Church of St Lawrence
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|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Oxhill is a village in South Warwickshire, England, off the A422 road between Stratford-upon-Avon and Banbury. The population taken at the 2011 census was 305. It lies in the administrative district of Stratford-on-Avon in the area known as the Vale of the Red Horse. The village is mentioned in the Domesday Book as "Octeselve" and has a 12th-century church dedicated to Saint Lawrence.
The indentions in the chancel window mullions are believed by many to be the marks made by local archers sharpening their arrowheads. Because of the holiness and sacredness of the church, the blessed arrows were also presumed to have divine accuracy.
In the graveyard of St Lawrence's Church there is the grave of Myrtilla, with a headstone dated 1706 (1705, in accordance with the Old Style or Julian calendar). It is one of the earliest known graves in England commemorating a person of African descent.
The inscription reads:
Here lyeth the body of Myrtilla, negro slave to Mr. Thos Beauchamp of Nevis. Bapt. Oct. ye 20th. Buried Jan ye 6th, 1705.
The headstone identifies Myrtilla as being enslaved by Thomas Beauchamp, whilst in the church register, she is described as 'a negro girl of Mrs Beauchamp’s'. Thomas Beauchamp is believed to be a sugar planter from Nevis, who was married to Perletta Meese, a daughter of the Rector of Oxhill, Nicholas Meese. The gravestone is a simple version of the local style, located on the south-east side of the church, and is Grade II* listed.
- "Civil Parish population 2011". Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- Drogin, Marc. 1989. Biblioclasm: The Mythical Origins. Savage, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield. Pages 32-33.
- "TOMB OF MYRTILLA APPROXIMATELY 3 METRES SOUTH OF CHANCEL OF CHURCH OF ST LAWRENCE, Oxhill - 1035552 | Historic England". historicengland.org.uk. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
- "Slave's Grave". www.oxhill.org.uk. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
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