Monday, 4 July 2011

Roundheads and Cavaliers
During the civil war, Oxfordshire was predominantly Parliamentarian in sympathy. In Oxford itself, however, there was a split between Town and Gown with the university supporting Charles I and the residents supporting Cromwell.
On our bus journey to Kidlington last Sunday we passed through Dedington which we thought merited further investigation so the next day the sun was shining again and back we went.

In the centre of the village is a market hall opposite the small green.. And in the market hall are maps of the area showing ownership of land and the age of properties - like an open-air museum exhibit.  As the we had to catch the return bus from here we found this very convenient. There is considerable evidence of an active and involved social community.

Whether the congregation size warrants the massive church of St. Peter & St. Paul I cannot say.   In 1634 the original bell tower collapsed into the church and was not repaired for quite some time.  On the eve of the Battle of Cropredy Bridge in 1644 Charles I stayed in Dedington and not missing an opportunity, he had the bells sent to New College in Oxford to be made into cannon balls. I don't suppose that pleased the locals.

The tower was rebuilt with statues of St. Peter and St. Paul in one side and for some reason eight weather veins on the top.

Church towers collapsing were not confined to Dedington.

The Victorian church of St. Mary in Banbury suffered the same fate and the six bells all cast at Bagley's in Chacombe (pronounced Chaycum by our local friend Julian) were eventually recast as a peel of ten and rehung in 1930. This is an unusual church in that it was built square and originally seated 3000.  It is now shared by the Anglicans and the Congregationalists and I doubt their services attract such support..

Just down the Oxford Canal, Aynho, like nearby Banbury, was staunchly parliamentarian but the Cartwright family who occupied Aynho Park were recusants. When the Roundheads arrived in Aynho they sacked the church and manor house despite the local loyalties. No-one seems able to explain why the clock faces on this church tower are not central.


The story at Somerton was similar.  Here the Fermor family worshiped in their private  Roman Catholic chapel but supported the local Anglican church. The south aisle of the church was established as a chapel to house the tombs of the Fermor family: a practice which continued even after the family had moved away to Tusmore

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments will be removed if considered inappropriate