William Morris 1834 - 1896

Poet, artist, conservationist, craftsman, calligrapher, printer, socialist and "dreamer of dreams": William Morris was all of these and more. Born in 1834, much of Morris' life was influenced by the Cotswold countryside. Kelmscott Manor near Lechlade, not far from Bibury, became his country home from 1871 until his death in 1896. Kelmscott played an important part in his life and can still be visited today.

Morris was one of the leaders of the Arts & Crafts Movement which flourished from 1850 - 1920 and spread across Europe and North America. Many of his followers remained in the Cotswolds, and this tradition is still alive today, and inspiration for artists and craftworkers in the countryside.

Many craftsmen frustrated by the industrial processes they faced, found the unspoiled character of the Cotswolds ideal to demonstrate their ideas and beliefs. The world renowned Guild of Handicraft came to Chipping Camden from London in 1902 and set up their workshops in the old silk mill in Sheep Street. Today it remains a centre for crafts, and descendants of the original group are still there! You can visit the Trust's permanent exhibition of their work and see the contribution made by modern designers and makers.

All over the Cotswolds are other examples. A group flourished in the upper Frome valley above Stroud and around Sapperton, making fine furniture. There are churches with examples of stained glass craftsmanship, as at Shipton-under-Wychwood, Burford and Cirencester for example.

Architects like Bowman Jewson lovingly repaired old buildings, such as Owlpen Manor. At Rodmarton the manor is a splendid example of arts and crafts tradition at work - the whole house was built in this way, taking 20 years before completion in 1929. Ashbee himself said "The English Arts and Crafts movement at it's best is here."

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11 The Street, Bibury, Gloucestershire, GL7 5NP. England. Tel: 01285 740555
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