Photos and the City

destination photography & travel

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An area that has been settled since the Iron Age and the Roman times, Bampton was mentioned as a market town by 1086 and stayed an important settlement in the Saxon and Middle Ages thanks to wool and later on textile- and leatherworking. For visitors today it might seem oddly familiar when you watch the TV show „Downton Abbey“ – the charming Bampton serves as shooting location for the fictional town „Downton“.

 

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The Old Grammar School building, today the Bampton Community Archive hosts a huge selection of photographs of the old Bampton and also about „Downton Abbey“ in Bampton and a small souvenir shop. In the Tv show, it served as the Downton Hospital.

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Church View, the site for the fair and many other key elements and „Crawley House“ to the left. Turn around and there is St. Mary´s church.

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There seems to have been a church for a long while, the oldest part today is the Anglo-Saxon tower.

It is likely that any earlier building was severely damaged in the siege of Bampton that took place in 1142 and that work on the present building began in 1153.

The present appearance of the church is largely a result of a remodelling of 1270, when the spire was built and the aisles were added. (Bampton – St. Mary´s church)

The location for all the „Downton Abbey“ weddings, christenings and other dramatic events.

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Churchgate House in the back used as the exterior for „Crawley House“.

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And we´re back on Church View – the site for the two fictional pubs and the post office.

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It was about time to warm up again and have a little afternoon tea at „The Cake Element Bakery“ almost next to the store above, I think I was so happy about having some tea I forgot to take some photos. Which is a shame as they present (and sell) the most beautiful celebration cakes and it´s such a cosy place. He is the baker and his wife makes the amazing cake decorations. I´m still dreaming about that Cream Tea I had!

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And I´m also still dreaming about the lovely and cosy B & B I stayed in – the Wheelgate House.

Even so, I was thinking about hiding in one of the many rooms (or cupboards) at Highclere Castle, I continued my little road trip in direction of Bampton. Suddenly it stopped snowing and the sun came out. The perfect Winter Wonderland: snow, blue sky and sunshine!

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And so I decided to stop at Fairford, a small town in Gloucestershire, next to the river Coln and near the RAF airport Fairford.

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St. Mary´s Church, on the one end of the High Street, is known for its complete set of medieval stained glass windows from around 1500.

[They] are of national historical and architectural importance as they are the most complete surviving set of pre-Reformation mediaeval stained glass windows in the country, comprising 28 windows displaying biblical scenes, erected by the wealthy wool merchant John Tame (c.1430–1500) and now attributed to the Flemish glazier Barnard Flower (d.1517), glazier to King Henry VII (1485–1509), and believed to have been made at Westminster. (Fairford stained glass)

The windows survived the Reformation at a time when many images were destroyed and also the Civil War in 1642 when they were quickly dismantled and the glass concealed.

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Fairford, first mentioned in written records in AD 850, gained its name from the Saxon “Fagrinfordia”, which means “fair” (easy to cross) ford. The ford was an ancient crossing place for the river Coln, before the town bridge was built in the 13th century. In 1787 the river was excavated, making it much deeper and narrower. (Fairford)

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