Abbey Church of St Editha, Polesworth
|Population||8,423 (parish 2011)|
9,645 (built-up area 2011)
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Polesworth is a large village and civil parish in the North Warwickshire district of Warwickshire, England. Polesworth is situated close to the northern tip of Warwickshire, adjacent to the border with Staffordshire, it is only 3 miles (5 km) east of the large town of Tamworth, and is 4.5 miles (7 km) north-west of Atherstone. The border with Derbyshire is 5.5 miles (9 km) to the north and the River Anker runs through the village.
In the 2011 census the civil parish of Polesworth had a population of 8,423, inclusive of the contiguous sub-villages (often regarded as suburbs) of St Helena, and Hall End directly to the south, and Birchmoor to the west. The built-up area of Polesworth which includes the adjoining village of Dordon to the south (a separate parish) had a population of 9,645 in 2011.
Polesworth was once the site of an abbey. Polesworth Abbey was founded in 827 by King Egbert with his daughter Editha (later Saint Editha) as Abbess. It prospered for 700 years but was disbanded as part of the Dissolution of the Monasteries. In 1544 the lands of the Abbey were granted by the Crown to Francis Goodere, who used the stones of the Abbey to build a manor house; Polesworth Hall.
Henry Goodere, son of Francis, was a patron of the arts and Polesworth Hall was a centre of culture during Elizabethan times. The poet Michael Drayton was in the service of the Goodere family around 1580, and his works contain allusions to Polesworth and the River Anker. Other notable figures including the dramatist Ben Jonson, architect Inigo Jones and poet John Donne, made up the core of an elite group who became known as the Polesworth Circle. It is also rumoured that William Shakespeare spent time at Polesworth. Polesworth Hall no longer exists, as it was demolished around 1870, and replaced by the vicarage.
In around 1509 Thomas Cockayne constructed Pooley Hall, which today includes some of the oldest brickwork in the country. The hall still exists and overlooks Pooley View. That part of the hall known as Pooley Farm was once the home of the late American Soul and Motown singer Edwin Starr, famous for the song War.
During the English Civil War, Polesworth and Wilnecote are listed among the towns paying arrears to the Parliamentary garrison at Tamworth. In an account drawn up by a Captain Thomas Layfield for the period from 1 November 1645 to 1 May 1646, Polesworth (being rated at £8 a week) was assessed at and paid £196.16.0 while Wilnecote (at £2 a week) paid £50.7.0. (SP 28/136/31)
When the Coventry Canal was built through Polesworth in the 1770s, the village developed a coal-mining and clay industry and the population underwent rapid growth. During the Second World War, opencast coal-mining devastated the surrounding countryside, and caused the river Anker to be diverted. Mining the area has since disappeared. 62.5 hectares of the site of the former Pooley Hall Colliery which closed in 1965 has been transformed into Pooley Country Park. Polesworth now serves mainly as a small commuter town for nearby towns and cities such as Tamworth, Atherstone, Lichfield, Sutton Coldfield, Nuneaton, Birmingham and Coventry.
The Trent Valley section of the West Coast Main Line runs just to the north of the village: Polesworth railway station is on this line, however since 2005 the station has received only a "Parliamentary service" of just one northbound train per day: This is due to the fact that only the northbound platform is accessible, as the footbridge to the southbound platform was removed during upgrade works to the West Coast Main Line, and was not replaced. The nearest fully operational railway stations are Tamworth and Atherstone, both within 5 miles (8.0 km).
The Coventry Canal also runs through Polesworth.
The main primary school in Polesworth is the Nethersole Primary School. This school has existed since the mid-17th century (albeit at a different location) having been founded by a local benefactor Sir Francis Nethersole as a free school for the poor of Polesworth.
The Polesworth Poets Trail is an attraction which highlights the famous poets who were once associated with the village. The trail consists of strategically placed poems at various locations around the local area.
- Meghan Beesley (born 1989) - Athlete
- Michael Drayton (1563– 1631) - Poet
- Henry Goodere (1534–1595) - Nobleman
- Francis Nethersole (1587–1659) - Diplomat, politician
- Denis Alva Parsons (1934-2012) - Sculptor
- Saint Edith of Polesworth (10th century) - Abbess
- Edwin Starr (1942-2003) - Soul and Motown singer
- OS Explorer Map 232 : Nuneaton & Tamworth: (1:25 000) ISBN 0-319-46404-0
- "POLESWORTH Parish in West Midlands". City Population. Retrieved 28 September 2020.
- "POLESWORTH in Warwickshire (West Midlands) Built-up Area". City Population. Retrieved 30 January 2021.
- The Warwickshire Village Book. Countryside Books. 2000. pp. 146–148. ISBN 1-85306-652-4.
- Geoff, Allen (2000). Warwickshire Towns & Villages. Sigma Press. p. 103. ISBN 1-85058-642-X.
- "Warwickshire village of Polesworth in poetry trail". Business Live. 8 October 2008. Retrieved 28 September 2020.
- "Polesworth". Visit Northern Warwickshire. Retrieved 28 September 2020.
- "Parishes: Polesworth". British History Online. Retrieved 28 September 2020.
- "Visitor Information". Polersworth Parish Council. Retrieved 28 September 2020.
- "Why do some stations have just one train a week?". rail.co.uk. 28 March 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2021.
- "NETHERSOLE'S SCHOOL FOR THE POOR IN POLESWORTH". Our Warwickshire. Retrieved 30 January 2021.
- "Polesworth Poets Trail". Retrieved 30 January 2021.
- "Polesworth's Meghan Beesley wins World bronze". Birmingham Mail. 4 March 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
- "PARSONS Denis Alava 1934-2012". Artist Biographies. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
- "Soul legend Edwin Starr's band and brother Angelo coming to The Night Owl in Birmingham". Birmingham Mail. 31 July 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2021.
- Allen, Geoff Warwickshire Towns & Villages, Sigma Leisure (2000) ISBN 1-85058-642-X
- Brink, Jean R. 1990. Michael Drayton revisited. Boston: Twayne. ISBN 0-8057-6989-7
- The Warwickshire Village Book (1988) ISBN 1-85306-032-1
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