Long Marston, Gloucestershire

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Long Marston
Long Marston Church - geograph.org.uk - 55852.jpg
St James The Great, Long Marston
Grid reference: SP1548
Location: 52°8’10"N, 1°46’37"W
Population: 385  (2001)
Post town: Stratford-upon-Avon
Postcode: CV37
Dialling code: 01789
Local Government
Council: Stratford on Avon
Website: Marston Sicca Parish Council

Long Marston is a small village in Gloucestershire about five miles south-west of Stratford-upon-Avon in neighbouring Warwickshire. The southern and western boundaries of the parish also form part of the county border with Worcestershire.

There is one public house, the Mason's Arms, and a local community village shop called the "Poppin".


Long Marston is known as one of the Shakespeare villages from a local tale of questionable provenance. William Shakespeare is said to have joined a party of Stratford folk which set itself to outdrink a drinking club at Bidford-on-Avon, and as a result of his labours in that regard to have fallen asleep under the crab tree of which a descendant is still called Shakespeare's tree. When morning dawned his friends wished to renew the encounter but he wisely said:

"No I have drunk with Piping Pebworth, Dancing Marston, Haunted Hillboro', Hungry Grafton, Dodging Exhall, Papist Wixford, Beggarly Broom and Drunken Bidford and so, presumably, I will drink no more".

The story is said to date from the 17th century but of its truth or of any connection of the story or the verse to Shakespeare there is no evidence.[1]

On 10 September 1651, King Charles II stayed in Long Marston at the house of a kinsman of Jane Lane, Lady Fisher called Tomes, on his way from Bentley Hall to Abbots Leigh during his escape following the defeat of the army at the Battle of Worcester. He was travelling incognito as a servant to Jane Lane, sister-in-law of George Norton, the owner of the house at Abbott's Leigh to which they were bound.[2] In keeping with his outward guise as a servant, the cook of the house put him to work in the kitchen winding up the jack used to roast meat in the fireplace. Charles was very clumsy at this, but explained his clumsiness by saying that as the son of poor people, he so rarely ate meat that he did not know how to use a roasting jack. Given the state of the economy at the time, his story was accepted and he was not identified.[1][3]

Parish church

The parish church of Saint James the Great[4] has a Decorated Gothic nave and chancel, but was rebuilt in the 19th century.[5] The pulpit is Jacobean.[5]


Long Marston Airfield is north-east of the village. It was built in 1940 as RAF Long Marston and decommissioned as a military airfield in 1958.[6]

The Bulldog Bash there is considered to be one of Europe's most popular, annual, motorcycle festivals and the airfield has been host to this event since 1987. Since 2001 the airfield has hosted "Global Gathering", a summer club music festival.

MoD depot

The Ministry of Defence's former Long Marston depot is south-east of the village.

Since rail privatisation in the mid-1990s, the former MoD depot has been used as a storage area by the rolling stock companies for out-of-lease railway rolling stock. The site is secure and secluded to minimise the risk of vandalism.

The Stratford on Avon and Broadway Railway Society was based at the former MoD depot but is now (November 2011) moving its stock to other locations.

The depot is owned by developers, who hoped before a change of government, to built an “eco town” to be named Middle Quinton.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Long Marston, Gloucestershire)


  1. 1.0 1.1 Highways and Byways in Shakspeare's Country, Hutton 1914
  2. Pepys Transcription of the Kings Account of his Escape, Charles II's Escape from Worcester, Edited by William Matthews 1966
  3. Lady Antonia Fraser, Royal Charles, p. 122
  4. Marston Sicca Parish Council web site[1]
  5. 5.0 5.1 Pevsner, Nikolaus; Wedgwood, Alexandra (1966). The Buildings of England: Warwickshire. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. p. 344. 
  6. Elrington, C.R., ed (1965). Victoria County History: A History of the County of Gloucester, Volume 6. pp. 207–216.