St Mary the Virgin parish church
Woodford Halse shown within Northamptonshire
|OS grid reference|
|Civil parish||Woodford cum Membris|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||East Midlands|
|Website||Woodford cum Membris|
Woodford Halse is a village about 6.5 miles (10.5 km) south of Daventry in Northamptonshire. It is in the civil parish of Woodford cum Membris (where the population is included), which includes also village of Hinton and hamlet of West Farndon. Hinton and Woodford Halse are separated by the infant River Cherwell and the former course of the Great Central Main Line railway.
The earliest parts of the Church of England parish church of Saint Mary the Virgin include the chancel, west tower and south doorway, which date from about 1300. The arcade of the south aisle is 14th or 15th century.
St Mary's has a ring of six bells plus a sanctus bell. One of the Watts family of bell-founders, who had foundries in Bedford and Leicester, cast four of the bells including the tenor in 1613. John Taylor & Co of Loughborough cast a fifth in 1909 and the present treble in 1976.
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A flight of four lynchets survive south of the village: a rare survival in Northamptonshire. In 1758 the open field system of farming around Woodford Halse was ended by enclosure. The ridge and furrow pattern of the common fields is visible in parts of the parish, and especially just south of the village. Allotments northeast of the village are laid out along the ridges and furrows, and follow their uneven widths and reverse S-curve.
In July 1873 the East and West Junction Railway (later part of the Stratford-upon-Avon and Midland Junction Railway) was opened through the parish. The line passed just over 1⁄2-mile (800 m) south of the village but the nearest station on the line was at Byfield almost 2 miles (3 km) away.
On 15 March 1899 the Great Central Railway opened its main mine from Nottingham Victoria to London Marylebone through the parish, using the valley of the River Cherwell to pass between Woodford Halse and Hinton. The GCR established a new station called Woodford and Hinton, a four-way railway junction, a major locomotive depot and extensive marshalling yards. A plan to build carriage sheds here was not implemented, but between the old village and the new railway several rows of terraced houses for railway workers were built, together with a street of shops.
The parish's population eventually[when?] peaked at just under 2,000, at which time the village had its own cinema.[when?] The GCR main line was at times[when?] a busy route and the depot and yards at Woodford Halse were very active.
British Railways renamed the station Woodford Halse on 1 November 1948. Following the 1963 The Reshaping of British Railways report, BR closed the station, the main line and the Banbury branch of the former GCR on 5 September 1966. All tracks and most railway buildings were dismantled. The population fell sharply as former railway workers left the parish, but new developments in later decades have since increased it. Where the GCR's line, depot and yards were sited is now a tree plantation and a small modern industrial estate, but evidence of the railway is still visible.
Woodford Halse Church of England Primary School serves the parish. The school has one of the largest playing fields of any Northamptonshire school and holds an annual cross-country race, attracting over 700 competitors from more than thirty schools. The village has several shops and businesses. Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service has a fire station at Woodford Halse, staffed by retained firefighters. The village's regular social events include the Annual Christmas Street Fair and Summer Boat Races.
Sport and leisure
- Pevsner & Cherry 1973, p. 468
- Baldwin, John (16 April 2007). "Woodford Halse S Mary V". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Central Council of Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- Dovemaster (31 October 2012). "Bell Founders". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Central Council of Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- Archbishops' Council (2010). "Benefice of Woodford Halse with Eydon". A Church Near You. Church of England. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- "Woodford Halse Moravian Church". The Moravian Church in the British Province. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- RCHME 1981, pp. 201–204.
- Lewis 1848, p. 652–654
- Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. p. 254. ISBN 1-8526-0508-1. OCLC 60251199.
- Pevsner & Cherry 1973, p. 469
- Woodford Halse Church of England Primary School
Sources and further reading
- Irons, Ruth; Jenkins, Stanley C. (1999). Woodford Halse: A Railway Community. Oakwood Reminiscences. Usk: Oakwood Press. ISBN 0-85361-529-2.
- Lewis, Samuel, ed. (1848). A Topographical Dictionary of England. London: Samuel Lewis & Co. pp. 652–654.
- Pevsner, Nikolaus; Cherry, Bridget (1973) . Northamptonshire. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 468–469. ISBN 0-14-071022-1.
- RCHME, ed. (1981). An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Northamptonshire. 3, Archaeological Sites in North-West Northamptonshire. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office. pp. 201–204.
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