Ancestral parish one hundred years ago….… part three
Little more than a mile down the road from Handsacre I arrived at Mavesyn Ridware, the last stop in my quest to find out more about the area where my early parental ancestors lived…
This parish covers the small villages of Mavesyn Ridware.and Blithbury plus the larger of village of Hill Ridware and is in the diocese of Lichfield.
The parish church of St Nicholas is situated in Mavesyn Ridware, and can be reached by either of two entrances down a horseshoe shaped country lane, from Hill Ridware
This tiny village seems to have been in a time capsule since Norman times. It is a delightful gem consisting of the Church, an old Manor house and Gate house, a farm and a handful of scattered cottages. A meadow through which the river Trent flows, lies behind the old manor house and separates this parish from the neighbouring one of Armitage…. The only noise to disrupt it’s tranquillity is the early morning birdsong and lowing of the cattle in the surrounding fields, plus the occasional sound of an express train which can be heard as it speeds by in the distance.
From the time of the Norman Conquest Mavesyn Ridware belonged firstly to Roger de Montgomery and then for the following ten generations belonged to a family of knights by the name of Mavesyn. The church was originally founded by the then Lord of the Manor Hugo de Mavesyn in 1140 and his tomb can be found in the oldest part of the church.
This church has seen many changes. The North aisle was built in the 13C with lancet windows and the Gothic West tower was added in the 15C complete with gargoyles projecting from it’s corners. Four bells were put in place in the 17C and a further two added in 1928.
In 1782 much of the church was demolished, leaving just the West tower and the North aisle standing. A square red brick nave was built at a higher level than the original building and added onto the remaining original structure, along with a polygonal apsed chancel. There are now steps down from the nave into the original North aisle which is known locally as the crypt.
….Since the 12C the Lords of the Manor were buried in this medieval crypt and there are tombs bearing an effigy of Sir Robert Mavesyn and effigies of two other 13C knights. The Mavesyn family vault lies beneath it’s floor…Other incised stone slabs on the floor bear the names of subsequent Lords of the Manor.
….The church font is from the Norman period, and it’s fascinating to think it’s where some of my early ancestors were baptised.
In the churchyard there’s a large mid 18thC chest tomb which is Grade 11 listed
The tranquillity of the location of this church and churchyard made me think there could not be a more fitting spot for ones final resting place
The tiny village of Blithbury which lies just beyond Hill Ridware overlooks the vale of Blythe and is very picturesque. A church and priory occupied by Benedictine Monks used to stand here, but sadly no traces now remain, and many years ago a farm was built on this site.
Hill Ridware is where the population has grown considerably in recent years, possibly because of it’s proximity to the road between Lichfield and Uttoxeter, but even the influx of people from neighbouring towns occupying newly erected homes in the village hasn’t detracted from it’s old world charm.