Friday, 28 November 2014

A taste of history.The church of St Nicholas Mavesyn Ridware

Recently I took my daughter on a long planned trip to give her an insight into the history of my childhood church.

The original church was built in 1140 AD by Hugo Mauvoisin a descendant of a knight who fought in William the Conquerer’s army at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. William favoured him by bestowing on him the Lordship of Rhydware, which  previous to the Norman conquest had belonged to the Saxon Earl, Algar.
Hugo added his name Mauvoisin to the manor title.
 After his death Hugo's body was laid to rest under an arch in the North Aisle of his church – his bones still remain there today.The Tower was added to the west of the North Aisle a short time later.

Effigies of Hugo and Sir Henry Mauvoisin

There was a lot of feudal history with neighbouring knights in this area over the next three hundred years…The last of the Mauvoisin knights to die in battle was Sir Robert Mauvoisin in July 1403 at the Battle of Shrewsbury. His tomb and memorials plus ledgerstones of other early family members are also in the North Aisle, along with those of subsequent Lords of this manor..

<< Tomb of Sir Robert Mauvoisin

   Looking down into Crypt >>

<< Medieval floor tiles in Crypt

 Medieval armour of one of the Mauvoisin Knights                                >>>

 In 1782 the old church, apart from the Tower and North Aisle was demolished due to it being so damp. A new church was built in the same year adjoining the remains of the old one-but at a higher level..The North Aisle has always been known locally as the crypt, as one has to go down steps from the new church into it. The old and new church are divided inside by an open stone arcade

During archaeological work it was found that much of the chancel of the old church lies buried beneath the ground East of the new church.

The new church is very light and unpretentious, although it has many hatchments hanging from it’s walls.. It has a large square nave with one central aisle.

The font which had been lost over the centuries was eventually found in the garden of the old hall and  returned to it’s rightful place just through the West door of the church.

The churchyard is kept in a beautiful condition, it has seats for one to sit in contemplation while looking over the meadow to the river Trent meandering by.
 I found headstones here for some of my early C17 ancestors which was a lovely surprise.

My daughter was enthralled by the history, not only of the church itself but also of the families who have lived in this small hamlet over the last 850 hundred years.
… There’s so much of interest here, especially between neighbouring families during the Plantaganet era that I might be tempted to write a novel based on those characters.

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