Stanton, in northern Gloucestershire, is a beautiful Cotswold village that does not attract the publicity that Snowshill, Broadway and other Cotswold tourist locations enjoy. It is a quiet totally uncommercialised village, where the views have changed little in three hundred years. The village was built about 1600, almost completely of Cotswold honey coloured limestone, quarried from Shenberrow Hill, which sits above it. This is a conservation area and the village no longer has any shops, school or post office. It is a joy to walk along the main street, past the traditional Cotswold cottages, up the hill to The Mount Inn. There is little motor traffic and occasionally a rider on horseback moves slowly along the High Street. The village takes its name from “Stan” (stone) from which it is built.
Farming took place in the area from as early as 2,500 BC. It is mentioned in the Domesday Book as ‘land of the church at Winchcombe’. When Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries, the manor of Stanton was surrendered to the King in 1539 and given to Catherine Parr as part of her dowry.
A short distance along the High Street, is a 17th century sundial on the former Village Cross. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
The medieval St. Michael and All Angels Church, is just off the High Street. There was probably a church here as early as AD 811, but the earliest architectural features date to the 12th century. On the south wall, are remains of stone benches, which were used by the elderly and infirm members of the congregation, at a time when it was customary to stand if not kneeling in church. From the custom is derived the expression, “the weakest go to the wall”. John Wesley, the Methodist, preached in the church. He was a close friend of the Rev. Kirkham, who became Rector of Stanton in 1700. John Wesley fell in love with his daughter, but she refused his proposal of marriage.
In 1906, Sir Philip Stott bought most of the village, consisting of 882 acres. He was an architect, civil engineer and surveyor, who had made his fortune building cotton mills. He became Stanton’s outstanding benefactor and paid for improvements to almost every aspect of village life until his death in 1937, including a new cricket field, extension to the school and a swimming pool for local children. He restored Stanton Court, his own home and other historic buildings in the village. Lamps were installed on the High Street, powered by a generator in his home. Philip Stott said he would rather have the bright and confiding smiles of the local school children than all the titles a King could bestow upon him. In 1949, his son, Sir George Stott, sold the Stanton Estate of 1330 acres to individual purchasers. The local authority built four new homes to the west of the village, which were named Wedgwood Cottages after Miss Eliza Wedgwood, a descendant of Josiah Wedgwood, the famous potter who founded the Wedgwood company. She had lived at Charity Farm (also known as Above Town) in the village and carried out various charitable acts.
The village attracts walkers, who are undertaking the Cotswold Way, a long distance footpath, which passes through the village. The Mount Inn, which is reached by walking up the main road at the end of the village, is well worth the effort. It is a 17th century village pub that was originally a farmhouse. In 1897, it was known as “The Bank”. It was not until 1947, that it was licensed to serve drinks on the premises. Until then it was an off-licence, which meant that cider had to be served outside the premises near five elm trees, which are no longer in existence. The Mount Inn is renowned for its magnificent views from its terrace, across the Vale of Evesham and the Malvern Hills to the Black Mountains in Wales. The sunsets from here are spectacular.