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High Street, Shipston.
Shipston-on-Stour is located in Warwickshire
Location within Warwickshire
Area4.92 km2 (1.90 sq mi)
Population5,038 (2011 Census)[1]
• Density1,024/km2 (2,650/sq mi)
OS grid referenceSP2540
Civil parish
  • Shipston-on-Stour
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townShipston-on-Stour
Postcode districtCV36
Dialling code01608
AmbulanceWest Midlands
UK Parliament
WebsiteShipston-on-Stour Town Council
List of places
52°03′36″N 1°37′23″W / 52.060°N 1.623°W / 52.060; -1.623Coordinates: 52°03′36″N 1°37′23″W / 52.060°N 1.623°W / 52.060; -1.623

Shipston-on-Stour is a small town and civil parish in the Stratford-on-Avon District and is the main settlement of the southern corner (projection) of Warwickshire, England. The compactly formed town and its associated land occupy the left bank of the River Stour 9 miles (15 km) SSE of Stratford-upon-Avon and 14 miles (22 km) south of Warwick.

This area is sometimes termed the Vale of Red Horse, close to the Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire borders.[2]


Etymology linked to sheep and wool trade[edit]

In the 8th century, the toponym was Scepwaeisctune,[3] Old English for Sheep-wash-Town. It had a sheep marketplace for many centuries. The name evolved through Scepwestun in the 11th century, Sipestone, Sepwestun and Schipton in the 13th century and Sepestonon-Sture in the 14th century.[3]

Church (vestry) administration, township and parish formation[edit]

It was a township in the parish of Tredington until 1720: when they were separated by a Local Act of the 6th year of George I.[4] The town proved prosperous and generous to its church community: the Church of England parish church of Saint Edmund has a 15th-century tower.[5] The Gothic Revival architect G.E. Street designed the rebuilding of the rest of the church in 1855.[5] The tower had a ring of five bells until 1695 when they were recast and rehung as a ring of six.[6] Since then all the bells have been recast and rehung from time to time, notably in 1754 and by John Taylor & Co. in 1979.[6]

A staging post for stagecoaches and regional market[edit]

Shipston is on the A3400 (formerly part of the A34) between Stratford-upon-Avon and Oxford; it was from the 1600s to 1800s a staging place for stagecoaches. There are former coaching inns, such as the Coach and Horses,[7] in the High Street, which has many listed buildings.

From 1836, agricultural produce and manufactured goods were brought by a branch line from the horse-drawn Stratford and Moreton Tramway, which had been built ten years before to link Moreton-in-Marsh with Stratford on Avon.[4] In 1889 the line was upgraded to allow the operation of steam trains from Moreton to Shipston. Passenger services to the town were withdrawn in 1929 and the line ceased in 1960.

Early Victorian times[edit]

The town's first library and reading room were founded in 1837.[4] Manufacture of shag fabric for deep-pile carpets was for some decades an important business, but by 1848 the town had little manufacture or commerce even though it had more than 1800 residents.[4] Worcester Cathedral owned the manorial rights for centuries, and even in the 1840s held a court annually, at which a town constable was appointed.[4] Powers of the short-lived county debt court, established in 1847, extended over Shipston's civil registration district (established 1837). In that era the market was on Saturday and fairs in April, June, August and October. The rectory had Tidmington annexed and received net income of £700. The patrons were Worcester Cathedral and Jesus College, Oxford, the former presenting (appointing the priest) to every third vacancy. The church had extra seats, a gallery, erected in 1790.[4] Baptists, the Society of Friends, and Wesleyans each had a place of worship; and at Foxcote, in the parish, was a Roman Catholic chapel.[4] A National school was endowed with about £130 per annum; and "various small bequests" were distributed among the poor.[4]

Poor law union and rural district[edit]

Shipston poor law union (c.1830–1894) administered those functions in 37 parishes or places: 20 in Warwickshire, 13 in Gloucestershire, and 4 in Worcestershire; across[clarification needed] in the 1840s a population of 19,685 people.[4]

From 1894, until 1972, the offices and Council meetings of Shipston-on-Stour Rural District were in Shipston.

County exclave[edit]

Shipston was in an exclave of Worcestershire (as part of Oswaldslow hundred) until 1931, when it was transferred to Warwickshire.[8]


The Sports Club has football,[9] cricket, bowls, tennis[10] and angling[11] clubs. Shipston First Scout Group has Beaver (ages 6–8), Cub (ages 8–10½) and Scout (ages 10½–14) sections.[12] Shipston on Stour Rugby Football Club currently plays in the Midlands 3 West (South) league.[13] Shipston has a brass band.[14]

Shipston has a small museum located off Telegraph Street.[15] The museum was set up, and is run by local people. It is stocked with artefacts and memorabilia relating to the town and the surrounding villages.

Notable people[edit]

Notable people connected with Shipston include:

  • Cy Endfield, American-born director of such notable films as Hell Drivers and Zulu; he had emigrated to England and lived and died in Shipston after being blacklisted as a Communist during the McCarthy era.
  • Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees mentions Shipston in his song "Cold Be My Days", which was not released until 2015 although recorded in 1970 for the unfinished album Sing Slowly Sisters; words "Cold be my days in Shipston-on-Stour" appear several times. He stated in a BBC Radio 4 interview in May 2007 that this relates to his youthful experiences, riding horses with his brother Barry.[16]
  • Francis J. Haverfield - 19th-century archaeologist, born in Shipston.[17]
  • Richard Morant - film and TV actor, born in Shipston.[18]
  • Simon Travis, former professional footballer, has recently moved to the town.[citation needed]


  1. ^ UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Shipston on Stour Parish (E04009778)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  2. ^ Beckinsale, R. (1980) The English Heartland, Duckworth, p.5
  3. ^ a b Victoria County History 1913, pp. 521–524
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i A Topographical Dictionary of England, Samuel Lewis (London, 1845), vol. IV page 86.
  5. ^ a b Pevsner & Wedgwood 1966, p. 395
  6. ^ a b Chester, Mike. "Shipston on Stour St Edmund". Church Bells of Warwickshire. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011.
  7. ^ "Coach and Horses in Shipston-on-Stour". Find a Hook Norton Pub. 2013. Archived from the original on 22 September 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  8. ^ Stratford-on-Avon District Council Shipston-on-Stour History Archived 26 August 2014 at the Wayback Machine – Retrieved 22 August 2014
  9. ^ "". Archived from the original on 23 July 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ "Home". Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  12. ^ "Scouts - Item". Scouts. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Welcome". Archived from the original on 7 September 2017. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  15. ^ "Museum | Shipston Tourism". Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  16. ^ Lost Albums: Sing Slowly Sisters (BBC4 documentary.) The song "Cold Be My Days" in connection to Shipston-on-Stour is mentioned, at 15:16.
  17. ^ "Francia Haverfield archives". National Archives. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  18. ^ III, Harris M. Lentz (10 January 2014). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2011. McFarland. ISBN 9780786491346 – via Google Books.


External links[edit]