Adderbury for length,
Bloxham for strength,
and King's Sutton for beauty.
King's Sutton is a lovely village in South Northamptonshire near the Oxfordshire border. The tree-lined streets and thatched cottages tell true of the rhyme. The quaintness is contagious and warming with one sign at the entrance to the village reading Kings Sutton, while another introduces King's Sutton, but the difference is most probably an ancient (or more modern) signwriting error.
In the Village
Set around the village green, King's Sutton is a compact country town. Dominating it, however, is the 198-feet-tall spire of the 12th-Century parish church of St Peter & St Paul which can be seen from all directions and is floodlit at night. The King's Sutton Classical Music Festival is held here, and has included the Fiori Musicali. The village also boasts a Baptist Church, a Methodist Church, a Primary School, a Play Area and Skateboard Ramp, Post Office and three pubs.
Many 16th and 17th-Century houses and cottages still stand, despite a disastrous fire in 1785 which destroyed 40 houses and left the village in turmoil. Some of the surviving homes and the 16th-Century courthouse have now been converted into bed & breakfasts and hotel accommodation.
At the end of the village main street, Astrop Road, is St Rumbold's Well - a replica of the original monument to the Saint. Born in the village in 650, Saint Rumbold lived only three days, but in that time he said several times 'I am a Christian', expressed his faith in the Holy Trinity, asked for Baptism and Holy Communion, preached on the Holy Trinity and the need for a virtuous life, quoted scripture and recited the Athanasian Creed. Pilgrimages to his birthplace continued for many years, allowing King's Sutton to thrive on travellers' business.
Nearby Astrop Spa (St Rumbold's Well) is Bog Spring, opened to the public in 1749 and said to possess great healing properties. Now dry, the spring almost made King's Sutton a famous spa town like Leamington.
And finally, located on the edge of the village green and now sadly fallen out of use, are the old village stocks1 - providing a useful reminder of how discipline was maintained in former times.
Food, Drink and Other Things
The 18th-Century Butchers Arms pub is a typical village local offering food, including a good Sunday roast. Facing the village green, The White Horse has more of a bistro style, offering very good but more expensive food. The other pub is The Three Tuns, which serves a nice pint too. There is also a Co-op store in the village which is useful if you find yourself caught short and in need of essentials, as it stays open late.
The Millennium Memorial Hall hosts many activities including coffee mornings, short-mat bowls and Antique Shows - held monthly. More recently the hall has been the venue for the King's Sutton Literary Festival. It is also the base for a weekly doctor's surgery as there is no hospital or GP in the village itself.
King's Sutton is the home of the Banbury District Branch of the Cats Protection League too, which holds occasional open days.
The village has a railway station linking Banbury, Oxford and London. This is served by Chiltern Railways and First Great Western Link (formerly Thames Trains), and the village is a haven for trainspotters.
King's Sutton is between Junctions 10 and 11 of the M40, so is reachable by road without much hassle and both the River Cherwell and the Oxford Canal2 are also close by (about one mile).
Nearby Places of Interest
- Adderbury Village - Lovers of classical music should visit nearby Adderbury, where the church is the venue for many concerts.
- Aynho - Known as the 'Apricot Village', includes the house of Aynhoe Park.
- Deddington - Some lovely picturesque houses of honey-coloured ironstone and a history going back to Norman and Saxon times.
- Middleton Cheney - Representative of many of the older parishes in Northamptonshire.
- Broughton Castle - Located in nearby Banbury, the castle has beautiful gardens and is famous for being the setting for some of the 1998 film Shakespeare in Love.
The village has its own website.