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Burford and the Arts and Crafts Movement

By the 1860s a growing number of artists and designers were disenchanted by mass-production, and by what they saw as a corresponding decline in style, craftsmanship, and public taste. The Arts and Crafts movement was their aesthetic response.

Among its most famous proponents was William Morris (1834–96), who lived only a few miles from Burford at Kelmscott, and founded the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (the ‘Anti-Scrape Society’) partly in response to the over-restoration of Burford church in the 1870s.

In Burford, such ideas were shared by many of the artists, writers and intellectuals who moved into the town c.1900–30, and exerted a strong impact on the town’s social tone and appearance. Morris’s daughter May remained at Kelmscott Manor until her death in 1938, and became a close friend of Burford incomers such as the Grettons (at Calendars on Sheep Street). Among other interests they shared an enthusiasm for English folk dancing: the folksong revivalist Cecil Sharp was a visitor to both Kelmscott and Calendars.


University of London