St Helens, the parish church
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Clifford Chambers is a village two miles south of Stratford-upon-Avon town centre, in Warwickshire, England. It is on the B4632 road and one mile south of the A3400. It consists of 150 houses and the population of the parish in the 2001 census was 418, increasing to 432 at the 2011 census. Until 2004 the village was in its own parish but it is now part of the parish of Clifford Chambers and Milcote. The village was in Gloucestershire until 1931. The River Stour runs along the north-eastern edge of the village.
The moated manor house belonged to the Rainsford family from 1562 until the English Civil War. Around the turn of the seventeenth century, during the tenure of Sir Henry Rainsford and his wife Anne, the house was visited by well-known poets, including Michael Drayton, Ben Jonson and William Shakespeare. Drayton viewed Anne as his muse, writing poems such as "Idea. The Shepheards Garland as Poemes Lyrick and pastorall" in her honour. Drayton also eulogized Sir Henry Rainsford in his poem "Upon the Death of his Incomparable Friend, Sir Henry Raynsford Of Clifford." The Rainsfords later lost the manor, likely as a result of choosing the side of the Royalists over that of the Parliamentarians in the English Civil War. Genealogies record that a Henry Rainsford took arms against the Parliament and was made a prisoner at Oxford in 1640. Subsequent generations of Rainsfords were to be found in London, rather than Clifford Chambers.
The manor was remodelled by Edwin Lutyens in 1918, following a fire and the garden design has been attributed to Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll. Many of the houses were still owned by the occupants of the manor house until after the Second World War. It was the lady of the manor who switched on the village's electricity supply when it was connected to the national grid in 1933.
During the Second World War children from the Roman Catholic school in Edgbaston, Birmingham were evacuated to the village. Shortly after the war deep-texture furnishing fabric was developed by Tibor Reich at Clifford Chambers mill.
The village today
Since 1996 the village has been the headquarters of the Hosking Houses Trust, a charity for female writers. The Shire Horse centre, one mile from the village, closed soon after the 2001 UK foot and mouth crisis and is now a business park. Another local business is Stratford Garden Centre, lying just half a mile outside the village. The village also has one pub (The New Inn Hotel and Restaurant) and a social club. The Shakespearean and Hollywood actor Sir Ben Kingsley is a former resident of the village.
- "Civil Parish population 2011". Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- GENUKI. "Genuki: Advowson of the Church, Gloucestershire". www.genuki.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-07-31.
- "Michael Drayton". Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation. 2018-07-30. Retrieved 2018-07-31.
- "Poem: Upon the Death of His Incomparable Friend, Sir Henry Raynsford of Clifford by Michael Drayton". www.poetrynook.com. Retrieved 2018-07-31.
- Marshall, George W. (George William) (1877). The genealogist. Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center. London, England : Golding and Lawrence : George Bell & Sons.
- "Parishes: Clifford Chambers - British History Online".
- "Welcome to The Hosking Houses Trust". Archived from the original on 2012-03-15. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
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- 'Parishes: Clifford Chambers', A History of the County of Gloucester: volume 6 (1965), pp. 207-216.
- Clifford Chambers
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