Lower Slaughter is one of the most beautiful villages in the Cotswolds. It is situated ten miles west of Chipping Norton. One mile away is the village of Upper Slaughter. Upper and Lower Slaughter are linked by the River Eye, which is known locally as the “Slaughter Brook”. The village has changed little in over one hundred years. Many of the buildings date from the 16th and 17th centuries. There have not been any new buildings since 1906. The unusual name is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word “slohtre”, which means a muddy place. The river is shallow and crossed by several quaint old bridges. There are stone steps leading into the river, which allowed villagers to obtain water more easily.
Although the village is often full of tourists, attracted by the beauty of its setting and the stone cottages, it does not have the many tourist shops which can be found in the neighbouring village of Bourton-on-the-Water. There is a restored 19th century flour mill, which contains a tea room, craft shop and a small museum. The Mill was used commercially until 1958. It has a giant working waterwheel and a tall red brick chimney, which contrasts with the mellow Cotswold stone of the rest of the village. The Mill was originally part of Lower Slaughter Manor, built in 1658 and now trades as a luxury hotel, “The Slaughters Manor House”. Opposite the hotel, on the banks of the River Eye, is The Slaughters Country Inn, which, until 2012, was the Washbourne Court Hotel. This building also dates from the 17th century, but was originally three farm workers’ cottages and stable block on the Washbourne family estate. Later, it was used as a “crammer” school for Eton College. The purpose of the school was to acquire the required knowledge in as short a time as possible, when education was seen as character building and examinations hardly existed.
St. Mary’s Church, at the beginning of the village, dates from the 13th century, but was rebuilt in 1867. It has an impressive spire on top of the tower. There are memorials to the Whitmore family, who lived in the adjacent Lower Slaughter Manor House.