cotswold games drawing used as frontipiece
Cotswold Games

1644 – Cancellation of Dover’s Games!

A year before the burning of old Campden House, in early June, King Charles and his army were in Moreton, then they set off for Broadway and Evesham over Dover’s Hill. The parliamentary army was following them closely through Broadway. The king left Evesham. The Roundheads moved in, then moved out again. The king came back and his quartermasters saw their chance. One of the main products of Evesham was stockings so they came away with 1000 pairs. I rather doubt if they paid full price for them – anyway then it was back to Oxford by way of Dover’s Hill. No wonder Dover’s Games were cancelled! This was one of the few times that the Games weren’t held apart from the Commonwealth period, until Victoria’s reign. Both armies sent foragers out as they went by, so Campden people would have had to hide their stores and goods.

1696 – Visit of Celia Fiennes

Celia Fiennes, the granddaughter of the first Viscount Saye & Sele of Broughton Castle near Banbury, spent many of her summers touring England on horseback. She had such an endless supply of relatives conveniently placed around the country that she hardly ever needed to stay at an inn. In 1696 she rode up to Campden from Weston-sub-Edge, where her cousin Pheramus Fiennes was rector. She writes: ‘A mile from thence is a very high hill from whence I could see a great distance, Warwick and Coventry and a large tract of Land all round; att the foote of this hill lyes Camden Town (sic) which I went through; its built all of stone as is the Church which is pretty, for such a little town it is large; I went to see the Effigie of the little Viscountess Camden that lived to a great age and was Mother to the Earle of Gainsborough; its cut out in white marble and stands in an arch with two leav’d doores to it, to keep it from the dust; from thence to Brailes and thence to Broughton to my brother Say.’

18th June 1815 – the Battle of Waterloo

William Baylis of Chipping Campden took part in the Battle of Waterloo on the 18th June. If we can believe the 1851 census that says he was 57, then he would have been 21 years old in 1815. Fortunately, he came back from the war safe and sound. His daughter, Polly Waine, born in about 1840, died in 1937.

1887 – Victoria’s Golden Jubilee

The Chipping Campden Parish Council met to decide how to commemorate the occasion of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. The Vicar was in the chair and all the town dignitaries and many other folk were present at this very solemn meeting. Laurence Housman tells the story in The Unexpected Years about one of the many suggestions made. ‘Then up rose a local farmer, and spoke these words: “Well, Mr Chairman, we all know as how her gracious Majesty has been very useful to the country for many years; so what we should want to be putting up to her memory is something that will go on being useful to us here. Now what we in Campden most wants, I say, is a public urinal …”’

Shouts of laughter drowned the rest of his speech. The vicar managed to restore order and ‘tactfully remarked, “I think we will pass on to the next suggestion.”’

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