Wednesday, 15 July 2020

HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER



July 2020

The locals call this part of the county, east of the Thames near Wallingford, the South Oxfordshire plain, lightly wooded and full of wide fields that drift up from the river. 


It is the area where two special churches are to be found.

 

 

ST MARY THE VIRGIN, IPSDEN, A TALE OF THREE CHURCHES

Tradition has it that the first church in Ipsden was a small chapel on Berins Hill, about 2 miles east of the present church, built by St Birinus when he came from Rome in AD 634 to convert the Saxon peoples of South Oxfordshire. 

 

The second Ipsden church was in a field south. It fell into disrepair in the 12th century and was eventually demolished. 

 

The materials from church two were hauled up the road to repair and enlarge the present church. It was much smaller and an upland chapel for the adjoining parish of North Stoke. However St Marys eventually became Ipsden Parish Church.

 

Sadly the church was closed. For now we could, even on a grey windy day, enjoy the church, its windows, tracery and flint work, surrounded by here and there by interesting brickwork. 


 

ST MARY THE VIRGIN, NORTH STOKE


Originally Saxon: William the Conqueror crossed the Thames at Wallingford with the help of a Saxon lord, Wigod; his daughter married a Norman Baron. Stability was brought to the area after the Danes had roamed the land for four hundred years

 

The place unique in as much as it is the only church whose churchyard has part of the Ridgeway running through it. 

 

The Saxon church is little to be seen, a Norman took its place with its Early English chancel and an East window in the Decorated style. Like Ipsden, there are wall paintings to enjoy. If one could go inside. 

 

However there is much to enjoy outside, a C15 tiled porch and a nicely kept churchyard and a lychgate made out of timbers from the old bridge at Goring!

 

Add in a constant stream of walkers and there was quite a festive air that Saturday afternoon and both churches are earmarked for a return visit.



Ipsden located in the centre of this map 

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Thank you very much for your comments - Tim