Tuck into a cream tea in the lounge on arrival then later there’ll be a glass of sparkling Nyetimber and festive entertainment before dinner....
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This is the sort of place where you might find yourself buying direct from the farm, picking your own and meeting maker. Let’s start with Cotswold cheeses.
The Cotswolds is a wealthy area in the 21st Century, largely to its immaculate agricultural and built heritage. The source of all of this wealth goes right back to medieval farming and the high price paid for fleeces from the Cotswold breed of sheep. As a 12th century saying went: 'In Europe the best wool is English and in England the best wool is Cotswold'. The industry was profitable and important – so much so that the Chancellor in Parliament sits, symbolically, upon a ‘woolsack’. In later centuries the government went to great lengths to support the industry. For example, an act was passed in the reign of King Charles II for the express purpose of increasing the consumption of English wool. The ‘Burial in Wool Acts of 1667 and 1678 decreed that all bodies were to be buried in wool only. The penalty for not doing so was £5 and these Acts were only repealed in 1814.
Antique dealers tell you beware the auctions, whilst auctioneers tell you to beware
crafty dealers. Here’s a look at what goes on in the antiques industry in the Cotswolds, how to buy wisely and whom to trust.
The word ‘Antiques’ these days has to be stretched to include a whole host of ‘retro’ and ‘vintage’ shops that are bringing the antiques scene nearly up to date with valued and collectable items from much more recent times than the image of the industry. There’s a real boom in the whole vintage market, from clothing to music to decorative items that has bought ‘antique’ shopping to a whole new audience.