Day Out: Archive Films
Gwyn Richards on a Day Out in Tetbury
Day Out: Tetbury
Watch a BBC TV programme made in 1981 of a day spent exploring the Gloucestershire town...
Originally broadcast in 1981 was this charming half-hour television programme which took a look round Tetbury.
As part of the BBC's 'Day Out' series - which visited a different Gloucestershire and West Country locale every week - presenter Gwyn Richards is seen exploring the area.
He begins his day out in the hamlet of Doughton overlooking Highgrove House - the home of Prince Charles. Gwyn tells us: "From next week it will be the home of our future king and queen".
Gwyn shows us part of the old main road leading into Tetbury - the stagecoach route linking Bath and Cirencester - which is now just a dirt track. We see the 'Bath Bridge ' which was built in 1775 and is said to be 'the most outstanding example of an arched dry stone road bridge in the whole country."
We hear that the town was recorded in a charter in 681 there was already a monastery there, making it the earliest recorded Christian settlement in Gloucestershire.
A busy Long Street
The history lesson continues as we learn that Long Street, one of the finest old Cotswold town streets remaining, is in danger from the vibration the hundreds of lorries that thunder past every day. We hear that "there is talk of a bypass that may be built sometime in the future."
Gwyn visits the Market House where the town's wool used to be weighed and graded and distributed from. He tells us that the original top story of the building was removed early in the 19th Century. We learn why the town's unofficial coat of arms is that of two dolphins - supposedly because in Medieval times the lord of the manor's ship was saved from sinking by two dolphins.
"Mr. Tetbury" John Phillips
John Phillips, known locally as 'Mr. Tetbury' is interviewed about 'The Feoffees of Tetbury'. John is the current chairman of 'The Feoffees' and explains how the group originated in the 17th Century.
At the parish church of St. Mary we hear that a previous owner of Highgrove House paid for the original tower and spire to be rebuilt at a cost of £10,000 in the late 19th Century. The view from Highgrove House to the church remains clear of trees so that the house owners can get an unrestricted view. Inside the church we see the old system of box pews, and we learn that the town's other church, St. Saviour's, was built for the poor of the parish. This new church is now maintained by the Redundant Churches Fund.
1981: The year of the Royal Wedding
Gwyn visits the Old Court House, now being used as a police museum. He interviews Tetbury's Mayor Brian Kimber and asks him why he wanted to establish a museum there. We see various items on display including a pair of handcuffs, truncheons and an old Victorian 'bullseye' police lantern.
Filmed at the time of the royal wedding of 1981 we see local businesses getting ready for the big day. Local baker Michael Francis is seen making his 'Tetbury Rolls' in the form of the Prince of Wales' emblem of the three feathers.
We see the Wiltshire Bridge which used to mark the boundary between Wiltshire and Gloucestershire with the faded letters "G" and "W" carved into the stone, and the goods shed which is all that remains of the Tetbury to Kemble railway which closed in 1964.
The famous Woolsack Races
Gwyn visits the town's cattle market, one of the smallest regular markets around, which is held every Wednesday. On Gumstool Hill we see the famous annual woolsack races in action. And inside a courtyard we see one of the American Army's closely guarded headquarters during the second world war, where the scale models and maps of the beaches were made ahead of the Normandy Landings.
Extending his trip out of Tetbury itself Gwyn visits nearby Chavenage Manor where we learn that Oliver Cromwell twice stayed there, and we hear of the ghost story concerning Colonel Nathaniel Stephens. A short distance away over the fields we see the remains of Beverston Castle, originally built in the 11th Century, and we get a final view of Tetbury from the castle tower.
Check out the other fascinating films from the 'Day Out' series which were filmed in Gloucestershire by clicking on the links at the top right of this page.
last updated: 21/01/2009 at 14:35
Have Your Say
Do you recognise anyone featured in the programme? What memories does it bring back?
Lifelong tetbury resident.