St John The Baptist Church, Burford, Oxfordshire
Burford in Oxfordshire was an evening stop during a day tour of the Cotswolds last weekend. As it was closed by then I was unable to access the interior of the magnificent St.John The Baptist parish church or pick up a guidebook.
www.flickr.com/photos/barryslemmings/sets/72157600262870602/ to see the full set.
The church dates to around 1175 but most of what is visible today is a 15th century rebuild during a period of local affluence due to the wool industry. The church has a soaring slender spire and delicate stonework.
A set of almshouses at the entrance to the churchyard were first built by Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick [Warwick the Kingmaker] in 1457 and these were rebuilt in 1828.
More than 300 mutineers called Levellers from the 1649 Parliamentarian Army were kept in the church as prisoners and three of them were shot against the south wall of the church [see plaque] on the orders of Cromwell and Fairfax.
Burford has some national fame is it is here that William Morris discovered the then vicar scraping medieval wall paintings off of the church wall. When Morris challenged him over this the vicar replied: "This church, sir, is mine, and if I choose to, I shall stand on my head in it." Morris was so outraged that he founded the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings.
Despite the vicar's paint stripping I am told that some medieval wall paintings still survive inside. I was also unable to see the Tanfield family monument or any of the graffiti left by the Parliamentarian prisoners inside the church.