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Long Compton to Swerford

 

 

David Jonathan used two ways into Long Compton.  He either came from the Moreton-in-Marrsh direction via Barton on the Heath, where he had a customer (#1  Note the losses as well as the sales.  Perhaps 5% of sheep were lost on a long drove.). 


The Fire Service College blocks the route now, but it was all bog or a sheet of ice before it was drained, so it must have been hard except in high summer.  We’ve explored the route from Barton to LC – boring – but from the outskirts of M-in-M to Barton looks more promising.

 

 

 

At the top of Long Compton High Street is the old Black Dog Inn (#2), which looks more like a drovers’ hideaway then the Red Lion (still trading) at the southern end.  After stopping there the drovers probably went up Butlers Hill, turned left on top of the Ridge at SP 307313 and aimed for Swerford1.  DJ stopped at The Unicorn on the edge of Great Rollright (#3).  The pub was locked up suddenly 30 years ago and looks like the Marie Celeste inside: tables with empty glasses on etc. 

 

 

 

The old road from The Unicorn to Swerford is a lovely walk, the best the area can offer.  True, it’s tarmacked, but the traffic noise fades after a while as the track becomes wider, the hedges older. (#4).  Swerford itself is a dreamy little village which boasts a Little London (#5), usually a sign that drovers set up camp.

 

 

 

I’ve no idea how DJ got to Ardley, his next stop, but Duns Tew is my best guess.  In which case he would pass close by Flighthill Cottage (421292) & Flighthill Farm (420294), where soldiers from the Battle of Edgehill in 1642 took sanctuary; and Rest Hill Farm (438292), where they rested.  Poor buggers probably didn’t get much sanctuary or rest.

 

1 On other journeys from Long Compton DJ went up Shakespeare Way to Whichwood, then on to The Firs, The Gate Hangs High and Banbury (which wasn't an important market till the railways arrived; DJ would only have used it to get on to the Banbury Lane to Northampton).

Long Compton to Swerford image 1
Mr Mitchell of Barton
Long Compton to Swerford image 2
The Black Dog at LC
Long Compton to Swerford image 3
The Unicorn at Gt. RR
Long Compton to Swerford image 4
Swerford Rd.
Long Compton to Swerford image 5
Little London, Swerford