village news (as told by Syb.) To see what is happening in the village outside the cricket listen to the voice of the village, Syb (aka Ann Wiseman or just one of the witching troika...) not gossip, just hard news! Useful contacts in vicar bit. Below are some bits and pieces about the history of the church and the roll of honour for those who died in the two world wars. More information on the village can be found below: History of the Church and Deerhurst Dragon
A framed parchment in the church, near the entrance The names are duplicated on the monument at Apperley (see below), but the Apperley monument has an additional name - W. Crook:
Roll of Honour
Sidney E. Bailey William H. Roberts William Boulton Henry T. Roberts
Lewis A Cox Lewis E Roberts George E Fowler Edward A Roberts
William Green George Roberts Charles Humphries William Roberts
Sidney Mince Ernest Turner William Munday Ernest Willis
Frank Pope Hubert Willis
R. I. P.
"Greater Love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends"
A. Andrews W. Clifford H. Salmon E. Banfield H. Hoskins G. SavinsR. Bartlett A. Hawker G. Strickland
Carved into the church door:
UPCOMING EVENTS IN THE AREA PLEASE SEE SYB'S BITS...
How much do you know about your local parish? 1851 Apperley Census can be downloaded from the Home Page (hard copy will be placed at the Church)
The Priory Church of St Mary at Deerhurst, Gloucestershire A Brief History of Deerhurst and its Anglo-Saxon Churches (below picture of Abbott's Court next to Odda's Chapel)
History: The date of the foundation of Deerhurst as an Anglo-Saxon minster church is unknown. The church was already in existence in 804 when AEthelric, son of Ealdorman AEthelmund, bequeathed extensive lands to the community at Deerhurst. Both AEthelric and AEthelmund were probably buried here, and in the first half of the 9th century Deerhurst seems to have been one of the most important religious foundations of the kingdom of the Hwicce, a sub-kingdom of Mercia.
In the second half of the 10th century, St Alphege began his ecclesiastical career at Deerhurst. Alphege went on to become Archbishop of Canterbury but was martyred by the Danes at Greenwich in 1012. Deerhurst played an important role in 1016 when King Cnut of Denmark and King Edmund Ironside met at Deerhurst, made peace and divided England between them. In the middle of the 11th century Deerhurst was the principal residence of Earl Odda, one of the most important men in England during the reign of Edward the Confessor. Odda died in 1056 soon after the dedication of a second church building now known as Odda's chapel. After Odda's death the parish church and its estates were given to the monastery of St-Denis near Paris. Deerhurst became an alien priory, a cell of St-Denis and Odda's own lands were given to Westminster Abbey.
Subsequently, after the Norman Conquest, Deerhurst being divided between two distant landlords it lost the importance it had hitherto enjoyed. The priory at Deerhurst had a chequered history. During the Hundred Years War St-Denis lost control and Deerhurst eventually became a cell of Tewkesbury Abbey. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries the priory church became a parish church, as it remains to this day. There was a major restoration of the building in 1861-2 when many of the Anglo-Saxon features now visible were discovered. The Parish Church of St Mary St Mary's church is one of the finest and most complete buildings in England to survive from before the Norman Conquest. It's architectural history is complex and is still much debated by architectural historians, but a substantial part of the building is now considered to belong to the first half of the 9th century, the period of AEthelric's bequest.
There is some magnificent Anglo-Saxon sculpture, much of it of the 9th century. This includes the famous angel in the ruined apse and a series of carved beast-heads, including two at the west end and two on the chancel arch. The font also belongs to the 9th century and a statue of the Virgin and Child 9originally painted) near the entrance is likely to be of a similar date. There are many surviving Anglo-Saxon arches, doorways and windows. A particularly notable feature is the high-level chapel in the tower. This is not open to visitors but it has a splendid double-opening with triangular heads which can be seen from the floor of the nave. In the early 13th century the Anglo-Saxon nave walls were cut through by Early English arcades with attractive carved capitals. There is a collection of medieval glass at the west end of the south aisle, including a fine 14th century figur of St Alphege. the Cassey family brass of 1400 shows the family and includes a dog called Terri, one of the earliest known representations of a normal pet.
A further interesting survival is the early 17th century arrangemnt of the chancel in Puritan fashion, with seats to the north, east and south of the altar. A stained glass window in the north aisle commemorates the notable geologist, Hugh Strickland; a caot of arms shows the turkey, an earlier member of the family being credited with bringing the first turkey from America. Major New discovery! A painted figure of Anglo-Saxon date has recently been discovered on a stone panel high up in the east wall of the nave. The panel portrays a saint carrying a book in a veiled hand and is perhaps of a 10th century date. It is in all likelihood the oldest known wall-painting in any church in Britain (the only other painting of comparable age is at Nether Wallop in Hampshire). Detailed publication is in hand. Visitors should be aware that virtually nothing can be seen from ground level. Odda's Chapel Deerhurst's second Anglo-Saxon church is a single two-cell building of nave and chancel. It was built by Earl Odda in memory of his brother AElfric. It is dated 1056 by an inscription which is now in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Odda's Chapel is maintained by English Heritage, and The Friends have no involvement with it.
History of the Deerhurst Dragon
When you enter Deerhurst church you enter a world of fantasy , a world of dragons and valiant deeds.
The oldest account of the legend of the Deerhurst dragon that I have been able to find is contained within the pages of a compendious tomb called "The Ancient and Present State of Gloucestershire" by a gentleman called "Sir Robert Atkyns". This account was written towards the end of the 1600's but unfortunately Sir Robert gives us no idea of how old the legend was at that time.
The legend goes like this;
LIVED IN THE VICINITY OF DEERHURST A SERPENT OF PRODIGIOUS BIGNESS.
At the time Atkyns was writing he tells us that descendants of John Smith were still living on land at Walton Hill and indeed that the axe itself was in the possession of the widower of one of those descendants. However, no further evidence exists to support the legend. We cannot date it, no record of the grant of land is forthcoming and of the axe there is no sign. Now bearing that in mind we have to wonder why there is a Deerhurst Dragon legend at all but it's at this point the church comes in to it's own for it is covered in dragon carvings.
We must ask ourselves why are there so many carvings in this particular location. It must have been an important site for the Saxons. Odda's Chapel is Saxon and the church is part Saxon but why carve so many dragons. They don't appear in such abundance anywhere else in the area. Though the Saxon-Norman church of Tredington, a few miles to the east also has a dragon carving and an actual dragon for fossilised in a stone in the porch are the bones of a small dinosaur.
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