Draycott’s history – myths and facts

A few illusions were completely shattered on the Draycott History Walk earlier this month.
The historian who led the walk described St Margaret’s Church as “fake”, and was of the opinion that the famous ‘Crusader Knight’ buried in the church side-chapel probably never even left Europe, let alone got all the way to the Holy Land to fight!
A few of us were pretty knocked back by these revelations, not to say amazed…

Draycott History Walk

Lev Wood describes the exterior of St Margaret’s Church on the Draycott History Walk

What’s more, on Friday (31st), when the second history walk takes place, more revelations are promised.

History Society

The walk, which lasted around an hour, was led by Levison Wood, the secretary of the Blythe Bridge & District Historical Society.  (The society’s reach covers Draycott, and a few residents from here do attend the society’s monthly meetings).
Lev took us all through more than one thousand years of the village’s history, from Saxon times right through to the last century.

He has a fascinating theory that the Draycott Family, the lords of the manor for 500 years, might well have lived on the moated ground opposite what is now the Draycott Arms pub.  No one knows for sure where the Draycotts lived before they moved in the 1400s to Paynsley Manor (in Cresswell), and there has been lots of speculation – but Lev is pretty sure that they lived, up till then, very close to the church they built.  (See also: suggested ideas for the Draycotes’ ancient home)

Talking of St Margaret’s Church… well, poor Lev nearly got burnt at the stake when he let slip that he thought the church (known in the old days as St Peter’s, confusingly) was a virtual re-build of the former church, which itself was an eighteenth century rebuild!  Lev said that our so-called ‘ancient’ church is little more than a Victorian Gothic Romantic restoration…
Oops!  Some members of the walk were not having that; and they showed Lev traces of what is thought to be medieval stone-work in the tower.  Lev was happy to concede that, yes, a part of the tower was medieval – but was this stonework part of the original thirteenth-century church?  Hmm – he was very doubtful that it was!

Draycott 'crusader' knight

The so-called ‘crusader knight’ tomb in the Draycott chapel in St Margaret’s Church

As for the famous ‘Crusader Knight’…?   A complete myth said Lev.  Once, said Lev, people had believed that if a knight was depicted on a tomb with crossed legs, that that meant he had gone on Crusade.  Nope, said Lev – crossed legs on tombs were just a fashion…
That led to much disappointment too…  (At least the chapel’s tombs are authentically medieval!)

Friday walk

If you missed Lev’s tour, there is a second chance.  Just turn up at St Margaret’s Church car-park on Friday (31st July) at 7.30pm; £2.50 charge (of which much is donated to the church).  Tea and biscuits included.  It looks like the weather should be fine.

Incidentally, although many of the facts can be found in Matthew Pointon’s book of the history of Draycott, Lev has done an awful lot of original research, so there are facts he brings out that have never fully revealed before – so even fairly knowledgeable village historians will find something new in this tour.
Lev has looked through the archival Staffordshire Collections series and his own copies of the ‘Calendar Patent Rolls’ to find out even more about the Draycotts.

Congratulations to Lev – he is a great talker, and certainly brings the history of the village to life.  He is also interested to what YOU have to say too, so don’t be afraid to speak up…

***
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One response to “Draycott’s history – myths and facts

  1. Medieval Draycott

    With regards to the age of St. Margaret’s Church, the tower (save for the battlements) and the Draycott Chapel are mediaeval and, probably, the inner layer of stonework in the main body of the church (otherwise, how could a 16th century image be there?).
    The outer stonework is a 19th century rebuild and there was a 17th century rebuild before that. The church is not wholly mediaeval but to call it “a fake” is also incorrect.

    I also personally do not subscribe to the theory that the Draycott family lived on the site of the Old Rectory. They were one of the foremost families in the country before the Reformation and that site is simply not big enough. It is also undefensible, being in the shadow of the hill upon which stands the church. To me the most likely explanation (I’m talking 90% likely here…) is Blithewood Moat.

    Was the knight in the Draycott Chapel a Crusader? We don’t know which member of the Draycotts he was for sure but it seems most likely it was the Draycott who served as JP for Chester. Important chap indeed.
    Matthew Pointon

    Like

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