06 January 2011

Ruyton, VI.I.MMXI

Ruyton XI Towns is the only place in the world that features Roman numerals in its name. It was known as Ruyton of the XI Towns from the XIIth century, when a castle was built here. The XI townships were Coton, Eardiston, Felton, Haughton, Rednal, Ruyton itself, Shelvock, Shottaton, Sutton, Tedsmore, and Wykey. The castle was badly damaged in MCCIII and again, by Owain Glynd┼Ár, in MCCXII.

In MCCCVIII the Earl of Arundel attempted to refound the town as New Ruyton, and a charter that gave it the same status as the County of Bristol was granted. The castle was rebuilt in MCCCXIII, yet lasted only to the end of the century. Its few remains stand next to the church - likely built at the same time as the castle - about which are some fine yews. The town declined as it continued to be subject to the depredations attendant upon its Marches location; and it ceased to be a borough in MDCCCLXXXVI.

The erosion of Ruyton's status is mirrored in the sandstone in which are constructed many of the buildings of what is now referred to as a village. Cut into the live rock is a memorial to those killed in the two world wars. It seems a shame that, instead of being carved in Arabic numerals, the dates of these aren't given as MCMXIV-MCMXVIII and MCMXXXIX-MCMXLV.

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