Type:Towns & Villages

Kempsford, Gloucestershire, GL7 4EQ


Kempsford is a village in Gloucestershire, situated on the edge of the Cotswolds between Cricklade and Lechlade with the Thames Path closeby. Kempsford Parish consists of the villages of Kempsford and Whelford.

Kempsford, anciently known as Kynemereforde, “The Ford of the Great Marsh,” is rich in historical and legendary lore, with Father Thames as the boundary between Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

The village's main claim to historical fame began in 1297 when Henry Plantaganet, Earl of Lancaster married Maud de Chaworth, who had inherited the Manor from her father. Thus began a series of royal links, the end of which was the marriage of Blanche de Chaworth to John of Gaunt and the birth of their son Henry, who, in 1399, became Henry IV.

St. Mary's Church

The tower can be seen from The Thames Path. Its outstanding feature is the painted ceiling of the medieval tower, which records some of the most important families of the middle ages and their association with the village and its castle (no longer in existence). One of its most striking features is a circle of Lancastrian Roses, celebrating Kempsford as the birth place of the man who was to be the first Duke of Lancaster. It has recently been restored with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Arkell’s Brewery

Kempsford was also the birthplace, in 1802, of John Arkell, the founder of Arkell’s Brewery. He emigrated to Canada with a group of local people and established the community of Arkell, which still exists today. He returned to be married in 1833 and lived near Swindon growing barley on his farm. He started brewing beer and set up his first brewery in 1845 and in 1861 he purchased his third pub, The George in Kempsford. The George is a traditional country pub with a garden and serving excellent food.

Kempsford Manor

Elegant 17-18th century Cotswold manor house set in beautiful, peaceful gardens. The gardens are open from February to October

Thames & Severn Canal

From 1789 - 1927 Kempsford was a major stop on the now extinct Thames/Severn canal.

 The Thames Path

The Thames Path does not follow the river here. It passes through country lanes and fields. The nearest access point to it is at Castle Eaton, about a 20 minute walk.

Book Tickets


Map & Directions

Road Directions


Swindon 12 miles, Cirencester 10 miles, Oxford 24 miles. Easy access to M4 and M5

Public Transport Directions

By train: Paddington to Swindon 50 minutes

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