Monthly Archives May 2014

6th May 2014

The Saxon Sanctuary

Saxon Sanctuary Sign

St Peter’s Church – a Saxon Sanctuary …

As Warwickshire’s oldest church the site of St Peter’s Church dates back to between 723 and 736 when the King of Mercia, Aethelbald gave Aethelric of the Hwicce 2000 acres of land for a monastic settlement of Benedictine Monks at what was then called ‘Wudu Tun.’

By the mid-9th Century there was a stone minster church on the site surrounded by a thriving monastic community.

This stone minster – or Saxon Sanctuary – held sway for around 200 years.

St Peters Church at Wootton Wawen

The Saxon demise …

By the early Norman period this Saxon Monastery was gone and the church was dedicated to St Peter.

The Chancel of St Peter’s was built in the 1130’s to act as a chapel and then in 1443 Henry VI confiscated the priory at Wootton and transferred it to King’s College, Cambridge. The college’s various influences are responsible for the church we see on the site today.

The Altar in the Sanctuary

St Peter’s Church – a Saxon Sanctuary …

Chained Library:

This located along one side of the South Aisle to the Chancel and contains a number of ancient texts from the 16th and 17th Centuries including a ‘Breeches Bible’ and a ‘Black Letter Bible’ in Gothic script.

The West Wall:

This contains a late Saxon or early Norman door flanked by 18th Century fluted wooden columns.

On either side of the window above the door are projecting carved heads that depict Edward III and Queen Phillipa.

North East Wall:

Here you find the altar tomb of Francis Smith, (d. 1605). This takes up the entire wall and is topped with a carving of the deceased in a reclining position.

These are just a few of the wonderful historic highlights contained within this ancient building – we strongly suggest paying it a visit yourself to take in its full historic splendour.

To see the full low-down visit the Church Website.

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6th May 2014

Wootton Hall

Wotton Hall a Palladian masterpiece

Wootton Hall – a Palladian masterpiece …

First built in 1637 Wotton Hall is one of the first Italian Renaissance buildings to have been built in the UK.

It is built in a Palladian style with many large rectangular windows and a prominent frontage motif.

The site originally housed an Elizabethan House and parts of this can still be seen – largely in the existing out-buildings.

It was built by Lord Carrington for his marriage to Lady Anne Herbert who brought with her a massive dowry.

Today, Wootton Hall is a Grade II Listed Building and has been since 6th February 1952.

Wootton Hall today

The modern Hall …

Set in 50 acres of parkland with sheep roaming freely and the River Alne running through it there is an impressive weir in one corner of the grounds under the ancient stone bridge that allows the A3400 to pass over the river.

At the end of World War II the Wootton Hall was in a seriously dilapidated condition and was nearly marked for complete demolition.

Today there is a memorial to, ‘The Glorious Dead – 1914-1918,’ at the head of the drive leading up to the hall.

However, it was saved by Bill Allen in 1958 and his company Allen’s Caravans turned the hall into a residential park – a development that revitalised the hall and the community around it.

The grounds contain a Bowling Green, Coarse Fishing and access to the many country walks in all directions.

See their website here.

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6th May 2014

Yew Tree History

The History of Yew Tree Farm …

The Church next to the farm


In recent history the Haimes family came to Yew Tree Farm amongst the melting snows of the bitter winter of 1947.

The buildings around the farmyard then housed all the various animals from pigs, rabbits,calves, horses and the milking parlour to milk the herd of jersey cows.

The brick and tile construction of the traditional farmyard was built in a square to keep the wind from the animals in the buildings, the manure heap would have been in the middle of the farmyard.

As the years passed by farming methods changed and the animals tended to be kept in bigger barns and the brick and tile buildings around the farmyard became somewhat redundant.

The passing of an era …

An historical photo at Yew Tree Farm



In 1989 we opened The Farm shop and then over a period of several years we set about renovating the rest of the farmyard using our own oak from the woodland on the farm.

The buildings have been tastefully converted retaining many of the original features, and all the units are named after what the original use would have been like The Old Dairy, The Pig Sties and The Milking Parlour.

Today Yew Tree Farm is still very much a working farm but moved to being mainly an arable farm. On the farm we grow mainly Wheat, Barley and Oil Seed Rape.

The buildings that over the years used to be home to the animals are now home to independent craft and retail units offering a wide range of unique products from around the world.

We look forward to welcoming you to our courtyard shopping village in our lovely farmyard.

The Log Store next to the court yard

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6th May 2014

Wootton Wawen

Wotton Wawen a brief history

Wootton Wawen – a brief history …

The Forest of Arden has stretched across Warwickshire since the Middle Stone Age and the parish of Wootton Wawen lies on its south western edge.

The Chapelry of Ullenhall and the historic town of Henley-in-Arden once used to be a part of the parish but have long since become independent.

The weir at Wotton Wawen

The name …

The name is derived from ‘Wudutun’ or ‘Uuidutuun,’ meaning a village by a wood, and ‘Wagen,’ the thane who originally gave his name to the settlement.

In the Domesday Book of 1086 it is listed as ‘Wotone’ with Wagen’s name also present.

Being a bit of a misnomer, over the years the name has had a number of different spellings including, ‘Wagenes-Witone’ and ‘Wavens Wotton.’

However, the name Wootton Wawen is the one that has featured most prominently particularly in recent centuries.

An old picture of Wootton Hall

Points of interest …

The first church in the settlement was wooden and thought to be burnt by Viking invaders around.

The Domesday Book records, ‘in Wotton (Wawen)  7 hides. Land for 9 ploughs. 23 villagers with a priest and 22 smallholders who have 6 ploughs, 2 mills at 11s and 8 sticks of eels. Woodland 2 leagues long and one league wide. Value £4. Waga held it freely.’

Charles II passed through the village disguised as a man-servant while escaping from England after the Battle of Worcester.

During the Second World War the Russian composer Nikolai Medtner and his wife lived just outside the village and it was during this time that he wrote his Piano Concerto No. 3.

In the book, A Celtish Childhood, the author Bill Watkins records his childhood adventures in and around the village during the 1950’s.

To read a more detailed history click here.

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    • West Midlands
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