Things to see in Castle Combe.
Working from the public car park at the top of the hill down towards the village, this is a quick guide to the things you'll see on the way....
Heading down Dunn's Lane from the car park you pass a small quarry on your right. Just after, also on the right, is a very pretty thatched cottage which dates from the 18th century and was once three tenements,
The narrow lane leading off to the right has a terrace of three cottages and beyond that is the old school building, now also a house.There is a footpath on from the end of School Lane around the Golf Course and back to the lower village - it can get muddy when wet though.
This is a small walled enclosure on the right hand side of the road as you head towards the old village. In the past, animals which strayed from their owners were impounded here until the payment of a fine. A seat was erected in 1977 to recognise the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.
Continuing down the hill the next building was erected in 1846 to serve as a schoolroom for the Congregational Chapel which, before its demolition in 1935 stood in the yard alongside. Since this time the building has been used as a blacksmith's shop, a telephone exchange and a village museum. It currently displays the work of the ByBrook Trust and is usually open at weekends and bank holidays.
Continuing further down the hill then brings you to the lower village itself.
This house is the first building on the right hand side and is notable for the Scope family sheild above the door. Traditionally this was the home of the village doctor but it was also Dr. Dolittle's house in the film shot in the village in 1966.
The St George
The next house on the right has a stone effigy of a castle on the front and is now called 'Castle House'. Higher up is the date 1672 and the initials NE. These refer to Nathanial Elver who built the property for use as an alehouse called the St. George. Later this house became a currier's and then the village bakery, a trade carried on until the 1970's.
The Market Cross
This historic monument is the centre-piece of the village. It is believed to date from the 14th century when the privilege to hold a weekly market was first granted. Just below this there is also a structure sometimes referred to as the 'buttercross', which was in fact for tethering and mounting horses.
To the right of the market square is a very unusual cottage built over an archway; although for obvious reasons this is now called Archway Cottage, it is properly called The Garrett House. It is now luxury accommodation for The Manor House Hotel. Running under the cottage is Park Lane which leads to the tradesman's entrance to The Manor and also to footpath's across the Golf Course (including one from School Lane).
The main entrance to the Church is in the market square. The earliest reference to this church is found in a document dating 1291. Construction of the tower started in 1435, funded by the wealthy businesses in the village at that time. There are several interesting features in the church itself, which are explained by information provided within.
This pub has sold ale on these premises continuously for the past five centuries. It still welcomes visitors today.
This was constructed in a former entrance to the churchyard in 1920, and it is inscribed with the names of the villagers who died in the First World War.
The Court House is where sittings of the Court Leet were held in the Middle Ages. This authority was answerable to the Lord of the Manor for the maintenance of Law and Order. During restoration work in the 1970's a painting of the heraldic arms of Henry VIII was revealed.
We have a refurbished playground in the lower village thanks to the lottery fund. This can be found by turning right and walking down past the village hall as you walk towards the bridge.
The end of the street leads us to the Town Bridge, originally of wooden construction, but updated in the 18th century. The iron grids hanging from the bridge were to stop the deer escaping from the herds that grazed within the Manor park. For Dr Doolittle the river was dammed to make a small harbor. The river was used extensively in the wool trade, in the past.
At the far end of the village is a one-sided bridge, often known as the 'Roman Bridge'. This is properly known as 'Smart's Bridge', the Roman name orginating from a local story involving the ghost of a roman centurian.