Saturday, 27 September 2008

The Old Roman Road and St Margaret's Church

St Margaret is an interesting name for any church because this saint is mythological much in the same way at St George is. The image above shows St Margaret of Antioch - several legends abound and the above illustrates Margaret the Virgin's struggle with the Devil who took the form of a great dragon and swallowed her - she escaped this fate only to be later burned, drowned and beheaded (she was hard to kill).
[ref: The Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara Walker]

The front entrance of St. Margaret's Church - built on the site of a Norman church, it dates back to the 13th Century. Just a few metres away from the old Roman road, Ermin Street. I have been unable to trace anything about the history of this lovely old church and remain rather fascinated as to why it was named after a mythological saint. The name Margaret can be traced to Sanskrit Marga "the Gate" or "the Way".

A detail in the masonry - a defaced head. Defacing images was common place at the time of the Puritans though I do not know if this is what has happened here.

A detail from one of the old stained glass windows within the church; oak-leaves and wild flowers.
Ermin Street (Way) an old Roman road

Ermin Street in Stratton St Margaret is built on the old Roman road which ran from Glevum (Gloucester) via Corinium (Cirencester) to Durocornovium (Wanborough) where there was a Roman settlement on to Calleva Atrebatum (Silchester). Stratton (originally Stratone) comes from the Latin word 'strata' meaning paved way or street. There is archaeological evidence that there was a small military town and trading post in the area and close to the junction of the their two major roads near the present day Stratton St Margaret. This was also known as Durocornovium so was probably part of the Wanborough settlement.