Roxton

This small village situated in the valley of the river Great Ouse has its origins in the Bronze Age. Evidence of Iron Age farmsteads of 700BC have been found in the area. The Romans came in 50AD followed by the Anglo Saxons in the 6th Century. 9th Century Danes came by river and there was a great battle at Tempsford which is quoted in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle. In the Domesday survey of 1086 the Normans refer to a manor in Roxton held by William Speke, ‘of 8 hides and 3 virgates, in lordship 3 hides and 4 virgates, a mill at 33s and 260 eels, meadow for 3 ploughs, woodland and 20 pigs’. There is also reference to 1 hide and 1 virgate held by Rhiwallon from Hugh of Beauchamp.

Today this attractive village retains its character. The High Street has many lovely buildings with some of the older timber framed houses dating back to the 17th Century. The thatched Congregational Church is still in use and enjoys the views of Roxton House and Park.

History

Chawston and Colesden were always hamlets of Roxton parish. Wyboston and Begwary were not included until boundary changes in 1965. Since the opening of the A421 (A1-M1 link) these villages have formed their own Parish Council but all four remain in the ecclesiastical parish of Roxton.

The Church of St. Mary Magdalene is set in a calm churchyard. Originally dating from the 13th century, much of the church was built in the 14th century but it has a 15th century embattled west tower. The interior is appreciated for its beautiful calming green light and many interesting features, including a medieval painted rood screen.

The Congregational church at Roxton

The Congregational church at Roxton

The thatched Congregational Church was once a barn and was converted to a place of worship by Charles Metcalfe, the lord of the manor, in 1808. Later two wings were added. The north wing was used as a schoolroom with children paying two pence a week for their education. Both churches are in regular use and hold coffee mornings and fundraising events as well as the usual services.

In the last decade a new bypass for Great Barford has taken heavy traffic away from Roxton restoring tranquility to the village. The A1 and this new bypass converge just north of the village at the Black Cat roundabout.

Agriculture

The fertile Ouse Valley has provided the village and surrounding areas with abundant crops of high quality. Livestock has been produced on the high ground above the river creating an ideal location where the population traditionally farmed the land.

The 1851 census shows that villagers were comparatively self-sufficient. As well as two major landowners there were several owners of small parcels of land and people who supplied goods and services, operating as cottage industries.

In the 20th century Roxton’s market gardeners were some of the first to grow Brussels sprouts as well as other market vegetables which they sent to London and other markets by rail from Tempsford and Sandy. The village farms and cottages were owned by the Delap family, but by the early 1920s the estate was nearly all sold to the various tenants.

Until the second half of the 20th century, agriculture was the main activity, but as mechanisation on the land increased, patterns of employment changed. New homes were built bringing commuters to the village. Roxton’s inhabitants are seldom involved with farming now and the village is protected as a conservation area.

Walks and Wildlife

The churchyard has many interesting and attractive trees planted for their spring and autumn colour. Golden Privet forms the hedging boundary between the parish church and the estate cottages. It was planted by the Delap family before the estate was sold to the Metcalfe family.

There are opportunities to take attractive country walks. A circular walk of the village starts in the churchyard and continues to the river Great Ouse towards the old Roxton lock. The new modern lock, on the left was built in 1972. From this walk you can take either the Kingfisher Way or the Ouse Valley Way to nearby villages. Taking the direction of the Ouse upstream you will come to lakes formed by gravel extraction, now used for trout fishing. This is where an archaeological dig found evidence of earlier Saxon settlements.

The lakes attract coots and great crested grebes, mallards, tufted ducks and greylag geese. In the wide grassy meadows you will spindleberry and a variety of wild flowers.

The Royal Oak is the village pub, conveniently located at the main crossroads. Roxton Garden centre is located on the C44 road out of the village. It provides refreshment and is a good general shopping area.

Printed from: http://www.riversmeetonline.co.uk/places-to-visit/roxton/ .
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