Bridge over the River Windrush
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|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Bourton-on-the-Water is a village and civil parish in Gloucestershire, England, that lies on a wide flat vale within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The village had a population of 3,296 at the 2011 census. Much of the village centre is a designated Conservation Area.
Bourton-on-the-Water's high street is flanked by long wide greens and the River Windrush that runs through them. The river is crossed by five low, arched stone bridges. They were built between 1654 and 1953, leading to the nickname of "Venice of the Cotswolds".
There are three churches, Parish of Our Lady and Saint Kenelm Catholic Church, Bourton-on-the-Water Baptist Church and St Lawrence, Church of England. The latter is usually open to visitors during the week. It is a Grade II listed building. A part of it was built in the 14th century but major modifications were made in the 1780s and in the late 1800s.
Educational institutions include Bourton-on-the-Water Primary School and the Cotswold School, a co-educational comprehensive school.
An electoral ward of the same name exists and includes Cold Aston in addition to Bourton. The total population of the ward at the 2011 census was 3,676. The village itself had 3,296 people; the estimated population in mid-2016 was 3,482.
Bourton-on-the-Water parish is bounded by the Fosse Way along the northwest, while the eastern boundary is defined by a series of brooks, namely Slaughter Brook, the River Dikler and the River Windrush. The southern boundary is associated with a watercourse that runs between Bourton Hill and Broadwater Bottom.
The earliest evidence of human activity within the Bourton-on-the-Water area was found in the Slaughter Bridge gravel-spread, where Neolithic pottery (dated c. 4000 B.C.) was discovered. Moreover, excavations of the Salmonsbury Camp give evidence of almost continuous habitation through the Neolithic period, the Bronze Age and throughout England's Roman period (c. 43 to 410 A.D.). A Roman road, Icknield Street (also known as Ryknild Street), ran from the Fosse Way at Bourton-on-the-Water to Templeborough in South Yorkshire. Ancient Roman pottery and coins discovered in the village itself give clear evidence of extended Roman occupation. By the 11th century a Christian church, Norman, was established and the village had developed along the River Windrush much as it is today. Centuries earlier, a Saxon timber church was located on that site in about AD 708, built on the site of an old Roman temple. Some of the St Lawrence church on that site today was built in the 14th century but most of it is from the 17th and 18th centuries.
The village was served by a passenger railway between 1862 and 1962. Tourism did not become a significant factor in the village until the 1920s and 1930s. The Model Village opened in 1937. There was a significant increase in the population between 1931 and 1951.
Following the formation of the Territorial Force in 1908, the town, for recruiting, was granted to the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars. Following this formation the regiment maintained a troop from B Squadron. Today the regiment, now a squadron of The Royal Wessex Yeomanry, continues to recruit from this area.
The houses and shops in the village are constructed of the ashlar yellow limestone characteristic of the Cotswolds and they have the embellishments that make Cotswold architecture so picturesque: projecting gables, string-courses, windows with stone mullions, dripmoulds and stone hoodmoulds over the doors.
English Heritage designates 114 buildings within Bourton-on-the-Water; all have Grade II or Grade II* listed status. (Grade II* indicates particularly important buildings of more than special interest.)
Bourton has a number of tourist attractions:
- During the summer, a game of medieval football is played with goalposts set up in the River Windrush itself. Two teams play with a standard football and a referee attempts to keep order. Crowds line the banks of the river and the aim is to score as many goals as possible (while getting everyone else as wet as possible).
- The model village is a 1:9 replica of the village and includes a model of the model village itself (a model within a model). It was built by local craftsmen in the 1930s, and opened in 1937. The model village was awarded Grade II listed status in 2013 in recognition of its uniquely precise details and the genuine building materials and methods used, which replicate those used in the construction of the life-size village.
- The model railway
- The Cotswold Motoring Museum (home of Brum)
- Birdland Park and Gardens, which has a collection of birds, including penguins, parrots and passerine (perching) birds and a large pond full of salmon which can be fed by the public. There are bird-of-prey displays and a penguin feeding demonstration.
- The Dragonfly Maze, designed by Kit Williams
- On the fourth Sunday of each month, there is a farmers' market
- Oasis' music video "I'm Outta Time" was recorded in the town, and shows Liam Gallagher walking in the countryside of the area, and in the model village and the town.
Bourton-on-the-Water was first served by rail with the opening of the Bourton-on-the-Water railway in 1862. This was a branch line from Kingham on the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway (OWWR). The station was situated just to the north of the village. The OWWR (and its branch) later amalgamated with the Great Western Railway (GWR) and, in 1881, the branch was extended westwards and formed part of the GWR's Banbury and Cheltenham Direct Railway. The station closed to passengers in 1962 and to goods in 1964.
The closest operating railway station now is in Moreton-in-Marsh. The heritage Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway uses part of the route of the former Great Western Railway's main line in the Cotswolds; it does not pass through the village.
- Actor Wilfrid Hyde-White was born in Bourton-on-the-Water in 1903
- Racing cyclist Sharon Laws, who competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics, grew up in the village.
- Major-general Dudley Johnson, British Army officer and Victoria Cross recipient, was born here in 1884 and fought in the First World War (1914–18).
- Composer Edwin Ransford.
- "Parish population 2011". Archived from the original on 1 September 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
- "Conservation Area Statement" (PDF). Cotswold District Council. Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 July 2018. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
- "History of Bourton-on-the-Water". Cotswolds Info. Archived from the original on 21 June 2017. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
- "Local Plan". Cotswold District Council. Archived from the original on 7 November 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
- "12 tiny villages which are drowning in tourists". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 16 July 2018. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
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- "Roman Wickhamford". The Badsey Society. Archived from the original on 17 July 2018. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
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- Westlake, Ray (2011). The Territorials : 1908–1914 : a guide for military and family historians. Barnsley, South Yorkshire. pp. 19, 50, and 119. ISBN 9781848843608. OCLC 780443267.
- "Tourist Information Guide". Cotswolds Info. Archived from the original on 17 July 2018. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
- "The Most Sustainable Principal Settlements: Bourton-on-the-Water". Cotswold Local Plan. Cotswold District Council. 2001. Archived from the original on 7 November 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
- Historic England. "Scheduled Monuments (1017340)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
- "Listed Buildings". Archived from the original on 17 July 2018. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
- "Listed Buildings". English Heritage. Archived from the original on 17 July 2018. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
- "Things to Do in Bourton-on-the-Water". TripAdvisor. Archived from the original on 17 July 2018. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
- The Old New Inn website: the Model Village Archived 3 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
- Marshall, Brian Robert (8 May 2013). "Model Village, Model Village, Model Village, The Old New Inn, Bourton-on-The-Water". Geograph.
- Davies, Caroline (19 April 2013). "Bourton-on-the-Water model village gets Grade II listed status". The Guardian.
- Bourton Rovers Archived 14 October 2019 at the Wayback Machine, Hellenic League. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
- Burt A. Folkart (7 May 1991). "Wilfrid Hyde-White; English Actor of Stage, Films, TV". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 9 December 2015. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
- Hall, Danny (23 June 2016). "Olympian Sharon Laws from Bourton enjoying her farewell season with Podium Ambition". South Wales Argus. Archived from the original on 17 September 2016. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
- "Dudley G Johnson VC". VC Online. Archived from the original on 1 September 2020. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
- Grove, George (1900). Wikisource. – via
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