Warwickshire Cartography

Market Hall Museum

Warwickshire Cartography

Weaving a route around Warwickshire and the Cotswolds, this itinerary explores the maps and ancient boundaries of Warwickshire.

Ahoy, explorers! Are you ready to embark on a journey where maps are the key to unlocking Warwickshire’s past? Today, we’re venturing beyond the ordinary, swapping online maps for woven maps of old on this trip guided by the fascinating world of cartography. Whether you are a seasoned map enthusiast or an admirer in the art of weaving, simply enjoy a half day looking at places of interest linked to place marking and cartography. So, grab your magnifying glass, pack your spirit of discovery, and get ready to rewrite your definition of a day out!

Our journey begins at a landmark steeped in history and literary legend at what was the cornerstone of four counties. The Four Shires Stone is an 18th-century pillar, standing proudly at what was once the intersection of four counties, just outside of Moreton-in-Marsh on the A44 to Chipping Norton. It’s believed that a boundary marker has been at or near this location since the 1600’s. The marker you can see today is an 18th Century square stone pillar, topped by a sundial and stone ball. The pillar marks what used to be the junction of four counties (Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire). Whilst there is no written evidence, the Four Shires Stone is said to be the inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien’s Three Farthing Stone, marking the centre of the Shire in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

From here, head to the small village of Barcheston, once the home of the famous tapestry making Sheldon family started by William Sheldon in 1560. Barcheston Church has a monument to the history of the battle of Edgehill in 1642. However, the Church has only limited opening.

Woven in wool and silk in the 1600’s, the Sheldon Tapestry Maps are a fine example of early cartography covering the counties of Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire. Of historical significance, the tapestry maps are not only fine example of early cartography, but are beautiful samples of woven art. Created in Sheldon’s Warwickshire workshops, each county map depicts grand scenes of four Midlands counties as they were centuries past.

Now we’ve whetted your appetite, your destination is to see the Warwickshire section of the map –  the only section entirely intact. On display at Market Hall museum in the heart of Warwick you can take time to admire this impressive representation of Warwickshire. Follow the route of the Fosse way on the A429 to Warwick, stopping enroute at Compton Verney, where you can stretch your legs in the 120 acre grounds once designed by Capability Brown. Compton Verney is one example of how Capability Brown has influenced landscaped gardens in England.

After spending time at the Market Hall Museum in historic Warwick, head back towards Shipston-on-Stour via the A422 stopping off at Whatcote where builders of the 800-year-old St Peter’s Church lodged at The Royal Oak. Oliver Cromwell was reputed to have stayed in the Royal Oak Pub before the famous battle of Edgehill. Now you can enjoy Michelin starred meals.

Round off your day exploring the treasures to be found in antique shops in Shipston. A Touch of Dust offers an eclectic mix of decorative items from around the world and London House Past and Presents is a treasure trove where you can lose yourself amongst antiquities.

Finally, spend the evening in a traditional inn such as The White Bear Inn, a charming traditional coaching Inn dating from the early 1800s featuring exposed beams, wonky walls and a warm welcome. After dinner, relax in the bar playing traditional games such as Crib Boards or dominoes.


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