A Brief History

The historic Cotswold village of Castle Combe

The land above Castle Combe was originally home to a Roman Villa vacated in the 5th Century AD. Little happened until Reginald de Dunstanville built a Norman Castle on Castle Hill during the English Civil War of 1135-1154 - so putting the 'Castle' into Castle Combe.

By the 14th Century this Norman castle had fallen into a state beyond repair and a new Manor House was built in the shelter of the valley below. The Manor House is still on the same site today though little remains of the original structure.

The Middle Ages were to be a very prosperous time for Castle Combe when much of the village as we see today was constructed; the reason for this prosperity was the growth of a thriving cloth industry. Benefiting from the wool from huge local flocks of sheep, the fast flowing Bybrook river, fullers earth and the great skill of local weavers. The red and white Castle Combe cloth became renowned not only in the markets of Bristol and Cirencester but also in London and abroad. With increasing size and wealth came greater stature and the right to hold a weekly market was granted by Henry VI in 1440 centred around the market cross - the focal point of the village. The industry however diminished in the 16th Century with the slowing of the flow of the Bybrook the cloth manufacture moved to other nearby areas in Gloucestershire, but not before Castle Combe was left with the buildings that make it the remarkable village it remains today.