Bidford, Warwickshire

Historical Description

Bidford, a village and a parish in Warwickshire. The village stands on the river Avon, 4 miles SSE of Alcester, and 7 WSW of Stratford-on-Avon. It has a station on the East and West Junction and Stratford-on-Avon, Towcester, and Midland Junction railway, which is connected at Broom Junction (also within the parish) with the M.R., and a post and money order office under Stratford-on-Avon; telegraph office, Broom Junction railway station. It was once a market-town, and it consists chiefly of one long street. There is a bridge of eight arches over the Avon. One of the houses in it is the old Falcon Inn (now partly occupied by the Bidford Institute), traditionally said to have been a haunt of Shakspeare for drinking ale and playing at shovel-board. An absurd story is current that the poet and some of his companions engaged here in a drinking contest with a party of the natives; that he and his companions lay down after it under a crab-tree in the neighbourhood, and slept there from Saturday evening till Monday morning, and that, on being urged on awakening to go back and renew the contest, he exclaimed, " No, I have had enough; I have drinked with "' Piping Pebworth, dancing Marston, Haunted Hlllbro', hungry Grafton, Dudging Exhall, paplsh Wicksford, Beggarly Broom, and drunken Bidford.' "

The parish includes also the hamlets of Barton, Broom, and Marlcliff. Acreage, 3339; population, 1461. The manor was held by William the Conqueror; was given by the Empress Maud to the monks of Bardsley, and passed to the Clarkes, the Danets, and the Skipwiths. Bidford Grange House was a picturesque old edifice, with unequal gables. The scenery, over much of the surface, is richly beautiful, and has fine spots on "the smooth-flowing Avon." The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Worcester; gross value, £250 with residence. The church is of Norman date, but was almost entirely rebuilt in 1835; the chancel, which contains a piscina, is Early English, and was restored in 1886. There is a Wesleyan Chapel.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Warwickshire papers online:

Visitations Heraldic

The Visitation of Warwickshire 1619 is available on the Heraldry page.