St Laurence Church, Church End Ansley, is
on the southern side of the Nuneaton Road in the middle of Church End,
to the north of Ansley itself. The region forms part of the former
North Warwickshire Coalfield and is thick with closed pits. The
parish was originally part of the estate of Godiva of Coventry, wife
of Leofric, earl of Mercia. The earliest part of the church has been
estimated by archaeologists to date to around 1050, founded during the
lifetime of Lady Godiva.
It is thought that this and other of Lady Godiva's
churches were dedicated to St Laurence because her trusted friend,
Abbot Laurence, commissioned them to be built. A large part of the
nave's south wall and part of the chancel are twelfth century. The
doorway arches at the south entrance and on the north wall outside
are Norman. The tower and the clerestory are from the fifteenth
century, while the chancel arch is also Norman. The north aisle was
added in 1913.
The Chapel of St James, Great Packington,
stands within the grounds of Packington Park, immediately north of
the Great Pool and west of Packington Lane. The parish lies to the
east of the River Blythe, with about a third of its area being
occupied by the park with its fine oak woods, three 'Pools' or
lakes, and a herd of deer. There is no village - the church stands
by itself in the park, midway between the Old Hall and Packington
Hall, the seat of the earl of Aylesford.
There was apparently an older church here which
was given with the manor to the Priory of Kenilworth, and was
appropriated to the priory between 1278-1544. The present church was
built in 1789 from designs by Joseph Bonomi, based on a church near
Rome. The plan is symmetrical, with a square nave that has recessed
quasi-aisles between four square corner chambers. The east recess is
the sanctuary. There is one bell from 1808 and a sanctus bell dated
St Nicholas & St Peter ad Vincula,
Curdworth, lies on the northern side of Church Lane, on the western
side of the village. Curdworth was the first recorded Anglo-Saxon
settlement in the English Midlands, by a king of the Iclingas (early
Mercia), Creoda, in AD 583. The name 'Curdworth' or 'Credeworde'
means 'Creoda's Clearing' and is thought to be the exact centre of
England. The first church here was almost certainly Saxon, possibly
of the eighth century.
The present Norman church was erected in 1165,
when the Augustinian Canons of the Abbey of St Mary de Pratis were
granted the right to present a priest to the parish. The church was
extended in the 1400s, with a new chancel being added. The earliest
doorways were blocked up but can still be seen. The tower was added
in 1460 with three bells, but the intended spire was never added.
Curdworth Wesleyan Chapel existed in 1947, but could not be
found in 2010.
All photos on this page contributed by Aidan