Hello from 1066 Medieval Mosaic
We set off for a day out geocaching west of Burford, Oxfordshire and we got all the way to Bledington before we realised that the GPS wasn’t working properly as I did not have the correct area loaded onto it. I will have to use the mobile phone. I have never had much success geocaching with a mobile but it worked fine and I soon had the church micro at St Leonard’s church, Bledington and found a travel bug too. This cache marks a milestone as our 350th church micro The church dates from 1170 and the oldest part of the church is the 12th century Norman tub font, the fonts are quite often the oldest part of the church. Many churches have coats of arms of various kings and queens but this one had a royal coat of arms as a wall painting which is quite unusual. It also had some medieval stained glass which is also an exciting find. It also had a huge pendulum clock.
Then we went to St Nicolas’s Church in Oddington which is well known for its Doom painting which dates from 1340 and is 32ft long by 15 ft high. Unfortunately, the church was locked as it and another church nearby had all their lead removed from their roofs. I am not sure if any damage to the wall painting occurred but they are certainly more security conscious.
St Mary Magdalene Church in Aldestrop is lovely as is the village itself. The church dates from 13th century and has a beautifully painted organ and some really interesting floor tiles. The novelist Jane Austin visited Aldestrop House, formerly the rectory at least three times between 1794 and 1806 as her mother’s cousin was the reverend there. She is thought to have taken inspiration from the village and its surroundings for her novel Mansfield Park.
One of the items we are particularly interested in is the tapestry kneelers and St Pauls church in Broadwell had some brightly coloured and unusual ones including ‘Procession of Saints’ by Sylvia Green. So much thought and work go into these kneelers and I find them inspiring.
At Condicote the geocache took some working out and then it was quite away so we drove to the final, picking up ‘A Fine Pair’ on the way. This is where there is a telephone box and a post box within 100 yards of each other, preferably in the same photograph. Not many phone boxes work these days but they are used for all sorts of clever things like housing a defibrillator or as a book exchange. We stopped and talked to a lady who has farmed here for over 50 years. At Guiting Power we walked through a field of sheep and older lambs to reach the church. The sheep were in desperate need of shearing as their fleeces were dropping off. They don’t seem to remove the sheep’s tails here.
St Oswald’s at Shipton Oliffe is a lovely quaint church and I was fascinated by the sign outside advertising ‘Hymns and Pymms’. It had a beautiful reredos behind the altar and some very well preserved wall paintings. We saw our first intact hour glass beside the pulpit. Preaching by the hour-glass was very common towards the end of the sixteenth and during the seventeenth centuries.
Butler, in Hudibras. (1663), alludes to pulpit hour-glasses having been used by the Puritans :
” The preacher having named the text, turned up the glass; and if the sermon did not last till the sand was out, it was said by the congregation that the preacher was lazy; but if, on the other hand, he continued much longer, they would yawn and stretch till the discourse was finished.”