Power Flush Atherstone

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Atherstone is a market town and civil parish in Warwickshire’s North Warwickshire district. Atherstone, located in the far north of the county, shares a border with Leicestershire along the A5 national route and is only 4.5 miles from Staffordshire. It is located between the larger towns of Tamworth and Nuneaton and houses North Warwickshire Borough Council’s administrative offices.

Atherstone is probably best known for its annual Shrove Tuesday Ball Game in the streets, which has been going on almost continuously since the Middle Ages.

The population of the civil parish of Atherstone was estimated to be 9,425 in 2020. The larger built-up area, which includes the neighbouring village of Mancetter, had a population of 11,552.



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    HISTORY

    The Watling Street (most of which later became part of the A5) ran through what is now Atherstone, and an important defended Roman settlement named Manduessedum existed near the site of modern-day Atherstone. It is widely assumed that the rebel Queen Boudica’s forces were defeated in their final battle against the Romans in around AD 60 at a location near Manduessedum. The eminent archaeologist Graham Webster, among others, suggested this as the most likely location of the battle, but no firm evidence has emerged to confirm this.

    Countess Godiva held Atherstone (then named Aderestone) according to the Domesday Book of 1086. Following the Norman Conquest, Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester, bestowed the manor of Atherstone on the monks of Bec Abbey in Normandy. The Abbey monks obtained a charter from Henry III in 1246 to hold a weekly market at Atherstone, transforming the settlement into a market town. The town flourished in the 14th century, and Ralph Basset founded a house of Augustinian friars here in 1375, though this was never very important.

    The historic St Mary’s Church in Atherstone was built in the early 12th century. The chapel was granted to Henry Cartwright in 1542, then abandoned and neglected until 1692, when Samuel Bracebridge agreed to pay the parson of Mancetter a yearly sum to preach there every other Sunday during the winter season. [9] Following this, St. Mary’s Chapel appears to have experienced a revival. Its square tower was rebuilt in the fashionable “Gothic” style in 1782, and was later redesigned by Thomas Henry Wyatt and David Brandon in 1849.

    The day before the Battle of Bosworth, Henry Tudor and up to 11,000 troops stayed at Atherstone on August 21, 1485. Tudor is said to have stayed at the Three Tuns Inn in Long Street while his troops camped north of the parish church in a meadow. While in Atherstone, Tudor allegedly met in secret with the powerful noblemen Thomas Stanley and his brother William Stanley, who pledged their support for Tudor, which proved decisive in the subsequent battle. The battle, which is thought to have taken place 8 miles (13 kilometres) away near Market Bosworth in Leicestershire, resulted in Tudor’s forces defeating King Richard III’s forces, allowing Tudor to claim the throne and become King Henry VII, establishing the Tudor dynasty. There is a theory that the battle took place in the fields of Merevale above Atherstone, but this is not widely accepted. The main argument in favour of this theory is that after the battle, financial reparations were made to Atherstone rather than Market Bosworth.

    Atherstone was a thriving commercial centre for weaving and clothmaking during the Tudor period. The town’s advantageous location, which was laid out as a long “ribbon development” along Watling Street, ensured its growth as a market town. While it remained an agricultural settlement in mediaeval times, efforts were made to attract merchants and traders by establishing burgage plots, a type of land tenure that granted them special privileges. A manuscript discovered by Marjorie Morgan among the muniments of Cambridge’s King’s College (Ms. C9) refers to the creation of nine new burgage strips from land owned by seven of Atherstone vill’s tenants.

    Atherstone had become a centre for leatherworking, clothmaking, metalworking, and brewing by the late Tudor period. Local sheep farmers and cattle graziers supplied wool and leather to local tanners and shoemakers (an industry that lasted until the 1970s), while metalworkers, locksmiths, and nailers burned local coal in their furnaces and alemakers quenched thirsty palates on market days.

    The surviving inventories from 16th century Mancetter offer an intriguing glimpse into the lives of Elizabethan merchants and traders in Atherstone before the town was economically overshadowed by the bustling cities of Coventry and Birmingham. They depict Atherstone at this time as a typical Midlands market town, capitalising on its location and agricultural setting.

    The argument that Altherstone declined in the 18th century in favour of emerging cities has been challenged. Altherstone was still a thriving community in the 1750s, with a book club and a bowling green. The leisure-seeking gentry, including Sir Roger Newdigate and his circle of friends, frequented it on a regular basis.

    The Coventry Canal arrived in Atherstone in 1769, and railways arrived in 1847, with the opening of the Trent Valley Railway, which has a station in Atherstone.

    Atherstone was once a significant hatting town, famous for its felt hats. The industry began in the 17th century and reached its peak in the early twentieth century, with seven firms employing 3,000 people. By the 1970s, the trade had largely died out due to cheap imports and a decline in hat wearing, with only three companies remaining: Denham & Hargrave Ltd, Vero & Everitt Ltd, and Wilson & Stafford Ltd. With the closure of the Wilson & Stafford factory in 1999, the town’s felt hat production came to an end. As of 2018, the factory has been approved for redevelopment into canalside residential apartments.

    

    GEOGRAPHY

    Atherstone is located 5 miles (8.0 kilometres) northwest of Nuneaton, 7 miles (11 kilometres) southeast of Tamworth, 12 miles (19 kilometres) north of Coventry, 16 miles (26 kilometres) northeast of Birmingham, and 17 miles (27 kilometres) east-southeast of Leicester. Mancetter has become contiguous with Atherstone to the southeast, despite remaining a separate civil parish. Atherstone is located near the River Anker, which separates Warwickshire and Leicestershire. Witherley, in neighbouring Leicestershire, is located on the opposite bank of the river. Sheepy Magna, Ratcliffe Culey, Fenny Drayton, Grendon, Dordon, Baxterley, Baddesley Ensor, and Hartshill are also nearby villages. Coleshill is located to the southeast.

    Historically, the A5 road (former Watling Street) ran through the town centre, but a dual carriageway bypass was built in 1963.

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