MORETON-in-Marsh may well be a fairly small town in terms of population, around 4,000 at the last count, but it has invariably punched above its weight. Its location accounts for that.

Sitting at the junction of two busy routes, the ancient Roman Fosse Way from Exeter to Lincoln and the main road from Oxford to Worcester, around 70 stagecoaches a week rattled through Moreton in the early 19th century, making the area a honeypot for highwaymen. Then when the railways arrived in 1853, it became a familiar station name to passengers travelling to and from London Paddington.

Stepping on to the platform, they would soon appreciate they were in the attractive, mellow stoned North Cotswolds, as listed in many tourist guidebooks. Now Moreton features in another book, this time the latest in the “Through Time” series published by Stroud-based Amberley Publishing.

Moreton-in-Marsh Through Time by Mark Turner (£14.99) follows the format of the others by using then and now images on the same page. For example, the upper photograph on Page 20 is a sepia print of The Redesdale Arms in High Street in 1930, while immediately below it is one of the same place today. Remarkably little has changed, except in 2018 you can hardly see the buildings for the cars, while in 1930 the road is empty except for a lonely couple of piles of horse dung.

The town’s name has occasionally caused debate. One version has it as “Moreton hen mearc” – meaning Moreton on the Boundary in Olde English – while the other believes it is what it says on the tin, a town that was surrounded by marshland. In the 13th century it was known as Moreton in Hennemerse, the word for the “haunt of the wild fowl” that congregated on the marshland.

After the Second World War, Moreton’s name found itself airwaved into the nation’s homes via the popular radio comedy show of the late Forties/early Fifties, Much Binding in the Marsh, which starred Kenneth Horne and Richard Murdoch, who had both served as wartime flying instructors at RAF Moreton-in-Marsh. More recently the town has been regularly used as one of the filming locations for the BBC’s Father Brown television series.

Incidentally, the wonderfully wide High Street can be credited to the local abbot back in 1222, when Moreton was owned by Westminster Abbey. The Church began to develop Moreton as a market town and were fortunate the resident clergy had one among them with an eye for town planning. In 1226 Henry III granted Moreton a market charter and there’s still a thriving weekly retail market in High Street today. Albeit selling toys and tomatoes rather than tunics.