"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Battle of Edgehill country - Churches and Pub Radway, Ratley and Kineton

Before I start some posts on the Isle of Wight I'm doing a catch-up post on a day out D and I had just before the holiday which I didn't get time to write before we went away.

D was also on holiday the week before last and was keen to go to the Cotswolds. Unfortunately, I had managed to go down with the throat and cough virus that had been working its way round the family - just my luck to get it last and just before we went away, and I didn't feel up to driving all the way to Gloucestershire. So I persuaded D we could go to the Battle of Edgehill area and have a look at an exhibition on the battle in Radway Church. I was really rather crafty as I knew there were several interesting churches in the area and a rather good pub which B had visited recently when doing his ley-line walk with friends.

The Civil war began in August 1642 following troubled relations between King Charles I and Parliament concerning the church, the constitution, taxation and control of the army - events escalated when the King tried to arrest 5 MP's in 1642.

The first major battle of the war - the Battle of Edgehill took place on 23rd October, 1642, in a large open field between Kineton and Radway (I believe the land is now owned by the MoD and there is no access). Neither side was victorious and the war continued.

Our first port of call was the lovely village of Radway which is mentioned in the Domesday Book (1086).

The present church of St Peter was rebuilt on the site of a medieval church and was consecrated in 1866.The church architect was C.E. Buckridge from Oxford who was a Gothic Revival Architect. Stone and windows came from the old church and some wall memorials, two effigies and Renaissance glass were also transferred.

The Exhibition on the Battle of Edgehill was small but very interesting.

The stained glass windows in the church were beautiful.

This mutilated effigy is of Sir Henry Kingsmill - it was moved into the church from the churchyard.

Old gravestones from the churchyard

D spotted the letters IHS on several of the gravestones and also above the church door. A quick look at latin inscriptions in the book "Gravestones, Tombs and Memorials" by Trevor Yorke reveals that the letters are used as a symbol on many 19th century gravestones and is a contraction of the Greek word for Jesus. It may also be an abbreviation of the Latin words meaning "Jesus, Saviour of Men"

A small piece of the chancel of the previous church was saved when the building was demolished and I think this may be it.

There was a beautiful wild flower area in the churchyard.

These old ant hills were 0.5 metres high and there were quite a few of them dotted around the edge of the "meadow" area.

We saw a lot of bees and butterflies (mainly Large Skipper and Meadow Brown) but neither of us managed to get decent photos.

Selfheal carpeted areas of the churchyard.

We had a quick walk round the village - it would have been good to have spent more time exploring especially as I had bought a leaflet in the church on "A Walk round Radway" but time was running out if we wanted to order a pub lunch before 2.00.

There was a lovely wild flower area in this front garden.



I would have liked to go the Castle at Edgehill which is right at the top of the escarpment overlooking the battle field but it has been refurbished since we last had a meal there and food is now a lot more expensive!

So onto Ratley and what a lovely old village it was.

Just made it in time to the Rose and Crown to order lunch. Parts of the pub are believed to date back to 1098 and are Grade II listed. It has been a public house since around 1775.

Royalist troops were billeted in the village the night before the Battle of Edgehill. Local stories suggest that a Roundhead soldier was discovered hiding in the inglenook fireplace in the photo below after the battle and he was be-headed immediately. His ghost apparently still haunts the pub.

Lunch was delicious - an egg, cress and mayonnaise sandwich with chips and salad.

D went off in search of a nearby Motte and Bailey while I looked round the church pf St Peter ad Vincula - the chancel was build c1300 and the nave and aisle c1340.

The churchyard contains a medieval standing stone cross or "preaching" cross. It is a Grade II Ancient Monument and one of the few examples to retain its column although the top is now worn with no trace remaining of its original faces.

The font is probably medieval but could be Norman. The new cover was commissioned to mark the Millenium and was carved by members of the Warwickshire region of the British Woodcarvers' Association. The theme for the celebration are the ancient four of Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Earth is represented by a a hand striking the rock, Air by the Cherub and the Dove, Fire the burning bush of Exodus Chapter 3 and Water is a representation of Goggs spring close to the church.

The only stained glass window in the church (Mary Magdalene).

The marble reredos at the rear of the altar was erected in 1875.

St Peter

A quick walk round the churchyard

We stopped off in Kineton on the way home and found a lovely florists and gift shop.

Another St Peter's. I didn't look round this church - two is about my limit in one day for "churchcrawling".

I am not sure where D took this photo - either Ratley or Kineton?


*D - Photos taken by D with the Canon bridge camera SX50 HS.


Margaret Adamson said...

WOW! Such a long post but a very interesting one. Loved all the windows especially the stain glass

Midmarsh John said...

Radway church is a little treasure with such lovely stained glass windows.

Ragged Robin said...

Margaret Adamson - Thanks Margaret - it was a very interesting area and one I have wanted to explore for some time :)

Midmarsh John - Thanks John - there are so many very lovely churches around :)

amanda peters said...

Like the first church especially the windows, lots of interesting finds, nice they have a wild flower area. Churches have led the way I think on the importance of wild flowers and such a perfect setting in amongst the grave stones (hope that doesn't sound disrespectful)
Love the village and the houses build so much nicer back then, food yum !
Flower gift shop my kinda place, did you get any thing ? I like the weather vain to, we don't always think to look up.

Looking forward to your holiday photos, wish you well sorting through them :)
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks so much Amanda - the churchyard was just wonderful especially the meadow bit. So good to see the ones that make such room for wildlife and I don't think it is disrepectul at all - I am sure they would love to be among the wild flowers. You will love the churchyard at Mottistone visited on holiday - just superb.

David bought Emily a scented candle in a rustic pot from the florists :) I was not in mood really for looking as I had just managed to scrape the alloy wheels along the kerb :( Luckily OH has already done the same twice before!!!

The bridge camera comes in handy with the zoom for taking stuff on roofs!

Thanks re: holiday photos. Have managed to upload all in one folder and hopefully individual folders for each day but taking ages as camera card slot still playing up and have to hold it shut - need another hand to use on computer keyboard!!!! Will do a post on butterflies seen today on trip out and then start hol posts next week hopefully!!! :)) Apologies in advance as there will be far too many pics!! but I do tend to use blog as a personal record for days out and holidays!

Rosie said...

What a wonderful day out! I love anything connected to the Civil War period in fact the 17th century in general. The churches look fascinating both the two you visited and the third you didn't see in detail. The wild flowers are lovely as are the thatched cottages and I love the weather vane. Lunch sounds tasty too:)

Bovey Belle said...

What a lovely long post (and all those photos - how long did they take to load?!) I loved the wild flower meadow bit in the churchyard - God's Little Acre. I think I am right in saying that the IHS letters are connected with Catholicism. The Bishop's Palace at Fetternear (Aberdeenshire) where I did my archaeological dig, had those letters over doorways and we were told that was their way of showing that they were Catholic, although they couldn't openly worship.

Will return to this post again later and enjoy at leisure (currently hot and sweaty from gardening).

Ragged Robin said...

Rosie - Thanks so much. Area is well worth a visit although it would take you quite a bit longer than me - it is about 50 mins from here on M42 and M40. The villages are not far from NT Upton House which is superb (wonderful garden there) if you haven't been. The Castle pub at Edgehill is a lovely building but as mentioned food there now much dearer.

Bovey Belle - Thanks so much. I do get a bit carried away with photos I am afraid! That lot took about an hour to upload!! I do them one at a time. I am sure there is a way you can upload them all in one go but I haven't a clue how to do it!

That is so interesting re: IHS - thanks so much for the information - I will tell my son too. Lovely to see a God's Acre that is so helpful to wildlife and with so many wild flowers. As mentioned above in a comment - we found a super churchyard on the Isle of Wight at Mottistone church. I have been before but it was even better than I remembered. Possibly the best "wild" God's Acre I have seen and I do tend to seek them out on my travels. Will do a post but will spread holiday posts over a few weeks due to time uploading photos!! :)

Pam said...

What lovely places to explore, so much history when you take the time isn't there :) How fun is the weather vane!

Ragged Robin said...

Pam - Thanks so much. It is amazing - so many places fairly close to home that prove so interesting and I always love it when villages produce a leaflet detailing features to look out for :) I would love one of those weather vanes :)

John Scurr said...

I think the two recent stained glass windows at Radway are wonderful. I feel a particular affinity with windows post 1945. but both of these are post 1995.

The first one dated 2004 to Major Corfield looks rather naive. The sheep almost look like stick figures and the clouds are very much from a child's drawing. On the other hand the animals in the lower 2 panels (Hedgehog with kits Rabbit, Squirrel and Blackbird) are quite charming.

The second one dated 1995 to Churchwarden Gibbins is rather more interesting I think. The design is more strikingly modern with the huge beam of sunlight spearing diagonally through the design. I was particularly interested by the lower clear glass section which has engraved glass depicting I would guess buildings in the village.

I see you can still buy the "Rabbit" weathervane on E-bay.


Thanks for another interesting post


Ragged Robin said...

John Scurr - Thank you so much for the comment and thoughts and information on the stained glass. I really had ought to use the bridge camera more for such photos as you can zoom in more and get more detail. I agree about the first window by the way and the animals in the lower 2 panels.

Thanks so much for the information too about the rabbit weathervane - I will check that out as it was so lovely and one that I would dearly love especially if we ever move to that country cottage!! :)

Lovely too to see you blogging again - have so enjoyed your recent posts.