Chipping Campden is a small market town within the Cotswold district of Gloucestershire, England. Chipping Campden is most noted for its long and wide High Street, dating from the 14th century to the 17th century. Once a rich wool trading centre in the Middle Ages, Chipping Campden enjoyed the patronage of wealthy wool merchants at the time.
There was a settlement in Chipping Campden by the 7th century and, almost certainly, long before that. The word ‘Chipping’ meaning ‘market’, was not added until much later when the town had a market. Little is known about Campden before the Norman Conquest.
Chipping Campden is a very early example of town planning. The Lord of the Manor, Hugh de Gondeville was granted a market charter by King Henry II in 1185 and set out the plan of the town. The main street followed level ground by the River Cam, a curve that helps to make the High Street so attractive. He laid out regular plots of land called burgages to be occupied for a fee by craftsmen, traders and others providing services to the community. An aerial view of the town today clearly shows evidence of these burgage plots.
The Cotswolds became very prosperous in the 14th and 15th centuries and Campden, in particular, thrived. The wool from the long-backed Cotswold Lion sheep was prized across Europe.
Source: Chipping Campden Online