"The Capital of the Cotswolds" Top 5 Page for this destination Cirencester by illumina
Cirencester Travel Guide: 38 reviews and 116 photos
Cirencester began as a Roman fort, with a civil settlement nearby settled by the local Dubunni. When the fort was closed cAD70, this settlement persisted and evolved into a large and important town called Corinium Dobunnorum. In fact it became the second largest town in England at that time after London, with a forum, amphitheatre and protecting stone wall. It was probably made the capital of Britannia Prima, one of the four or five provinces in existence in Britain in the fourth century. However when the Roman army pulled out of Britain, town life declined, and while there was Saxon settlement here it was not on the same scale.
However, in the 12th century, an Abbey was founded at Cirencester by Henry I, to which the manor was granted; a hospital was also built near to the Abbey, and the town gradually became great again, mainly through the wool-trade.
The most striking feature of Cirencester's Market Place is the magnificent parish church, one of the largest in the country. It is one of the great 'wool' churches of the Cotswolds, so called because it was built from the prosperity based on the wool trade.
Nothing remains now of the Abbey, closed at the Dissolution in 1539, apart from its layout marked out in the Abbey Grounds Park.
The Hospital of St John the Evangelist is still partially standing, but as you can see from the photo you are prevented from entering, due to the possibility of falling masonry.
The Amphitheatre remains, covered with earth and grass. Beneath the turf are the remains of the stone seats where once the people of Corinium watched wrestling, cockfighting, bear-baiting, and maybe even, on special occasions, gladiator fights.
- Pros:Lovely situation, plenty of history.
- Cons:Not much to do
If you fancy a slightly more cultural night out, there's the Brewery Arts Centre. I went to see a 17th century play... more travel advice
Cirencester Park is the grounds of the Bathurst Estate, owned by the Earl Bathurst. They are open to the public 8am to... more travel advice
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