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St MaryTheVirginChurchWootton-under-Edge.jpg
Church of St Mary the Virgin, Wotton-under-Edge
Grid reference: ST758933
Location: 51°38’17"N, 2°20’56"W
Population: 5,574  (2001)
Post town: Wotton-under-Edge
Postcode: GL12
Dialling code: 01453
Local Government
Council: Stroud

Wotton-under-Edge is a small market town in Gloucestershire, which stands near the southern end of the Cotswolds. The Cotswold Way long-distance footpath passes through the town.

Wotton is about 5 miles from the M5 motorway, on the B4058 road. The nearest railway station is Cam and Dursley, 7 miles away by road, but it is increasingly becoming a popular commuter town.


The first record of the town is in an Anglo-Saxon Royal Charter of King Edmund I, who in AD 940 leased four hides of land in Wudetun to Eadric.[1] 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.[2]

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 Ancient Ram Inn, a mediæval former public house, dates back to 1145.[3]

St Mary the Virgin was consecrated in 1283, remaining the oldest and largest church in the town.

The Katharine Lady Berkeley's Grammar School was established in 1384 and is now a comprehensive named Katharine Lady Berkeley's School although the present modern building is a little outside of the town on the way to the village of Kingswood. The British School was established in the village in 1835.

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 in former days to warn of impending invasion or announce great events.

A map of Wotton-under-Edge from 1946

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.[4]

The Wotton-under-Edge BT Tower formed part of the microwave communication network.

Big Society

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. [5]

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 purely digital cinemas in the United Kingdom. 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[6]


Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Wotton-under-Edge)



  • E.S. Lindley. Wotton under Edge: Men and Affairs of a Cotswold Wool Town. Published by Museum Press, 1962
  • Simon Herrick. Under the Hill. (1979). ISBN 0-904387-36-4