Rotary Club of Shipston-on-Stour
Home | A little about Shipston on Stour
The market town of Shipston on Stour - the jewel of South Warwickshire
Shipston-on-Stour is the most southern town in Warwickshire (Shakespeare's county), England, located on the River Stour and approximately 10 miles south of Stratford-upon-Avon; just on the periphery of the north Cotswolds, with the borders of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire nearby. Go to nearby Ilmington and climb Windmill Hill where there are wonderful spectacular views over 4 counties, the Town is ideally located to use as a base to explore Shakespeare's county and the north Cotswolds.
In the 21st Century, Shipston on Stour is a thriving small town with a population of approximately 4,500, with a vibrant town centre consisting of tea shops, antique shops, art galleries, clock restorers, historical coaching inns and many other attractions. Many of the independent businesses in Shipston on Stour offer unique and specialist services, which means that customers are drawn from a wider geographic area than a town of its size might usually expect. As would be expected it is the focal point for the many surrounding villages and rural areas and has a variety of organisations and clubs, including Rotary, active within the Town.
A charter was granted for an annual fair and market in 1268 and by 1280 a bridge had been built over the River Stour, thus formulating the future layout of the town
It is generally thought there was a settlement here well before the Romans landed on these shores with a Saxon settlement located near a ford that was used as a sheep wash and the area around suitable for grazing.
The connection with sheep continued through the centuries. The name for Shipston evolved in the 11th century from "Scepwaestune" translated to "Sheep-wash-town", due to the river being used for washing the sheep in early summer after lambing in the muddy lowlands, prior to them being moved to the higher Cotswolds; the area was also famed for farming a breed of sheep, known as the Cotswold Lion, so called for its lion-like mane. As a consequence of its connection with sheep, the town and its surrounding villages enjoyed great prosperity which evolved into the lively plush and shag weaving industries, in the 17th century the town was a flourishing community involved in spinning and weaving with many 'home workers'.
Being on the main road between Stratford upon Avon and Oxford – now the A3400 (formerly A34), Shipston became an extremely important stopping point for stagecoaches and many of the old coaching inns are still evident within the Town
When the demand for wool began to diminish the town continued to flourish thanks to the opening in 1836 of a branch line from the horse-powered tramway built a decade before to link Stratford with Moreton-in-Marsh. The line became a modern railway in 1889, the last passenger train ran in 1929 and then finally due to the "Beecham axe" the last goods train to run through the Town was in 1960 thereafter the lines were removed
Take a wander through the Town and you can see the great prosperity that has been enjoyed in the past through the many fine Georgian buildings which are still present today.
Modern day Shipston has retained its prosperity through a unique combination of its quaint streets, alleyways and niche businesses. Shipston on Stour has a great deal to offer the shopper, the town centre retains a unique ambiance of many independent shops which is sadly lacking from many Towns in England and the UK