Last Updated on 21st January 2021 by Sophie Nadeau
Straight out of the pages of a storybook, the real life entryway to Moria (Middle Earth) is thought to have inspired J R Tolkien, who is known to have visited and travelled around the Cotswolds, an area of Outstanding Natural beauty which can be accessed as an easy day trip from London. Located in the picture perfect town of Stow-in-theWold, the yew tree door of the Cotswolds is a must see for any photography fan. Here’s how to visit and things to know before you go!
How to Visit the Yew Tree Door in the Cotswolds
Head to Instagram and look for the best-kept secrets of the Cotswolds. After a while, you’ll no doubt likely spot the stunning oak door frame flanked by two ancient trees. Picture perfect and out of this world, the real life door belongs to the back wall of St Edward’s Church in Stow-on-the-World.
Studded with nails and crowned by some ancient stained glass windows, many believe that the doors inspired J.R.R. Tolkien’s Doors of Durin. After all; the doors to the Elven Kingdom also were framed with two yew trees. Though there is no concrete evidence that this is entirely the case, the door itself was erected during the 13th-Century.
The yew tree-framed door is located to the back side of the building when entering through the gate. Simply enter through the gates into the church’s cemetery, which surrounds the building of St Edward’s, and follow the path around to the back of the church. There, you’ll soon find the pretty door framed between a later addition porch!
St Edward’s Church, Stow-on-the-Wold
Situated in the very heart of the Cotswolds town, St Edward’s is free to visit and is hard to miss when admiring the buttery stone architecture of the pretty settlement. The ecclesiastical building is located just two blocks away from the main market square, around which the rest of the town is built.
Once upon a time, the market square would have held a regular livestock fair, drawing crowds from near and far, attempting to peddle their wares. Today, the chocolate box town is a must-see when passing through this part of the countryside.
Other highlights close by include many traditional English pubs (we particularly recommend the Porch Inn, which is alleged to be ‘England’s Oldest Inn’) and antique shopping (The Cotswolds is a haven for antique collectors, with many independent shops in every town).
St Edward’s Church itself dates all the way back to Norman times, with the consecration of the building having taken place prior to 1086. Though no one is quite sure as to the exact dating of the church, though the tower was built during the 15th-century, the rest of the building was constructed much earlier.
It’s also thought that the Medieval church was constructed on the site of an even earlier Saxon church, which would likely have been made of wood. Highlights of the Grade I listed building the (of which there are 98 such listings in the Cotswolds district) include a 13th-century lancet window and Tudor windows.