This is Henley-in-Arden
This Website is sponsored by The Henley War Memorial Trust
Henley-in-Arden is a friendly community of about 3,000 inhabitants surrounded by the magnificent Warwickshire countryside and the town can trace its history back almost 1,000 years. Today's town comprises of two parishes, Henley-in-Arden (pop 2,074) which is mainly on the west bank of the river Alne and Beaudesert (pop 990) is on the east bank and also all land north of the old railway bridge. North of the old railway line, the land is all in Beaudesert parish. The combined population according to the 2011 census was 3,064.
Henley is located 7 miles north of Stratford-upon-Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare and 18 miles south of Birmingham, England's second city. Town map by Google.
The delightful towns of Kenilworth, Warwick and Leamington Spa are close by.
Panorama Views of Henley from St John's Church Tower
Henley-in-Arden is a good place to visit for both its designer shopping and refreshments in one of its coffee shops or gastro bars along its mile long High Street.
Conveniently situated mid-way along the old Stratford Road from Birmingham, it has been the obligatory stopping off point for decades for families to sample the famous Henley Ice Cream.
More recently a large number of designer shops have moved in and today Henley attracts the young rich executives and their families escaping from the conurbations of Solihull and the West Midlands to one of Warwickshire's most attractive towns.
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A Medieval Town with Great Traditions
In Anglo-Saxon times the area was settled by the Stoppingas, a tribal group of the South Angles, who were part of the kingdom of the Hwicce which had its capital at Worcester. Following the conversion of the Hwicce by Celtic missionaries, led by St Cedd and St Chad, a minster church was built at each of their principal settlements: one of these was at Wootton Wawen.
At some time between 723 and 737 Aethelbald, King of Mercia, gave 20 hides of land to Earl Aethelric, a son of a former king of the Hwicce, for the support of the church at Wootton Wawen. A hide was the amount of land a plough could cultivate in a year and was approximately 100 acres. The land governed by the minster church was gradually divided over the next 1200 years into twelve parishes, including those of Beaudesert and Henley.
Neither parish is mentioned in the Domesday Book, but it is thought that Beaudesert was one of the many landholdings of the Count of Meulan, being the five hides that he is shown as holding in Preston Bagot. Prior to the Conquest it had been held by the Saxon thane Britnod.
In 1296 Henley had become a borough and on the 16th May 1449, Henry VI granted a Charter, pictured right, to the Lord of the Manor - Sir Ralph Boteler. This carter acknowledged that Ralph Boteler, Lord de Seudeley Knight, is tenant and owner of the Town of Henley-in-Arden. The charter, pictured right, is on view in the Heritage Centre. Henley was a market town of some importance in the Middle Ages, but declined with the growth of Stratford and later Birmingham.
In the centre of the town is the old Market Place, where stands the remains of the 15th century Market Cross, one of the few still existing in Warwickshire. The Cross is built of local stone, but only the raised base of three steps and the lower part of the shaft remain.
Originally the cross had a four-sided head with niches, each with a carved relief: the Rood, the Trinity, St. Peter with the key and possibly the Virgin and Child. Proclamations have been made from the Cross for more than five centuries, including the proclamation of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952.
The one mile long High Street is a conservation area and contains over 150 buildings listed as being of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.
Town Walk Countryside Walk
Notable among them is the Guild Hall, a timber-framed building standing to the north of St. John's Church. It has been extensively restored though many of the original timbers remain. (Click to zoom aerial photo.)
The Guild Hall is where the Court Leet, an ancient manorial court, meets every November to elect its officers and report on the work of the year.
Joseph Hardy House (left), home of the Heritage Centre, is itself a rare architectural gem. The oldest parts of the house have been dated, using dendrochronological technology, to 1345.
Features of interest include the Crown Post, an unusual roof construction for a Warwickshire house, and displays of "Medieval Henley", "Home Life in Henley", "Transport and Trade" and a Victorian School Room (right).
Both the Heritage Centre and the Guild Hall are open during summer months. Entry is free to both but donations are always appreciated.
Click on the 'Recent Events in Henley' button below left, to read about the some of the recent major events in Henley.
Quick Links to Recommended Websites
Click on the images below for further information or go to the Index of Pages
The Henley War Memorial Trust recommends this website to all as a brilliant reflection of what Henley-in-Arden and Beaudesert have to offer. To discover the true delights of our area, why not visit our Town?
The Henley-in-Arden War Memorial Trust is proud to sponsor this, our Town website.
Chairman of the Henley War Memorial Trust
If you run a Business, Society or Sports Club in Henley-in-Arden or the surrounding area, we would be pleased to hear from you. If you have a website, please send us the details and we will arrange a link. We will also ask you to provide a link to this site. If you do not have a website, we should be able to provide you with some web pages free of charge. Just send us some text and photos.