Roudham Saint Andrew Church Ruin

Roudham Saint Andrew Church, Only substantial ruins remain of this church, consisting of 14th century south tower, nave and chancel. What is left is still falling into decay. The tower is pigeon infested. Most of the church built in the 1100s was demolished around 1300, when the nave was enlarged and rectagular chancel and tower were added. In  1734 the church was hit by a disastrous fire. The Roudham you see today is a remarkable example of a shrunken medieval village. Many other villages expanded over the years. Roudham's growth was halted in 1349 when the Black Death killed many of its inhabitants, a number of houses were abandoned. by 1449 there had been a 27% reductionin the population it did not regain until the early 1600s. By 1714 the parishioners could not raise the money for vital repairs to the church without resorting to selling one of its two bells. A siiting information porch is built outside of the gate, it includes a Saxon Grave Slab, part evidence of the churches Saxon origins. Imagine it's England, 1209, and you're a wealthy baron. You arrive home from London one day to discover that King John's minions have once again raided your stores of grain. It's the king's right, of course — he has a large household and armies to feed — and there's a promise of compensation. But all too often that payment arrives late, if at all. And there was that incident last year where the bailiff was caught selling the seized goods instead of handing them over to the king's men. These events aren't simply the makings of the next Robin Hood movie. The practice of seizing food for the king, known as "purveyance," was common in medieval England, as was the greed and corruption associated with it. It was one of the key gripes that drove England's barons to negotiate the Magna Carta with King John in 1215. The Magna Carta is considered one of the great legal documents in the history of democracy. Five centuries later, the legal principles it set forth inspired American colonists in their own rebellion against the British crown. Lack of food was a constant threat in the Middle Ages. Though much of the population was dedicated to agriculture, there was little surplus that could be drawn upon if bad weather wiped out a harvest. Still, the barons who negotiated the Magna Carta weren't worried about keeping the peasants from starving. "It wasn't part of their ethos that they should be feeding everyone," says University of Mary Washington historian Bruce O'Brien.

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