“A large common hill ... with 360 sheep set upon Snowshill Hill" Extract from The Tithe Book
Snowshill Hill was described in the Tithe book as "a large common hill" forming part of the local Snowshill Manor Estate. The land called the commons was formally owned by the landlord, but the rights to use it belonged to the commoners.
During the early years of the sixteenth century, wool was in demand for the cloth industry, and landlords, who were short of tenants, rather than allow land to go vacant, enclosed "common land" to optimise sheep ranching productivity.
However with the population growth "enclosure" removed land from general use of the village population and represented a major grievance. When "sheep eat men" is how Thomas More, in the classic Utopia, described the enclosure of the commons. The picturesque Cotswold dry stone walls literally became a very visible sign of the changing relationship between lords and tenants. (Source: Keith E. Wrightson: Early Modern England)
Two Thousand Years of Cotswold History
The English Place-
The Romans Loved The Cotswolds
Buckle Street, an eight foot wide ancient Roman road, ascends the Cotswolds near Saintbury passes Broadway Tower on the west and runs along a ridge of hills bordering Snowshill Hill to join the Foss Way near Bourton-
Countryside to Inspire Shakespeare's Midsummer's Night's Dream
Although there is no evidence to support it, we like to believe that England's greatest bard was inspired by the beauty of the Cotswolds. It certainly sounds like it:
"Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
With sweet musk-
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull'd in these flowers with dances and delight"
Snowshill Hill, selected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest to preserve some of the rarest orchids found in England is a short drive away from William Shakespeare's birth place, Stratford -
Bitter Civil Wars Fought for These Cherished Hills
A new bridge in Evesham (10.2 miles) has been named after Simon de Montfort, who founded the first parliament and is a national hero to this day. In 1265, along a ridge called Green Hill, just north of Evesham, Prince Edward, later King Edward 1, defeated Simon de Montfort in an engagement that turned into a massacre. The battlefield is a key landmark along the rocky road to parliamentary democracy.
In 1646, Sir Jacob Astley, a Royalist, trying to reach Oxford with 3,000 men was confronted and defeated by Roundhead forces (Parliamentarian). He chose a hill, north west of Stow-