of Cropredy watched these events with some alarm. Their King might have won the day, but the following year saw the tide turn in favour of the Roundheads. They knew that the Puritan Roundheads had stern attitudes towards any outward manifestation of "Popish" worship - which meant that any kind of religious ornamentation, from stained-glass windows to decorative rood screens, was likely to be smashed in a fit of religious zeal. (They didn't even have the aesthetic or financial sense to steal and sell them.)

Their church possessed just such a bauble - a magnificent brass lectern in the shape of a bird, its wings spread to support the prayer book, its beak open to collect the parishioners' coins (for "Peter's Pence" - a direct contribution to Rome, in pre-Reformation days).

Rather than let such a treasure fall into Puritan hands, the parishioners turfed the lectern into the Cherwell - and promptly forgot about it. It wasn't retrieved for three-hundred years. One of its three feet was missing, but that has now been replaced, and it is now back where it belongs.

A memorial in the same church commemorates Richard Crossman, who lived near here. He was a Labour Cabinet Minister in the 1960s and, before his untimely death in 1974, stripped away the long-standing secrecy of the Cabinet Room, publishing his account of the battles and betrayals of cabinet government in The Crossman Diaries. After that book, we would never again be fooled by "a full and frank discussion took place". After Crossman, we knew that meant "we had a knock-down, drag-out fight, and there's still blood on the Cabinet table".

Cropredy Bridge Cropredy Bridge One More Time One More Time
© David Craig Send me a message