Friday, August 28, 2009

Wixford, Warwickshire


Inspecting Wixford

Following those narrow lanes in villages signposted ‘To the church’ is one of my pastimes, and I’m never quite sure what, apart from the church of course, I’m likely to find. In Wixford, having negotiated a Range Rover and a horse in a narrow, deeply sunken lane with minimal passing places, I found the churchyard. And in the corner near the gate was this: the horse house.

Apparently from the 18th century on, Wixford had no resident parish clergy, so a parson from a neighbouring village had to ride over of a Sunday. The thoughtful parishioners of Wixford provided this little stable for his mount to rest and chew over its oats while they sat in the church and chewed over the sermon.

As if that’s not odd enough, the gorse-and-hurdle walls and thatched roof of this unassuming but charming little building are a real surprise. I half expected one of those Morris dancers dressed as a bush to emerge from the doorway. But the horse house was unoccupied and quiet: only the breeze on the gorse and in the churchyard hedge ruffled the summer afternoon calm.

11 comments:

James said...

Very interesting building. I wonder if it has fire insurance.

martin said...

That's extraordinary. I'm astonished that it still stands.I hope the horse appreciated all the effort put in on its part.It even has a nice roof!
And I thought they were just inclined to tie the horse to the nearest tree and let it get on with it.
Shows you how much I know.Or don't.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Well, I think in most places the vicar would have tied his horse to a tree and that would have been that. I've certainly never seen anything like this in a churchyard before.

Vinogirl said...

That's a really interesting post...how did you find out about the 'horse house' in the first place?

Philip Wilkinson said...

Vinogirl: I read a mention of it in an old guide book and thought, 'I wonder if that's still there.' I like old guide books, and quite a few of my posts come about in that kind of way, but a lot of them are just chance discoveries.

Peter Ashley said...

A classic English Buildings post, thankyou.

Bucks Retronaut said...

Uncle Mort from the T.V. programme "Nearest and Dearest" would approve.
So do I.
Horses shouldn`t have all the best refuges.

Ron Combo said...

Marvellous - even beats the bus shelter!

potok said...

How tall is it? A peckish horse might be tempted to eat the roof!

Philip Wilkinson said...

H'm, good point. I think an average horse might well be able to give the roof a trimming. Probably a supply of oats and a nose bag would be necessary.

Neil said...

The phrase "Only in America..." is often used, but this really is an "Only in England..."