Tucked away opposite the side entrance to the church, alongside the Crown Inn, is one of Cirencester's oldest streets, Black Jack Street. It apparently takes its name from the statue of St John the Baptist which used to stand below the church facing down Black Jack Street, the statue became blackened with local metal forging ctivities and the street thus became known by the statue, "Black Jack". Sadly the statue is long since gone, and the street now enjoys far cleaner air!
These days this quaint and historical street is full of independent shops, cafe's and eating places, retailing everything from hosiery, vintage clothing, jewellery, interior homewares, and garden ornamentation to gourmet meat, cheese, coffee, chocolate, art supplies, galleries, cars and kitchens! There is the Golden Cross pub providing super eating areas and B&B, several fabulous coffee shops can be found, as well as two pedestrian shopping mews: Stable Yard and Templar Mews (it is believed Templar Mews is on the site of the courthouse of the Templar Knights and is a site of architectural interest).
In Stable Yard you'll often find a fresh fruit & veg stall, there's a hairdressers, "Pick a Pot and Paint", Cowley House (a tangle of fascinating retail rooms for the home), a cafe, and a Bistro. In Templar Mews you'll find a shop selling waffles and a photography studio.
Shopaholics can delight in Black Jack Street, with something for all budgets and tastes, and very unique. It has recently been described as "the Notting Hill of Cirencester" and rightly deserves this lofty crown. Make sure you don't miss this hidden street on your visit to Cirencester!