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CIRENCESTER is a somewhat old-fashioned town on the southern fringes of the Cotswolds. At its heart is the delightful, swirling Market Place, packed with traders' stalls on Mondays and Fridays. An irregular line of eighteenth-century facades along the north side contrasts with the heavier Victorian structures opposite, but the parish church of St John the Baptist (Mon– Sat 9.30am–5pm, Sun 2.15–5pm; £2 suggested donation), built in stages during the fifteenth century, dominates. It contains a colourful wineglass pulpit, carved in stone around 1450 and one of the few pre-Reformation pulpits to have survived in Britain.
Few other medieval buildings have survived. The houses along the town's most handsome streets – Park, Thomas and Coxwell – date mostly from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and include the sleek Corinium Museum on Park Street (Mon– Sat 10am–5pm, Sun 2–5pm; £3.90), which mostly devotes itself to Roman and Saxon artefacts, including several wonderful mosaic pavements.