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Mavesyn Ridware Parish Signs

We live in a quiet rural parish but, in the past, there have been many significant people and events which have shaped our heritage. For example, did you know that our parish church of St Nicholas in Mavesyn Ridware was founded in 1140, only 80 years after the Norman Conquest in 1066? Inside you’ll find the tomb of our Crusader knight Sir Hugo Mauvoisin who fought in the Crusades. The Mauvoisin family gave its name to the village of Mavesyn Ridware, from the Old French term, ‘Dangerous Neighbour’!

The name Ridware is even older. It comes from Celtic times, before the Romans invaded in 55BC, and means ‘River people’. So, the inhabitants of Mavesyn, Hill, Pipe (and Hamstall) are all linked to  the River Trent and its tributaries, and are represented by the blue circular border of the signs, signifying that we are people of the Trent valley.

The settlements of Mavesyn and Pipe Ridware are very old and are mentioned in Domesday Book in 1086. Blithbury is a Saxon name meaning the ‘the burgh (settlement) near the Blythe’.  Hill Ridware is more recent; it was a stopping off place on the turnpike road between Lichfield and Uttoxeter in the 18th century. The Chadwick Arms pub was where the coaches would pull in to rest the horses and allow the travellers to get a meal. The Chadwicks of Mavesyn Ridware, the other prominent local family whose tombs are in our church, lived in Wade Lane House; another branch of the same family  lived in the Old Hall at Mavesyn from 1719 to about 1829, when they moved to Ridware Hall. The Chadwicks are remembered in the name of the pub and of Henry Chadwick School

In 1403, there was an argument between the Mavesyn knight and the Handsacre knight over water rights on the River Trent. Matters came to a head in a pitched battle on the riverbank near where the Old High Bridge now stands, and the story is told on marble panels in our church. The knight from Mavesyn killed his opponent, marched on to fight for King Henry IV at the Battle of Shrewsbury and was killed there three days later. But the story ends well as the son of the Handsacre knight married the daughter of the Mavesyn knight and brought the ‘dangerous neighbours’ together.

The centre of the parish boundary signs has been designed to represent the four settlements in the parish, using their ancient heraldic symbols. Heraldry is very complex, but this is a simple explanation, with the original heraldic descriptions in italics.

Top left: the heraldic shield of the Mauvoisin family, red and white diagonals (‘gules 3 bendlets argent’).

Top right: the heraldic shield of the Chadwick family, red birds on a white/silver background (‘argent a bordure gules with 8 martlets’)

Bottom right: a white cross on a red background, taken from the seal of Blackladies Priory, Brewood, which took over the priory at Blithbury in the 12th century.

Bottom left: the blazon of the de Pipe family of Pipe Ridware (‘bleu 2 organ pipes in chevron between 2 crosslets’).

So, our small rural parish in mid Staffordshire has a rich cultural identity which is recorded in these colourful and unique boundary signs. We hope that the Mavesyn Ridware parish signs are a reminder of the history of this beautiful location, stretching back well over a thousand years.

The Parish Council wishes to extend its sincere thanks to Sunny Eades for her professional design services and to Mark Eades for his historical and heraldic expertise.

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