Daytrip from London – this was with an organised tour group to the Cotswolds and Burford was one of the pitt stops along the way

We had a quick wander around, I was on my own so had a quick walk around, its a small village in any case so didnt take long. The main High Street was had such cute little houses and shops and pubs along it and it was sitting on a hillwith beautiful view of the countryside


The town began in the middle Saxon period with the founding of a village near the site of the modern priory building. This settlement continued in use until just after the Norman conquest of England when the new town of Burford was built. On the site of the old village a hospital was founded which remained open until the Dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII. The modern priory building was constructed some 40 years later, in around 1580.

The town centre also has some 15th-century houses and the baroque style townhouse that is now Burford Methodist Church. Between the 14th and 17th centuries Burford was important for its wool trade. The Tolsey, midway along Burford’s High Street, which was once the focal point for trade, is now a museum.

The authors of Burford: Buildings and People in a Cotswold Town (2008) argue that Burford should be seen as less a medieval town than an Arts and Crafts town.

A 2020 article in Country Life magazine summarized the community’s recent history:

Burford, similarly, had bustled during the coaching era, but coaching inns such as Ramping Cat and the Bull were diminished or closed when the railways came. Agriculture remained old-fashioned, if not Biblical, and was badly affected by the long agricultural depression that started in the 1870s. The local dialect was so thick that, in the 1890s, Gibbs had to publish a glossary to explain George Ridler’s Oven, one of the folk songs he collected. In the late 19th century, the Cotswolds assumed a Sleeping Beauty charm, akin to that of Burne-Jones’s Legend of the Briar Rose at Buscot Park in the Thames Valley.

Battle of Burford and the Golden Dragon

Malmesbury and other chroniclers record a battle between the West Saxons and Mercians at Burford in 752. In the end Æthelhum, the Mercian standard-bearer who carried the flag with a golden dragon on it, was killed by the lance of his Saxon rival. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records “A.D 752. This year Cuthred, king of the West Saxons, in the 12th year of his reign, fought at Burford, against Æthelbald king of the Mercians, and put him to flight.” The historian William Camden (1551–1623) wrote

“… in Saxon Beorgford [i.e. Burford], where Cuthred, king of the West Saxons, then tributary to the Mercians, not being able to endure any longer the cruelty and base exactions of King Æthelbald, met him in the open field with an army and beat him, taking his standard, which was a portraiture of a golden dragon.”

The origin of the golden dragon standard is attributed to that of Uther Pendragon, the father of King Arthur of whom Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote:

[Uther Pendragon] “… ordered two dragons to be fashioned in gold, in the likeness of the one which he had seen in the ray which shone from that star. As soon as the Dragons had been completed this with the most marvellous craftsmanship – he made a present of one of them to the congregation of the cathedral church of the see of Winchester. The second one he kept for himself, so that he could carry it around to his wars.”

In the late 16th or early 17th century the people of Burford still celebrated the anniversary of the battle. Camden wrote: “There has been a custom in the town of making a great dragon yearly, and carrying it up and down the streets in great jollity on St John’s Eve”. The field traditionally claimed to be that of the battle is still called Battle Edge.[21] According to Reverend Francis Knollis’ description of the discovery, “On 21 November 1814 a large freestone sarcophagus was discovered near Battle Edge 3 feet (0.91 m) below ground, weighing 16 long hundredweight (1,800 lb; 810 kg) with the feet pointing almost due south. The interior is 6 feet (1.8 m) long and 2 feet 2 inches (0.66 m) wide. It was found to contain the remains of a human body, with portions of a leather cuirass studded with metal nails. The skeleton was found in near perfect state due to the exclusion of air from the sarcophagus.”[24] The coffin is now preserved in Burford churchyard, near the west gate.

“Whose fame is in that dark green tomb? Four stones with their heads of moss stand there. They mark the narrow house of death. Some chief of fame is here! Raise the songs of old! Awake their memory in the tomb.” – Ossian

English Civil Wars – the Banbury mutiny

On 17 May 1649, three soldiers who were Levellers were executed on the orders of Oliver Cromwell in the churchyard at Burford following a mutiny started over pay and the prospect of being sent to fight in Ireland. Corporal Church, Private Perkins, and Cornet Thompson were the key leaders of the mutiny and, after a brief court-martial, were put up against the wall in the churchyard at Burford and shot.  The remaining soldiers were pardoned. Each year on the nearest weekend to the Banbury mutiny is commemorated as ‘Levellers Day

I love the Cotswolds and Burford is one of the first little villages of the cotswolds that I visited which mademe want to go back for more and more and more! This little village led me to wanting to visit in my 2 year travels

I will be going back again but this time either with a campervan or a car to be able to go drive through and visit where I like!