Two lost villages

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Ekeney and Petsoe were two hamlets that once lay near to the village of Emberton.

‘Ekeney’ meant ‘the island of oaks’, whilst ‘Petsoe’ was probably derived from ‘Pet’s hoe’ or ‘Peter’s place’.

No reference is made to either community in the Domesday Book, although by 1252 each village had a separate chapel, with the two being united in 1459 under a single rector, Thomas Bloxham.

The Black Death probably decimated the population, and by the end of the 15th century Ekeney had lost its identity, amalgamating with its neighbour around 1509 to become ‘Ekeney cum Petsoe’.

A final decline seems to have begun during the mid-16th century, and a report of 1561 states “nec Ecclia nec Populus” - neither church nor congregation. In fact the Ekeney chapel was pulled down long ago, although the chancel is said to have been re-erected as a chapel on the south side of Stoke Goldington Church.

For many years the field in which the Ekeney chapel stood was known as St Martin’s field, and legend maintains that in the old burial ground lie the remains of a priest, laid to rest with a gold chain around his neck.

As for Petsoe chapel, this had fallen into disuse by 1560, and no trace now remains.

Whilst the two hamlets have long since vanished, a symbolic representation was embroidered on a banner in Emberton church - a cloak of St Martin’s for Ekeney, and a staff and cockleshell for St James.