"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

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

A Trip to South Warwickshire - Part 1: Long Compton and the Church of St Peter and St Paul

On Sunday D and I drove down to South Warwickshire to visit the picturesque village of Long Compton with its amazing Lych Gate. The village is part of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and shows many features of the typical Cotswold village. It is very old having been established in early Saxon times and it appears in the Domesday Book.

Typical South Warwickshire countryside from the car window.


The Church of St Peter and St Paul

It is believed a church has existed on the site since the 5th century. St Augustine is understood to have visited Long Compton in 597 AD when the church was around 150 years old. According to legend he commanded that no ex-communicated person could attend mass and as he did so a man rose from the dead and left his grave and the churchyard!

The present day church, built of local stone, dates from the 13th century. The nave is the oldest part of the church and a chancel was added in the late 13th century followed by the North Aisle around 1300. The church was restored in 1862/63 by Woodyer and this included the addition of a tracery rood screed between the nave and chancel.

The wonderful lych gate is one of the main reasons for wanting to visit the village. - it dates back to 1600 and is constructed of timber, brick, stone and thatch. It is a Grade II Listed Building. It was originally at the end of a row of cottages but by the 1920's the rest of the cottages were derelict and were demolished leaving just the lych gate at the end. The upstairs room has been used as a cobblers, antique shop and later a museum of farm implements created by a George Latham. When he died in 1964 his wife gave the building to the church in his memory. Nowadays it is used by Compton District History Society to store maps and photos of the village and local area and is occasionally open to the public.


The old oak doors of the 14th century south porch are dated 1620.

The stone effigy of a woman dates from the 15th century although it is difficult to make out any details she is apparently wearing an ornate headdress and there is a dog at her feet. The effigy is possibly the cover of a tomb and was originally located in the North Aisle.

I managed to get D to come into the church for a short while to take these photos with the Canon Bridge Camera of stone corbels in the nave. These capital figures include a bishop's head with a horseshoe, pincers and a smith's hammer and a lady wearing a horned headdress together with a priest chalice and book.





I think the Font (and Pulpit) date back to the Woodyer Restoration

The North Aisle

Chancel and Rood Screen

Several reminders around the church that it was Remembrance Sunday.

Altar and East Window. The East window is modern glass set in a 14th century design and was made before the Victorians had become proficient in stained glass art.

Piscina dates from 1863

The Chancel carpet was made by local ladies in the 1960's.

Looking towards the Nave


This lovely noticeboard was covered in tapestries of local buildings.

Timothy insisted on having his photo taken to prove he had visited the lych gate!

While I was looking round the church D had a walk round the village - so a few of his photos to show you how picturesque it is.










Miniature Worlds


The best book D ever found in our favourite second hand bookshop in Coleshill called "Books Revisited" was the Reader's Digest book on "Folklore, Myths and Legends of Britain" - this mentions the stories mentioned above concerning St Augustine and also suggests there were once many witches in the village "There are enough witches in Long Compton to draw a load of hay up Long Compton hill". In the 19th century a man murdered a village woman claiming he had killed her because she had bewitched him. About a mile away are the Rollright Stones with their many myths concerning witches.

In fact these Stones, my favourite Neolithic location, were our next port of call but I will write about that in Part 2 - I think there are enough photos for one post!!!

*D - photos taken by my son with the Canon Bridge SX50

Reference: Leaflet on the Lych Gate and various information boards around the church.


amanda peters said...

What a lovely post full of stunning photos, you had a lovely day.

The buildings are so nice especially the lych gate, nice to see the old doors are there. Not to keen when they change the doors to automatic glass doors like they have in Otley. What a lovely church to visit, tapestries are so nice.

I could see you living there !
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks so much for your lovely comment :)

Pleased you liked the lych gate - I've been wanting to see it for ages and ages! I don't like the automatic glass doors on older churches - so out of character!

Yes, would be a lovely place to live!!! :)

Pam said...

What a lovely place, very picturesque and the photos are great. I really like the chancel carpet and the cottages. I remember the excitement years ago when I saw a thatched roof in the 'flesh' for a long time they were just jigsaw or biscuit tin pictures for me!!

Ragged Robin said...

Pam - Thank you - I really liked the chancel carpet too! You can't beat a thatched cottage for picturesqueness!! We stopped in one once on the Isle of Wight and it was as lovely inside as out and even had a cottage type garden :)

Toffeeapple said...

Another lovely post, thank you. I particularly like the pictures of the mosses and the Ivy as well as the lych gate - never saw one like that before.

The Rollrights are interesting and I have spent quite a bit of time there in the past.

Rosie said...

Lovely photos. It looks like such a pretty village with its step roofed and thatched cottages and the also the church. The lych gate is very unusual and I love the angels on the rood screen. The carpet made by the church ladies is wonderful too lots of dedication and hard work has gone into creating it. It looks a lovely area to visit, I'm looking forward to part two:)

Midmarsh John said...

What a wonderfully different lych gate entrance to the church.

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Thanks so much. If you are in the area again Long Compton village with the lychgate is very close to the Rollright Stones.

I've only been to the Stones once before but it was such a wonderful place I have wanted to return.

Rosie - Thanks so much. It is a lovely area - I do like South Warwickshire - would be a super place to live but would imagine property is expensive!! The church was a real gem and the carpet and tapestries were a delight to see - as you say so many hours of hard work.

Ragged Robin said...

Midmarsh John - Thank you and yes it is rather wonderful and so unusual :)

Deborah RusticPumpkin said...

The Cotswolds is such a pretty area, not only the natural beauty, but the striking thatch roof cottages too. That has to be one of the prettiest little churches!

Ragged Robin said...

Deborah RusticPumpkin. Thank you and yes it is a beautiful area though some of the villages can be horrendously busy :( I'd seen photos of the church on Twitter and was determined to visit one day. There are so many churches in that area I would like to visit.