Chipping Campden


[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer (1868)]

"CHIPPING CAMPDEN, a parish and market town in the upper division of the hundred of Kiftsgate, in the county of Gloucester, 28 miles to the N.E. of Gloucester, and 90 miles to the W. of London. It is a station on the West Midland railway. The parish is situated in a beautiful country, and contains the hamlets of Broad Campden, Berrington, and Westington-with-Combe.

The town is very ancient, and the traditional place of meeting of the Saxon kings who in 687 held a conference about the war with the Britons. It was made a staple town for wool in the 14th century, and carried on a good trade with Flanders. Campden was a nominal borough, under a charter granted or renewed by James I., which has been long forfeited. It is at present governed by 2 bailiffs, 24 burgesses, and 1 steward. The town, consisting of one long street, is seated in a valley between wooded hills, and contains many interesting ancient houses, a court-house, and market-house.

Some of the workpeople were formerly employed in the silk manufacture, and in knitting hosiery, but these branches of industry are discontinued. Campden is one of the polling places for the eastern division of the county. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol, value £640, in the patronage of the Earl of Gainsborough.

The church, which stands at Berrington, is dedicated to St. James. It was built about the end of the 14th century, chiefly at the cost of William Grevel, woolstapler, and is a noble edifice in the decorated style, with an embattled tower, 120 feet high, supported by massive buttresses, and crowned by 12 crocketed pinnacles. It has two side chapels, in one of which is a splendid monument to Sir Baptist Hicks, first Viscount Campden, who died in 1629, and his lady. In the same chapel is one to the second viscount and his lady. The church contains also monuments to the Noel family, and four brasses, the earliest bearing date 1401, in memory of William Grevel, reputed founder of the church, and his wife.

The Baptists and Wesleyans have chapels in the town. There is a grammar school, founded in 1487, and endowed by John Verbey with a revenue of £170 per annum, and a scholarship in Pembroke College, Oxford, endowed by George Townshend. A girls' free school was founded by James Thynne, which has an income of £130 a year. There are almshouses for 12 aged persons, endowed by the first Viscount Campden, the annual revenue of which is £140, and some other small charities. The manor of Chipping Camden belongs to the Earl of Gainsborough, who takes from the town the title of Viscount.

A splendid mansion was erected near the church by Sir Baptist Hicks, which was destroyed during the Civil War to prevent its falling into the hands of the parliament. Campden House, Kensington, was also built by Sir B. Hicks. Campden was the birthplace of the Saxon scholar, George Ballard, who died in 1755. Dover Hill, not far from the town, was the place of celebration of the games instituted by Robert Dover in the reign of James I., and soon after suppressed. Wednesday is the market day. Fairs are held on Ash Wednesday, the 23rd April, the 25th July, and the 30th November."

"BERRINGTON, a hamlet in the parish of Chipping Campden, hundred of Kiftsgate, in the county of Gloucester, close to Chipping Campden."

"BROAD CAMPDEN, a hamlet in the parish of Chipping Campden, hundred of Kiftsgate, in the county of Gloucester, 1 mile from Chipping Campden."

"COMBE, a hamlet in the parish of Chipping-Campden, in the county of Gloucester."

"WESTINGTON, a hamlet in the parish of Chipping Campden, county Gloucester. It is joined with Combe."


[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]


Archives & Libraries

  • Original source material relating to Chipping Campden, and other parishes in Diocese of Gloucester may be found at the Gloucestershire Archives.



Description & Travel

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Historical Geography

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Names, Geographical

  • "Chipping" (or cheping, to mean buying and selling) in place-names identifies a location where a market was held. Examples in other counties include High Wycombe (Buckinghamshire) sometimes called Chipping Wycombe, Chipping Lambourne (Berkshire); and Cheapside in the City of London was so named because of the market which was held there.