Budbrooke Parish – situated about two miles north west of Warwick – is divided both geographically and historically into three main areas – the ancient village of Budbrooke centred around St. Michael’s Church, Hampton-on-the-Hill, and Hampton Magna.
The original parish dates from 1086 when Ralph de Limesi held Budebroc for William the Conqueror. It consisted of five hides of land, a mill, farms and woods. It was one mile long and three furlongs wide. The Parish Church of St. Michael dates from the twelfth century.
In 1350, the village suffered from the Black Death and literally became a “ghost town”. Most of the village, including the Vicarage and the Manor, crumbled. The track which now passes under the railway arch known as Kyte’s Bridge was the most likely route for the corpses being taken from the village to Dead Field on Hatton Hill.
Of the original village, only the church remains – and even that became a ruin in the mid-17th Century, not to be restored until Victorian times.
When the old village declined, the centre of gravity of the parish moved to Grove Park – the home of the Dormer family who were granted the manor in 1608.
In the 1640’s a force of five thousand Royalist horse and foot soldiers paused at Grove Park to rest. The Parliamentarian supporter, Lord Brook in Warwick, was aware of their arrival and, with seven thousand men, met the Royalists. After some ‘negotiations’ the Royalist forces marched away – joining the King and his army at Coventry.
The village of Hampton-on-the-Hill, on the edge of Grove Park, became the main development area of the parish. A significant community developed there, with a shop that later became a police house, a forge, a Post Office, a club room and a public house. The club house was in the building that was once the Roman Catholic School. There was also a Church of England School. The Roman Catholic Church of St Charles Borromeo was built by Lord Dormer and given to the Parish in 1819, and is still in active use.
Most of the other public buildings have, in recent times, been converted to private dwellings. However, a modern Village Hall – on the site of a previous hall provided by the Dormer family, still provides a focal point for the community.
The barracks of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment was created in 1877 within the parish, on a site about half a mile to the east of Budbrooke Church. A restored St. Michael’s Church became the battalion church. The barracks remained in use until the mid-1960’s. In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s the barracks site was re-developed into the “20th Century Village” of Hampton Magna. As a result of the community spirit in the new village, a Community Centre was built in Field Barn Road on land leased to the Parish Council by the local District Council. Budbrooke Primary School was built in 1968 – replacing the old school in Hampton-on-the Hill.
The military connections of the area are retained in some of the road names in the village, with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment itself being commemorated in the close called simply, ‘The Warwicks’. Caen Close and Normandy Close recall the part taken by the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in the liberation of France following the D-Day landings. Arras Boulevard commemorates the trench warfare of the First World War.
The barracks site was remembered in the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of VE / VJ Day – which were held in the parish on 10th September 2005 .
The local pub, after being originally ironically called The ‘Bout Time, because of the time it took the brewer to decide to build it, is now called The Montgomery of Alamein (inevitably locally known as the Monty). It contains a fine collection of photographs and other memorabilia of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment including many photographs of Monty, and relics of the war in the desert.
Of the original six shops in the village, only one remains – a combined Post Office, newsagent and Spar shop. In addition, one of the former shops is used as a contact centre – run by St. Michael’s Church.
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