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The Cotswold town of Cirencester
38 miles from Bath 15 miles from Stroud 29 miles from Broadway 7 miles from Bibury

Cirencester (often referred to as the Capital of the Cotswolds) was the second largest town in Britain during Roman times.

Today the former Corinium Dobunnorum is home to more than 18,000 people and a service centre for the thousands more who live in surrounding villages. In later years it was a very prosperous medieval wool town.

Cirencester's market square is dominated by the cathedral-like Parish Church of St. John Baptist (one of the largest in England). The large south porch with its impressive fan vaulting was built about 1490.

The town contains many interesting buildings spanning several centuries.

St. John Baptist Church and Market SquareCirencester's Parish Church of St. John Baptist
in the Market Square

Cirencester's market town status was mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1086. Traders still set up their stalls every Monday and Friday and since 1999 the town has had its own farmers' market. Crafts and antiques markets are also regular attractions.

The first Agricultural College in the English speaking world was founded by Henry 4th Earl Bathurst who became founding president of the Royal College of Agriculture in Cirencester. The college was established to train young farmers in the best agricultural methods of the time and to lead the way with innovations.

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ATTRACTIONS

Cirencester Park is probably the finest example of geometric landscaping in the country. See below.

Corinium Museum of the Roman past.

Community Arts Centre - centre for Cotswolds contemporary art.

Cirencester Antiques & Collectables Market
The Corn Hall, Cirencester, GL7 2NW
Open: 8:00 am – 3:00 pm, every Friday.
There has been a weekly Antiques & Collectors’ Market in Cirencester’s Corn Hall every Friday for more than 4 decades. Upwards of 40 dealers offering quality antiques and collectables, including silver, glass, ceramics, metalwares, postcards, ephemera, jewellery, furniture, paintings and prints. Entry is free, and there is excellent town-centre parking.
Web: www.cirencester-antiques.co.uk.

Cirencester Parish Church of St. John Baptist

Street Market - Mondays and Fridays
Cattle Market - Tuesdays
Antiques Market - Fridays

The Festival of Arts takes place every June.

Interesting Fact

In 879AD the Viking Great Army marched across the Cotswolds and encamped for a year in Cirencester.

Cecily Hill and gates of Cirencester Park
Cecily Hill and Gates of Cirencester Park
corinium museum at Cirencester
Corinium Museum at Cirencester

Cirencester Park – Family seat of the Earls of Bathurst

Situated to the west of the town, this is a superb example of a forest style garden and is well worth a visit, it can be reached via Church Street and Cecily Hill. It is here where entrance to the park is gained (see picture above).

With its width of 4.8 kilometres and a length of 8 kilometres and occupying some 3000 acres it provides an opportunity for the visitor to walk in a relaxed environment.The mansion home of the Earls of Bathurst with Cirencester Park in the background

At the entrance stands a castellated building it has been known as the barracks and also as the armoury. It was built in 1898 and was at one time the Head Quarters of the 4th Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment, it is possible to visit this building. The mansion built in the early 18th century is not however open to the public.

Allen Bathurst was the 1st Earl Bathurst, an honour which was bestowed 60years after being raised to the peerage in 1712.

Sir Charles Bathurst (Lord Bledisloe) created the Bledisloe Cup competition for the Best Kept Village in Gloucestershire and the rugby union match between Australia and New Zealand.

It was his friendships with Alexander Pope the satirist /poet, garden and landscape designer (1688-1744) and Stephen Switzer landscaper and designer (1682 –1745) that helped him to develop the park which can be seen today.

Pope's SeatAlexander Pope, apart from being a leading poet of the age, was an expert on the classical land-scapes of ancient Greece and Rome and a enthusiastic supporter of landscape gardening rather than the, in fashion at the time, formal rectangular gardens.

In return for Pope’s assistance in design and practical help, Lord Bathurst created a folly in his park, which he named Pope’s Seat, after his friend.

Alfreds Hall folly was built in the grounds of Cirencester Park, begun 1721, designed by Lord Bathurst with Alexander Pope's advice, completed 1732. Probably the earliest 18th century mock Gothic castle; part former house, part banqueting house and part mock ruin. Located in Oakley Wood, with rides radiating from it through the wood.

Pope visited Cirencester Park over a 30 year period, which emphasises his involvement in its development.

Cirencester ParkThe park design is said to have been largely inspired, by baroque geometry with intentions to make it both useful and peaceful, this has certainly been achieved. It is these attributes that attract walkers to visit.

Dog owners are permitted to walk their pets (on a lead and must not be allowed to foul). See notice at park entrance, which gives the permitted areas. Visitors on horseback are allowed to exercise their horses. Unaccompanied children are not permitted and visitors must take their litter home. Benches are placed at intervals for those who just wish to take their ease.

Opening hours 9am –5pm. Admission is free with the kind permission of Lord Bathurst. Amongst events held in the park is the Cotswold Show, the dates for 2008 being Saturday 5th July and Sunday 6th July.

This show is a family fun day with events to suit all. Included is a monster truck show, exhibitions, country pursuits a dog show and much more.

A Caravan Club site adjoins the park and has a connecting footpath.

Cirencester Park Polo GameWithin Cirencester park is the famous Polo-ground, founded in 1894 and is the oldest polo playing ground in the UK. Its idyllic surroundings make it probably the prettiest. Here it is possible to see world-class players competing, at the reasonable cost of £5 for a day ticket, which permits holder’s over 15 years of age to use the member’s restaurant and tearooms.

Alternatively for those who prefer, a payment of £10 will include admission for a car and its occupants for just admission to watch the polo events (May and September in June, July and August the cost is £15)

Amongst those who have played here are the Royal Princes William and Harry and their father Prince Charles.

The Phoenix Musical Festival held 29/30 June 2013

Held in Cirencester Abbey grounds - the Cotswolds first ever youth led music and arts festival

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