- source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
- source: Family History Library Catalog
- the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia
Atherstone is a town and civil parish in the English county of Warwickshire. Located in the far north of the county, Atherstone forms part of the border with Leicestershire along the A5 national route, and is only 4.5 miles from Staffordshire. It lies midway between the larger towns of Tamworth and Nuneaton and contains the administrative offices of North Warwickshire Borough Council. It had a population of approximately 8,700 in the UK census of 2011.
Atherstone was once an important hatting town, and became well known for its felt hats. The industry began in the 17th century and at its height there were seven firms employing 3,000 people. Due to cheap imports and a decline in the wearing of hats, the trade had largely died out by the 1970s.
For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Atherstone.
Atherstone was originally a township in the ancient parish of Mancetter in the Hemlingford Hundred of Warwickshire.
A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of Atherstone from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72:
- "ATHERSTONE, a market town, a township, a chapelry, a subdistrict, a district, and a division, in Warwick. The town stands on Watling-street and the Trent Valley railway, adjacent to the Anker river and the Coventry canal, at the northern extremity of the forest of Arden, 8 miles SE of Tamworth. It was anciently called Adrestone and Edrestone. It was given at the Conquest to the monks of Bec in Normandy; who obtained for it the right of a market and an annual fair. An Augustinian friary was founded at it, in 1376, by Ralph Basset of Draiton; and given, at the dissolution, to the Cartwrights. The Earl of Richmond and other disaffected nobles of Richard III. concerted in it, in 1485, the measures which led next day to their victory on Bosworth field. The place where they held their conference is said to have been the Three Tuns Inn, which still exists; and the place on which their troops encamped was a meadow N of the church. The field of Bosworth lies 8 miles to the NE, within Leicester. The town of Atherstone consists chiefly of one principal street, well-built, and nearly a mile long. The market house stands on pillars, and has a spacious assembly-room above. The corn exchange is large and recent. The church was mainly re-edificed in 1850, and is in the decorated English style. The grammar school was founded, in 1573, by Sir William Devereux and two other persons; has a free income of £350; and was recently removed to new buildings. There are chapels for Independents, Methodists, Unitarians, and Roman Catholics; a Benedictine nunnery; an endowed school with £42 a year; other charities £293; a library and newsroom, a dispensary, and a workhouse. The town is a seat of petty sessions, and a polling-place; and has a station on the railway, a head post office, a banking office, and two chief inns. A weekly market is held on Tuesday; and fairs, in Feb., April, June, Aug., Oct., and Dec. The manufacture of ribbons, hats, and shalloons is carried on; and a considerable traffic from neighbouring quarries and coalmines exists. Drayton, who wrote the "Polyolbion," and Dr. Grew, the botanist, were natives. Population: 3,857. Houses: 860.
- "The township includes the town, and is in the parish of Mancetter. Real property: £11,854. Population: 3,877. Houses: 864. Atherstone Hall is the seat of A. Bracebridge, Esq.; and stands on a pleasant bank, commanding an extensive view. The park contains some very grand old oaks. A very hard quartzose sandstone is largely quarried, and sent to distant parts, for road-making. Manganese has been extensively brought from the contiguous hamlet of Hartshill; and coal from the neighbouring moor of Baddesley.
- "The chapelry is conterminate with the township. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Worcester. Value: £150. Patron: Church Pat. Society."
- The website British History Online provides seven chapters of the Victoria County History Series on Warwickshire. The first (Vol 2) covers the religious houses of the county; Volumes 3 through 6 provide articles the settlements in each of the hundreds in turn, and Volumes 7 and 8 deal with Birmingham and Coventry respectively.
- GENUKI main page for Warwickshire provides information on various topics covering the whole of the county, and also a link to a list of parishes. Under each parish there is a list of the settlements within it and brief description of each. This is a list of pre-1834 ancient or ecclesiastical parishes but there are suggestions as to how to find parishes set up since then. GENUKI provides references to other organizations who hold genealogical information for the local area. There is no guarantee that the website has been kept up to date and therefore the reader should check additional sources if possible.
- Warwickshire and West Midland family history societies are listed in GENUKI.
- The FamilyTree Wiki has a series of pages similar to those provided by GENUKI which may have been prepared at a later date and from more recent data. The wiki has a link to English Jurisdictions 1851. There is a list of all the parishes in existence at that date with maps indicating their boundaries. The website is very useful for finding the ecclesiastical individual parishes within large cities and towns.
- A Vision of Britain through Time, Warwickshire, section "Units and Statistics" leads to analyses of population and organization of the county from about 1800 through 1974. There are pages available for all civil parishes, municipal boroughs and other administrative divisions. Descriptions provided are usually based on a gazetteer of 1870-72 which often provides brief notes on the economic basis of the settlement and significant occurences through its history.
- The two maps below indicate the boundaries between parishes, etc., but for a more detailed view of a specific area try a map from this selection. The oldest series are very clear at the third magnification offered. Comparing the map details with the GENUKI details for the same area is well worthwhile.
- A map of the ancient divisions named "hundreds" is to be found in A Vision of Britain through Time. It shows the detached sections of Warwickshire as they were in 1832. These detached sections have now been moved into the counties that surrounded them.