Pictures of Lechlade
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This pleasant little market town, set beside the upper reaches of the Thames, is dominated by the elegant spire of the beautiful parish church of St.Lawrence, so named on the order of Catherine of Aragon and, interestingly, a four hundred year old carved door, leading from the chancel to the vestry, has a carving of a Pomegranite - the badge of Queen Catherine. The church was built in the 15th-century, it is early Perpendicular in style and built of local stone withe exterior being decorated with gargoyles and statues. As with many other Cotswold churches, St.Lawrence's was built through the generosity of local wool merchants. The interior of the church houses some fine treasures of which the most noted is a magnificent brass chandelier which hangs above the centre aisle, made in London in 1730 the chandelier was presented to the church by Mr. Richard Ainge. There are two memorial brasses and both are connected to the wool trade. One is to John Townsend, merchant and woolman who died in 1459, and the other is to John Twynho, who died in 1510 and who is thought to have founded the charity of St.Blaize, patron saint of the wool merchants. Of importance is the poet Shelley's visit visit to the town in August 1815 when he wrote Stanzas in Lechlade Churchyard. His visit is recorded by a plaque and the walk through the churchyard is affectionately called, Shelley's Walk.
For many years Lechlade was little more than a settlement beside the River Thames, however by the 13th-century the town had developed sufficiently to gain both market rights and borough status and it became central to the wool trade when rich merchants moved into the town. Movement of wool and other goods was made easy by the town's position on the Thames. The river is spanned here by Halfpenny Bridge, so called because of the toll once charged to cross it. The toll house still stands on the bridge.
There are pleasant walks beside the river, there is also an attractive and much used Marina and a boatyard from which boats may be hired. Boating from here is a popular pastime.
The development of the town has meant an expanding population and this has called for the building of many new properties. Fortunately for the town the planning has been such that there is a happy blend of old and new, harmonising well together. There remains many fine examples of early architecture to be seen and admired, one of these is the Bapist Chapel, built by William Fox in 1817.and the Round House, on the river, is also worth a visit.
In the lovely open countryside just a short distance from the town you will find two Nature Reserves that are well worth a visit, so to are the gorgeous little Cotswold hamlets and villages that surround Lechlade. Each place has it's own special enchantment, these villages are crammed with delightful honey stone buildings, they are glorious in every way and are truly England's pride.
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