THE RED LION INN at Castle Eaton
By a swingbridge over the canal and a walk of a mile or so along Thames' side you cross the River into Castle Eaton; Ayton,
they call it
About half way the River becomes a county boundary for the first time in its course, except for about half a mile, higher up, in the neighbourhood of Hailstone Hill above Cricklade; an office it never again loses.
During a freezing shower from the east, "which glazed the very plumage of the birds with ice", nineteen rooks were taken up alive in Castle Eaton meadow on the nineteenth of January, 1809.
Here Leland noted "Eiton Castelle, wher great Ruines of a Building in Wyleshire, as in ulteriori ripa remayne yet ... Eiton the Lord Zouche's Castelle."
Nothing now exists of these ruins, but they were of Lord Zouche's castle, a fortress which gave the village the first word of its present name.
De la Zouche is a Norman title which looms huge and vague out of the mists of centuries; but I find nothing salient about the family, and this little village is not mentioned in such records of their possessions as I have searched.
You know, however, the Leicestershire town which incorporates their name in its own.
I hear of another old title for the village: Eaton Maizey.
The Maizeys are said to have held in the twelfth century; their name survives at Meysey Hampton.
Probably the lowering battlements and heavy sullen name of de La Zouche crushed their memory out of existence.
One Eva is said to have been the last of them, and to have been buried at Meysey Hampton.
The Red Lion inn stands, they say, upon part of the site of the Zouche castle.
They used to throw a wooden bridge across from the rectory meadow to the Bowstead on the village feast day, so that folk might disport themselves and return in comfort.
The custom was discontinued about 1894, and the ancient feast itself is dying out.
1910: Thames Valley Villages by Charles G Harper
Red Lion, Castle Eaton.
The Red Lion, Left bank just below Castle eaton Bridge, does bar food and has a steep garden
down to the river. Very pleasant.
Flow is high and mooring may be hazardous. Avoid after wet weather.
A good destination from Lechlade for unpowered boats. Even a rowing boat with riggers might find it difficult because of width.