House hunting opens up an entirely new world of Cotswold villages for us to explore. Just round the bed of a narrow country lane, between Chipping Norton and Shipston-on-Stour is the village of Tysoe. Branching off the arterial A422, takes you deeper in the rolling Cotswold hills and that’s when you get to discover these unkown hidden Cotswold gems – like the extraordinary tea room which sprung up in someone’s front room!
Tysoe is actually made up of three smaller hamlets, Lower, Middle and Upper Tysoe, but really it’s the middle part that sees most of the activity and is a popular stop for cyclists and walkers – especially on a Sunday. Tea at Tysoe is an interesting tea room, is effectively in the living room of a large Horton stone cottage, with a shabby chic charm that caters for anyone looking a for a quintessential English cuppa.
It’s the kind of place one wonders how on earth it survives – you’d properly have to stumble across it to find it and so I thought as a potential new resident, I’d pop it on here! We have a fulfilling breakfast of porridge and tea cake with lashings of tea. Yep, it sounds like something from Enid Blighton.
And as I’ve been looking up Tysoe, I thought I leave you with three interesting local witch related history facts:
1. According to the BBC Domesday Project and local history the name Tysoe derives from ‘Twis’s Hoh’ or spur of hillside dedicated to Saxon war god Twi.
2. From local memory there was once a Red Horse carved into the hillside above Tysoe, giving the area its local name – The Vale of the Red Horse. The remnants of the figures of three horse shapes can be seen from aerial photography taken in the 60s.
3. At the beginning of the present century there was a very strong belief in witchcraft through the village, according to accounts held by the British Museum cases of assault in order to draw blood from a suspected witch occurred on several occasions and elderly ladies were reluctant to use a stick, as this was a notorious sign of a witch – probably not so surprising as the village drew its name from the heathen god!