Water Orton shown within Warwickshire
|OS grid reference|
|Civil parish||Water Orton|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||West Midlands|
|UK Parliament||North Warwickshire|
Water Orton is a village near the River Tame in the North Warwickshire borough of Warwickshire in England. It is located between Castle Bromwich and Coleshill, and borders the West Midlands metropolitan county boundary to the north, west and south. At the last census in 2001, the population was 3,573, falling to 3,444 at the 2011 Census.
Water Orton was first documented in an Assize Roll of 1262 as 'Overton' which means farm by the bank or edge. However, it is now thought to have been included in Domesday as 'Wavre' with Castle Bromwich.
The oldest part of the village is centred on Old Church Road. This is now a conservation area and contains buildings from the 14th and 17th centuries. This is the area that may account for the place name since it is on a high ridge of land overlooking the valley of the River Tame.
A Chapel of Ease was erected here in the 14th century to save the villagers trudging through the often flooded Tame Valley to the Parish Church at Aston. This was replaced by the present church and all that survives of the Chapel are the listed remains of a Medieval Cross and the graves in the churchyard. The present Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul was built in 1879 for £4000 to a design by Bateman and Corser. It had a fine spire, which unfortunately had to be dismantled in the 1980s due to the effects of atmospheric pollution.
Until the 1840s Water Orton was mainly an agricultural village, but this changed with the coming of the railways. The first one was from Birmingham to Derby via Water Orton, Coleshill, Whitacre Heath and Tamworth. Later a junction was constructed and another line was built via Kingsbury to Tamworth. The lines pass through the centre of the village. The present railway station dates from 1908 and is the second station. There were extensive sidings and much commercial traffic here, especially during and after the Second World War, until the activities of Dr Beeching in the 1960s. An effect of the railway was to increase house building in the village. Commuters could now make the journey to Birmingham's Lawley Street and Curzon Street (later New Street) Railway Stations in a shorter time than by road. This made the village an ideal residential area for Birmingham professionals who wanted to get away from the city and live in the country. The railway also brought the Meat Industry here. There were large stock yards near the sidings and next to the Dog Inn in Marsh Lane. Cattle were offloaded from rail wagons into pens, then driven two miles down the road to butchers' slaughter houses in Castle Bromwich, when meat was provided for nearby villages.
Water Orton today has a wide variety of services, including: a small High Street with a variety of shops and take aways, two pubs, a Primary School, two other Churches, Doctor and Dental surgeries, two Parks, a Cricket Club (Water Orton CC), a Rugby Club (Old Saltleians RFC) and two amateur football sides. In 2010, a new village hall was completed, called (The Link) replacing the Parish Hall. In addition, Water Orton is home to the amateur dramatics company, (Company of the Curtain), who produced all of their productions in the Parish Hall until December 2008. As well as rail services both in the village, and a short distance away in Coleshill, there is a half-hourly, switching to hourly in the evenings, bus service (number 70; formerly 90) to Birmingham and Coleshill. Some new housing was built during 2003 and 2004. Local events include an annual summer carnival and car boot sales.
Notable residents and organisations
- The indie band Felt was formed in Water Orton in 1979 by local residents Lawrence and Maurice Deebank.
- Recently, anti-HS2 campaigners have been very active in the village, and have formed the Water Orton Stop HS2 Action Group.
- Walmley and its surroundings (Chapter VIII: Water Orton), Douglas V. Jones, 1990, Westwood Press (ISBN 0-948025-11-5)
- Water Orton Station
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