Atherstone Warwickshire Family History Guide

Atherstone : The Market Square A summertime scene in this attractive town square. Attribution: Chris Wilson / Atherstone : The Market Square / CC BY-SA 2.0

Atherstone is an Ecclesiastical Parish and a market town in the county of Warwickshire, created in 1825 from Mancetter Ancient Parish.

Parish church: St Mary

Parish registers begin: 1825

Nonconformists include: General Baptist, Independent/Congregational, Presbyterian, Primitive Methodist, Roman Catholic, Society of Friends/Quaker, and Wesleyan Methodist.

Parishes adjacent to Atherstone

Fairs & Markets

April 7, for horses, Cows, and sheep; July 18, a holiday fair only; September 19, for horses, Cows, and considerable for Cheese; December 4, for horses and fat cattle.

Market – Tuesday

St Mary’s Church, Sheepy Road. Attribution: Robin Stott / St Mary’s Church, Sheepy Road / CC BY-SA 2.0

Historical Descriptions

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

ATHERSTONE, a market town, a township, a chapelry, a subdistrict, a district, and a division, in Warwick. The town stands on Watling-street and the Trent Valley railway, adjacent to the Anker river and the Coventry canal, at the northern extremity of the forest of Arden, 8 miles SE of Tamworth. It was anciently called Adrestone and Edrestone. It was given at the Conquest to the monks of Bec in Normandy; who obtained for it the right of a market and an annual fair. An Augustinian friary was founded at it, in 1376, by Ralph Basset of Draiton; and given, at the dissolution, to the Cartwrights. The Earl of Richmond and other disaffected nobles of Richard III. concerted in it, in 1485, the measures which led next day to their victory on Bosworth field. The place where they held their conference is said to have been the Three Tuns Inn, which still exists; and the place on which their troops encamped was a meadow N of the church. The field of Bosworth lies 8 miles to the NE, within Leicester. The town of Atherstone consists chiefly of one principal street, well-built, and nearly a mile long. The market house stands on pillars, and has a spacious assembly-room above. The corn exchange is large and recent. The church was mainly re-edificed in 1850, and is in the decorated English style. The grammar school was founded, in 1573, by Sir William Devereux and two other persons; has a free income of £350; and was recently removed to new buildings. There are chapels for Independents, Methodists, Unitarians, and Roman Catholics; a Benedictine nunnery; an endowed school with £42 a year; other charities £293; a library and newsroom, a dispensary, and a workhouse. The town is a seat of petty sessions, and a polling-place; and has a station on the railway, a head post office, a banking office, and two chief inns. A weekly market is held on Tuesday; and fairs, in Feb., April, June, Aug., Oct., and Dec. The manufacture of ribbons, hats, and shalloons is carried on; and a considerable traffic from neighbouring quarries and coalmines exists. Drayton, who wrote the “Polyolbion,” and Dr. Grew, the botanist, were natives. Pop., 3,857. Houses, 860.

The township includes the town, and is in the parish of Mancetter. Real property, £11,854. Pop., 3,877. Houses, 864. Atherstone Hall is the seat of A. Bracebridge, Esq.; and stands on a pleasant bank, commanding an extensive view. The park contains some very grand old oaks. A very hard quartzose sandstone is largely quarried, and sent to distant parts, for road-making. Manganese has been extensively brought from the contiguous hamlet of Hartshill; and coal from the neighbouring moor of Baddesley. The chapelry is conterminate with the township. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Worcester. Value, £150. Patron, Church Pat. Society. The subdistrict and the district are co-extensive; and comprehend the parishes of Mancetter, Ansley, Baxterley, Baddesley-Ensor, Polesworth, Grendon, Merevale, Sheepy-Magna, Sheepy-Parva, Witherley, and Fenny-Drayton, the extra-parochial tract of the Mythe, and part of the parish of Shustoke; and four of these parishes, part of another, and the extra-parochial tract are electorally in Leicester. Acres in the district, 27,883. Poor-rates in 1866, £4,980. Pop. in 1861, 12,118. Houses, 2,665. Marriages in 1866, 89; births. 426, of which 28 were illegitimate; deaths, 212, of which 64 were at ages under 5 years, and 7 at ages above 85 years. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 760; births, 3,949; deaths, 2,336. The places of worship in 1851 were 15 of the Church of England, with 5,226 sittings; 7 of Independents, with 1,976 s.; 2 of Baptists, With 380 s.; 6 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 770 s.; 2 of Primitive Methodists, with 170 s.; 1 of the Independent Methodist Society, with 176 s.; and 1 of Roman Catholics, with 140 s. The schools were 16 public day schools, with 1,047 scholars; 30 private day schools, with 564 s.; 24 Sunday schools, with 2,124 s.; and 3 evening schools for adults, with 43 s. The division is in Hemlingford hundred, and excludes the parts of the district which are electorally in Leicester, but includes ten other parishes which are electorally in Warwick. Acres, 55,495. Pop. in 1851, 26,144. Houses, 5,722.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales 1851

Atherstone, anciently Adrestone, and Edrestone, a market-town in the parish of Mancetter, union of Atherstone, county of Warwick; 107 miles north-west from London, by Coventry; 23 north by east from Warwick; and 14 from Coventry station on the London and Birmingham railway. It stands on the Roman Watling-street, at the northern extremity of the forest of Arden, on the road from London to Derby, and near the river Anker. This is a chapelry to the parish of Mancetter, and the living is a perpetual curacy, formerly in the archd. of Coventry and dio. of Lichfield and Coventry, now in the dio. of Worcester. It is rated at £11 5s., and in the parliamentary returns at £109; average income, in 1833, £98. Patron, the vicar of Mancetter. The chapel, originally belonging to the Augustin priory, is an ancient structure of the time of Richard II.; but its original character has been greatly altered by modern additions. The Unitarians, Independents, and Methodists, have places of worship here. The Independent church was formed in 1790. A free grammar-school was founded here, in 1573, by Sir William Devereux and others; it is endowed with land, producing upwards of £288 per annum. There is also an English school, endowed with about £40 per annum, at which above 100 children were educated in 1834. There are several other daily schools, and some large Sunday schools. Other charities connected with the township produce upwards of £250 per annum. Here also is a well-established dispensary, a subscription library and news-room, and an infant-school. The Atherstone poor law union comprehends 14 parishes, embracing a district of 34 square miles, and containing a population returned in 1831 at 9,489. The average annual expenditure on the poor of this district, during the three years preceding the formation of the union, was £5,332. Expenditure, in 1838, £3,482. “In the 49th of Edward III.,” says Tanner, “Ralph Lord Basset of Draiton, gave land whereon to build a church and habitation in this place, for friars here-mites of St Austin, which was shortly after done; and these mendicants continued here till the general dissolution, when the friary, and all that belonged to it, (being valued but at £1 10s. 2d. per annum,) were given to one Henry Cartwright and his heirs.” The church of this convent is now used for the parochial chapel, and the rest is appropriated to the use of the free grammar-school. The town of Atherstone consists chiefly of one principal street, which is well-built, and nearly a mile in length. It contains a convenient market-place and house; the latter being situated on pillars with a spacious assembly-room above. The town is within the jurisdiction of the county-magistrates, who hold a petty session weekly for the Atherstone division of the hundred of Hemlingford. The market-day is Tues day, and fairs are held on April 7th, for horses, cows, and sheep; July 18th, A holiday fair; September 19th, for cattle and cheese; and on December 4th, there is a great cattle-fair. The Coventry Union bank has a branch here; and now also carries on the bank of Weaver and Walsh. The principal manufactures are those of hats, ribbons, and shalloons: the fairs are well-frequented: that in September was once the most considerable in England for the sale of cheese. The Coventry canal, united with that of the Trent and Mersey, passes within 100 yards of the town; and it has been proposed to carry the extension line of railroad from Stafford to Rugby through the town. There are posts to Sheepy, Twycross, Appleby, Measham, and Nuneaton. At the Conquest, this town was given to the monks of Bee in Normandy, who obtained a grant of a market and an annual fair. It is 9 miles distant from the famous field of Bosworth. Pop., in 1801, 2,650; in 1831, 3,870. Houses 801. A. P. £8,008. Poor rates, in 1837, £1,767.

Source: The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales; A Fullarton & Co. Glasgow; 1851.

Leonard’s Gazetteer of England and Wales 1850

Atherstone, in Mancetter par. 107 m. N.W. by N. London. P. 3743

Source: Leonard’s Gazetteer of England and Wales; Second Edition; C. W. Leonard, London; 1850.


Below is a list of people that were declared bankrupt between 1820 and 1843 extracted from The Bankrupt Directory; George Elwick; London; Simpkin, Marshall and Co.; 1843.

Adams Michael, Atherstone, Warwickshire, hat manufacturer, July 15, 1831.

Alcock William, Atherstone, Warwickshire, victualler, Jan. 13, 1832.

Farmer Samuel, Atherstone, Warwickshire, mercer and draper, Oct. 9, 1829.

Flanders John, Atherstone, Warwickshire, bookseller, July 21, 1521.

Hood William, Atherstone, Warwickshire, clock manufacturer, Sept. 29, 1837.

Hope John Parkes, Atherstone, Warwickshire builder, Feb. 22, 1842.

Lloyd John and William, Atherstone, Warwickshire, builders, July 27, 1811.

Petch Edw., Atherstone, Warwickshire, wine &. spirit merchant, Aug. 11, 1840.

Simmons John, Atherstone, late Wellingborough, ironmonger, May 17, 1842.

Symmons Geo., Atherstone, Warwickshire, bookseller & stationer, Sept. 3, 1830.

Wilson George, Atherstone, Warwickshire, victualler, Aug. 15, 1854.

Parish Records

FamilySearch Historical Records


Atherstone Warwick Principal Inhabitants Universal British Directory 1791


Vision of Britain historical maps


  • County: Warwickshire
  • Civil Registration District: Atherstone
  • Probate Court: Pre-1837 – Court of the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry (Episcopal Consistory), Post-1836 – Court of the Bishop of Worcester (Episcopal Consistory)
  • Diocese: Worcester
  • Rural Deanery: Arden
  • Poor Law Union: Atherstone
  • Hundred: Hemlingford
  • Province: Canterbury