Day Out in Oxfordshire: Three Churches and a Roman Villa
Part of: Graduate School in Oxford
After a long rainy spell we were blessed with mostly-sunny weather this weekend, so we headed out for some local sightseeing.
We started out at the North Leigh Roman Villa, which is not far from Blenheim Palace to the west of Oxford. It is the ruins of a country estate built by a rich Roman aristocrat in the 4th century. There wasn't a whole lot to see, but the location couldn't be beat! It was about a 10 minute walk from the road to the villa, down this beautiful path:
It reminded us so much of Oregon, except for the fact that we were walking to Roman ruins! And here they are:
The building on the left is a little storage cottage; the building on the right protects a floor mosaic. In between are the ruins of the Roman villa, which is pretty much just foundations and not super exciting.
The next stop was Minster Lovell, which has a nice church:
And behind the church is a bonus: the interesting ruins of a medieval mansion called Minster Lovell Hall.
Last on our agenda was the church of South Leigh, which is way out in the sticks on a single track road. It was very worth it, though! It's a cute little church on the outside...
...and on the inside it is covered in glorious medieval paintings! More than any other church we've visited, South Leigh gave us a real sense of what churches were like when they were covered in brightly-colored paintings. So different from the modern whitewash!
Over the arch in front is what's known as a "Doom" - a depiction of the Last Judgment. It gave the congregation something to think about while sitting in church. This was quite common in medieval English churches, but not very many survive.
On the right wall is a less scary but similarly-themed mural: St. Michael the Archangel weighing souls after death. On the left, the Virgin Mary helps out by lifting the scale with rosary beads. On the right, devils do their best to tip the scales the other way.
From there we headed home, but made a quick stop at the church in Cassington since we were driving right by it.
Unfortunately it wasn't open, but we did get to pet a funny grey cat and visit some friendly horses.