Painswick is quite often referred to as the Queen of the Cotswolds due to its fine buildings of pale grey limestone. These are a reflection of the town's former prosperity during 300 years of activity in the cloth and wool industry.
St. Mary's church is largely of the 15th and 16th centuries but the spire was not added until 1632. The churchyard is famed for its 99 yew trees which were planted around 1792. It is said that every time a hundredth tree is planted it dies.
Painswick is a town that contains many notable houses built in the prosperous seventeenth century and has lots of little streets to explore and quaint shops to discover.
On the outskirts of the town the well known Rococo Gardens can be found in a hidden 6 acre valley. The gardens are the last sole survivor from the brief early 18th century period of English Rococo Garden design.
The garden combines formality with informality in a flamboyant style making use of charming garden structures strategically place for effect.
An Interesting Occurrence
Each year on the
Sunday after the feast of the nativity the children of
Painswick encircle the church of St. Mary ,join hands
and perform a dance not unlike the Hokey-Kokie. During
the dance a clypping song is sung, this is believed to
express the parishioners love of the church.
times this was a very riotous time with many visitors
flooding into the town to view the ceremony, there
was a great deal of drunkenness and lewd behaviour,
there was also a huge demand for food , local hostelries
were very much under pressure and being desperate for
meat they made "Puppy Dog" pies,
this custom is re-enacted
in modern times but with a difference , China Dogs are
baked into pies and cakes and sold on the day. Do not say
'BOW WOW' or bark in Painswick.
Painswick is all quiet elegance and quaint charm with some fine houses dating from the 14th-century - the tall chimneyed Court-House is associated with King Charles 1st, having stayed there during the English Civil War. Read - England's most famous ghost.
Painswick lies at high altitude but higher still is Painswick Beacon which affords excellent views of the magnificent Severn Valley and the clusters of nearby Cotswold towns and villages that inhabit the beautiful surrounding countryside.
Britain's oldest Bowling Green (over 400 years old), still in use to day, is located at the Falcon Inn in Painswick.
The flat green in Painswick, was built in the 16th century at the back of the then newly built Falcon Inn. It was originally used for gentlemen to wind down after a day of hunting in the nearby Cotswold countryside.
The lord of the manor who built it also had a cock fighting pit erected by its side.
The Falcon Club, which now uses the green, dates back to the early 20th century.
Members have included Tony Allcock, the 14 times world champion turned chief executive of the English Bowling Association.
The sport can be traced back to the 13th century when it was known as the "casting of stones" but reached the height of its popularity in Elizabethan times.
Sir Francis Drake famously refused to launch his attack on the Spanish Armada until he had finished a game of bowls in Plymouth.
He was said to have remarked that there was plenty of time to finish the game and still beat the Spaniards.
Such was the game's popularity that laws were brought in to forbid the peasantry from playing, for fear that it would detract from other sports, such as archery, thought important for battle.
Statutes forbidding it and other sports were enacted in the reigns of Edward III, Richard II and other monarchs. Even when, with the invention of gunpowder and firearms, the bow fell into disuse as a weapon of war, the prohibition was continued.
Bowling greens also became synonymous with vice, with many situated next to brothels. Only those with land worth more than £100 could obtain licences to build their own greens.
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Art Couture Festival held in Painswick every July
It all started with a visit to New Zealand. A little village in the Montana area of New Zealand started running a Wearable Art Festival. Over several years, their enterprise has grown to a huge international festival attracting designers and artists from all over the world.
So the Cotswold town of Painswick thought, why not do the same thing. The first year in 2010 was a great success, attracting about a thousand visitors. Just one year later, there were more than 80 entrants to the competition, and over 4,000 visitors on the day. The entries consistently reach an extremely high standard, and the whole day is thoroughly enjoyable. The festival is going to get even bigger and even better.
As well as featuring the artists who present their creations, the Festival also supports local businesses, offer opportunities for high quality arts and crafts makers to exhibit and sell their work, attract musicians and other performers who will provide entertainment for visitors, support selected charities directly, and provide a thoroughly enjoyable festival day for every one.
Eventually the Festival organisers hope to have a permanent exhibition of the wonderful costumes that have been designed for the event.
In 1944 the artist Charles Gere (and friend of William Morris) and his half-sister, Margaret, settled in Painswick and formed an offshoot of the Birmingham School of Artist-Craftsmen, many of whom are portrayed in his picture The Tennis Party.
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Painswick - Queen of the Cotswolds
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