Brightwell-cum-Sotwell is a pretty village in Oxfordshire close to Wallingford, located just off the A4130 road which by-passes the village. The unusual name of the village dates from 1948, when the two separate villages of Brightwell and Sotwell were combined. It has many picturesque black and white thatched cottages dating back to Tudor times. The Norman Domesday Book records the two villages as having seventy families living there and two mills, but these cannot be identified.
In the centre of the village is the Red Lion, a 16th century thatched pub and restaurant, which has been commended by the Campaign for Real Ale. It suffered a major fire in 2001 and after extensive repair work, reopened a year later. As the village is the result of two parishes merging, there are churches in Brightwell and Sotwell. St. Agatha’s Church in Brightwell was founded in 1153 on the site of an earlier church. Some traces of the original building are still visible. The tower was rebuilt about 1797 and the church generally was restored in 1858 and 1884. St. James Church is a little church built in 1158 in the form of a chapel. It was rebuilt in 1884, but it retained features of the original building, including an open roof of oak timbers.
The first village school was built by the Reverend Marmaduke Thompson in 1841 and it was then replaced by the Reverend John Haldane Stewart in 1870. A clock tower was added in 1874. When the school moved in 1975, this building became the village hall.
Dr. Edward Bach moved to Mount Vernon cottage in 1934, but died a year later. He is buried in St. James Churchyard. Bach Flower Remedies are renowned across the world. He created homeopathic treatments from the wild flowers in his garden.