn owl comes courtesy of Guiting Power-based gamekeeper Adam Tatlow, who will be exhibiting his work at the Lower Slaughter Gallery from the 22nd to the 28th of April. See more of Adam’s wildlife photography and order prints and cards online at www.cotswoldkeeperphotography.com

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Harrison James & Hardie, the leading specialist North Cotswolds residential estate agency, is proud to champion local jockey Sam Twiston-Davies Bourton on the Water High Street, Bourton on the Water, Glos GL54 2AN Tel: 01451 822977

Stow on the Wold Church Street, Stow on the Wold, Glos GL54 1BB Tel: 01451 833170

Moreton in Marsh High Street, Moreton in Marsh, Glos GL56 0AF Tel: 01608 651000

London Office Park Lane, Mayfair, London – 0207 079 1515 Lettings & Property Management – 01451 833170

harrisonjameshardie.co.uk From first time apartments to grand country homes, simply the best choice to market your Cotswold home Image kindly supplied by Racingfotos.com

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Cotswold Homes Spring 2015  

Swing into Spring with our 2015 special, in which we interview equestrian superstar Charlotte Dujardin, the chatelaine of Sudeley Castle Lad...

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