In An Oxfordshire Parish

I collect a lot of booklets on churches and parishes, not always ones that I’ve visited. They often record nuggets of local history that lure me to dive into wormholes. This one, in the small joint Cotswold parish of Broughton-Cum-Filkins is Nobel Prize level local history.

It’s the last line… “the sense of always Being There.. “ is possibly the greatest draw of such buildings. They are so much older than us. They remind us of continuity. Maybe in hard times they give us hope and a sense of stability.

The records from 1603 of the latest visit of a/the plague. 9 were buried against a normal year of 1. In 1767 George, Ann and Eleanor Temple ‘triples in but one coffin’ were buried. In 1777 William Lock ‘who being drunk, fell into a ditch and was drowned.’

I’ve read a bit on the various Burial in Wool Acts of the 17th century forcing people to use shrouds of wool to protect the industry. But in 1678 Daniel Saunders was recorded as the first such burial. The record confirms the above, but claims the acts were also ‘to preserve cotton for paper making’. This is interesting as I read only coarse paper was made here. Writing paper was all imported.

There is a great poignancy in the record that Jane Saunders was buried the same day that her granddaughter and namesake was christened in February 1680.

Then we have the vicars and the building. The east gable contains a memorial window showing Adam and Eve but they are poorly depicted compared with the rest of the window. A later vicar disapproved of their state of undress!

The pews were replaced in the 1950s and a previous incumbent’s children claimed the old pews contained ‘the marks of [their]teeth on the book rests.’

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