Baunton is situated some 2 miles North of Cirencester on the river Churn, which is claimed by some to be the true source of the Thames. It has its fair share of ancient roads, footpaths and bridleways .The Whiteway and the Welsh Way cross the parish, which is also enclosed to the East and the West respectively by old Roman roads the Fosse Way and Ermin Way. The long distance footpath the Monarch's Way also passes through the village. Just to the North of the church are water meadows of 17th century origin.
The earliest extant references to Baunton are to be found in Domesday Book of 1086 but there is archaeological evidence dating from Prehistoric and Roman times of human habitation in or close to the village.
The Manor of Baunton in early times was owned by a succession of noble families but for 600 years was then in the hands of the George and the Master (or Chester Master) families respectively Parliamentary and Royalist supporters during the Civil War, Cirencester then being a Parliamentary stronghold.
St Mary Magdalene, the lovely tranquil village church was built about 1150 by the Augustinian monks of Cirencester Abbey as a Chapel of Ease and became the parish church in 1551. Of Norman origin it retains much of its original shape. There is also a large wall painting, probably 14th century depicting St.Christopher as a giant ferryman carrying the Christ Child across a stream. Also on display is a rare Early English altar frontal made before the Reformation and probably for the church.
The late Bishop Carpenter (former Bishop of Oxford - and Baunton resident) said, "This small church in its architectural simplicity still stands here for the glory of God and for the use of the people of Baunton and others who come here to worship and pray as people have done for 800 years."
From 1849 until 1935 the village had its own school and the Old School House and classroom still survive as a private house. There are a number of other listed buildings in the village including the 16th century Manor House, Baunton Mill and Downs Farmhouse together with more recent additions in Cotswold stone. Much of the village is classified a Conservation Area and is situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Baunton was described some 70 years ago as "An unadorned Cotswold hamlet, beautiful in its simplicity, its appeal entirely of the native stone, the open fields with sufficient woodland to complete the picture…." and could be so described today.
A commemorative book for the Millennium, "Baunton: A Cotswold Village History" by Andrew Stuart Hall was published in 1999 and is now on its third printing. It includes reminiscences of villagers past and present and photographs old and new. Copies are available by application to the Parochial Church Council clerk:
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Last updated: 11/02/18