Brailes is a large village beneath Brailes Hill in South Warwickshire. September 11 saw life start back, with people enjoying camaraderie after 18 months of pandemic the village come back to life, reconvening all the choirs, clubs and friendships in one fell swoop which Covid took away from us.
As a member of Brailes Singers I joined the sweet music produced by our leader Maddy. Some of us were almost in tears at the opportunity to sing together after such a long time.
Walking around the field with its stalls was inspiring. From beekeeping to the Brailes Mechanicals group. Two church stalls, the Footpath group and the minibus to take people to our nearest large town and much more.
Brailes is a medieval village with the remains of a Norman Castle. Each May Bank Holiday we are permitted to climb the three hills: Brailes, Mynhill and Castle Hill. Castle Hill is all that is left of the Norman fortification which was an earth and timber, Motte and Bailey castle built in the late eleventh or early twelve century on a natural knoll.
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The history of Brailes dates back to 1066 with successive Lords of the Manor such as Ralph Sheldon who was famous for the Sheldon Tapestries. During the Reformation there was no hanging, drawing or quartering even though Mass was continued in a hay barn, now the chapel.
In the present day Brailes has an excellent butcher, Baldwin’s News and a French Bakery with two historical pubs. There is a good Primary School with ample playing fields, allotments and a children’s playground.
Brailes was the home of William de Brailes who was a 13th century medieval painter of illuminated manuscripts. Nearby is Brailes House, former home to the Sheldon family who were involved with the famous Tapestries.
The joy of chatting with old friends especially in the sunshine was evident. Even if the possible lockdown happens again we will have had the pleasure to remember of a village coming back to life.