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Planning your 2017 holiday or break in the Cotswolds? Consider Lower Slaughter which, despite the somewhat gruesome name, is one of the most charming Cotswold villages with an “untouched” feel but situated just a mile away from bustling Bourton-on-the-Water.
There are a couple of explanations for the origin of the name of the village; one is that it is derived from an old English word for ‘Slohtre’, which means ‘muddy or watery place’, and the other is that it comes from the name of a Norman Knight, Philip de Sloitre. William the Conqueror granted this knight land in the area, but the peasants who lived here had trouble pronouncing his name and so corrupted it to ‘slaughter’. Lower Slaughter is mentioned in the Doomsday Book, where the name is spelt “Sclostre”, with records showing that the manor was held in the sheriff’s hands in 1066 and 1086 and was inhabited from over a thousand years ago.
Situated in Lower Slaughter is the 12th century Norman church of St Mary the Virgin. This Anglican church is located on the edge of the village and still has some of its original 13th century arches and stained glass windows, which can be seen within the north, west and east walls. It also has an unusually tall spire for a Cotswolds church. This impressive tower holds six bells, which date back to 1450, and in 1867 both the tower and the bells were restored, after falling into disrepair.
Lower Slaughter sits on the banks of the River Eye, which is sometimes known as Slaughter Brook. The river flows through the centre of Lower Slaughter and as it meets the northwest corner of the village, you’ll find the old nineteenth century watermill, where the villagers would take their flour to be milled. Lower Slaughter is a typical Cotswolds village, in that it is full of the 16th and 17th century golden stone buildings and walls you would see in any similar Cotswold town. This watermill however, is Victorian and is the one building that is constructed from red brick, with the imposing tall chimney still watching over the village today. In 1871 the miller in charge was John Wilkins from Bourton-on-the-Water, who encompassed all aspects of making bread, from growing the wheat to baking the bread.
For a super list of places to go in Bourton-on-the-Water, don’t miss our super The Mill in Lower Slaughter has been fully restored and is now converted into a gift shop, complete with tearooms, ice cream parlour and a museum. The giant water wheel is still operational, but the mill has not been used commercially since 1958. The mill was once part of Lower Slaughter Manor, which was built in 1658 for Sir Richard Whitmore, the High Sheriff of Gloucestershire and MP for Bridgenorth during the 17th century. Lower Slaughter Manor has also been restored and is now the Manor Country House Hotel, a grand country house hotel.
Visitors to Lower Slaughter may notice the similarity with the small stone footbridges that traverse the River Eye and the ones in Bourton-on-the-Water. Unlike other Cotswolds towns however, there is little at Lower Slaughter for the keen tourist, as this quiet village has remained untouched for over a century, with no new building work taking place here since 1906.
Stay in one of our loveliest cottages, Newland’s Corner in Lower Slaughter, when you next come to the Cotswolds.