Atherstone, a market-town and an ecclesiastical parish in Warwickshire. It stands on Wathng Street, adjacent to the Anker river and the Coventry Canal, 5 miles NW of Nuneaton, 8 SE of Tamworth, and 100 from London, Liverpool, and Lincoln, a milestone in the town showing the three places. It has a station on the L. & N.W.R. It was anciently called Aderestone and Edredestone. The manor was given at the Conquest to Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester, who bestowed it on the monks of Bee in Normandy, who obtained for it the right of a market and an annual fair. An Augustinian priory was founded in 1376 by Ralph, Lord Basset of Drayton, and given at the dissolution to the Cartwrights. Here Henry, Earl of Richmond, halted on the day before the battle of Boswortb, and had a conference with Sir William Stanley, whose secession from Richard III. largely contributed to Henry's victory and the establishment of the Tudor dynasty. . The place in which Henry passed the night is said to have been the Three Tuns Inn, which still exists, and the place on which his troops encamped was a meadow N of the church. The field of Bosworth lies 8 miles to the NE, within Leicestershire. The town of Atherstone consists chiefly of one principal street, well built, and nearly a mile long. It forms part of Wathng Street, and in 1868, during some drainage operations, the actual Roman road was discovered, with the large paving-stones joined by strong cement. Atherstone is well paved, and there is an abundant supply of water. There is a town-hall, where petty sessions are held fortnightly, and a corn exchange; at the latter the county court is held twice a month. The Albert Hall was erected in 1874, and is used for promiscuous religious services. The grammar school was founded, in 1573, by Sir William Devereux and two other persons, and is endowed with lands which produce an annual income of over £300. there are chapels for Congregation-alists, Wesleyans, Unitarians, and Roman Catholics; a Benedictine nunnery, an endowed school, a school board, a town cemetery under the management of a Burial Board, a dispensary, a workhouse, and a local weekly newspaper. The town is a seat of petty sessions, and has a head post office. A weekly market is held on Tuesday, a pleasure fair on the 18th July, and there is an annual fair for the hiring of servants. The chief trade is in hats. Drayton, who wrote the " Polyolbion," and Dr Grew the botanist, were natives. The township includes the town, and is locally in the parish of Mancetter, but is separated for all parochial and ecclesiastical purposes. Acreage, 944; population, 4991. Atherstone Hall, built from the ruins of the priory, stands on a pleasant bank outside the town, commanding an extensive view. The park contains some grand old oaks. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Worcester; net value, £320. Patron, the Vicar of Mancetter. The church is ancient, in the Perpendicular style, with an octagonal tower; it was almost entirely rebuilt in 1849.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Poor Law union||Atherstone|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
The Warwickshire County Record Office hold the following registers for Atherstone:
Most of the records prior to 1911 have been digitised and are available on Ancestry.co.uk
See Mancetter for earlier records
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Atherstone from the following:
Land and Property
The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Warwickshire is available to browse.
Online maps of Atherstone are available from a number of sites:
- Bing (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- Google Streetview.
- National Library of Scotland. (Old maps)
- old-maps.co.uk (Old Ordnance Survey maps to buy).
- Streetmap.co.uk (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- A Vision of Britain through Time. (Old maps)
Newspapers and Periodicals
The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Warwickshire papers online:
The Visitation of Warwickshire 1619 is available on the Heraldry page.