This week’s Saturday Snaphots were taken in Newton Regis, which claims to be the most northerly village in Warwickshire, and if you think they don’t look very seasonal that’s because they were taken back in April, when my elder daughter and I were testing her SatNav by deliberately getting lost…
I love stumbling across places and discovering they have the most amazing history, and Newton is no exception. It’s a lovely little village and is, apparently, ‘royal’ twice over. It is supposed to have been given its regal title (regis is Latin for king) by Henry II in the last half of the 12th century, but later it became known as Newton-in-the-Thistles, which I think is much better. It’s an incredible name, and makes me wonder if thistles were especially plentiful in the area, and if so, why? I know Eeyore ate them, but are there really any creatures which munch these prickly plants, or are they used for anything? The local football team are called the Thistles, which is a nice link with the past, but doesn’t answer my questions. Generally speaking, dates appear to be a little vague, but it is thought the village reverted back to being Newton Regis in honour of Charles I, who prayed at St Mary’s Church on the night before a battle at Seckington, which is just down the road – and the village has also been referred to as Kings Newton, so it all gets a bit confusing really. And, should you wonder, the name Newton seems to mean ‘new settlement’ – tun or ton is Old English for an enclosure or homestead.
Anyway, ‘quite settled’ describes how Elder Daughter and I felt as we sat in the sunshine by the tiny, triangular village pond, and watched the ducks, who seemed happier on dry land. We admired a timber-framed, thatched cottage and the Queen’s Head pub, then (deciding that exercise was good for us), wandered along the road, past the Old Post Office (now a private house) and a gateway to a farm, to St Mary’s Church, parts of which date back to the 13th century.
It would have been nice to look inside the building, but it was locked, so we explored the churchyard, but we felt it was a sad reflection on the way life has changed. Once upon a time churches were always open, providing sanctuary and solace for those in need, and allowing visitors to browse at leisure: now many are kept shut up as a precaution against theft and vandalism.