The Historic Homes, Hamlets, and Villages of the Cotswolds

by Debby Jagerman-Dungan
( September 16th, 2014 )

Cotswolds Homes Villages Honey Colored Cotswold Stone Wisteria

“We thank Thee for the harvest of the grasses, the humble hay, and the corn that gives the bread we daily ask for. For the trees that grow us logs for winter and seasoned wood.” – The Cotswold Prayer of Praise

Cotswolds Honey Colored Stone

“Would you like to take a look inside our home and have a cup of tea,” we were asked as we were reading the “Calcot Visitor Information,” a sign telling us about the history of Calcot, a tiny hamlet in the Cotswolds. Consisting of 20 old cottages that date back to the 16th century, in 1327 it was recorded that Calcot had 12 tax payers.

“Our home was built in 1600, with some additions done in 1750,” she continued, “and I would love to show you around.” We had just glanced at some old photographs of Calcot that were also on display at the visitor information area, which was literally located in an old red BT telephone box.

Cotswold Stone

“Yes, of course. We would love to look at your home and have some tea please. Thank you so very much,” we replied, as we looked at each other with fascination and gratefulness. I couldn’t believe that my husband and I were just invited to go inside one of these historical homes – one of the many historical homes that we had already been fascinated with as we were walking through no-less-than 39 hamlets, villages, and towns in our 12 days in the Cotswolds.

Cotswold Honey Colored Stone

So in this tiny hamlet of Calcot, in the Parish of Coln St. Denis, we were taken into this home and given a tour of their gardens, and all the rooms in the house, telling us what was the original building from 1600, and what had been “updated” in 1750. Even a tree in their yard dated back to these centuries. We learned that some of the characteristics of the homes built at that time that are still evident today are the walls that are several feet thick and the wooden beams in the ceilings.

Cotswolds Honey Colored Stone Villages

We also learned that many of these historical homes are given a “Grade.” For example, this particular home was a Grade II, meaning that because of its historical value, permission is needed to make any changes to the house.

Cotswolds Homes Villages

After spending an hour with the family, drinking tea, seeing their home, and sharing stories of our respective countries and lives, we thanked them for such an authentic visit into a home. Something not planned, not on our itinerary. I love these moments when traveling. This picture below is the home we visited in Calcot. (Please note that the pictures above are not from the hamlet of Calcot, but are random pictures from other villages in the Cotswolds.)

Cotswolds Honey Colored Homes Calcot Hamlet

What is also very characteristic of this home in Calcot, and most all of the houses, barns, stone walls, and wool churches throughout the Cotswolds is the material they are made out of, “Costwold stone.” A Jurassic limestone, rich in fossils, it gives most buildings its honey-colored look, as you see in the photos that I have included in this blog. Although some buildings might look more golden-colored, or even more brown or pearly white in color, depending on the area of the Cotswolds you are in, but all coming from this similar type of stone. Even the homes and cottages built in Calcot are all made of “rubble construction with Cotswold stone roofs,” as we read earlier from the visitor information.

During our days in the Cotswolds, we definitely noticed the honey and golden colors. We even saw several rock quarries as we walked where they still quarry for the Costwold stone. I think some of my favorite buildings were those that had plants and flowers, such as wisteria or roses, climbing the walls. They made for a nice color combination between the Cotswold stone colors, and the splashes of purple, pink, red, or other colors.

Cotswolds Homes Villages Honey Colored Flowers

Cotswolds Homes Villages Honey Colored Roses

Cotswolds Homes Villages Honey Colored Flowers

Cotswolds Homes Villages Honey Colored Flowers

Cotswolds Homes Villages Honey Colored Flowers

These Almshouses, in the picture below, located near St. James’ Church in Chipping Campden, were originally built in 1612 to accommodate six poor men and six poor women, and are still used today to house the elderly. They “remain much as they were, apart from the addition of a modern kitchen and bathroom.”*

Cotswolds Chipping Campden Almshouses

This building with a sign saying “The School House,” is the Temple Guiting Church of England School. Built of late Victorian style, it too is built of Cotswold stone.**

Cotswolds Temple Guiting Church of England School

This row of honey-colored homes and the “Bakery and Groceries” is from the village of Guiting Power:

Cotswolds Guiting Power

This one from the village of Naunton (obviously):

Cotswolds Naunton Honey Colored Stone

I believe this picture is a row of the oldest buildings in Painswick:

Cotswolds Painswick

Another interesting style we noticed throughout the Cotswolds was homes with thatched roofs. This particular house we happened to walk by the same day as the house in Calcot, in another hamlet called Winson. While we weren’t invited into this home, we still had a nice conversation with the owners. They told us that at night they can occasionally hear mice scurrying around in the roof.

Cotswolds Thatched Roof Winson

And here is the entire village of Blockley:

Cotswolds Village of Blockley

Although not really the theme of this blog, I thought I would include a picture of that old red BT telephone box anyway, which was just as historical and fascinating as the honey-colored historic homes, hamlets, and villages of the Cotswolds. Not only did it contain the “Calcot Visitor Information” sign, it also was a miniature book swap and library. In fact, I think that the next blog that I write about the Cotswolds will be on the many old red BT telephone boxes we saw during our days walking in the Cotswolds.

Cotswolds Calcot Visitor Information Red BT Telephone Box

Sweet Travels!

For other blogs from our Cotswolds travels including the churches, the scenery, and the sheep, please visit my Cotswolds category,

*Chipping Campden History Society – The Almshouses

**Temple Guiting Church of England School – The School

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The Bright Yellow Fields of Rapeseed in Bloom in the Cotswolds

by Debby Jagerman-Dungan
( September 4th, 2014 )

“We thank Thee for those who laid out the field, marked out the farms, cleared the ditches and made the roads.” From “The Cotswold Prayer of Praise”

Cotswolds Rapeseed Fields

Cotswolds Rapeseed Fields

Back in the month of May this year, my husband and I walked through the green rolling hills of the Cotswolds countryside, visiting churches and villages, strolling through pastures of sheep and horses and cows, and enjoying the various landscapes of big trees, farms with crops, flowers and gardens, open grassy areas, forests, and rivers and streams. To add a large splash of color to the scenery, occasionally we would see in the distance, or literally walk right next to, seas of bright yellow fields of rapeseed in bloom.

Cotswolds Rapeseed Fields

Cotswolds Rapeseed Fields

Cotswolds Rapeseed Fields

The black seeds of the yellow rapeseed plant are used to make cooking oils, sometimes labeled as vegetable oil, canola oil, or rapeseed oil. Related to the broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower family, there apparently might be some health benefits to rapeseed oil, such as being a source of vitamin E, a natural antioxidant. Rapeseed is the third most important crop grown in the UK, after wheat and barley.*

Cotswolds Rapeseed Fields

Cotswolds Rapeseed Fields

Cotswolds Rapeseed Fields

Now I have always been partial to bright yellow fields of sunflowers in bloom, but I must say, that I am definitely impressed by the bright yellow fields of rapeseed in bloom that we saw walking in the Cotswolds.

Cotswolds Rapeseed Fields

Cotswolds Rapeseed Fields

Cotswolds Rapeseed Fields

Cotswolds Rapeseed Fields

Sweet Travels!

For other blogs from our Cotswolds travel, including the various landscapes, churches, and sheep, please visit my Cotswolds category.

*Some information for this blog obtained from Rapeseed Oil Benefits.

 

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Skill-Building at the Burrows Island Lighthouse Restoration

by Debby Jagerman-Dungan
( August 27th, 2014 )

Burrows Island Lighthouse

“Come out and help restore Burrows Island Lighthouse this summer! We’re gearing up to make huge strides this season and we have projects for every skill level, from beginner to master carpenter, [from] novice tasks [to] advanced tasks.”

Burrows Island Light Station

I emailed Kitty McKoon-Hennick, of the Northwest Schooner Society, and the woman behind the restoration of Burrows Island Lighthouse, and asked if I could sign up to volunteer as a beginner/novice, as I don’t have any carpenter or contracting experience. She basically responded, “No worries. Perfect opportunity for some skill-building.”

Burrows Island Lighthouse

So for two weekends this summer I volunteered to help restore the Lighthouse, the Keepers’ Quarters, and the Boat House of Burrows Island. I brought along my work gloves, a few tools, and my attitude that I was going to learn something new, and do something useful.

Burrows Island Light Station

My first task…well this was not that new for me, but definitely helpful – tearing out blackberry bushes and other invasive plants. This actually required two pairs of work gloves to protect my hands from those nasty thorns. Throughout the two weekends, I basically did some yard work.

Then for my new skill-building…putting up tar paper and insulation on a wall that would become a bathroom in the Boat House. Cutting and stapling and fitting the pieces. Kind of like a puzzle. Climbing a ladder to reach the high parts near the ceiling. Thinking how cool this was that I was making a place warm. That was the first weekend I volunteered. By the time I went back, a composting toilet was installed in the area I insulated, so what I did was being put to good use.

Burrows Island Lighthouse Painting

Burrows Island Lighthouse Painting

I have painted before in my life, so my next task wasn’t total skill-building, but what made the painting I did great fun was using the same green color paint that had been used to paint the window frames over 100 years ago, as the Burrows Island Lighthouse and Keepers’ Quarters were built back in 1906. (Well, I know it wasn’t the same exact can of paint used, but it is the same color.) Before I painted, I needed to prime some of the window frames as well. What I also loved about this job was the scenery. I was on the deck of the Boat House overlooking the water of Rosario Strait, the hillside of Burrows Island, and the islands beyond. Listening to the small waves roll in, hearing the boats go by, and eavesdropping in on the sounds of birds. What a relaxing way to do some painting.

Burrows  Island Lighthouse Keepers Quarters

I also carried some wood from one area to another so that the advanced carpenters could start rebuilding part of a roof that was rotting. I helped tear out a few old floor tiles and wall coverings (more skill-building). And I took pictures.

Burrows  Island Lighthouse Keepers Quarters

With the help of my husband, we took down an old information sign about the lighthouse, and put up a new one. My husband did tasks like mowing the grass, lots of invasive plant removal, unloading and carrying supplies and tools, and some exploring for creating a new trail up the hillside behind the lighthouse. One of the weekends, one of my sisters joined us to help out as well, and to learn some skill-building herself.

Burrows Island Light Station New Sign

Burrows Island Light Station Information Sign

I love lighthouses, so much so, that I have been known to travel just to see lighthouses, and I even got married at one. And by doing this volunteering, it is a fantastic way for me to get more up close and personal with these buildings and lifestyles that so intrigue me. Also, being able to camp out next to the buildings on an island under the two full moons we had this summer put the icing on the cake to my skill-building weekends at the Burrows Island Lighthouse.

Burrows Island Lighthouse Tent

Burrows Island Lighthouse Sunset

Sweet Travels!

If you are interested in volunteering next summer to help restore the Burrows Island Lighthouse, whether a novice or an expert, please contact Kitty McKoon-Hennick at kitty@nwschooner.com. (Tell her Debby sent you!)

Here is a link for more information as well: Burrows Island Lighthouse-Northwest Schooner Society

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