WIXFORD - history of the village

The Village:

The village of Wixford nestles in the Arrow Valley astride the Roman Icknield or Rynkeld Street. History indicates that the village has never consisted of more than around 100 souls.

The village was substantially depopulated at the time of the Black Death and the through road was diverted from Icknield Street. One or other event moved the village epicentre down the hill to its present location, leaving the Church (a grade 2* building) and a number of listed houses as a small hamlet, partially flanked by fields, some 800 meters to the north of the present main road.

Wixford has always had strong Catholic associations through its ecclesiastical or landowning connections. The local gentry are the Throckmorton family of gunpowder plot fame. Hence the Shakespearian reference to “Popish Wixford”.

St Milburga’s Church:

The church is one of only five dedicated to St Milburga, a seventh century princess, grand-daughter of the Great Penda, King of Mercia. She founded a Nunnery at Much Wenlock in Shropshire and became its Abbess.

The church of St Milburga is not quite a parish church, in the sense of being the chief place of worship. In pre-Reformation days it was a chapel attached to Salford Priors and after the Reformation, it became attached to the neighbouring village of Exhall.

There is no priest shown in the Doomsday Book in 1086, but that is understandable if Salford Priors supplied the ministry.

Wixford has changed over the past 30 years from a rural community to a dormitory village. The ebbs and flows that this creates is underlined by some 20% of the 50 or so dwellings being for sale at the beginning of 2009. This has also influenced church membership where the Electoral Roll is 3 – all long retired. Life in the church depends heavily on members from the other Group churches supporting St Milburga’s through the rotation of services. Advent Christmas and Easter are well supported including by the village itself, but the prime service rota of 8.15am Holy Communion and 6.30 pm Compline (summer only!) provides insufficient attraction for village families on a routine basis.

The village has members of other local Anglican churches including an organist (Cleeve Prior) and a lay preacher (Arrow).

There are no utility services, other than electricity, in the church but Wixford does enjoy a comfortable Village Hall, which is available to facilitate expansion of activities.

The village has an active home group, thanks to support from members of other group churches.

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