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At 700 feet above sea level Stow-on-the-Wold is the highest town in the Cotswolds and lies in an area of outstanding scenic beauty. The town is currently famous as a major centre for English antiques with over 70 dealers, as well as tourism and the normal commerce associated with an important market town.
Like many old Cotswold towns, Stow's ancient prosperity was based on raising sheep. The 'lures' as the ancient narrow alleyways were known, assisted in counting the sheep on market days, where at its peak 20,000 sheep were offered for sale. For centuries the town has also been the site of annual horse fairs and gypsies still attend in large numbers to buy and sell.
The earliest settlement at Stow-on-the-Wold dates back to the Iron Age and the remains of part of the ramparts of the hillfort can just be made out behind the doctor's surgery in Well Lane. The town contains some famous old coaching inns originally serving the London to Worcester road. The Royalist Hotel lays claim to be one of the oldest Inns in England originating in 987 A.D. and is situated just off the square, the Kings Arms claims to have had King Charles as a guest at the time of the Battle of Naseby.
Stow-on-the-Wold is very centrally located within easy reach of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick, Banbury, Oxford and Cheltenham. It can be found on the A429 south of Moreton-in-Marsh. If you are a collector the annual Antiques and Fine Art Festival in February is a must.