A hill-top town and famous as a centre for antiques, Stow has a long history and probably dates from a prehistoric fortified settlement on top of the hill. The Roman Fosse Way from Cirencester to Leicester passes through it, although the town is mostly off to one side, reflecting its establishment as another of the planned market towns for which the Cotswolds is renowned.
The Market Square is large and still impressive. Surrounded by houses, shops and inns all built in the local stone, it gives the feeling of being the focus of town life over many centuries. Indeed it was host to some of the Cotswolds’ largest sheep fairs, with up to 20,000 sheep herded into the square for sale. The medieval market cross is a reminder of those times.
St Edward's Church
Stow has a special importance in the English Civil War. It was close by at Donnington that the last battle was fought in March 1646. St Edward’s Church in the town centre was used as a prison for the defeated Royalist troops and was damaged as a result. Repaired and restored over many years, it remains a fine building in the Cotswold tradition.
At nearly 800ft above sea level, Stow is the highest of the Cotswold towns, approached uphill from all directions. It is well worth the climb.
Map and directions
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