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Winchcombe is located in Gloucestershire
Location within Gloucestershire
OS grid referenceSP025285
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtGL54
Dialling code01242
AmbulanceSouth Western
UK Parliament
List of places
51°57′18″N 1°57′54″W / 51.955°N 1.965°W / 51.955; -1.965Coordinates: 51°57′18″N 1°57′54″W / 51.955°N 1.965°W / 51.955; -1.965

Winchcombe (/ˈwɪnkəm/) is a Cotswold town in the local authority district of Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, England. Its population according to the 2011 census was 4,538.

Early history[edit]

Part of the main street

The Belas Knap Neolithic long barrow on Cleeve Hill above Winchcombe, dates from about 3000 BC.[1] In Anglo-Saxon times, Winchcombe was a major place in Mercia favoured by Coenwulf,[2] the others being Lichfield and Tamworth. In the 11th century, the town was briefly the county town of Winchcombeshire. The Anglo-Saxon saint St Kenelm is believed to be buried there.

During the Anarchy of the 12th century, a motte-and-bailey castle was erected in the early 1140s for the Empress Matilda, by Roger Fitzmiles, 2nd Earl of Hereford, but its exact site is unknown.[3] It has been suggested that it was to the south of St Peter's Church.

In the Restoration period, Winchcombe was noted for cattle rustling and other lawlessness, caused in part by poverty. In an attempt to earn a living, local people grew tobacco as a cash crop, though this practice had been outlawed since the Commonwealth period. Soldiers were sent in at least once to destroy the illegal crop.[4]

Notable buildings[edit]

In Winchcombe and its vicinity can be found Sudeley Castle and the remains of Hailes Abbey, once one of the main places of pilgrimage in England, due to a phial possessed by the monks that was said to contain the Blood of Christ.[5] Nothing remains of the former Winchcombe Abbey. St Peter's Church in the centre of the town is noted for its grotesques.

Winchcombe has a Michelin star restaurant at 5 North Street.[6]

Several buildings around Sudeley Hill are Grade II listed.[7]

Notable people[edit]

In birth order:


Winchcombe is crossed by seven long-distance footpaths: The Cotswold Way, the Gloucestershire Way, the Wychavon Way, St Kenelm's Trail, St Kenelm's Way,[9] the Warden's Way and the Windrush Way. Winchcombe became a member of the Walkers are Welcome network of towns in July 2009 and now holds a walking festival every May.

Public transport[edit]

A bus service connects the town to Cheltenham, Broadway, Willersey and further afield on special services.[10]

Winchcombe railway station

Winchcombe was served by a railway line that was opened in 1906 by the Great Western Railway. It ran from Stratford-upon-Avon to Cheltenham, as part of a main line from Birmingham to the South West and South Wales. Winchcombe railway station and most others on the section closed in March 1960.[11] Through passenger services continued on the line until March 1968 and goods until 1976, when a derailment at Winchcombe damaged the line and it was decided not to bring the section back into use.[12] By the early 1980s it had been dismantled. The stretch between Toddington and Cheltenham Racecourse, including Winchcombe, has since been reconstructed and reopened as the heritage Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway.[13] It was extended to Broadway in spring 2018. A new station has been opened at Winchcombe on its original site, the building transferred there being the former (Troy) railway station.[14] Nearby is the 693-yard/634 m Greet Tunnel, the second longest on a preserved line in Britain.


An electoral ward in the same name exists. This ward stretches from Alderton in the north to Hawling in the south. The total ward population at the 2011 census was 6,295.[15]


Winchcombe has a primary school and a secondary school, Winchcombe School. The latter is in Greet Road, east of the town centre. Winchcombe Abbey Church of England Primary School lies near the town centre in Back Lane, next to Winchcombe Library and Cowl Lane.


A community radio station called Radio Winchcombe launched in April 2005 began broadcasting for 20 days a year (10 days every 6 months).[16] Full-time broadcasting was approved in December 2011 by Ofcom,[17] and began on 18 May 2012.

Winchcombe Town F.C. plays in the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League.[18]


  1. ^ "English Heritage. Retrieved 21 April 2020". Archived from the original on 16 May 2020. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  2. ^ Mercia: An Anglo-Saxon Kingdom in Europe, Michelle P. Brown, Carol A. Farr ISBN 0-8264-7765-8
  3. ^ David Walker (1991) Gloucestershire Castles Archived 13 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Archived 13 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine in Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, 1991, Vol. 109, p. 15.
  4. ^ Pepys's Diary, 19 September 1667.
  5. ^ Sacred Destinations Archived 29 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine Abbey site.
  6. ^ Norman, Matthew (19 November 2013). "5 North St, Gloucestershire, restaurant review". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 7 October 2014. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  7. ^ "Listed buildings in Winchcombe. Retrieved 22 May 2020". Archived from the original on 26 August 2020. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  8. ^ Dent, Emma (1877). Annals of Winchcombe and Sudeley. John Murray. Archived from the original on 28 July 2020. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  9. ^ "Long Distance Walkers Association guide". Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
  10. ^ "606 - Chipping Campden - Willersey - Winchcombe - Bishop's Cleeve - Cheltenham". Bus Times. Archived from the original on 26 August 2020. Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  11. ^ Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Yeovil: Patrick Stephens Ltd. p. 251. ISBN 1-85260-508–1 Check |isbn= value: invalid character (help). R508.
  12. ^ "Honeybourne Line". The Restoration & Archiving Trust. Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  13. ^ "Winchcombe". GWSR. Archived from the original on 19 July 2020. Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  14. ^ "Winchcombe Station". GWSR. Archived from the original on 19 July 2020. Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  15. ^ "Ward population 2011". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  16. ^ "Winchcombe Radio". Archived from the original on 10 March 2007. Retrieved 15 February 2007.
  17. ^ "Ofcom awards four new community radio licences". Ofcom. Archived from the original on 11 August 2017. Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  18. ^ "Gloucestershire Northern Senior League". Archived from the original on 20 May 2009. Retrieved 31 August 2018.

External links[edit]

Following the Cotswold Way
Chipping Campden
13.5 km (8.4 mi) to
19 km (12 mi) to