Moreton in Marsh Tourist and Travel Guide
Moreton in Marsh Tourist Information & Travel Guide
Welcome and thank you for visiting Moreton in Marsh. You have arrived at one of the principal market towns of the northern Cotswolds, the town itself is located on the Fosse Way and has direct railway from London Paddington giving it easy access to many towns and cities nearby expanding your options when it comes to exciting activities and interesting days out.
Moreton in Marsh is a charming town and has centuries of fascinating history about it that make it a delight to stay in. It grew up in the thirteenth century as a market town with a wide main street, narrow burgage plots and back lanes.
Moreton in Marsh has been a traveling town for at least 1700 years and was used as a coaching station before the coming of the Oxford to Worcester Railway in 1853. There still is a busy Tuesday market with about 200 stalls that have been running weekly since 1227 attracting many visitors. There are several pubs, inns, hotels, tea shops, restaurants and accommodation including this location in the form of holiday cottages and B&Bs in the immediate vicinity.
The high street has many elegant eighteenth-century inns and houses, including the Redesdale Market Hall. This hall is the center point of the town and named after the 1st Baron Redesdale, Sir Algernon Mitford. The Mitford family became famous in history when the daughters of the 2nd Baron Redesdale, David Freeman-Mitford, gained widespread attention for their stylish and controversial lives as young people, and for their public political divisions between communism and fascism. Writing books, marrying into Churchill’s family having musical’s written about them and two of the sisters were even known for being close to Hitler himself in the 1930s.
Many of the old buildings along with the High Street date from the 17th and 18th centuries. The oldest building is likely to be the sixteenth-century Curfew tower on High Street. Its bell was rung nightly until 1860 to remind people of the risk of fire at night. It is said that it once guided home a Sir Robert Fry, lost in the fog, who gave money for its maintenance, in gratitude.
The Parish church of St. David was originally a chapel of ease for Bourton-on-the-Hill and in 1858 was rebuilt in medieval style. Two miles away in the hamlet of Dorn, many Roman remains have been found and still have people searching when the opportunity arises. The White Hart (Royal) Hotel was used by King Charles I as shelter during the English Civil War following the Battle of Marston Moor on July 2, 1644.
A copy of the King’s unpaid bill is commemorated on a plaque within the entrance lobby for visitors to look upon when they arrive. The surrounding area as well as the town itself has multiple connections to both the literary and the world of film and television.
The famous author J.R.R. Tolkien is believed to have had connections with Moreton in Marsh a pub in the town was presented with a special print by a branch of the J.R.R. Tolkien Society. After painstaking research, the Society claims that The Bell Inn located within the town is the inspiration behind The Prancing Pony, Middle Earth’s most famous pub in the Fellowship of the Ring, the first book and film of the ‘Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The Society believes the similarities between The Bell Inn and The Prancing Pony in Tolkien’s town of Bree is irrefutable evidence Tolkien used the pub as inspiration. These similarities include the three stories of the pub building and its entrance via a courtyard, and the similarities of Moreton in Marsh to the town of Bree, where the hobbits find the Prancing Pony on a cold, rainy night.
Close to the town is the Four Shires Stone marks the historical meeting point of Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Oxfordshire & Warwickshire. The Four Shire Stone is a 9-foot-high pillar situated approximately two miles east of Moreton in Marsh on the A44 at the turn-off to Great Wolford village. The 16th-century pillar, made from Cotswold stone, marks the centuries-old meeting place of four county shires.
Moreton in Marsh believed this stone was an inspiration for Tolkien’s Three-Farthing Stone, a central point in the ‘Shire’ where three Farthings met, one of the locations that the Hobbits long to return to throughout their adventure and a key location throughout Tolkien’s many works.
However, Moreton in Marsh is not only a hot point if you are a fan of the Lord of the Rings franchise. Moreton-in-Marsh and its surrounding area were also used for filming the popular television show Father Brown is starring the Fast Show’s Mark Williams as the titular character. There is in fact the opportunity to go on tours showing you where specific scenes were filmed.
If film and literature aren’t your things though there is still a variety of activities that can be enjoyed in the area ranging from the Cotswold Falconry Centre, a selection of nature & parks to be taken in and enjoyed including Batsford Arboretum, Chastleton House & Garden as well as Lemington Lakes.
There are also Museums and Galleries for those who are more historical and artistically inclined. Tours of the Cotswolds are available from companies within the town itself with the option of traveling on foot and also a separate option to hire bikes and cycle around the area to get to grips with all the delightful and stunning landscapes in the area.
Whether you have come for the opportunity to make the most of the markets, restaurants and tea shops in the area or if you have just come to see the real-life Prancing Pony and get closer to your favorite stories and films from when you were younger, Moreton in Marsh has the calm serenity that will make your holiday exactly what you were looking for.