Tuesday 27 October 2020

Dealing with evil in the Buckinghamshire countryside

The discovery of ‘Witch marks’ in the ruined and abandoned church at Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire has been featured in two online articles - by the MailOnline at 'Witches' markings' found in church were used to ward off evil spirits and by LiveScience Essentials at Witch-repellent graffiti discovered in ruins of medieval UK church

Buckinghamshire with its folded countryside and hidden valleys, rich but slightly mysterious woodlands and winding routes strikes me as a landscape that holds its secrets, be they historical or matters of belief. Lollardy gained a secure foothold there in the later middle ages, and one can easily imagine folk religion, paganism and witchcraft enduring there - and aided and abetted by Sir Francis Dashwood  and the Hell Fire Club at West Wycombe.

Talking of evil in the Chilterns regular readers will not be surprised that the Clever Boy is totally opposed to the HS2 project. It is this behemoth which will destroy the remains of the old church at Stoke Mandeville and much more besides. If we seek to improve our railways system then reconstruct existing lines or rebuild casualties of the Beeching axe - but please, not with the hideous apparatus of overhead electrification. HS2 however, is wantonly destructive and an example of the posturing political virility of Cameron, Johnson and their ilk. It is already way over budget - a surprise that - and one might hope that paying for the coronavirus might kill it off. Just so a few fat cats from Birmingham and Manchester can cut twenty minutes off their journey the scheme is doing irreparable harm along its route. There are a series of linked articles about its environmental impact from the BBC News website at HS2: Moving ancient woodland habitat for rail line flawed, ecologists say

The church of St. Mary was built around 1070, following the Norman Conquest, and experts believe it was the first private church belonging to the lord of the manor at the time (pictured is a virtual reconstruction of the church)
The church of St. Mary Stoke Mandeville was built around 1070, following the Norman Conquest, and it is suggested it was firstly the private church belonging to the lord of the manor. This is a reconstruction of the church before it was abandoned in the nineteenth century. 
Image: Daily Mail/ HS2

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