Coleshill (St. Peter and St. Paul)

COLESHILL (St. Peter and St. Paul), a market-town and parish, in the union of Meriden, Coleshill division of the hundred of Hemlingford, N. division of the county of Warwick, 18 miles (N. by W.) from Warwick, and 103½ (N. W.) from London; containing 2172 inhabitants. This place derives its name from its situation on the acclivity and summit of an eminence, rising gradually from the south bank of the river Cole, over which is a neat brick bridge of six arches leading into the town: it consists principally of one long street, from the centre of which a shorter one, of considerable width, diverges towards the church, affording a convenient area for the market-place, in which is a portico of brick. The houses are in general well built, and several of them handsome and of modern date; the inhabitants are amply supplied with water from springs, and from the rivers Cole and Blyth, which run through the parish. The Midland railway has a station here. The market is on Wednesday; and there are fairs on the first Monday in January for cattle and sheep, on Shrove-Monday for horses, which is the principal fair, and on May 6th, the first Monday in July, and first Monday after Sept. 25th, all for cattle. Petty-sessions are held every alternate Wednesday; and two headboroughs, two clerks of the market, and two pinners, are chosen at the court of the lord of the manor, the Earl Digby, held in October. The bishop holds his triennial visitation in August; and a court of probate is held half-yearly in April and October. Part of the workhouse is appropriated to the confinement of malefactors previously to their committal. The town is the place of election for the northern division of the county.

The parish is intersected by the roads from Lichfield to Coventry, and from Birmingham to Atherstone and Nuneaton; and comprises 5272 acres, of which twothirds are arable land, and the remainder pasture: a portion is attached to Coleshill Park, about a quarter of a mile west of the town. The river Tame runs through, and forms a boundary on the north, separating the parish from the parish of Curdworth. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £10. 18. 6½., and in the patronage of the Earl Digby (the impropriator), with a net income of £718: the tithes were commuted for land and a money payment in 1779. The church is a spacious structure, in the decorated English style, with a north-east chancel, and a lofty tower surmounted by an octagonal spire, crocketed at the angles, part of which was taken down and rebuilt in the same style in 1812; it contains an ancient Norman font, with an effigy of St. Peter, and a representation of the Crucifixion rudely sculptured on it. There are places of worship for Independents, Wesleyans, and Roman Catholics. The free grammar school was founded in the reign of James I., by Lord Digby, who, with some of the parishioners, endowed it with 70 acres of land and several houses; the management is vested in thirteen trustees, of whom the earl nominates three. A school was endowed in 1694, by Simon, Lord Digby, with £500, which have been vested in the purchase of land, for instructing girls, and apprenticing children; a new school-house has been erected, and under the same trust is an endowment for two almshouses, &c. A large building, the property of the earl, is appropriated as a boys' and an infants' school. Coleshill gives the title of Viscount to Earl Digby.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.