Friday, 1 March 2013

A bit of a rant and then Wormleighton part two, as promised.

Today we have moved across the summit and are now moored just above Claydon locks. Before we moved off Jill put the bread maker on, so we have travelled trailing a warm smell of fresh bread behind us. It nearly drove me mad on the back, but a lunch of warm bread with pate soon calmed me down. Now watching the World snooker from Haikou (China) on ITV4. Mark Allen has just beaten Ricky Walden to get through to the semi finals for those who are interested.
If, like us, you love the summit level of the Oxford as it twists and turns it's way through the lonely farmlands then I suggest you make the most of it while you can, because in the not too distant future they intend building a wind farm between Wormleighton and Fenny Compton and the new HS2 high speed rail link will blast it's way through, crossing the canal at least once. We need neither excresence but they will inevitably be pushed on us, so much for England's green and pleasant land.
 Rant over.
Back to Wormleighton and the little church that nestles in the heart of the village.
As you walk up from the site of the lost village, suddenly the church looms over you, high on a bank above the village road.

It has been here since about 1150 and has had numerous additions and alterations since. To be honest, as churches go, it's fairly unremarkable but once inside it does have a couple of fascinating features.

 The screen originally stood in Southam church but when the parliamentarians were heading that way during the civil war the locals took it down as the iconoclasts were inclined to use church furniture as firewood. It then found it's way to Wormleighton where, after the war, it was shoehorned into it's present location. Apparently Southam has a new screen. Hidden behind the curtain there is a carving of a man's head,

 Unlikely as it may seem he is depicted wearing spectacles, it has been claimed that this is the earliest depiction of these visual aids. Probably not though.
It was the medieval carvings on the bench ends in the chancel that I found fascinating.

These two bishops are back to back on one bench. The colour of the second is how they appear, the flash took it into it's little electronic head to go off when I took the first.

Stylised poppy heads, or so it says.

An angel? with a dove?
These all seem to be the work of one wood carver, I would have loved to have had a beer with him.

Finally a hound, described by Pevsner as "well endowed". I have nothing to add.
As we headed for the door Jill suddenly spotted, hidden beneath a display of old bibles, a pair of wheels.

Closer investigation revealed the parish bier.

It consists of an iron trolley of indeterminate age, probably 19thC?, on which the coffin would be placed during the funeral service and then wheeled as close to the grave as possible.

Folding handles on the top can then be used to carry it to the graveside. As the top appears to be relatively modern and there was mud still adhering to the solid rubber tyres it would appear to be still in use, one hopes not too frequently.
It's only a tiny village, population about eighty, but it does have a 'phone box and a bus stop so they're not behind the times, although I didn't notice a street light.
Haven't decided what we are doing tomorrow.

Watch this space..........

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