Kings, Lords & Abbotts
There is little doubt that those who play Painswick tread in illustrious footsteps. An alternative name for the Beacon is Castle Godwin.
This alternative name commemorates a story that Earl Godwin of Wessex camped here with his forces in 1052 AD. Godwin was the most
powerful man in England at the time and was in revolt against King Edward the Confessor. A meeting was arranged to try to reconcile
the two and Painswick may have been the site chosen. It would have been a convenient spot as it lay close to Wales where Godwin had
been recruiting men to join his army, and was just inside the borders of Wessex where he would have felt safe. The King, too, would
have found the site quite acceptable. It may be that amongst Godwin's retinue on that day was his son Harold Godwinson who, in 1065
would succeed Edward the Confessor on the throne of England, and who, in 1066, would die at Hastings fighting against William the
During Norman, the area was divided between three important lords - the Abbot of Gloucester was lord of Prinknash. Pain
Fitzjohn was lord of Painswick ("wick") is an old Saxon word meaning ("estate"), and Kimsbury was held by a man called Elgar who had
a manor house in "a watered hollow" in the trees on the Gloucester side of the present course. There is some evidence that these lords
were usually busy keeping the peace. In 1121 a robber or highwayman was hanged from a tree close to the "Royal William Hotel". Clearly
travel along the roads (such as they were) was not always safe. It may be worthy of note that this same hostelry was once called the
"Henry VIII" (it was renamed in honour of William IV in 1830). The original name is a reminder that the Tudor King spent part of his
honeymoon with his second wife, Anne Boleyn, at Prinknash where he enjoyed the hunting.
There is a further story connecting the area
to royalty, but whereas the previous links are supported by some evidence, this one has the stamp of legend. It is said that Charles
I (or was it Charles II?) was so taken by the beauty of the district that he described it as "Paradise" - hence the name of the nearby
hamlet. Incidentally, the Stuarts were themselves golfers and so maybe the King had his clubs with him and... but maybe not!