St James the Great, Syresham
Syresham is a village in Northamptonshire, close to the town of Brackley and to Silverstone Circuit. Syresham is surrounded by villages and hamlets such as Biddlesden, Whitfield, Helmdon, Silverstone and Wappenham. The border with Buckinghamshire lies just to the south of the village, here defined by the Great Ouse, which rises within the parish. There are two small hamlets in the parish, Crowfield and Pimlico.
There is a large abandoned quarry north of the church which supplied the limestone for many of the older buildings in the village. There are the remains of a very large fish pond south of the church and close to the manor house. The dam wall still stands but the pond was drained long ago for its rich pasture.
Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries most of the land in and around Syresham passed to Magdalen College, Oxford. Much of the estate has now been sold off, however
The sites of several deserted mediæval villages lie nearby, including Astwell near Helmdon, the site of the still standing keep or gatehouse of Astwell Castle.
An old forest town, it is surrounded by the remnants of ancient woodland, the hunting grounds for several kings such as Richard III. They include Whistley Wood near Brackley and Hazelborough wood near Silverstone. Further afield is Yardley Chase and Whittlebury Wood. They are mainly owned by the Forestry Commission and are crossed by many public footpaths and some byways and bridleways leading to the village. The woods have a diverse range of trees, including oak, beech, hazel and some conifer stands. The hazel will have been coppiced in previous times. All of the ancient woods are surrounded by deep ditches, a common indicator of their great age and importance in the Middle Ages.
There is a Site of Special Scientific Interest named Syresham Marshy Meadows near Hazelborough Wood with rare marsh plants including orchids.
The woods are rich in a wide range of plants, especially common bluebells and primroses in the spring, and associated orchids as well as the yellow rattle. There is a diverse fauna including red deer and muntjac, and birds such as buzzards and red kites are also seen in the parish.
The village has a public house, the Kings Head, a sub post office, primary school, church and chapel. It has a thriving social life, with a Sports and Social Club (football field and cricket pitch), and several local societies (such as the Syresham History Society). There are several Grade II listed buildings, including The Priory, Manor Farm and The Old College Farmhouse. St James' Church, dating from the 12th Century, is Grade II* listed.
It is bypassed by the A43 road|A43 trunk road and is the western terminus of the Ouse Valley Way long distance footpath. It is traversed by Welsh lane, a Drovers' road used to bring livestock to London before the railways killed off the droving business. The lane has wide verges at many places between the village and Buckingham which were ideal for grazing the livestock. There are the remains or stump of a hanging tree at the cross-roads just south of Biddlesden.
- Cricket: two senior teams and one junior team
- Football: two senior teams and one junior team
- Golf: the Gytte Lane Club
| ("Wikimedia Commons" has material|
- Syresham village
- Syresham Scarecrow Festival
- Syresham Sports and Social Club
- Details of the architecture of the parish church
- Philip Pettit, Syresham, A Forest Village and its Chapel, Syresham History (1996)