The Cotswolds Guide


Stanton seems to have remained oblivious to its own perfection. Although this small village is nothing short of idyllic there are no shops and no guesthouses, no busloads of tourists and no olde worlde tea rooms. The Mount Pub, which serves local Donnington Ale and has spectacular views across the vale of Evesham and towards the Malvern Hills and the Welsh Mountains, is Stanton's only commercial enterprise. The pub attracts mostly hikers, due to its location at the bottom of a steep access to the Cotswold Way.

The village, which is situated on the lower slopes of Shenbarrow Hill, can be easily explored in under an hour. A long main street is lined with picturesque sixteenth and seventeenth century Cotswold stone cottages, many featuring the mullioned windows, steep gables and thatched roofs that have given the Cotswold region such a distinctive character.

The village was carefully restored by the architect Sir Philip Scott, who lived at Stanton Court between 1906 and 1937. Stanton Court is a fine Jacobean house built by the chamberlain to Queen Elizabeth I.

John Wesley is said to have preached in the church of St Michael and All Angels and it contains many interesting features including medieval pews with scarred ends possibly caused by the leashes from shepherd's dogs. Stained glass from Hailes Abbey has been added to with more modern stained glass designed by Sir Ninian Comper, a Scottish-born architect who specialised in church fittings and furniture, especially glass.

Perhaps the most interesting building associated with this particular village is the Stanton Guildhouse. The Guildhouse, which aims to provide a space for arts and crafts training, was set up by Mary Osborn. Osborn met Mahatma Gandhi while working at a centre for the poor in the East End of London and was inspired by Gandhi's descriptions of the ashrams he had founded in India. She became determined to set up something similar in England, only dedicated to the instruction of traditional crafts. Osborn set up a charitable trust and with the help of volunteers, both local and international, built the house using reclaimed materials including paving stones from the streets of London and oak from Blenheim Palace. Mary remained in contact with Gandhi throughout her life and on her sixty third birthday he presented her with a spinning wheel. It has pride of place in the central room today. Mary died in 1996 and the house passed into the hands of the trustees who continue to run it in the spirit in which Mary intended. Each year courses take place including pottery, patchwork, quilting, art, woodwork, calligraphy, woodturning, creative writing, stained glass making and furniture restoration. The house was protected as a listed building in 1999.

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