Slaughter may not sound the most promising of names but Lower Slaughter situated in the heart of the Cotswold Hills is one of the prettiest and most unspoilt villages you can visit. Its unusual name is a derivation of the Old English word ‘slough’ meaning muddy patch but, if it was many years ago, it is certainly not one now. In fact, three years ago it was described in a poll as having ‘the most romantic street in Britain’.
Although there is some more recent housing discreetly tucked away most of the buildings date from the mid sixteenth to mid-seventeenth centuries. Its origins are even older for it was well established even before being recorded in the Domesday Book; this means that it has been continuously inhabited for over a thousand years.
The countryside surrounding Lower Slaughter, and also the village itself, may not appear to have changed much in centuries but there is no doubt that they are very much ‘tidier’ than they once were. An old Pathe News clip shows the banks of the Eye overgrown – there probably wasn’t the same enthusiasm for cutting its grassy banks when it has to be done by scythe. Another change the film shows is the ‘locals’ sitting on the benches: nowadays, many of the houses are owned by the wealthy as weekend retreats and those exploring its lanes are visitors.