Sheepscombe lies in a narrow valley hidden behind the Cotswold scarp, to the east of Painswick. Over time it has undergone several major changes. Five hundred years ago it was sparsely populated, and used as a deer park and hunting ground. The modern village has its origins in the seventeenth century, developing on the back of agriculture and the growing textile trade. The nineteenth century, however, brought a period of industrial decline, and Sheepscombe suffered from increasing poverty and a falling population.
Since that time, its population has been revived once again and today it is a vibrant community, although no longer the working village that it used to be.
Sheepscombe comprises several hamlets: Sheepscombe village, Jack’s Green, Cockshoot and Longridge. Please refer to the contact page for a map of the area. Much of the surrounding land is owned by The National Trust or English Nature, and designed Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There is a beautiful pub, The Butcher’s Arms, serving excellent food and a wide range of beers, an active church and a vibrant social life.
There is a happy and busy primary school in the village, and a cricket club which boasts a cricket pitch with wonderful views over the valleys. Much of the social life of the village takes place in the Village Hall.
Frank Mansell (1918-1979) author and poet of Gloucestershire, lived at Salt Box in Sheepscombe. He was known as ‘The Cotswold Poet’, and was a friend of Laurie Lee. He also played cricket for Sheepscombe.
We are lucky that Saydisc recorded him reading some of his poems, and three samples, read by Frank Mansell himself, are at this link. Here he is reading The Cottagers Reply
Thanks to Saydisc for permission to use this recording.
To purchase the CD of his ‘Cotswold Ballads’ visit www.saydisc.com. As well as Frank Mansell reading his poems, Celia Carroll and Peter Tatham have set some of the ballads to music and these songs are also on the CD.
The whole album is on Spotify and all major download and streaming sites.
Cotswold Ballads, a bigger collection of his poems, was published by Richard Courtauld in 1974 and the book includes wood block illustrations by local artist Robert Ball