Last week D, E and I went for a local country walk. A lovely sunny day but very cold! I did consider the usual Shawbury circular walk but parking is SO difficult there and I didn't fancy getting the car stuck on a muddy grass verge so we went to Maxstoke where there is a small car park by the church.
This house was on the market a year or so back - at the top of our budget but it is bigger than it looks as there is an extension at the back. I can't remember what put me off - it may have been an ultra modern kitchen? - all stainless steel (not my cup of tea).
Maxstoke is tiny more of a hamlet than a village containing half a dozen houses, the church, priory and farm.
The church of St Michael and All Angels is Grade II listed and dates back to the 14th century with 18th and 19th century alterations. It was founded by William de Clinton who was born in Maxstoke and later became the Earl of Huntingdon. The church may have been founded as a chantry chapel rather than a church for the priory nearby.
The church is normally closed but we did visit a few years back for a Christmas Tree Festival so if you would like to see inside please see St Michael's, Maxstoke
Fourteenth century churchyard cross
Plants in Walls
Victorian wall letter box in the wall of the 14th century Maxstoke Priory. (I am currently reading the Shire book on Old Letter Boxes and am somewhat hooked!)
The Priory of Augustinian Canons was founded again by William de Clinton in 1336/37. He was also responsible for the construction of nearby Maxstoke Castle which we have visited in the past on their annual Open Day. The Priory was dissolved in 1536 during the Dissolution and the site is surrounded by a surviving sandstone precinct wall. The gatehouse is shown in the photo below but the rest of the ruins are on the working farm and I think the grounds of the rectory and so not accessible and the Gatehouse had a big Keep Out sign!!! I did see the ruins years ago when a teenager as I had walked there from Coleshill with a couple of friends and the farmer kindly granted us permission.
I did spot some graffiti but no dates so I have no idea how old it is.
The ruins being old there are ghost stories attached to the priory. The priory initially consisted of a prior and 12 canons and its recorded that they failed to live a life of piety but had a rather good time instead watching play actors, jugglers and tumblers and singers. Many complaints were made about their marauding behaviour and one canon attacked and killed another during a fight. By the time of the Dissolution only 7 monks remained and it is believed that when they were turned out of the priory they made their way to nearby Fillongley and took up residence at the church there. Last century there were several reports of ghostly monk sightings in the church.
Ghostly monks have also been seen in the ruins of Maxstoke Priory and chanting has been heard.
Leaving the church and priory behind we walked around the lanes.
There weren't many birds around although we did hear two gun shots not far away which may explain things. The other thing to mar the walk was the site of dumped rubbish.
Why do people do this? It annoys me SO much. Surely instead of driving into the countryside they could just drive to the local tip. Although as B has pointed out before it could be if they are a company they could be charged by the tip and they are anxious to avoid this but that is no excuse in my view.
Nearly back at the Priory.
Remains of a medieval fish pond in the grounds of the Old Rectory.
I hope everyone is staying safe and well.
All photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 (D did take a few but they were very similar to mine).
"Ghosts of Warwickshire" by Betty Smith
Pevsner "The Buildings of England Warwickshire" by C Pickford and N Pevsner.