Whilst I have previously written about the Stour Valley, I have been even more interested in the village of Cherington, the next-door-west village, which is just 23 miles from Oxford and 13 miles from Shakespeare’s Stratford.
When we moved from Dorset in 2004 we didn’t know the area at all until a colleague told us about this pretty South Warwickshire location on the Northern tip of the Cotswolds. We are still here largely because the journey, with exquisite hills, fields and valleys only took 25 minutes to my school in Bourton on the Water.
Cherington has an impressive history. I have used the Shipston Library and read two books on it. One is ‘The History of the County of Warwickshire, Vol 5’. The other is Margaret Dickins’ ‘Little History of Cherington ‘, who has opened it to anyone who wishes to read and copy it. Initially Cherington was part of Brailes in the thirteenth century and was owned by the Earl of Warwick.
Cherington has an array of amazing buildings. Many are from the 17th century and most built from limestone quarried from Margetts Hill, up which we walk regularly.The roofs are stone tiles,slates and thatch.
There are also some nineteenth century brick houses coming from the brickworks in Weston Park. The park was part of the 6,500 acre Sheldon family estate. The family created the famous Sheldon Tapestries.
Cherington had a Manor House and has a twelfth century church, many interesting buildings and a public house.
The Weston Manor House, owned in 1716 by Henry Brighton, was demolished and now there is little evidence of it other than a nearby icehouse. A nineteenth century house overlooks southerly views towards Brailes hill and is further east of the Park.
The church of St John the Baptist was first recorded in the eleventh century. There has been much restoration and repair. In 1279 Ralph de Wylinton was the patron of Cherington and his family had the right of the manor and church until 1658. There are many beautiful coloured church windows . Rev John Warner collected the coloured glass from the Cherington grounds and as far away as Winchester (in the days of Cromwell most churches lost their windows).
The five church bells in 1742 came from Henry Bagley’s works. In 2006 a long overdue Bell restoration was funded by villagers .The chime of the bells can be heard from Cherington, Brailes and Whichford when the wind is in the right direction.
The roof has been restored several times. The most recent was in 2012/13 when the iron was removed from the roof. Again it was largely villagers who supported the roof. I had a stall at the Cherington Flower Show in 2013, where I made my postcard paintings and lavender bags. I handed the Church Secretary £360 for the roof. Then I had the task of the watercolour painting pictures. I still do those paintings in the village fair and always to give the money to Shipston Nursing Home.
Not many churches have a Franklin tomb. Cherington Church is fairly unique in this respect.
The Franklin tomb and effigy of 1320 is in the Nave facing the thirteenth century east window. Many people visit it.
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