Yew Tree Cottage was formed by the combination of two 17th century cottages directly opposite All Saints Church. A shared central doorway in the front of the cottage was replaced by a window when two cottages were combined to form one house between the wars, but otherwise the front elevation is unchanged from its 17th century origins.
I acquired the cottage in a state of “some disrepair” from splendid local eccentric Major Rodney Howe in 2000 and I then embarked on a process of sympathetic restoration which took until 2003. Subsequently, I have devoted most of my efforts to the extension and improvement of the cottage’s four gardens. I ran the cottage as a B&B very happily for about 15 years until covid and age brought the B&B years to an end in 2020.
Yew Tree Cottage lies opposite All Saints Church in Turkdean in the heart of the Cotswolds 3 miles north of Northleach and 5 miles south of Bourton-on-the-Water.
At its height Turkdean had over 400 residents (447 at the time of the 1861 census) mostly working the land. Although now hard to believe, the village used to support its own shop, pub and school. However, today Turkdean is home to just 50 souls and, as we have thankfully avoided the necessity of a village sign, we go mostly fairly unremarked.
Our village amenities now consist of a lovely, much-altered Norman church, a postbox (with weekday collections at 4:45pm) and a still functioning and recently repainted K6 Gilbert Scott telephone box. There is a small village green outside Turkdean Manor, but it is not large enough for any significant exertions. A trough on the road opposite the church used to be known, slightly bizarrely, as the “Town Well”, but although the trough still functions the village’s need for communal running water dried up long ago. The Parish Meeting meets under Fergus Fleming’s very able chairmanship, but is hardly invasive in village life.
Our nearest pubs are now The Plough in Cold Aston and The Wheatsheaf in Northleach where there is also a very decent wine bar, The Curious Wine Cellar.
I put together a history of this small village. With a Roman villa excavated “against the clock” by Channel 4’s Time Team in 1997, a Saxon community recorded in the Doomsday Book, a Norman church and a landscape that reflects its medieval agricultural development based on the Cotswold wool trade and its subsequent redistribution under Parliamentary Inclosure in 1793, the village has a long history that belies its small size today.
For information about services at All Saints Church, which is directly opposite the cottage and of which I have been ChurchWarden for some years, see the Church Near You website.