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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Warwickshire

by Peter Kessler, 18 April 2010

 

 

South Warwickshire Part 12: Churches of Aston Cantlow & Wilmcote

St John the Baptist

St John the Baptist, Aston Cantlow, is on the southern side of Church Lane, to the west of the village. The church was constructed in the thirteenth century, consisting of chancel, nave, and tower. Close to the end of the fourteenth century the north chapel was added with an arcade of two bays. It is traditionally associated with the Gild of St Mary. The bell chamber was added at the same time, along with the uppermost level of the tower itself.

St John the Baptist

The church stands close to the River Alne and the turret may perhaps have been intended to carry a beacon to light travellers along the causeway over the low-lying water meadows to the castle a few hundred yards to the north. A general restoration of the structure was undertaken in 1850. The nave's south wall had to be entirely rebuilt, along with the chancel arch. The tower contains six bells, the oldest of which is an early fifteenth century Worcester foundry example.

St John the Baptist

Perhaps the best-known marriage conducted here was that of Shakespeare's parents in 1557. John Shakespeare (1531-1601), a Yeoman, married Mary Arden (1540-1608, and with a recognisably local name), who was an heiress. John's father, Richard, had been one of the Arden family's tenant farmers, while Mary was the youngest of eight daughters. The wedding took place a year after the death of Mary's father, indicating that he probably disapproved of the match.

All photos on this page contributed by Aidan McRae Thomson. Sound file by Percy Duke, released under a Creative Commons Sampling Plus 1.0 Licence.

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