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Court Barn, Museum of Craft & Design

St James Church by Cassandra Connolly

Nestled away in the beautiful Cotswold market town of Chipping Campden is a hidden gem. Court Barn, Museum of Craft and Design can be found just off the main high street next to the Church of St James in the north of the town. Famous for being perhaps one of the finest 'wool' churches in the Cotswolds, built with money from the flourishing wool trade, this building is definitely worth a stroll around if you are visiting the museum.


St James Church by Cassandra Connolly

Court Barn Museum tells the story of C.R Ashbee who gave the town its famous links to the Arts and Crafts movement. In May 1902, Ashbee moved the Guild of Handicraft from the East End of London to the Old Silk Mill in the town. 50 Guildsmen and their families arrived with their equipment and set up shop and home making beautiful things. Ashbee believed that the movement wasn't just about creating beautiful things, but working in a healthier environment which fitted well within the ethos of the Arts and Crafts movement. The movement focussed largely on handmade items and moving away from mass production of the time.


Court Barn Museum by Cassandra Connolly

Initially business was good, however unfortunately by 1904 sales began to drop and by 1908 the business went into liquidation. Most of the men and their families moved back to the city to look for work.


Court Barn Museum by Cassandra Connolly

The Guild may have only resided in Chipping Campden for a few years, but many lovely examples of their handiwork was left behind. The museum hosts some beautiful examples of bookbinding, printmaking and silversmithing as well as stained glass and iron work examples from Ashbee's time in Chipping Campden. While only a small exhibition, it is lovely to learn about the local history and stories of some of workers who lived in the town for the brief period the Guild was there. It's worth a look if you are visiting the area and have an interest in the Arts and Crafts Movement.


Court Barn Museum by Cassandra Connolly



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