Shipton under Wychwood
Shipton under Wychwood is a medium sized village on the southern bank of the River Evenlode in the beautiful Evenlode valley and is the largest of the three villages which include the historic Wychwood forest in their name. The other two are Ascott-under-Wychwood and Milton under Wychwood.
In the centre of the village there is a green with distant views of the parish church and near the village war memorial on the green there is a curious fountain which remembers a terrible tragedy in 1874 when seventeen Shipton folk lost their lives when the emigrant ship Cospatrick was lost 700 miles from the Cape of Good Hope. They were seeking to escape the rural poverty and harsh living and working conditions of the 1870s agricultural depression for a new life in New Zealand when a fire broke out and repidly spread. They and their 460 fellow passengers and crew lost their lives.
Most of the village is off the main road to the east but close to the centre of High Street and behind a high wall is Shipton Court which is one of the largest Elizabethan manor houses in the country and is still in use as a private residence.
Opposite Shipton Court, on the other side of the High Street, is Wychwood Wild Garden which was was laid out in the mid 19th century as a pleasure garden adjoining Shipton Court. The garden is 12.5 acres of avenues, woods and ponds much of which was laid out in the 1860's, and is home to wild life and many breeds of ducks and birds. It was acquired by the community in 2010 is now offered as a place of peace and tranquillity to the public.
The parish church is the Church of St. Mary the Virgin which stands on the site of a Saxon minster. The church is largely 13th century and the oldest part may be the tower, which was begun around the year 1200. The chancel arch is late Norman, and the two-story south porch was added in the 14th century.
The village has three historic inns, the Shaven Crown Inn, and the Lamb Inn (which dates back to 1580) probably being the most notable. The Shaven Crown claims to be among the 10 oldest inns in England, having been founded by the monks of nearby Bruern Abbey, and its original purpose was as a hospice for the poor and as accommodation for pilgrims visiting the Abbey. The inn retains its original 14th century gateway, and many original interior features. At the time of my visit the third of the inns (The Red Horse) appeared to be closed and was up for sale.
Shipton under Wychwood is on the A361 between Chipping Norton and Burford.