August 17 – Battle of Burford and Burford Priory

A visit from Chas Jones

Hello from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic

Today we had a couple in who told me about the Battle of Burford. The Battle of Burford took place in 752AD and the King of Mercia, Aethelbald was defeated by King Cuthred, the King of the West Saxons. King Cuthrd won the battle and took the standard, a golden dragon. The field where the Battle took place was called Battle-Edge located beside Sheep St and Tanners Lane. There are houses there now but one of the houses is called Battle House. In 1852 some men were making a road from Burford to Barrington and discovered a large stone weighing nearly three tons which was found to contain the remains of a human body with remnants of a leather cuirass studded with metal nails. The coffin is still preserved in the Burford church. Apparently, in years gone past, there was a street parade through Burford Dragon Procession with the dragon as its focus.

Also in Burford is the Burford Priory. It is a Grade I listed building now privately owned. The house was built on the site of a 13th-century Augustinian hospital. The house was built in the 1580s and was in private hands for many years including belonging to the Lenthall family from 1634 to 1828. From 1949 a community of English nuns lived there and in 1987 it became a mixed community including Benedictine monks. In 2008 the community sold the property and it became a private home again.

We got our new English Heritage cards today. We have enjoyed membership for the year that we have been here visiting around 30 properties so far. Many more properties still to be visited in the next year hopefully.

In the afternoon Charles Jones visited us. Chas is an archaeologist and has just finished a summer at the Fulford dig in Yorkshire. He is also one of the people behind the ‘Tapestry of Fulford’ We wrote to him 15 years or so ago before we started our Battle of Stamford Bridge and Fulford section when we learned about their tapestry project. He sent us a book about it. However, we did not read the book until after our research and drawings were finished so that Michael and Rachael were not influenced by their work. We finally met Chas when we visited Battle on May 31 for the opening of the ‘Battle Tapestry’. We talked for hours about plans to maybe collaborate on exhibitions in the UK. Also, he offered us accommodation for a big chunk of the time that we will be in Oxford which is marvellous. With the lady who offered us accommodation yesterday and the two house sits we are doing we now only have all of the three months covered except for one week from 28 October to 5 November, which is really wonderful.

Chas is keen to arrange a joint tour exhibition with his tapestry and our mosaic with others like the Alderney tapestry and even the Battle tapestry. It sounds great and I am hoping that we can make it happen.