September 18 – Off to Oxford via Northleach and Banbury

Two nice churches in Adderbury and Deddington plus a Castle

Hi from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic

We left Woolminstone at 10.15 after doing a handover to the neighbours of Honey, our doggy charge. Honey was still unwell and not interested in food at all. Adrienne said she would be fine and would ring the vet to check as well. Honey didn’t bat an eyelid as we put the last of our stuff into the car and left. Poor thing.

We headed out to the motorway and headed up the country past Bristol. At 1 pm we arrived at Northleach, Gloucestershire on the A40 and called into Louise’s place. Louise would like us to housesit twice for her from the September 25 to October 6 and then again later in October. She has a small one bedroom flat with a lovely dog named Beth who loved us at first sight, two gorgeous cats and 6 chickens in the back garden.

After our appointment in Banbury, we decided to do some geocaches on the way back to Bletchington where we were spending the night. We saw an interesting looking church, St Mary the Virgin at Adderbury. There was no church micro but a nice looking church nevertheless. There were some amazing grotesques around the outside of the church, some fantastic 13th-century tiles and 2 monumental brasses. There was also a triptych and a statue of St George carved in stone. There were three large stained glass windows and a group of men fixing a window. They had completely replaced the whole window. They do work with stained glass but this one was all plain glass. They were from Holdsworth windows from Shipton-on-Stour and most of their work is now in London. The choir had 20 misericords which are very unusual for a Parish church. A beautiful stone altar depicting Mary, Jesus and the 12 apostles. There was a great variety of corbels throughout the church and the yellow, red and green tiles in front of the altar were from the 13th century. The kneelers made a great display in their mid-blue, red and cream colour scheme. The rectors for this church date from 1232 and the vicars from 1381. There was a fantastic frieze on the outside of the church, again quite unusual. The frieze is one on the best in the country.

Then we went to St Peter and St Pauls Church in Deddington (Church Micro 8759   It was nearly 5 when we arrived so we went to the church first as we didn’t want to miss out on seeing it and they are usually close at about this time. It was a very unusual church as the aisles are as wide as the nave. It had an amazing stained glass window by A.J. Davies, made in 1923, which was all the most beautiful purples, blues and greens of the Virgin Mary with Hannah and St George. There was also a Kempe from 1888but the other window beat it hands down for me. It also had three sedilias and a piscina and a fine wooden screen. The rector’s date from 1247 and the vicars from 1523 with a 13th-century font.

Now to find the cache. It took us ages to find the Watson headstone. We walked all around both graveyards twice and we were just about to give up when I watched Mike walk past it, it was only a short way from the first headstone we had to find. We quickly worked out the final and headed off to walk there, not as short a walk as we expected it. We walked past the Dennington Castle so we went in for a quick look. This castle was the Oxfordshire base of Bishop Odo of Bayeux, half-brother of William the Conqueror and a powerful man in England after the Norman Conquest. Extensive earthworks mark the site of the 11th-century motte-and-bailey castle, with ramparts up to 15 metres high. It is an English Heritage site with free entry.

Then on to the final cache, walk, and more walking, starting to drizzle but we were getting closer. The find was quick once we got to the spot and then we walked on to finish the circle and get back to the car.

We stayed the night at Chas’s and his sisters’ home in Bletchington, north of Oxford.