Bidford-on-Avon shown within Warwickshire
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Bidford-on-Avon village is, as its name suggests, situated on the River Avon, some 7 miles (11 km) downstream of Stratford-upon-Avon and about the same distance upstream of Evesham. The village grew up around an ancient ford, (Byda's Ford) now replaced by a narrow stone bridge, on the Ryknild Street Roman road, now a minor country road to Honeybourne 4 miles (6.4 km) to the south. To the north Alcester is about 4 miles (6.4 km) away, Redditch 10 miles (16 km) away and Birmingham 25 miles (40 km) away. It also lies on the Heart of England Way.
Bidford-on-Avon is a civil parish with an elected parish council. It falls within the areas of Stratford-on-Avon District Council and Warwickshire County Council. The three councils are responsible for different aspects of local government.
Besides the village of Bidford itself, the civil parish includes the settlements of Barton, Broom and Marlcliff. Broom lies to the north of Bidford, whilst both Barton and Marlcliff lie south of the river.
There is also an ancient Anglo-Saxon burial site under the free car park located just behind the pub "The New Saxon". Artefacts from the latter excavations are at Warwick Museum while material from the first excavations on the site currently reside in the hands of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
William Shakespeare is said to have joined a party of Stratford folk which set itself to outdrink a drinking club at Bidford-on-Avon, and as a result of his labours in that regard to have fallen asleep under the crab tree of which a descendant is still called Shakespeares tree. When morning dawned his friends wished to renew the encounter but he wisely said "No I have drunk with “Piping Pebworth, Dancing Marston, Haunted Hillboro’, Hungry Grafton, Dodging Exhall, Papist Wixford, Beggarly Broom and Drunken Bidford” and so, presumably, I will drink no more." The story is said to date from the 17th century but of its truth or of any connection of the story or the verse to Shakespeare there is no evidence. The Falcon Inn was a favorite tavern in his day.
Bidford was the birthplace and childhood home of the author Barbara Comyns Carr.
The bridge is wider than a Packhorse bridge, suggesting that Bidford was an important river crossing. It dates from the early 15th century but has been repaired many times; in the 16th century stone from Alcester's demolished priory was used. There are eight arches, with cutwaters on the upper side. In 1644 Charles I demolished the bridge to cover his retreat from Worcester to Oxford - this was repaired in 1650 by Quarter Sessions, for whom Bidford Bridge was a 'county bridge' under its control. The bridge underwent repairs as a combine harvester got stuck on it and the sides had to be demolished for it to be freed.
Week beginning Monday 26 November 2012, the Bridge had to be closed due to flooding, when the River Avon burst its banks, in various places.
Bidford no longer has an active railway line, but it once had a station on the Stratford-upon-Avon and Midland Junction Railway, which ran east-west across country from Broom Junction on the Midland Railway's Barnt Green-Redditch-Alcester-Evesham-Ashchurch line, through Stratford-upon-Avon to Towcester and beyond. The Broom to Stratford section (including Bidford and also Binton), was an early casualty, with passenger services suspended in June 1947 and closure rubber-stamped as permanent in May 1949. The line itself remained open with the south curve of Broom Junction until at least 1952.
The Anglican parish church is dedicated to St. Laurence. St. Joseph the Worker Church is the local Roman Catholic church. TheBarn is the home of Bidford Baptist Church. Bidford also has a Methodist church.
- "Bidford-on-Avon Parish Council". Bidford-on-Avon Parish Council. Archived from the original on 7 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-09.
- Highways and Byways in Shakspeares Country, Hutton 1914
- Dunn, J.M., (1952) The Stratford-upon-Avon and Midland Junction Railway, Lingfield: The Oakwood Press
- "St Laurence Parish Church, Bidford-on-Avon, Warwickshire". St Laurence Parish Church. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
- "theBarn - Home of Bidford Baptist Church". Bidford Baptist Church. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
Media related to Bidford-on-Avon at Wikimedia Commons
- Parish council website
- www.geograph.co.uk : photos of Bidford-on-Avon and surrounding area
- Bidford on Avon Baptist Church website
- Gallery and info on the fallen of Bidford WW1 website
- Bidford on Avon and District Gardening Society website
- Map sources for Bidford-on-Avon