Tetbury

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Tetbury is a town and civil parish within the Cotswold district of Gloucestershire, England. It lies on the site of an ancient hill fort, on which an Anglo-Saxon monastery was founded, probably by Ine of Wessex, in 681. The population of the parish was 5,250 in the 2001 census.

Tetbury is in the Cotswolds AONB.

In the Middle Ages, Tetbury became an important market for Cotswold wool and yarn. At this time the Tetbury Woolsack Races, in which competitors must carry a 60 pound sack of wool up a steep hill, were founded and are still contested annually.

Notable buildings in the town include the Market House, built in 1655 and the late-eighteenth century Gothic revival parish church of St Mary the Virgin and much of the rest of the town centre, dating from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The Market House is a fine example of a Cotswold pillared market house and is still in use as a meeting place and market. Other attractions include the Police Bygones Museum. Chavenage House, Highgrove House and Westonbirt Arboretum lie just outside the town.

Events include Woolsack Day, held on the last Bank Holiday in May, famous for the races and street fair. A flower show is held at the recreation ground, with classes ranging from children’s “Make your own paper plate gardens” to adults “Best flower” and “Best knitting”. The “Tetbury Fiesta” was held on the recreation ground in July 2008, and also the second Fiesta was held the following July, also in the recreation ground.

Tetbury has won five consecutive Gold awards in the Regional “Heart of England in Bloom” competition in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 and was category winner “Best Small Town” in 2008, 2009 and 2010. In 2010 Tetbury was Overall Winner of Heart of England in Bloom and won a Judges Discretionary Award for Community Achievement. Tetbury won Silver Gilt as a first-time entrant in the National Britain in Bloom Campaign in 2009 and has been nominated again for entry into Britain in Bloom in 2011.

The Tetbury town crest features two dolphins, which is curious given that the town is many miles inland.

Tetbury is situated in a landscape of gently rolling hills primarily used for farmland, including grazing of sheep and grain production. Its location is associated with a nearby major east-west trade or drovers trail, which would account for its early importance as a wool trade centre. Nearby to the west are Owlpen Manor, Beverston Castle and Calcot Manor. The Tetbury Avon, a tributary of the Bristol Avon, known locally as the Ingleburn rises to the north of the town.

Most of Tetbury falls in the Tetbury parish, although some of the northern parts of the town are officially in Tetbury Upton. Tetbury is in the Cotswold district, and amenities are run by Cotswold District Council. Gloucestershire County Council is also responsible for parts of the town. Nationally, Tetbury is in the Cotswold constituency.

Tetbury is renowned for its antique shops, mostly found on and near Long Street, making it a stop-off for coach tours through the Cotswolds. The town centre also has a number of banks, estate agents, the lifestyle clothing brand Overider and a branch of the auction house Bonhams.

A Tesco supermarket was opened a quarter of a mile from the town centre in July 2002. Despite fears that the supermarket would threaten the existence of the town’s main shopping streets, the majority of businesses have survived, and there are a number of specialist award-winningshops selling cheese (House of Cheese), breads (Hobbs House) and meats (Jesse Smiths).

The town has pubs and hotels, including The Royal Oak Inn—which was featured in the 1971 film Dulcima and in an episode of BBC1’s BonekickersThe Priory Inn, The Crown Inn,The Close Hotel, The Greyhound Inn, The Ormond at Tetbury, and The Snooty Fox. The Trouble House is immediately outside the town. Between 1959 and 1964, the latter was served by Trouble House Halt, the only railway station in England built specifically to serve a pub.

The former airfield at Long Newnton (1 mi southeast of Tetbury) was originally the home of the Cotswold Gliding Club, which has since moved 6 mi to the north to Aston Down.

Tetbury is on the A433, with easy access to the M4 and M5 motorways. The A4135 originates in Tetbury and proceeds westerly through Beverston.

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