History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: 12th-century parish church of St Leonard
Bledington is a pretty Cotswold village on the border of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, four miles from Stow-on-the-Wold. The village is based around a wide, open green, with a picturesque pub at one end. The eastern boundary of Bledington parish is the River Evenlode, which also acts, at this point, as the county boundary.
Bledington dates to at least the Saxon period when its name was recorded as Bladinton. The name derives from the River Evenlode, which was then called the River Bladon.
The first recorded mention of the settlement comes in a charter of AD 798 when King Coenwulf of Mercia granted the manor of Bledintona to the abbey of Winchcombe. The abbey retained the Bledington estate until it was suppressed by Henry VIII in 1539.
The Domesday Book of 1086 recorded 22 households and a mill in Bledington, but there is no mention of a priest, suggesting that there was no parish church. The first mention of a church comes in 1175.
After the Dissolution of the Monasteries, much of the Winchcombe Abbey estate in Bledington passed to Christ's Church College in Oxford, and the college's dean and chapter retained property in the village well into the 19th century. The manor itself, however, was sold by the Crown to Thomas Leigh, a wealthy solicitor from London.
Bledington Brook flows peacefully along the edge of the green and is crossed by a picturesque footbridge. To the south of the green stands the village hall, created from an 18th-century barn in 1920.
The church stands on high ground in the southwestern corner of the village. The church dates to the 12th century, with extensive 14th and 15th-century rebuilding. The historical highlight is a collection of medieval stained glass, particularly in the ornate Perpendicular windows of the north nave wall.
Many of these glass panels depict 15th-century donors. The glass is thought to have been created by John Prudde, who was responsible for the glass in the famous Beauchamp Chapel in St Mary's Church, Warwick.
There are extensive remnants of medieval wall paintings dating to the 12th or 13th centuries, and in the south chantry chapel is a bell cast in 1639.
The oldest interior feature is a simply carved Norman tub font.
The village abounds in picturesque, historic buildings. There are 32 listed buildings. St Leonard's Church is the only one listed Grade I; the rest are all listed Grade II for their historic interest.
At the bottom of Church Street, below the church, is Manor Farm, once used by the monks of Winchcombe Abbey as a rest house. Directly opposite the church is a terrace known as Five Bells Cottages. This was once an inn known as The Five Tuns.
There is still an inn in Bledington; it is the 16th-century King's Head, on the western edge of the broad green. On the southern edge of the green is Little Manor, a 17th-century house with a Georgian facade. Also on the green is Home Farm, dating in part to the 17th century.
There are two thatched cottages in the village. On Main Street is The Thatched Cottage, dating to the 17th century, but more impressive is Cromwell Cottage on Church Street, immediately north of the Five Bells Cottages.
At the bottom of Church Street, looking over the green, is The Bakehouse, with a datestone over the door inscribed with the initials S and TS, and the date 1741. As its name suggests, part of the building once served as the village bakehouse. On Main Street is the Old Post Office, formerly the village shop and post office, but now converted into a residence.
On Chapel Lane stands The Steward's House, built, as its name suggests, for the steward of Winchcombe Abbey, whose job was to look after the abbey's investment in Bledington. The house we see today dates to the 17th century.
The shop closed in 2006, but in 2019, after years of fundraising, the village opened a new community shop and cafe on Church Lane. There is still a post office of sorts -- the King's Head offers postal services two days a week.
Bledington is on the B4450 about 4 miles south-east of Stow-on-the-Wold and 2 miles south-west of Churchill. Kingham mainline rail station is half a mile east of the village. There is no dedicated car park, but we've always managed to find parking along one of the village streets.
Address: Bledington, Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, England
Attraction Type: Village
Location: On the B4450, 4 miles south-east of Stow-on-the-Wold. Parking along village streets.
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest
Bledington, St Leonards - 0.2 miles (Historic Church)
Lower Oddington, St Nicholas Church - 1.8 miles (Historic Church)
Adlestrop, St Mary Magdalene - 2.1 miles (Historic Church)
Churchill and Sarsden Heritage Centre - 2.3 miles (Museum)
Churchill, All Saints Church - 2.3 miles (Historic Church)
Shipton under Wychwood, St Mary the Virgin - 3.5 miles (Historic Church)
Little Rissington, St Peter's Church - 4 miles (Historic Church)
Chastleton House - 4 miles (Historic House)
Nearest Accommodation to Bledington: