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Perched on a golden limestone ridge between two river valleys – the Ock and the Thames – Faringdon enjoys panoramic views of the surrounding area. On the threshold of the Cotswolds, distinctive regional stone is evident in buildings around the town.
The Anglo-Saxon kings of Wessex located a palace here and Faringdon is recorded in the Domesday Book. A weekly market was granted in 1218 and these continue to take place on Tuesdays in the central market-place, overlooked by the 17th century elevated market hall.
The Parish Church dates from the 13th century. A turbulent history has robbed it of many usual features including a spire but the interior reveals interesting features including scroll work and brasses. The churchyard is rumoured to have a ghost.
Faringdon is noted for the curious custom of dying pigeons with bright colours, a practice started by the eccentric Lord Berners when resident at Faringdon House. His on-going influence is still evident around the town through stone plaques with comments such as "Please do not throw stones at this notice". Faringdon house is privately owned and not open for public access.
A short stroll from central Faringdon are open fields and a network of footpaths and eight themed walks to nearby villages of Radcot, Pusey, Buckland, Wicklesham, Fernham, Great Coxwell Badbury Hill and Thrupp. Two of England's national trails - the Thames Path and the Ridgeway – are accessible within a short ride / drive.
The Berkshire Pig was first bred by local farmers around Faringdon. Now classed as a rare breed, bacon from these large black animals was often used to make the local dish of Berkshire bacon pudding, a suet roly-poly filled with home cured bacon and flavoured with sage and onion.
A number of myths exist about Dragon Hill. Most popular are that St George slayed the dragon here; that the dragon's blood poisoned the ground preventing the grass from growing; and that the site marks the burial place of the dragon and / or Uter Pendragon, father of King Arthur.
Five things to do in Faringdon:
- The Church of All Saints – a beautiful historic church built in the late 12th century with a splendid 1390 pipe organ.
- Faringdon Folly – the last folly built in England is a stark 104ft high tower topped with gothic flourishes and mock battlements.
- Follow the Faringdon Historic Walk– a written commentary of significant historical buildings.
- Great Coxwell Barn - large, early 14th century monastic tithe barn cared for by the National Trust
- Badbury Hill and Woods - iron age hill fort and woodland renown for bluebell walks in April / May
Five things to do near Faringdon:
- Uffington White Horse – the 3,000 year old chalk hill figure is the most impressive in Britain
- Buscot Park and The Faringdon Collection – Lord Faringdon’s stately home and art collection
- Kelmscott – Tudor manor house which was the home of William Morris, founder of the Arts and Crafts movement.
- Tom Brown’s School Museum – attained world-wide fame as the school in Thomas Hughes book Tom Brown’s Schooldays.
- Ashdown House - Unusual Dutch-style house with a dolls'-house appearance on the Berkshire Downs.
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The Corn Exchange
Tel: 01367 242191
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