Caynham, Ludlow, Shropshire
PUBLISHED: 20:18 07 February 2010 | UPDATED: 15:34 20 February 2013
Dave Hancock drops in on the small village that's just won a big award.
Where is it? Caynham is the Calor Village of the Year 2008 but I'm guessing that many readers won't be able to place it on a map of Shropshire. True, it's a small rural community but Caynham can be traced to a Bronze Age settlement of nearby Caynham Camp. It also lacks a shop, pub and post office - but not community spirit, as this recent award recognises.
Much goes on it Caynham and we'll be visiting it again next summer to report in detail on life and times in the village and to meet some of the residents. Meanwhile, here's a brief postcard from Caynham.
Set your 'sat nav' and you'll be directed to head south from virtually anywhere in Shropshire. More southerly than Ludlow, Caynham is in the area west of the A49, between the A4117 and A456 roads to Kidderminster and is close to the border with Hereford and Worcester.
This is beautiful, rolling countryside bisected by the Ledwyche Brook - which passes through Caynham. I alluded to its history and Caynham is named in the Domesday Book. In the Middle Ages, Caynham was one of the manors (there were many) on the border with Wales which belonged to the Mortimer family.
St Mary's Church is a survivor of these times.
Full of interesting features, too numerous to mention here, some of the highlights of the church are: the imposing marble pulpit commemorating Mabel, wife of the 4th baronet, Sir William M Curtis; a vaulted chancel roof; the window in the south wall dedicated to the 'Hunting Parson', the Reverend James Sidney Dundas Rider.
Erected in 1922, the lych-gate is a memorial to the Great War and the preaching cross in the churchyard is believed to date from the 14th century. At its base, there are elaborate carvings and a niche, which may have been used to hold a lamp to scare away evil spirits.
There's also a Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Caynham - to the east of the village, beside the road. Opened in 1839, this small church has its burial ground in front.
Around the same time, the village school was built - the first in Shropshire to be opened by the National Society, which promoted education to the principles of the Church of England.
Recently, Caynham C. of E. Primary School has won awards for being environmentally friendly and healthy and it is an Activemark safe school.
Community life in Caynham focuses on the village hall which was opened in 1911, having been paid for by friends of the late George B. Charleton who died in that year. These days, the WI, the gardening club, the YFC and pre-school groups use the village hall and many other local activities take place there. Caynham Broadplace is in the village hall and gives residents free access to the Internet.
On the site of Caynham village pound are some memorials. The tree there was planted to commemorate the birth of HRH Prince Henry of Wales and is where a tree was planted for the jubilee of HM King George V. Nearby, there's a plaque for the jubilee of The Queen in 1977 and there's also a monument to mark the golden jubilee of The Queen in 2002.
Finally (for now), located not far from Titterstone Clee Hill, and criss-crossed by many footpaths, Caynham is a good centre for exploring the area on foot. Take your own refreshments though!