Walk 88: Syresham Village Walk: Know your heritage…

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: Roughly 1 mile (1.61km)

Time to walk: This is a leisurely stroll around a small village that can be done in under 1 hour

Difficulty: Easy & all on hard paths

Parking: We parked on road in Bell Lane

Public toilets: The Kings Head public house

Map of the route: 

map

Syresham lies in South Northamptonshire not far from Brackley & Silverstone. The border with Buckinghamshire lies just to the south of the village defined by the River Great Ouse, which rises within the parish & actually flows through it

The population, like so many other villages in England, is now much lower than even a century ago due to the British agricultural revolution. There are the remains of a very large fish pond south of the church & close to the manor house. The dam wall still stands but the pond was drained long ago for its rich pasture

Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries most of the land in and around Syresham passed to Magdalen College, Oxford. Much of the estate has now been sold off

This walk is taken in part from the village Heritage Trail, to which we’ve added some research etc of our own. Shall we go & explore?

Let’s Walk!

1. Our short walk around this small village starts at the High Street end of Bell Lane outside the Wesleyan Reform Sunday School…

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Straight ahead across the road’s the Methodist Chapel…

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The chapel (& probably the cottage at the side) was refronted in 1846. The red brick must have seen very daring in contrast with the local stone!

2. Facing the chapel, turn right to walk away from the village centre. We bet not much has changed here over the years as it looks like an old photo

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On the right’s a close called The Pound which was the area of the village where Drovers brought their animals to overnight en route from London, Wales & the South-East

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3. Follow the High Street round the left bend. On the right’s the Sports & Social Club…

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Pass this & walk to the main road

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4. Turn left & walk to the crossroads. On the right, over the road’s Abbey House Farm, a large Georgian property which is close to what is supposed to be King Richard’s Stone, where it is said the King Richard III would mount his horse

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The large tree ahead on the left is a Wellington & was planted in 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s 60th year on the throne

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It’s known as the Jubilee Tree & there’s another one in Wappenham Road at the other end of the village past the church which was planted to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee

5. Turn left down Abbey Road & walk back towards the centre of the village…

 IMG_8949The row of lime trees on the right were planted by Captain Joseph Timms to mark the return of his sons from World War I. The war memorial is on the right

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6. On the left’s the only surviving pub in the village…the King’s Head, which is a traditional coaching inn. It appears to have ‘mixed’ reviews

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Walk down Malt Lane opposite…

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…where, at the end we find the impressive Malt House. The village site lists it as a must see, but we can’t find much detail about it. The piece of land past the house is known as Graves Ground, which was used for army manoeuvres prior to World War I. It’s said that King George V & Queen Mary came here to inspect the troops

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7. Return to Abbey Road & turn right. Opposite’s the only remaining thatched property in the village…

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This property was once The Smithy. There used to be many thatched properties in Syresham

8. Cross the road into Magdalen Close…

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The cottage directly ahead’s The Old Butchers. The owner came out to ask us what we were doing & we showed him our village historical trail – unfortunately he’d never heard there was one…

Much of the land around this area was owned by the monks of Biddlesden Abbey &, following the dissolution of the abbeys, it was passed to Magdalen College, Oxford. This has since been sold on. One of the main properties along here that was owned by the College was College Farmhouse

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9. Come back out of the close & walk down the extremely wide High Street…

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…passing Syresham Primary School on the left

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10. Turn right down Broad Street, which eventually becomes Wappenham Road…

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Loved the 'local' dog poo signs!

Loved the ‘local’ dog poo signs!

This area of the village was once home to King’s Brewery. The King family also owned a general store down here which was known as ‘The Department Store of the County’. The Brewery & Store employed more than 60 local people & delivered as far away as Bradford

11. On the left’s a large & very impressive property…The Gate House

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Although being Grade II listed & designed on a 17th century courtyard, it only dates back to the 1920s. We’ll have a look at another side shortly, but click on this link to have a look at a recent sale particular

12. Continue along to the small bridge. This is the Great Ouse which rises just outside the village…

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Not much can be seen of the river on the left as it’s covered in reeds, but it’s much clearer on the other side. This must cause problems with flooding in times of heavy rain as several of the nearby properties had sandbags outside them

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13. Further along on the left’s a small close called The Hill where a shoemaker John Kurde lived in a small house

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John Kurde, the Syresham Martyr, was imprisoned in Northampton Castle for denying the popish transubstantiation, for which he was sentenced to death. In September he was led to a stone pit & burnt. A popish priest standing by declared that if he would repent, he was authorised to give him his pardon. His answer was that he had his pardon from Jesus Christ

14. As the road bends left check all’s well & foxily cross over & up Church End…

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St James Church is at the top of the hill & dates back to the 1200’s

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15. Continue round & then turn left at the junction back into Wappenham Road again. The people in the picture below used to live in the village as kids & were revisiting for the first time – they were trying to find the location of a den they’d made

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Peep over the gate on the left to have a look at the impressive building called The Priory

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The Priory is one of the oldest houses in the village, dating back to the 15th century. Today it’s also a B & B

16. Retrace your steps down to the Great Ouse again & then turn right up Bell Lane to get a different perspective on the Gate House…

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Continue round the corner & up the hill back to the junction with the High Street where we started this walk

So that’s a quick stroll around what’s probably one of our not so well known small villages. It’s well worth a stroll if you’re in the area & could easily be combined with some other of our walks nearby, such as Mulgrave, Ayno, or Brackley

We did venture into the local store & mentioned to the lady that some residents didn’t even know their village had a historical trail – “Ah…that’ll be the younger people that buy up the houses. They’re not bothered”

It’s a shame as one should always find out about the place you live

Go Walk!