Adlestrop is a tiny settlement of honey coloured cottages, in the Cotswolds. It does not have a pub, but does have a church, village hall and a post office. This lovely isolated village is situated between Chipping Norton and Stow-on-the-Wold. The village has been immortalised by the poem, “Adlestrop”, written by Edward Thomas, after his express train from London made an unscheduled stop here in June 1914. He did not leave the train, but his stop at the platform resulted in one of our Nation’s favourite poems. It evokes a sense of peace and serenity in a village railway station just before the outbreak of the First World War.
“Yes, I remember Adlestrop -”
Edward Thomas, never saw his poem in print. Aged 36, he joined the army and was killed in 1917 in France at the Battle of Arras. The station at Adlestrop was closed and demolished in 1966. The station master’s house is now a private residence. All that remains of the station is a station sign, which was salvaged and placed in the village bus shelter. There is a bench here which bears a plaque with the poem engraved on it.
The village has other literary connections. Opposite St. Mary Magdalene Church, is Adlestrop Park, which has been owned by the Leigh family since 1553. Jane Austen, the novelist, visited the Rectory, which is now Adlestrop House, several times between 1794 and 1806. She stayed with her cousin, Thomas Leigh, who was the Rector. Her mother, Cassandra, was a member of the Leigh family. It is believed that Adlestrop Park and the Rectory, were the inspiration for Thornton Lacey in Jane Austen’s novel, “Mansfield Park”.
Adlestrop Church contains various monuments to the Leigh family. The actual date of its origins are not known, but it is believed that a chapel was on the same site in the 12th century. The tower and chancel arch are 14th century. The church was heavily restored in the 18th and 19th centuries. Opposite the church, there is a schoolroom, The Old School House and Coachmans Cottage, all dating from the 19th century.