Wotton-under-Edge (/ˈwʊtən/) is a market town within the Stroud district of Gloucestershire, England. Located near the southern end of the Cotswolds, the Cotswold Way long-distance footpath passes through the town. Standing on the B4058 Wotton is about 5 miles (8.0 km) from the M5 motorway. The nearest railway station is Cam and Dursley, 7 miles (11 km) away by road, on the Bristol to Birmingham line. It is increasingly becoming a popular commuter town.
The first record of the town is in a Anglo-Saxon Royal Charter of King Edmund I, who in AD 940 leased four hides of land in Wudetun to Eadric. The name Wudetun means the enclosure, homestead or village (tun) in or near the wood (wude). The “Edge” refers to the limestone escarpment of the Cotswold Edge which includes the hills of Wotton Hill and Tor Hill that flank the town. “The Edge” has also become a term used by locals to describe the area.
Kingswood Abbey was founded in 1139, but all that remains is a 16th century Cistercian gatehouse. Nearby historical buildings include the Tudor houses of Newark Park and Owlpen Manor. The medieval former public house The Ancient Ram Inn dates back to 1145.
St. Mary the Virgin was consecrated in 1283, remaining the oldest and largest church in the town.
Overlooking the town on the top of Wotton Hill are a collection of trees planted in the 19th century to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo. These are situated on the site that housed one of the early warning beacons used to warn England of the approach of the Spanish Armada in 1588.
New Mills, founded in 1810, prospered by supplying both sides in the Napoleonic wars but after a century of decline the mill was near to closing in 1981 when it was acquired by Renishaw plc.
The town’s corporation status was abolished in 1886 following the Municipal Corporations Act of 1883
The Wotton-under-Edge BT Tower formed part of the microwave communication network.
In 1958, local people and school students built the town swimming pool, which was completed in 1961. Subsequently the pool has had solar and electric heating installed. In 1999 with the fund raising support of community groups, a retractable enclosure was fitted in order to prolong the swimming season.
In 2002, following the closure of the local cinema, a group of volunteers got together and raised funds for a refurbishment to become one of the first digital cinemas in the UK. It re-opened in 2005 as a 100 seat modern facility inside an old stable yard, once part of the Crown Inn which closed in 1911. Films were first shown in the old Banqueting Hall of the Inn and moved to the stable yard some years later, due to the popularity of films. The Wotton Electric Picture House (the original name) is now a thriving venue.