Long Marston, Warwickshire

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Long Marston
Long Marston Church - geograph.org.uk - 55852.jpg
St James' parish church
Long Marston is located in Warwickshire
Long Marston
Long Marston
Location within Warwickshire
Population436 (2011 Census)
OS grid referenceSP1548
Civil parish
  • Marston Sicca
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtCV37
Dialling code01789
AmbulanceWest Midlands
WebsiteMarston Sicca Parish Council
List of places
52°08′10″N 1°46′37″W / 52.136°N 1.777°W / 52.136; -1.777Coordinates: 52°08′10″N 1°46′37″W / 52.136°N 1.777°W / 52.136; -1.777

Long Marston is a village about 5 miles (8 km) southwest of Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, England. The southern and western boundaries of the parish form part of the county boundary with Worcestershire. The civil parish is called Marston Sicca. The 2011 Census recorded the parish's population as 436.[1]


Long Marston was part of Gloucestershire until 1931, when the Provisional Order Confirmation (Gloucestershire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire) Act transferred it to Warwickshire.[2]

It is recorded in the Domesday Book "In Celfledetorn Hundred, St Marys, Coventry in Merestone, holds 10 hides. In lordship 3 ploughs; 15 villagers and 3 smallholders with 12 ploughs. 6 slaves; meadow at 10s. The value was £8; now 100s.[3][1] The name of the hundred, Celfledethon means Ceolflaeds thorn, perhaps indicating that the original meeting place in the centre of the hundred was a thorn tree.[4]

Long Marston is known as one of the "Shakespeare villages". 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 Shakespeare's 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.[5]

On 10 September 1651 Charles II stayed in Long Marston at the house of a kinsman of Jane Lane called Tomes, on his way from Bentley Hall to Abbots Leigh during his escape following the defeat of the army at the Battle of Worcester. He was traveling incognito as a servant to Jane Lane, sister-in-law of George Norton, the owner of the house at Abbott's Leigh to which they were bound.[6] In keeping with his outward guise as a servant, the cook of the house put him to work in the kitchen winding up the jack used to roast meat in the fireplace. Charles was very clumsy at this, but explained his clumsiness by saying that as the son of poor people, he so rarely ate meat that he did not know how to use a roasting jack. Given the state of the economy at the time, his story was accepted and he was not identified.[7][8]

Parish church[edit]

The Church of England parish church of Saint James the Great[9] has a 14th-century Decorated Gothic nave and chancel, but was rebuilt in the 19th century.[10] The pulpit is Jacobean.[10] The church is a Grade I listed building.[11] Its parish is part of the Benefice of Quinton, Welford, Weston and Marston Sicca.[12]


In 1859 the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway opened a branch line from Honeybourne to Stratford upon Avon. Long Marston railway station opened at the same time as one of the stops on the line. In 1966 British Railways withdrew passenger services between Honeybourne and Stratford, closed Long Marston station and removed the track between Long Marston and Stratford. The line between Honeybourne and Long Marston remains open for non-passenger trains to and from the former MoD depot (see below).

Former military depot[edit]

Long Marston depot is a former Ministry of Defence facility south-east of the village.

Since the privatisation of British Rail in the mid-1990s, rolling stock companies (ROSCOs) have used the depot to store out-of-lease rolling stock.

In about 2009 the depot's owners, St. Modwen Properties, along with The Bird Group of Companies, proposed to redevelop the site as Middle Quinton Eco-town.

In 2021, it was announced that Porterbrook had leased the site for rail rolling stock storage.[13]

Long Marston Military Railway[edit]

Long Marston Military Railway (LMMR) was a project at the MoD depot to keep alive military railway skills. A "Military Railfest" was planned for 6–10 May 2015 which was expected to include about 20 former army locomotives. Barclay 0-4-0DM Mulberry[14] was already at Long Marston and was to be joined by USATC S160 Class 2-8-0 number 3278 on 22 April 2014.[citation needed] The project had been using the shed vacated by the Stratford on Avon and Broadway Railway.[15]

In March 2015, it was reported that the project had collapsed and that the majority of the site would be redeveloped for housing, with sidings retained for the storage of London Underground District line stock for Vivarail's conversion into British Rail Class 230 multiple units.[16]

Return of the Railway[edit]

The Shakespeare Line Promotion Group is promoting a scheme to reopen the 9 miles (14 km) of line south of Stratford upon Avon to Honeybourne where it would link to the Cotswold Line. Called the "Avon Rail Link", the scheme (supported as a freight diversionary route by DB Schenker[17]) would make Stratford-upon-Avon station a through station once again with improved connections to the South, and would open up the possibility of direct services to Oxford and Worcester via Evesham.[18] The scheme faces local opposition.[19] There is, however, a good business case for Stratford-Cotswolds link.[20]


Long Marston Airfield is north-east of the village. It was built in 1940 as RAF Long Marston and decommissioned as a military airfield in 1958.[21]

Since 1987 the airfield has been the venue of the Bulldog Bash, considered to be one of Europe's most popular annual motorcycle festivals. Since 2001 the airfield has also been the venue of the annual Global Gathering club music festival.


Long Marston has a public house, the Mason's Arms,[22] and a community shop called the "Poppin".


  1. ^ "Area: Long Marston (Parish): Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  2. ^ Salzman, L.F, ed. (1949). A History of the County of Warwick. Victoria County History. 5: Kington Hundred. London: Oxford University Press for the Institute of Historical Research. pp. 1–2.
  3. ^ Domesday Book for Gloucestershire, Phillimore edited by John Morris ISBN 9780850333213
  4. ^ Hooke, Della (2010). Trees in Anglo-Saxon England: Literature, Lore and Landscape. Woodbridge: Boydell Press. p. 172. ISBN 9781843835653.
  5. ^ Hutton, William Holden (1914). Highways and Byways in Shakespeare's Country. London: Macmillan. p. 231. ISBN 9780951858974.
  6. ^ Pepys, Samuel (1966). Matthews, William (ed.). Charles II's Escape from Worcester. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. LCCN 66-26143.[page needed]
  7. ^ Hutton, William Holden (1914). Highways and Byways in Shakespeare's Country. London: Macmillan. p. 236. ISBN 9780951858974.
  8. ^ Fraser, Antonia (1979). Royal Charles: Charles II and the Restoration. New York: Knopf. p. 122. ISBN 039449721X.
  9. ^ "St James the Great". Marston Sicca Parish Council.
  10. ^ a b Pevsner, Nikolaus; Wedgwood, Alexandra (1966). Warwickshire. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. p. 344.
  11. ^ Historic England. "Church of St James (Grade I) (1382595)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  12. ^ Archbishops' Council (2015). "Benefice of Quinton, Welford, Weston and Marston Sicca". A Church Near You. Church of England. Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  13. ^ "Porterbrook keeps on track with lease of Long Marston site". Shoesmiths. Retrieved 16 August 2021.
  14. ^ "Preserved Railways". R Dicken, SW Redfern. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  15. ^ "`". Steam Railway. Bauer Media Group (429): 6–7. June–July 2014. ISSN 0143-7232.
  16. ^ Johnston, Howard (4–17 March 2015). "Regional News". Rail (769): 25.
  17. ^ DB Schenker Rail (UK) Limited (November 2009). "Response to Network Rail's Great Western Route Utilisation Strategy Draft for Consultation (Published September 2009)" (PDF). Doncaster. pp. 14, 29. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  18. ^ Wilson, Matt (25 June 2013). "Campaigners' new report on Stratford to Honeybourne rail link". Stratford Herald. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  19. ^ "Rail restore talks on track". Stratford Observer. 1 October 2012. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  20. ^ Railnews (22 October 2012). "Good business case for Stratford-Cotswolds link". Railnews. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  21. ^ Elrington, C.R., ed. (1965). A History of the County of Gloucester. Victoria County History. 6. London: Oxford University Press for the Institute of Historical Research. pp. 207–216.
  22. ^ The Masons Arms

External links[edit]