View from Yate Heritage Centre

August 01 2015

In this remarkable year of medieval anniversaries we are reminded of Magna Carta (1215) and Agincourt (1415).

statue

Medieval Yate and Sodbury

In this remarkable year of medieval anniversaries we are reminded of Magna Carta (1215) and Agincourt (1415). Both events might be seen as purely secular events involving mighty nobles and kings. However, any major activity in Medieval Europe was underpinned by Christianity and the established Catholic Church. Not surprisingly, our current exhibition covering Medieval Yate and Sodbury goes into some detail on the role of the local church during these times.
In short, the church was at the heart of medieval society and dominated the lives of everyone. It dictated that people work six days a week excluding Sundays and Saint’s Days and what they ate. People were obliged to fast and abstain from eating meat for over half the days of the year. What education existed was also the preserve of the church.
Power and Wealth
But it was the immense power and wealth of the church, which paints such a contrast with today. Monasteries and abbey churches owned much of the land around here as elsewhere. Kingswood Abbey (near Wotton) owned land in Iron Acton. St Augustine’s in Bristol owned parts of Chipping Sodbury and in 1228, clashed with the Berkeley family over rights to remove woodland around Sodbury.
Society was a ready source of income for the church. Parishioners gave 10% of their income or produce to the church. The Rector of Yate received tithes from manors in Yate, Brinsham, Itchington and Tytherington.
The system worked as it served the interest of lords and church. Lords gave land and money to the church in exchange for prayers for their souls. In 1183, Roger De La Warre gave rental money to Holy Trinity Church of Wickwar.   Similarly, Robert Stanshawe donated a bell to St Mary’s Yate, in 1471.  
If you want to discover more on this and other aspects of our area’s early history, Medieval Yate and Sodbury at Yate Heritage Centre runs until September 26th.

For your diary
Many of our holiday events have a medieval theme.
5th August - Medieval Gargoyle Clay Workshops
6th August - Balloon Car Science Workshops
19th August - Medieval Braid Wheel Workshops
20th August – Medieval Food Workshops
All the above take place at 10.30am or 1.30pm. Ideal for children between 5 and 12. Booking essential
Yate International Festival Saturday 19th of September
Celebrating culture and cultures from around South Gloucestershire including Nigerian drumming, Chinese Dance, Indian puppet theatre, dance, costume, food and more.