Set in one acre of grounds and built in 1854, the Old School still has tales to tell! In the largest Area of Outstanding Beauty in the North Cotswolds, it straddles the borders of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire. It can get jolly confusing when it comes to dealing with local authorities and utility companies on any issues……!
Why not take a look at the drone video (at the bottom of this page) and then wander around the grounds to discover lots of memorabilia. For example, the row of brick sheds – now storing wood, animal feed and tools – were the original outside toilets: three little closed doors for the girls and an open urinal and one closed door toilet for the boys!
Our boiler room is set at the side of the school building and upon clearing it out we discovered a well, a fireplace and a ‘boiler ‘ well, a sort of red brick furnace which would house the copper bowl above, heat the water up ready to wash the laundry…..there are lots of wells in this area.
Then there was the sports field as you can see from some super vintage pictures – and much the same now – a rectangle patch of sensible lawn, easy to mow and handy for croquet or other garden games. Then go ‘down yonder’ – now home to my ducks, bantams and rabbits – where there is a quarter acre originally purchased from Chastleton House to become a conservation area for the children to enjoy connecting with the wildlife. It is now nicely secure to keep the four-footed wildlife out so my rescue animals can relax and potter in peace.
In the front you can look up into the canopy of the local landmark, the monkey puzzle tree, which I like to think has to be one of the tallest in England as it was planted in 1854 and the species was only introduced into this country in 1851. Ed the squirrel loves the run up to the top and then launches onto the roof and makes his way down to the back of the house….
Dry stone walling is a rural skill in the Cotswolds and when recently rebuilding some tired walling, ‘Sticks & Stones’ (fabulous name for dry stone wall and hedge-laying business!) discovered some treasures tucked in the layers – probably the headmaster's pocket watch, – a dripper for a small oil can and some poor little lad's lost Ford Capri model car…..!
The car parking area was once the playground, so there's plenty of space to park up – or if you are touring in a classic car (we have many visiting us), make a 6-point turn to manoeuvre the old banger out from its parking space. Reticient overseas drivers also have lots of room to practise a few moves with the gear stick!