Site of Cuckow Chapel at Rykmersbury Deserted Settlement
The possible site of a Medieval chapel suggested by documentary and place name evidence. The chapel was probably associated with the deserted settlement of Rykmersbury. It was located 2km west of Leek Wootton
1 There was a chapel at Beausale in the 13th century in honour of St John the Evangelist. It was endowed with the field called Rykenylesbury. It is also recorded in 1328 and in 1398 was known as Cocouchirche or Cokeuchirche. Before 1501 the so-called parish church of Cukkowe Church was in ruins, and the site and cemetery had been applied to profane uses. There were no inhabitants who could rebuild it. In 1545 John Coppe had a lease of a close called Ruytons Bury or Round Table, lying in Beausale, being Cockowe Church land. The earthwork at Castle Hill is still known as the Round Table and could have been the site of the chapel and deserted settlement.
2 Beresford suggests that the site was at Bulloak Farm and quotes the Victoria County History as a source: ‘A field… now associated with the name and memory of Cuckow Church.’
3 The Victoria County History does not refer to this field and the alternative site at Camp Hill appears rather more probable (PRN 5274).
4 1951: The field NE of Bulloak Farm is the one associated with the name and memory of Cuckow Church. In the N corner of the field, at the top of the hill, large stones are occasionally brought to the surface by the plough. 1961: The farmer recorded that foundations lay at a depth of 0.2m in the N corner of the field and also in the adjoining corner of the field to the W. These stones were dressed yellow sandstone blocks. No definite trace of depopulation.
5 The VCH volume 8 notes that the site of the church can be identified in the Park, 200 yards northeast of Bulloak Farm, which is further east than this monument site.
6 The site is marked on a map of the Park dated 1845.