Foston and Saint Bartholomew’s church
Foston has been a deserted village for nearly 400 years. If we go back as far as Domesday (1086) we find that there were twenty-four or twenty-five families tilling the soil here.
The village remained the same for about 100 years. In 1314 there were twenty-seven households. In 1124 there were twenty. Even as late as 1563 the return to the Bishop of Lincoln says there were still twenty-one families.
William Faunt, “a man of great learning, wisdom and judgement, of great esteem and grace in his country,” according to his grandson, bought the manor of Foston in 1549 and he died there ten years later. His eldest son, William, his successor, was killed in battle in 1574. The second son, Anthony, therefore inherited the estate.
It was Anthony Faunt who began to enclose the common land on which the villagers relied for their living. One by one they were forced to leave Foston, until by 1622 the enclosure was complete and the village was no more. Only the squire, the rector, and three or four labouring families were left.
Today the Faunts’ fine house has gone. It probably stood where Hall Farm stands today. The church of course, and the old Tudor rectory next door still remain.
You can see the site of the village in the field to the east of the long narrow spinney by Hall Farm, on the South side of the road that leads in from the A5199. There you will find many long banks and hollows, and traces of a long deep roadway that was probably once the old village street. Close by are one or two very large fields that owe their size to the Faunts’ enclosure 400 years ago.
One of the Twelve Apostles, relatively little is known about Saint Bartholomew. In the New Testament, he is only mentioned in four Apostle lists. There has been some confusion regarding his name. The name Bartholomew is a family name, derived from the Hebrew “Bar – Tolmai” or “Bar – Talmai” (meaning “son of Tolmai”). He probably had a personal name as well, which is traditionally believed to be Nathanael, as mentioned by Saint John the Evangelist, but he was also called Philip by Jesus (John 1: 43-51)
His day is celebrated on 24 August, and it was on this date in 1572 that Charles IX of France ordered the slaughter of 30,000 French Protestants.
He is believed to have served as a missionary to Ethiopia, Mesopotamia, Parthia (now in Iran), Lycaonia (now in Turkey) and Armenia. He also took the Gospel according to Matthew to India, where it was found in the 2nd Century by Saint Pantaenus of Alexandria.
He was martyred after being flayed and beheaded (which gave rise to the use of a knife as his symbol) in Albanopolis, Armenia at the command of King Asyages. His relics were taken to the Church of Saint Bartholomew-in-the-Tiber, Rome.