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Chipping Campden is a small market town within the Cotswold district of Gloucestershire, England. It is notable for its elegant terraced High Street, dating from the 14th century to the 17th century .
A rich wool trading centre in the Middle Ages, Chipping Campden enjoyed the patronage of wealthy wool merchants. Today it is a popular Cotswold tourist destination with old inns, hotels, specialist shops and restaurants. The High Street is lined with honey-coloured limestone buildings, built from the mellow locally quarried Cotswold stone, and boasts a wealth of fine vernacular architecture. At its centre stands the Market Hall with its splendid arches, built in 1627.
Other attractions include the grand early perpendicular wool church of St James – with its medieval altar frontals (c.1500), cope (c.1400) and vast and extravagant 17th century monuments to Sir Baptist Hicks and family – the Almshouses and Woolstaplers Hall.The Court Barn near the church of St James is now a museum celebrating the rich Arts and Crafts tradition of the area.(See below)
Since 1610 the town has been home to a championship of rural games, which later turned into Robert Dover's Cotswold Olympick Games. The 'Olympicks' are held every summer on the Friday evening following the first June Bank-holiday, on Dover's Hill, near Chipping Campden. Peculiar to the games is the sport of shin-kicking (hay stuffed down the trousers can ease one's brave passage to later rounds). To mark the end of the games, there is a huge bonfire and firework display. This is followed by a torch-lit procession back into the town and dancing to a local band in the square. The Scuttlebrook Wake takes place the following day. The locals don fancy dress costumes and follow the Scuttlebrook May Queen, with her four attendants and page boy, in a procession to the centre of town pulled on a decorated dray by the town's own Morris Men. This is then followed by the presentation of prizes and displays of dancing by the two primary schools and the Morris Men Morris dancing. Another procession from there past the fairground in Leysbourne and the Alms Houses brings that stage of the celebration to a close whilst the fair continues until mid-night and, like a ghost, is gone by the morning.
In the early 20th century, the town became known as a centre for the Cotswold Arts and Crafts movement, following the move of Charles Robert Ashbee with the members of his Guild and School of Handicraft from the East End of London in 1902. The Guild of Handicraft specialised in metalworking, producing jewellery and enamels, as well as hand-wrought copper and wrought ironwork, and furniture-making. A number of artists and writers settled in the area, including F.L. Griggs, the etcher, who built Dover's Court, one of the last significant Arts and Crafts houses, and set up the Campden Trust with Norman Jewson and others, initially to protect Dover's Hill from development. H. J. Massingham, the rural writer who celebrated the traditions of the English countryside, also settled near the town. Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy, the Sri Lankan philosopher and art critic who was a colleague of Ashbee, settled at Broad Campden, where Ashbee adapted the Norman Chapel for him.
The Cotswold Way runs for 100 miles from Chipping Campden to Bath. The Heart of England Way also links to the Cotswold Way at Campden. Places to visit locally include: the Ernest Wilson Memorial Garden, Kiftsgate Court Gardens and Hidcote Manor Garden (owned by the National Trust), near Mickleton (3 miles); Blockley; Broadway; Stow-on-the-Wold; Winchcombe; and, further afield, Shakespeare's Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick Castle.
Chipping Campden claims to have the oldest fingerpost still in existence.