Rugby Warwickshire Family History Guide

Rugby is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Warwickshire. 

Parish church:

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1620
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1665

Nonconformists include: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, General Baptist, Independent/Congregational, Particular Baptist, Presbyterian, Primitive Methodist, Roman Catholic, and Wesleyan Methodist.

Adjacent Parishes

  • Bilton
  • Newbold on Avon
  • Brownsover
  • Clifton upon Dunsmore
  • Hillmorton

Historical Descriptions

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

RUGBY, a town, a parish, a sub-district, a district, and a division, in Warwick. The town stands near the river Avon, the Oxford canal, and the Northwestern railway, at the junction of the Trent Valley railway, the Midland railway to Leicester and the railways to Stamford, to Birmingham, and to Warwick, 3 miles W of Watling-street, on the Warwickshire boundary, 5½ SE of the Fosse way, and 29 ESE of Birmingham; was known at Domesday as Rocheberie, and afterwards as Rokeby; is supposed, from the quondam existence of barrows and earthworks in its immediate vicinity, to date from the ancient British times; appears first on record in the time of Edward the Confessor; had a castle erected in the time of Stephen, and demolished in that of Henry II.; was occupied by a force under Oliver Cromwell, in March 1645; witnessed the transit of William III. in 1691, on his way to take command of the army in Ireland; came into prominent notice in last century, in connexion with a great grammar-school founded at it in 1567; acquired increasing importance from its position in reference to railways after the railway period; has, of late years, undergone much extension and improvement; contains a larger proportion of resident clergy and gentry than most towns of its size; was one of the earliest places to come under the operation of the Health of Towns act; is well paved, well drained, and partially supplied with water from works about a mile to the S; is a seat of petty-sessions and county courts; publishes two weekly newspapers; and has a head post-office, a r. station with telegraph, two banking offices, two chief inns, a town hall, a police-office, three churches, four dissenting chapels, a Roman Catholic chapel, a public cemetery, a literary institute and news-rooms, a preparatory classical school, national schools, an industrial school for girls, and endowed charity school with £120 a year, alms-houses with £218, a workhouse, and general charities £419.

The grammar-school was founded by Lawrence Sheriff, a citizen of London and servant to Queen Elizabeth; had an endowment in London, which rose in value during last century from £116 to £5,000 a year; stood originally on ground now occupied by alms-houses, opposite the parish church; was rebuilt, on another site, on the S side of the town, in 1808-9; is a cloistered quadrangle in the Tudor style, 90 feet by 75, with a frontage of 220 feet; includes library, dining-hall, masters' rooms.scholars' rooms, and other apartments; has a detached chapel, erected in 1820, fitted up like the choir of a cathedral, and containing an altar-piece after Murillo, two antique altar-candlesticks, fine monuments of Drs. James, Wooll, and Arnold, and various memorials of other persons; is conducted by a head-master and eleven assistant-masters; rose much in reputation under successively Dr. James, Dr. Wooll, Dr. Arnold, Dr. Tait, and Dr. Temple; is now attended by about 470 scholars; has 20 exhibitions of from £40 to £80 a year, tenable for 4 years, at Oxford and Cambridge; and numbers, among its past pupils, Parkhurst, Cave, Gen. Abercromby, the antiquary Bray, Dr. Butler, Sir H. Halford, and many other distinguished men. St. Andrew s church is early English; was originally a chapel of ease to Clifton-upon-Dunsmore; became a parish church at the separation of Rugby from Clifton in the time of Henry III.; has been thrice enlarged since 1780: and consists of nave, aisles, and chancel, with W tower. Trinity church is a chapel of ease to St. Andrew's; was built in 1854; and is a cruciform structure, in the early English style, with central tower. St. Matthew's church serves for a section of the parish formed into a separate charge in 1841; was built in that year; and is also in the early English style. The Independent chapel was partially built in 1866, and was to be completed at an estimated cost of £2,600. The Roman Catholic chapel is conjoined with a college and convent, within an extensive enclosure. The public cemetery was formed in 1862, at a cost of about £3,000; comprises about 7 acres; and has two chapels in the early geometric style.

The town hall was built in 1857-8, at a cost of about £6, 500; has a main entrance in High-street; includes an assembly-room 77 feet by 32, rooms for the literary institute, for the public courts, and for other purposes; and has, at the back, a covered market-hall. The railway station stands about ½ a mile N of the town; is approached by a new street called Albert-street; and is traversed daily by about 106 trains. A corn market is held on every Tuesday; a butter and poultry market, on every Saturday; fairs, on the last Monday of Jan., 17 Feb., the last Monday of March, the Tuesday before Easter, the last Monday of April, 15 May, the last Monday of June, the last Monday of July, 21 Aug., the Monday before 29 Sept., the last Wednesday of Sept., the Monday before 27 Oct., 18 and 22 Nov., the second Monday of Dec., and the Monday after Christmas. The town and the parish are regarded as mutually conterminate. Acres, 2,190. Real property, £38,239; of which £600 are in gas-works. Pop. in 1851, 6 866; in 1861, 7,818. Houses, 1,417. The manor belongs to T. Caldecott, Esq. The living of St. Andrew is a rectory united with the chapelry of Trinity, and the living of St. Matthew is a p. curacy, in the diocese of Worcester. Value of the former, £710;  of the latter, not reported. Patron of the former, the Earl of Craven; of the latter, Trustees.

The sub-district contains also the parishes of Bilton, Churchover, Harborough-Magna, Newbold-upon-Avon, Church-Lawford, Newnham-Regis, Wolston, Brinklow, and Combe-Fields, and the townships of Brownsover and Easenhall. Acres, 25,130. Pop. in 1851, 12,243; in 1861, 13,601. Houses, 2,725. The district comprehends also the sub-district of Dunchurch, containing the parishes of Dunchurch, Willoughby, Wolfhampcote, Grandborough, and Leamington-Hastings, Birdingbury, Bourton-on-Dunsmore, Frankton, Marton, Stretton-on-Dunsmore, and Ryton-on-Dunsmore; and the sub-district of Crick, containing the parish of Hillmorton, and the townships of Clifton-on-Dunsmore and Newton-with-Biggin, electorally in Warwick, the parish of Westrill and Starmore, electorally in Leicester, and the parishes of Crick, Kilsby, Barby, Yelvertoft, Elkington, Clay-Coton, Stanford, and Lilbourne, electorally in Northampton. Acres of the district, 80,755. Poor-rates in 1863, £10,224. Pop. in 1851, 23,477; in 1861, 24,436. Houses, 5,256. Marriages in 1863, 145; births, 771, of which 49 were illegitimate; deaths, 480, of which 187 were at ages under 5 years, and 12 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 1,478; births, 7,628; deaths, 4,495. The places of worship, in 1851, were 35 of the Church of England, with 11,972 sittings; 10 of Independents, with 1,376 s.; 6 of Baptists, with 1,318 s.; 9 of Wesleyans, with 1,320 s.; 5 of Primitive Methodists, with 382 s.; 1 undefined, with 189 s.; and 2 of Roman Catholics, with 282 s. The schools were 36 public day-schools, with 3,143 scholars; 47 private day-schools, with 771 s.; and 44 Sunday schools, with 3,144s. The inmates of the workhouse, at the census of 1861, were 82. The division is part of Knightlow hundred; and contains 14 parishes and part of another. Acres, 40,050. Pop. in 1851, 16,051. Houses, 3,209.

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


Barrett Wm. Harry Helton, Rugby, Warwick, wine & spirit merch. May 11, 1830.

Berry John, Rugby, Warwickshire, grocer and seesdman. May 24, 1842.

Source: Extracted from The Bankrupt Directory; George Elwick; London; Simpkin, Marshall and Co.; 1843.


County: Warwickshire
Civil Registration District: Rugby
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: Marton
Poor Law Union: Rugby
Hundred: Knightlow
Province: Canterbury