Netherton

Netherton is a small village lying to the east of Elmley Castle and was known as Neothetine in 780AD.

There was once a medieval village here similar to that at Westmancote, but it has been reduced to a few houses.

Nevertheless, the old core of the village can still be traced in the sublte earthworks in the fields around Chapel Farm.

There is a fine ruined chapel here with a wonderful carving above the door of a saw fish or a winged dragon. The chapel was reputed to have been built as a chapel of ease for the parish church of St Gregory at Cropthorne, which was the mother church of Netherton before it became a parish in its own right. The chancel dates from 1200.

It is probable that a ‘funeral path’ existed between Netherton and Cropthorne. In days gones by, rights of way were sometimes established by carrying a corpse along them and were known in certain localities as funeral paths.

The presence of a carving of a winged dragon in the chapel is interesting, for other dragon carvings can be found around Bredon Hill at Elmley Castle, Beckford and Eckington. It is thought by some people that dragons carved in churches may symbolise the pagan forces which were formerly venerated at the site.

Alternatively, it is sometimes said that their inclusion in churches is symbolic of Christian supremacy over pagan forces – hence the symbolism of St George defeating the dragon.

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