Berkeswell (St John the Baptist)
BERKESWELL (St John the Baptist), a parish, in the union of Meriden, Solihull division of the hundred of Hemlingford, N. division of the county of Warwick, 2 miles (S. by W.) from Meriden; containing 1504 inhabitants. This place is supposed to derive its name from a copious and powerful spring, which, at a short distance from its source, turns a mill. The parish comprises by measurement 5902 acres: the surface is flat, and the soil partly strong clay, and partly light earth; sandstone is found. The London and Birmingham railroad intersects the parish, and passes within half a mile through a tunnel 300 yards long; the river Blythe partly bounds the parish on the west, and it is likewise crossed from south to north by the road between Kenilworth and Coleshill. The living is a rectory, with the living of Barston annexed, valued in the king's books at £14. 12. 6., and in the gift of Col. Disbrowe: the tithes have been commuted for £795, and the glebe comprises 63 acres. The church is an ancient structure, originally in the Norman style, of which the chancel still remains a specimen; the nave and tower are later English: under the chancel is a handsome crypt. Certain lands in the parish are charged, by a recent order of the Lord Chancellor, with the payment of £50 per annum for a schoolmaster; and there are considerable funds for the benefit of the poor, of which the churchwarden and rector are trustees.