Foreword - The Community of the Parish of Minchinhampton
Our Parish of Minchinhampton sits on the Cotswold scarp; with its wonderful views west over the Severn to Wales, and east to the Golden Valley and further into the Cotswolds. The ancient town itself, named for the nuns of Caen to whom the manor belonged after the Conquest, occupies the limestone ridge, which it shares with the glorious Minchinhampton Common, with its summer cattle grazing months, flowers, butterflies, and skylarks.
The hallmark of the town is its simple cross plan of narrow streets, and Cotswold stone buildings, and central square with the ancient Parish church, Market House, the Crown pub, and High street shops. Socially and spiritually the community also benefits from a Baptist Church, a Doctors’ surgery, Dentist, Community Library, Primary Academy School, Youth club, Scouts and Guides and the international Nkokoto Link. The 17th century Market House is a social hub, with the Country market each Thursday, keep-fit and Literary Lunches, Plays, Art exhibitions, and a film club.
The outlying villages of Box, Burleigh, and Amberley lie on the spring line above the valleys, supporting several more schools and small shops, pubs and hotels, and Cotswold stone farm houses and cottages, whilst Brimscombe lies below in the Golden Valley.
Minchinhampton town became a popular place to live for professional and retired people as far back as the late 1800’s, and over many years has grown along the axes of the town, mainly east and west in fields south of the Stroud – Cirencester road. Some families have several generations working and living locally, some from home, others in local businesses or commuting to Cirencester. Bristol, South Wales, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Swindon or beyond to London.
They are vital to the economy of the area with the advantage of being able to live, enjoy and contribute to the relaxed way of living within the Parish of Minchinhampton and the recreational benefits of the Common. With new technologies, there remains considerable scope for small businesses to flourish.
From 1889, sport has become a feature; first Golf on the Common, and now on two new courses; then Minchinhampton Rugby Club, and more recently Tennis, Cricket and Football coaching for young children. The Princess Royal hosts many events, such as the Gatcombe Horse Trials which attract top riders and many visitors, and is involved in the town charities. The Common is a strong draw for tourists, both to enjoy the flora and fauna and the cows, as well as the many events such as the kite festivals and Gifford’s Circus,
The community of Minchinhampton has over the years had to evolve different ways of being the Cotswold Town that it was planned to be, with challenges of tight spaces in the Town centre and the difficulties for modern vehicular access rather than horseback or pony and trap. One sight however that has stood the test of time is to see the cows make their way through the town during the summer and autumn time, at their leisurely pace, a gracious reminder that they are as much a part of community as you and I.
Change will come and whether we have lived with our families in the community for many generations or we have recently moved here, the challenge is not to regret change but to embrace change with a willingness that encourages, supports, contributes to and enriches all who wish to continue to enjoy the Town and communities within the Parish of Minchinhampton.