Saturday, October 09, 2010

St Helen's, Great Oxendon - 17th century graffiti

Today I went to Great Oxendon, a Northamptonshire village to the south of Market Harborough. While I was away the town had a visit from the English Defence League on the way to Leicester - more of that another day perhaps.

The website The Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain and Ireland describes the village church and its setting:
St Helen's stands alongside the busy A508, the main road from Northampton to Market Harborough, from which a short and extremely steep track provides access, clearly not the original means of approach.
Its location, in open fields 0.4 miles N of the present village of Great Oxendon can only be explained by assuming that it also originally served medieval Little Oxendon, now a deserted village 0.5 miles to NW.

The small size of these two holdings given in Domesday adds weight to this assumption. The present village of Little Oxendon lies 0.5 miles to the W of the church. The rolling countryside provides a convincing explanation for the abnormal height of a tower built to be seen from both medieval settlements.

More of Little Oxendon another day too.

St Helen's was locked, but I was still able to see what I best remembered about it. This early graffiti is carved into the soft stone around the door. There is even one date that may come from the 16th century.

No comments: