Market Square, Stowe-on-the-Wold
The town's name derives from Eadweardesstow, meaning "Edward's place", in this case St Edward, to whom the parish church is dedicated and which was visited by pilgrims. Stow-on-the-Wold is situated high up on a hill and rivals nearby Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire for its weather. These two Cotswold towns are the focus for local shopping, markets, civic and cultural activities. The former is much more of a tourist destination, with the latter being much more locally oriented.
Historically, the town benefited from the wool trade, sited on the Cotswold (a wold being a field with sheep). The junction of major roads, including the Roman Fosse Way, it continued to prosper. When the railways arrived, the somewhat-ineffective station was sited at the bottom of the steep hill to the south and became defunct when the Banbury and Cheltenham Direct was axed.
Today, Stow-on-the-Wold is a tourist destination with its picturesque market square, upmarket shopping and extensive collection of antiques shops. The town also is the focus for the annual horse fair, which sees many Gypsies converge on a field to the East which they own. It has been know to cause much disruption and many businesses close during the fair.building it up.