A Brief History of Stanton
Facts About Stanton
- Stanton's name is probably derived from "Stone Town"
- Stanton appears in the Domesday Book of 1086
- Stanton is in Gloucestershire, not Worcestershire
- Most of its older buildings were built around 400 years ago
- Its church was built in the 12th century and is Grade-I listed
- Stanton became linked by railway to Cheltenham and Stratford in 1904
- The village was extensively renovated by Sir Philip Stott between 1906 & 1937
- A large proportion of the wheat used in Wharburton's bread is grown in the fields around Stanton
- Evidence of the medieval "ridge and furrow" farming system is still visible, especially to the south on the Cotswold Way
- c.2500 BCE: Settlements in this area
- c.700 BCE: Shenberrow Hillfort
- 811 CE: Winchcombe Abbey consecrated. Stanton & Snowshill ceded to it
- 1085 CE: Domesday Book
- 1539 CE: Building of present church
- 1543 CE: Dissolution of Winchombe Abbey
- c.1555 CE: Stanton granted to Katherine Parr. Reverts to Crown on her death
- c.1555 CE: Stanton granted to John Eliot, who sells it to Thomas Dolman
- 1577 CE: Warren family buy land and build/extend Warren House (The Manor)
- c.1600 CE: Building of the present village
- c.1725 CE: John Wesley becomes a frequent visitor
- c.1820 CE: Rectory rebuilt
- 1897 CE: Donnington Brewery buy "The Bank", later to becopme "The Mount"
- 1906 CE: Philip Stott buys greater part of village, initiating 30 years of development
- 1937 CE: Death of Sir Philip Stott
- 1947 CE: The Mount gains its licence to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises
- 1949 CE: Sale of Stott estate
- 1973 CE: Guildhouse opens
- 1975 CE: Jill Carenza opens Cotswolds Riding
An Introduction to its History and People
Had John Wesley won the hand of Miss Kirkham the rector's daughter, the history of Stanton, and the world, may
well have been different.
It was not to be, and the village resumed the simple tenor of maybe a thousand years.
As early as 2500 BCE, there was limited agriculture in this area, and the Belas Knap long barrow at Winchcombe relates to this period.
In Iron Age times from 700 BCE, the Shenberrow Hillfort (above the present village) would have been a significant centre for hunting, gathering, farming and herding, both on the uplands and in the valley below.
Centuries later, the Romans had a high regard for Cotswold wool, and sent it back to Italy. In 794 CE Cenwulf (Kenulph) became King of Mercia and c. 798 CE founded the Benedictine Abbey of St. Mary of Winchcombe, to be consecrated in November 811 CE, when the 'manors' of Stanton and Snowshill were ceded to it. The death of King Edgar in 975 CE brought disordered times, but a decade later the monks returned to create a long and settled period of parish building and administration.
11th - 15th Centuries
In the Domesday Book, Stanton appears as 'land of the Church of Winchcombe', with 3 hides (c. 360 acres), 14 villagers, 3 smallholders and 6 slaves. The (annual rental) value was £3.0.0 (three times that of Birmingham).
The church dates from c.1100 CE, though an earlier foundation is quite likely. The dedication of St. Michael and All Angels may be "because ye Wake is still kept on ye Sunday before 29th Septr." The small pulpit is dated c. 1375 CE, the west window contains the White Rose of York, and the south window the open pomegranate of Queen Katherine of Aragon - showing a healthy regard for the powers that be.
16th - 18th Centuries
On the Dissolution, 23rd December 1539, Winchcombe Abbey with Stanton and Snowshill was surrendered to King Henry VIII's commissioners. In 1543 Stanton manor passed to Katherine Parr in her dowry. On Henry's death in 1547 CE, she married Thomas, Baron Seymour of Sudeley, but herself died in 1548, and Stanton manor reverted to the Crown. Edward VI gave it to the Earl of Warwick, but back it must have come, as 'King Philip and Queen Mary' granted it to John Eliot, who sold it on to one Thomas Dolman, a clothmaker from Newbury.
In his will dated 1571 CE, Dolman bequeathed Stanton manor to his son Mathias. In 1577 the Warne or Warren family from Suffolk (who, from 1565 CE, were already leaseholders of Stanton property) bought land from Mathias Dolman and built Warren House (The Manor). Dolman also sold properties to the Izod, Kirkham and Jacksones (sic) families at this time. With no squirarchy to contain them, these families, together with the Wynniatts, prospered over the next century, building substantial farmhouses.
Dr. Richard Parsons, Chancellor of Gloucester Diocese 1677 - 1711, married Mary Izod (a rector's daughter) and records the village as having "generally good stone houses in a small street," also noting 'persons 360.' Incidentally, as a side line Dr. Parsons ran a profitable traffic in marriages for non-parishioners (special licences were very expensive).
In 1700 CE the benefice passed to the Rev. Lionel Kirkham, who had three children, Robert (rector 1749-65) and two daughters. Robert went to Oxford and met with two friends, William Morgan (son of the vicar of Broadway) and Charles Wesley. They united in a methodical study of the Greek New Testament, to be joined by Charles' brother John. They were nick-named the `Holy Club' and Methodists. Naturally they visited Broadway and particularly Stanton, where they were close friends of the Kirkham family, John preaching in the church. He proposed to one of the daughters and, though failing to gain her hand, was a guest at her wedding and danced at the reception.
From 1771 CE the rectory declined, but with the firmer discipline of the evangelical revival of the 1820s the rector was required to rebuild, resulting in a fine Regency Gothic house.
19th Century - Present Day
Morris Burland Harris Burland (rector 1877 -1911) installed his mother in the Rectory and moved to the High Street, to survey his flock more closely. A keen cricketer, he took a deep interest in the village, and the Burland Hall (1915) is named after him.
In 1904, the widow of the rector of Dumbleton, Robert Wedgwood (of the pottery family) rented the Court with her daughters Marianne and Eliza. Eliza Wedgwood later moved to 'Above Town' (Charity Farm), becoming known for her charitable acts, and also for her circle of friends which included Arthur Balfour, Singer Sargent, Sir James Barrie and H. G. Wells.
In 1904 the Stratford-upon-Avon to Cheltenham railway was completed, making the village more accessible.
In 1906 the greater part of the village (882 acres) was purchased by Philip Stott (Baronet 1920), an engineer and architect who had built cotton mills both in England and on the continent. He became the village's outstanding benefactor, improving and restoring it until his death in 1937. He completed a reservoir in 1907, and lighted the main street with 'Stott lamps' powered by his own generator at the Court. He also extended the school, put in heating, built a swimming pool for the local children and provided a cricket field, amongst many other activities.
Stott fully restored all the properties he owned, from farmhouses to cottages, and imported a barn (North/South Barns) from Offenham. In 1915 he presented a rood screen to the church in memory of his younger son who died in the war; also the reredos behind the altar, both designed by the distinguished Scottish church architect, Sir Ninian Comper. At Stott's request Comper was also responsible for much detail and decoration in the church (the east window and transepts all bear his strawberry mark) and also for the Cross in the churchyard. After Sir Philip and Lady Stott died, the Lady Chapel was restored in their memory (1939).
In 1949, Sir George Stott (Sir Philip's son) decided to sell the Estate (now 1330 acres), which was eventually divided and acquired by individual purchasers. Four new homes were built to the west of the village by Cheltenham RDC, to be named Wedgwood Cottages thus preserving the name of Miss Eliza. During the Festival of Britain in 1951 the cottages won special praise as fine examples of rural housing.
In the following years several new properties were built privately, others were converted or extended, and the street paving improved. In 1973 the Guildhouse was opened for the practice of crafts in an atmosphere of community and peace, under the guidance of the late Mary Osborn.
Today there is still extensive local farming, both arable and pastoral, and it is worth noting that a significant proportion of the grain used in Warburton's bread is grown in the fields of Stanton. However, the village itself, which lies in a Conservation Area, is largely residential. The Post Office, school and shop are gone. But there are stabling, riding and holiday activities, and the Village Club moved to its current location next to the cricket pitch in 1988.
Stanton continues to attract visitors, walkers and film-makers alike. Some explore the village, some visit the church. Some climb the steep hill to the Mount Inn. Here in winter they find a worthy hearth; in summer from the terrace, let them enjoy a view largely unaltered for over 300 years.