Festival of Flowers
Each year St Mary’s Church in Longcot participates in Oxfordshire Artweeks with a Festival of Flowers as part of supporting village artists. This year it also happens to coincide with the village celebrating the eight centuries that the church has stood at the centre from its medieval beginnings through to today. So it was only fitting that the theme of this years Festival of Flowers depicted how the world has changed through the last eight centuries but how flowers are timeless.
800 Years in Flowers
The church was built in the 13th Century and the inner door arch is the original stonework. The display in the Porch celebrates the medieval friars that travelled the country, preaching, teaching, visiting the sick and dispensing herbal remedies.
The villages lived in mud or stone houses with a central open fire, here one is displayed in flowers on the 13th Century font.
The North window shows the 14th Century where early books were kept in locked chests; a few were chained in churches and libraries giving greater access to them.
The civil War of the Roses raged for 30 years during the 15th Century, leading to 120 years of Tudor rule.
The 16th Century was an exciting time. The Tudor reign was an age of discovery and exploration, full of treasures and exotic goods.
When William of Orange came to the throne, in the 17th Century, Dutch art became popular, particularly paintings of flowers and still life.
The first school in Longcot was built in the early 18th Century, the pupils were the sons of local farmers. A girls school was later opened in a cottage at the church gate. Both schools were closed in 1874 when education became compulsory and the village school was opened.
The Victorian Era was the height of the British Empire and in England it meant the birth of the railways and industrial revolution and with it many social changes. The Hughes family were influential in Longcot. May Hughes became a national social reformer bringing poor children to the village for education and recuperation.
Constance Spry’s use of garden flowers, hedgerow foliage and unusual containers in her floral designs is the influence for the 20th Century floral display.
The Festival of Flowers runs from 14th-22nd May 2016 so be quick!
The majority of text in this post has been taken from the leaflet available at St Mary’s Church.
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