Paxtonvic’s Blog

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Back at Longworth

No, I didnt drive over to the Oxfordshire village in the night, I have been dreaming aboout Longworth – a very pleasant village where many of my ancient Richings ancesters lived and worked as stonemasons.

longworth church

On the far left of the picture are some graves to these venerable workers in stone and imagination takes me back to when generations of them were baptised,married and buried in the church. I would dearly love to be able to go back in time and meet some of them  and find out what life was really like. Was the  sun always shining as it seemed to be in ” Lark Rise to Candleford?” or was life really tough? Certainly many of these old Richings folk lived to a ripe old age. They had no internet, cars, telephones and for the most part  probably rarely travelled far out of the village which would have been self sufficient.

Ive always been very drawn to this old village life style, but  the reailty might well have been different. Poverty was a blight on many rural homes and the threat of work house very real for those whose income failed. Maybe stone masons lived quite comfortably and the JR ( James/John Richings?) initials on the front of some of the exquisite stone cottages in Longworth suggests that at leats one branch of the family was was doing well. I think the Richings clan have died out now in the village – my branch moved out to Farringdon and then Oxford itself. Grandfather Leonard had a toilet and ceramincs business in Oxford – maybe thats where I get my appreciation of loos from!

Longworth church seems to be alive and well from their web-site – one lady vicar looking after  a united  Cherbury Benefice with something like 7 churches in it. She has two assistant lady priests.  I love their Mission Statement

A community working to express God’s love for all ” Perfect.

And it is a very small world, as sometimes at Little Paxton church  a couple come and worship with us  who live at Longworth and who have friends in the village.

Discovering our roots is tremendously popular and in a way I cant explain, there is a part of  me in Oxfordshire. Call it the collective unconscious or just imagination – it is a very strong identificatiion. I was glued to the BBC TV  “Larkrise ” series – especially  the scenes in Lark Rise itself. ( Larkrise and Candleford were based on the village of Fringford  on the Oxon/Bucks border by  author Flora Thompson larkrise

So, one day maybe I will go back and live in a little village like  Longworth – though I doubt I would ever afford it!

Great to have a bit of a rest today – gotta be a plant and garden day and a visit to my old mother in her care home in St Neots.

May 25, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. Hi Annette,
    My grandmother was Edith Richings from Longworth. I also know about the ‘stonemason’ connection, and a few years ago I went to Longworth to see ‘Warren Cottage’ which was built by one of my ancestors. I also had a look round the graveyard where there are many Richings graves.
    Just wanted to say ‘hi’ as it’s very likely we are related!


    Comment by Liz | January 16, 2010 | Reply

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