Arlington Row: Cotswold stone cottages
Bibury shown within Gloucestershire
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Bibury is a village and civil parish in Gloucestershire, England. It is on both banks of the River Coln which rises in the same (Cotswold) District and which is a Thames tributary. The village is centred 6.5 miles (10.5 km) northeast of Cirencester. Arlington Row here is a nationally notable architectural conservation area depicted on the inside cover of all United Kingdom passports. It is a main tourist destination for tourist visiting the traditional rural villages, tea houses and many ornate protected buildings of the Cotswold District, accordingly it is one of six places in the country featured in Mini-Europe, Brussels.
In the Domesday Book (1086), a record of survey done under William the Conqueror, the place is named Becheberie, and it is recorded that the lands and church in Bibury were held by St. Mary's Priory at Worcester, from whom it passed in 1130 to the Abbey of Osney, near Oxford: the Abbey continued to hold it until its dissolution in 1540.
The Church of England parish church of St Mary is very late Saxon with later additions and listed in the top of the three heritage/architecture categories, Grade I. Its main material is random (cobblestone) and coursed rubble limestone with a slate roof. It is formed of a nave with north and south aisles, south porch, north west tower and chancel, tower, arched doorways. There is an early canonical sundial on the south wall. From AD 1130 until the English Reformation during the sixteenth century, it was a peculier of Osney Abbey in Oxford. Adjacent to the church is the village primary school that was built in the 1850s. In 2015 the school had 43 pupils on its roll in two classes. On the Arlington (west) side of the village is Arlington Baptist Church, where a congregation has been meeting since the 1740s.
Late in the nineteenth century George Witts recounted the discovery of the Bibury Roman villa: "In the year 1880 a Roman villa was accidentally discovered in the parish of Bibury, about six miles northeast of Cirencester. Some Roman pottery, coins, remnants of tesselated pavements, &c., were found, but as no examination has yet taken place, no description of the building can be given."—George Witts, 1883 The site fills a small low meander downstream of the bridge on the Arlington, Bibury side. Bibury village proper, on the east bank, consists of approximately 40 homes and businesses, of which two are prominent hotels.
The village is known for its honey-coloured seventeenth century stone cottages with steeply pitched roofs, which once housed weavers who supplied cloth for fulling at nearby Arlington Mill. Until the 1980s, that building also housed the museum of Arlington Mill with a collection of period clothing, before it was shifted to Barnsley House. The Mill is now a private residence.
The place where the wool was hung to dry after being washed in Arlington Row, was known as "Rack Isle". Today, this water meadow and marshy area, which is seasonally flooded and surrounded by water from three sides, is an important habitat for water-loving plants and birds including Mallards, Coots, and Moorhens; it is also a National Trust Wildfowl Reserve.
The largest building in Bibury is Bibury Court, built in 1633 in the style of Jacobean architecture. It is a Grade I listed building, and was recently a hotel. The hotel has now closed permanently with its future unknown. The only hotel now in Bibury is "The Swan Hotel" which overlooks the River Coln.
Previously it was inhabited by Lord Sherborne when in 2008 it was bought by John Lister, of Shipton Mill organic flour. The village has a tennis court downstream of where the main road turns away to the north-west, close to the church and Bibury Court. Ablington Manor, on Potlicker's Lane, was built in 1590, and is also a Grade I listed building.
The picturesque Arlington Row cottages were built in 1380 as a monastic wool store. This was converted into a row of cottages for weavers in the seventeenth century. The cloth produced there was sent to Arlington Mill. Arlington Row is a popular visitor attraction, probably one of the most photographed Cotswold scenes, and was preserved by the Royal College of Arts. It has been used as a film and television location, most notably for the films Stardust and Bridget Jones's Diary.
The Coln, a tributary of Thames, flows in a very steep valley in Thames Basin terms south-eastwards. It flows alongside the midsection of Bibury (with Arlington)'s main street which doglegs to achieve this. Each side has a similar concentration and scale of development; each bank's development falls mainly in the Bibury conservation area which has an insightful district surveyor's statement for building owners and visitors.
The parish is approximately rectangular and stretches far to the rolling, elevated, north. It includes on outlying settlement, Ablington in the upper valley. At 300m from the village is Bibury Farm, 151m above Ordnance Datum, which is a similar elevation to much of the north. The south rises to a maximum of 141m on its periphery along Akeman Street a Roman road, before ascending further in other more distant lands. The valley floor within the Bibury boundary, north-west and south-east, ranges from 108m to 98m AOD.
The Coln, along with the Bibury Spring, supplies Bibury Trout farm, founded in 1902 by the famous naturalist Arthur Severn, to stock the local rivers and streams with the native Brown Trout. The hatchery spawns up to six million trout ova every year. Three medieval clusters are all interspersed by substantial grass making for a dense developed area compared to suburbs but not in terms of roads; a footbridge connects both sides (Arlington and Bibury) as well as various footpaths in all directions. Elevations vary widely even throughout the village parts, with the gentlest slope in the eastern escarpment of the Cotswold Hills for a mile or more in each direction taken by the main village road.
- "Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
- Croome, W.I. (1992). A Short History of St Mary's Bibury. Gloucester: The British Printing Company Ltd. OCLC 78092632.
- Historic England. "Bibury Church (Grade I) (1155770)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
- Verey, David (1970). The Buildings of England: Gloucestershire: The Cotswolds. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 106–112. ISBN 0-14-071040-X.
- "Bibury Church of England Primary School:OFSTED Report 2015" (PDF). Retrieved 18 February 2016.
- "Arlington Baptist Church Website". Arlington Baptist Church. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- Witts, George (1883). Archaeological Handbook of the County of Gloucester. Cheltenham: G. Norman. Retrieved 6 November 2009.
- Scheduled Ancient Monument official listing. Historic England. "Site of Roman Villa near Bibury Mill (1003357)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
- Gibbs, J.A. (1898). A Cotswold Village. VCH Glos. p. 23.
- "Gloucestershire - History - Day Out: The South East Cotswolds". BBC. Jan 2009. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- "Top 15 unusual buildings for sale: 02". Daily Telegraph.
- "Bibury". National Trust. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- "Domesday Reloaded: Wildlife On Rack Isle, Bibury". BBC. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- Dalton, Nick (2012). Frommer's England and the Best of Wales. Wiley.
- Fiona Duncan. "Bibury Court hotel, Cotswolds, Gloucestershire: review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- "Hotel review: Bibury Court, near Cirencester, Gloucestershire". Daily Mail. 16 December 2011. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- IMDB Website
- Documents related to Bibury Conservation Area Retrieved 27 January 2015
- "Bibury Trout Farm Website". Biburytroutfarm.co.uk. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- "The CotsWolds:Horse Racing". Thecotswoldgateway.co.uk. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 5 May 2000. Retrieved 19 April 2009.
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