Warwickshire Heritage

Views of some of Warwickshire's varied heritage

Packwood House

Packwood House

Dating from the late 16th century, the house originated as a farmhouse for the Featherston family, gentlemen farmers with aspirations. The house was developed and extended over the years, becoming a manor house with a large estate. In the late 19th century the Featherston family sold the house and estate. The house and estate was bought by Alfred Ash in 1904 with money acquired from the successful galvanised steel business of Ash & Lacy, based in Birmingham.

Packwood House

Packwood House

Graham Baron Ash inherited the business and Packwood House when his father died in 1925. He sold the business and took to investing in stocks and shares whilst devoting the next 15 years to restoring and remodelling the house to create what he considered to be the perfect English country house. A major undertaking was the creation of a Great Hall, from a former cattle byre and barn, which was linked to the house by the construction of a long gallery.

Packwood House

Packwood House

Graham Baron Ash can be considered to have been something of a conservationist as he purchased items from houses facing demolition and used them to create his vision of an ideal country house.

Packwood House

Packwood House

The work that Graham Baron Ash began to put into the house was recognised by a visit to Packwood by Queen Mary in 1927. A much earlier noted visitor was Colonel Henry Ireton, a Parliamentary commander in the English Civil War. It is thought that he stayed at the house before the Battle of Edgehill in 1642.

Packwood House

Packwood House

The estate is particularly noted for its avenue of yew trees, laid out in the mid-17th century by John Featherston and supposed to represent "The Sermon on the Mount". Additional trees were added in the mid-19th century. Graham Baron Ash passed the house and estate to the National Trust in 1941 and later moved out to live at Wingfield Castle in Suffolk, having taken out a lease on the property.

Princethorpe College

Princethorpe College

The College is an Independent School, established on the site, and occupying some of the buildings, of the former, Benedictine, St. Mary's Priory. The Priory was founded in 1832 by a community of Nuns that had arrived in England at the end of the 18th century to escape persecution in France. A small school for girls was operated by the Nuns. The Priory closed in 1966 due to falling numbers but at one time had been the largest convent in England with more than 200 Nuns.

Wroxall Abbey

Wroxall Abbey

At one time the site of a Benedictine Priory, founded in 1141 and the site of a residence of Sir Christopher Wren and his family. Sir Christopher Wren is believed to have purchased the estate in the 18th century for his son. The present building dates from the mid-1860s and was owned by the Dugdale family. In the mid-20th century it was an independent school for girls. It then became a hotel, restaurant and conference centre but closed in 2019. The Church of St. Leonard adjoins the drive.

Oxford Canal Aqueduct

Oxford Canal Aqueduct

An interesting aqueduct on the Oxford Canal at Rugby. The canal was completed in 1790. This aqueduct was restored by British Waterways in 1991

Upton House

Upton House

Upton House stands on the site of the hamlet of Upton which was cleared for grazing around the end of the 15th century. It is in the parish of Ratley and Upton and occupies a prominent position on the Edge Hill escarpment, at the top of Sunrising Hill. The house was built of local stone at the end of the 17th century and has since been extended and altered internally. It is approached along a long tree-lined drive.

Upton House

Upton House

The estate was purchased in 1927 by Walter Samuel, 2nd Viscount Bearsted, as a rural retreat from his London home. Lord Bearsted was Chairman of both the family bank of M. Samuel & Co. and Shell Oil, which his father had founded. At the start of World War II, some of the bank staff were moved from London to Upton House to continue their work away from the threat of air raids. They both lived and worked at the house making use of the facilities, including a cinema and swimming pool.

Upton House

Upton House

Lord Bearsted had acquired a large art collection with works attributed to Canaletto, Gainsborough, El Greco, Hogarth and Breughel. He arranged for many of the most significant works to be stored in Welsh slate mines during the war, alongside much of the nation’s art treasures. After the war they were put on display at the house. Lord Bearsted left the house, gardens and art collection to the National Trust upon his death in 1948. The family continued to live at the house until 1988.

Packhorse Bridge

Packhorse Bridge

Old packhorse bridge over the Smite Brook near Combe Fields.

Packhorse Bridge

Packhorse Bridge

Beyer Garratt Locomotive

Beyer Garratt Locomotive

This engine is preserved at Bressingham Steam Museum in Norfolk but its heritage is all Warwickshire.

Beyer Garratt Locomotive

Beyer Garratt Locomotive

Numbered 6841 and bearing the name William Francis, this loco was built in 1937 to operate coal trains over standard gauge railway lines with steep gradients and winding tracks.

Beyer Garratt Locomotive

Beyer Garratt Locomotive

This locomotive operated coal trains from Baxterley Colliery near Baddesley Ensor in North Warwickshire. The single track wound its way from the colliery at around 450 feet above sea level down to the main line railway and canal wharf at Merevale at about 260 feet above sea level, over a distance of approximately one mile.

Beyer Garratt Locomotive

Beyer Garratt Locomotive

The route ran alongside Waste Lane and can still be identified. The line crossed the A5 at Merevale on a level crossing.

Beyer Garratt Locomotive

Beyer Garratt Locomotive

The plate indicates the intention to restore this historic locomotive to working order.

Studley Castle

Studley Castle

A Victorian house constructed in the style of a castle, it has had varied use over the years. In the late 20th century it served as the marketing headquarters of the British Leyland motor vehicle group. It then operated as a conference centre and hotel. It was taken over by Warner Leisure Hotels, refurbished and developed as one of its premier leisure hotels. It opened in 2019.

War Memorial, Newbold on Avon

War Memorial, Newbold on Avon

Hartshill Maintenance Boatyard

Hartshill Maintenance Boatyard

Situated on the Coventry Canal. It has various wharves including a covered one for the unloading of dry goods

Hartshill Boatyard Manager's House

Hartshill Boatyard Manager's House

Atherstone Railway Station

Atherstone Railway Station

Built in 1843 in a Jacobean style, Atherstone was a first-class station on the Trent Valley line of the LNWR. The main station building on the up platform has remained much as it was when constructed but the whole of the station area has undergone considerable change over the years.

Atherstone Railway Station

Atherstone Railway Station

Sadly the station itself is little used with only a few stopping trains daily each way serving local stations between Nuneaton and Stafford. The station building now serves as commercial premises and passengers must now purchase their tickets on the train.

Nicholas Chamberlain Almshouses

Nicholas Chamberlain Almshouses

Located in Bedworth town centre the present building was constructed in Tudor Style in 1840. Nicholas Chamberlaine was a former long-serving Rector of Bedworth who aimed to improve the lot of the local populace.

Kings Newnham Tower

Kings Newnham Tower

The tower is all that remains of St Peter's church on the site. Reputed to be haunted.

Pillar Box, Warwick

Pillar Box, Warwick

An old surviving Victorian pillar box with vertical slot at Eastgate, Warwick.

Pillar Box, Warwick

Pillar Box, Warwick

Thurlaston stocks

Thurlaston stocks

Ancient form of punishment in a picturesque Warwickshire village.

Bedworth Water Tower

Bedworth Water Tower

Water tower in Bedworth which once provided water supplies to the local area. Now surrounded by a residential housing estate it was also planned to convert the tower to apartments and flats.

Atherstone sign

Atherstone sign

This sign on a shop front in Long Street, Atherstone, confirms the town's once important location on the old Roman Road, Watling Street. It was part of the coaching road between London and Holyhead, but is now bypassed by the modern A5.

Bentley Pound

Bentley Pound

Restored pound or pinfold once used for the secure restraint of stray animals.

Baddesley Clinton

Baddesley Clinton

The moated manor house at Baddesley Clinton, as seen today, is the result of alterations and extensions carried out in the late 1500's by Henry Ferrers. It was once the home of Nicholas Brome, a hot-headed man, a philanderer and a double murderer. He killed John Herthill, a steward to the Earl of Warwick, in revenge for the murder of his father, John Brome. He also killed the Parish Priest of Baddesley Clinton when he entered the house and found the priest "chucking his wife under the chin".

Baddesley Clinton

Baddesley Clinton

The Ferrers family came to inherit the estate as a result of the marriage of Constantia, daughter of Nicholas Brome, to Sir Edward Ferrers, from the family of Ferrers of Groby, in 1497. The house remained in the Ferrers family for 12 generations, being sold in 1940. It is now in the hands of the National Trust.

Baddesley Clinton

Baddesley Clinton

The Ferrers family remained true to the Catholic faith during the Reformation and the house contains a number of priest holes to hide members of the clergy during the frequent searches of the house by agents of Queen Elizabeth I. The hiding places were ingeneous, one behind a fireplace and one in a privy.

Baddesley Clinton

Baddesley Clinton

Cromwell Barn & Sign, Old Milverton

Cromwell Barn & Sign, Old Milverton

The barn is considered to be of some antiquity and local legend has it that some of Oliver Cromwell's troops were billeted here for a short while. However, it is the old sign that provides the real interest, with its warning of old deterrents against intruders "Man Traps and Spring Guns on Theise Premises"

Alvecote Priory

Alvecote Priory

The priory was established by Benedictine Monks in 1159. It was only a small establishment, being a sub-priory of one at Great Malvern and it appears to have been a struggle to maintain it in good order. It ceased to operate as a Priory in 1543, following the suppression of the monasteries.

Polesworth Nethersole School

Polesworth Nethersole School

Constructed in 1818 by the Sir Francis Nethersole Foundation the building replaced an earlier school on the site. Sir Francis Nethersole was a former Lord of the Manor of Polesworth, having married Lucy Goodere, who inherited Polesworth Hall from her father, Sir Henry Goodere of Monks Kirby. The first Nethersole School was built by Sir Francis in 1638, at the request of his wife, and provided free education for the children of the parish.

Polesworth Nethersole School

Polesworth Nethersole School

Plaque above main entrance showing Nethersole Arms.

Astley Castle

Astley Castle

This ruined castle was in the ownership of the De Astley and Grey families for many years. Sir John Grey, heir to the houses of Astley, Grey and Ferrers of Groby, married Elizabeth Woodville around 1455. Sir John was killed, fighting for the Lancastrian cause, at St. Albans in 1461, during the Wars of the Roses. Elizabeth subsequently married King Edward IV, the Yorkist claimant to the throne, whose victory in the Wars of the Roses resulted in Yorkist supremacy for 25 years in England.

Astley Castle

Astley Castle

Elizabeth, through her marriage to Edward IV, was mother of the Princes in the Tower, reputedly murdered at the instigation of her brother-in -law, Richard of York who became Richard III. She was also the mother of Elizabeth, who married Henry VII. In addition, Elizabeth was the great, great grandmother of Lady Jane Grey, Queen of England for 9 days in 1553. During the English Civil War the castle was garrisoned for a time by the Parliamentarians and Royalist troops were imprisoned there.

Wolfhampcote & The River Leam

Wolfhampcote & The River Leam

The River Leam, one of the principal rivers of Warwickshire, rises near Hellidon in Northamptonshire. For a few miles it forms the boundary between Northamptonshire and Warwickshire. It reaches Wolfhampcote and is bridged by the old LNWR line between Rugby and Leamington. Shortly after, the river turns westward on its journey to Leamington and the county boundary continues northwards, skirting Braunston in Northamptonshire.

Wolfhampcote & The River Leam

Wolfhampcote & The River Leam

These 2 bridges were constructed to carry the railway through the small, isolated settlement of Wolfhampcote. A short distance away, the old trackbed of the Great Central Railway also passes through the parish, crossing the LNWR at right angles. The GCR bridges have been demolished.

Coleshill Pillory

Coleshill Pillory

The pillory and whipping post provide a reminder of an old form of punishment when offenders were on display to the local populace and justice could really be seen to be done.

Walton Hall

Walton Hall

Walton Hall was constructed in the 1860's to the design of Sir George Gilbert Scott, on the site of the old manor house. It was the home of the Mordaunt family. The enlarged Hall provided employment to a large number of people in the late 19th century, providing a boost to the size of the congregation of the adjacent church.

Walton Hall

Walton Hall

The Hall was at the centre of a controversy in the 19th century which involved the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VII. His liaison with Harriet Mordaunt was discovered by her husband, Sir Charles Mordaunt. A court case followed in 1870 with Sir Charles suing for divorce and the Prince of Wales facing the ignominy of being called as a witness. The tragic outcome was the declaration of Harriet as insane and her confinement to an asylum for the remainder of her life.

Walton Hall

Walton Hall

Stare Bridge, Stoneleigh

Stare Bridge, Stoneleigh

This ancient bridge, on the route from Coventry to Leamington, was an important crossing point on the River Avon for horse drawn traffic. With the rapid increase of motorised traffic the bridge proved to be a bit of a bottleneck and was by-passed by the construction of a new bridge one hundred yards to the east.

Stare Bridge, Stoneleigh

Stare Bridge, Stoneleigh

Stare Bridge, Stoneleigh

Stare Bridge, Stoneleigh

Stare Bridge, Stoneleigh

Stare Bridge, Stoneleigh

Plaque at Kinwalsey

Plaque at Kinwalsey

A plaque recording a visit by John Wesley, the father of the Methodist denomination. He was an Anglican clergyman who travelled the country preaching the message of evangelical revival wherever and to whomever he could. This was his way of reaching out to the masses. It was not until after his death that the Methodist movement separated from the established church - the Church of England.

Chesterton Windmill

Chesterton Windmill

Reputedly designed by Inigo Jones and considered to have possibly served as an observatory at one time. It occupies a scenic location on a hill close to the home of Leamington FC - the New Windmill Ground.

Castle Inn, Edge Hill

Castle Inn, Edge Hill

This magnificent building was designed by Sanderson Miller of nearby Radway Grange as a folly overlooking the site of the battle of Edge Hill in the Valley of the Red Horse. It originally had a dome on top of the tower, though this was taken down many years ago. Since its original construction the building has been adapted and extended and is in use as a pub. On the other side of the road was another of Miller's follies - a "ruined castle wall" containing an arch. It was demolished early 20th c.

© 2014 by Terry Bigley.  Proudly created with Wix.com

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