October 7 – An afternoon geocaching around Bletchingdon

Canals at Thrupp

Hi from 1066 – Medieval Mosaic

We had a terrible time with our new GPS today and we could not get it to work. We changed the batteries, took out the chip, turned it off and on but it still would not work. If you stood in one place the distance on the GPS would keep moving as if you were running away. We just could not get it to settle. In the end, we decided that it was such thick cloud cover that it could not pick up the satellites so it looked like the end of geocaching for the day. The old GPS was in the car but did not have the correct area on it.

The cache at the Bletchington church is not a church micro and despite going back three times on different days we never did find it. We looked in all the likely and lots of the unlikely places but nothing and we felt very conspicuous as it is a popular place for dog walking.

St Giles church has a lovely stone reredos and painted organ. The Minton tiles are beautiful and there is a scratch dial outside used for telling the time of the next mass. Next door is the former stable block and courtyard of Bletchingdon Park now converted to a mews style residential development. The Domesday Book records that in 1086 Robert D’Oyly held a manor of eight hides at Bletchingdon. Robert D’Oyly also built Oxford Castle and appears in the ‘finale’ section of the Medieval Mosaic when he marries the Mayor of Wallingford’s daughter. William the Conqueror attended this wedding.

We then drove to Thrupp which is on the Oxford canal and close to the River Cherwell. Here we watched a narrowboat being lived in and driven by a girl alone. We wondered how she managed it alone as you seem to need two people to drive a narrow boat, one to steer and one as crew. She said she could manage even locks alone but also said that there was usually someone around who was willing to help and the people who live on the canals are quite a close-knit group. We wandered along the canal in both directions looking at the boats and watched the drawbridge go up so that a narrow boat could drive through. There were lots of boats tied up in this area both above and below Thrupp. Before the Norman conquest of England in 1066 Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury held the manor of Thrupp. In 1070 Stigand was deposed and William the Conqueror confiscated his lands. William granted Thrupp to Roger d’Ivry, who sold it to Wadard, a knight in William’s court. Stigand and Wadard appear and are both named in the Bayeux Tapestry and Roger D’Ivry stands behind Robert D’Oyly in the ‘finale’ section.

Nearby is Shipton-on-Cherwell where we found Holy Cross church. The GPS still would not work so we could not use it to collect the numbers for the multi. On the off chance, I decided to see if I could find the cache using only the hint and much to our surprise that worked. Finally a cache for the day.

The evening ended with another magnificent sunset.