Castle Combe - The Prettiest Village in England

On our way back from Bath to London we elected to visit the 'prettiest village in England' - Castle Combe. As we drove over the rolling green hills surrounding the village revealing hidden stone buildings it looked like it had a pretty good shot at this title.

Castle Comb has been used for filming a number of famous movies, including most recently War Horse, and a favourite of mine - Stardust. It's easy to see why. The place is from straight out of a storybook, with cute little stone houses, cobbled streets, and climbing roses, all laid out around the old market square. We arrived in a mist of fine rain which lent its own special atmosphere to the village.

Down by the bridge.
Main street Castle Combe.
Near the market cross.

In the middle of the village is the old market cross erected in the 14th century when the town was granted the right to hold a weekly market. The town became quite prosperous due to an active wool trade. 

The market cross.

A Norman castle was sited on a hill behind the village built on the remains of an old Roman fort, but unfortunately nothing remains of the castle today.

Just off the main road by the market cross is St Andrew's church. It too was built in the medieval period and contains the tomb of Walter de Dunstaville who owned the castle. Above his effigy are carved the words 'Walterus de Dunstanville Baro dr Castlecombe 1270'.

St Andrew's Church.
Interior of St Andrew's Church.
Walter de Dunstanville 1270.
Inside the church is the Castle Combe Clock, which dates to some time in the 15th century. I'm quite a fan of clocks, and it was neat to see something so old still in action, even if it had been shifted and renovate in the 80s.
If you feed it 20p the lights will turn on and you can see how it works.

We stopped in a pub for one last drink before we all headed back to London, via KFC. But that's another story.


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