The parish of Bidford-on-Avon has been sorely neglected from the historical viewpoint. It is such an interesting place that it deserves to be comprehensively researched and written up. Some of the underlying facts and documentary sources have been recorded in the Bidford section of Victoria County History (vol-3). Some work has also been done in two of our Society publications; its Gazetteer of the industrial remains of the area and its Pubs of Bidford (R.A.Churchley) . But Bidford is quite a large parish and there is much to he said for investigating it piecemeal: in the Middle e Ages there were five manors comprising the parish Bidford proper, Bidford Grange, Broom, Barton and Marlcliff. Besides Bidford itself, there were settlements at Kings Broom, Broom, Barton and Marlcliff and probably one at Bidford Grange. So, what with five manors and six settlements, there is much to investigate for the mediaeval and post mediaeval periods.
For the parish as a whole, there are many facets of life about which we know practically nothing: to pick out a few from a large list - the impact of religious dissent after 1600; the quarrying and stone trades; the effect of the river on trade and tourism; County History' says nothing of such things.
Two things are needed: firstly, field work; that is walking slowly and patiently about a given area and noting what one sees indications of ridge and furrow, scatters of pottery unusual 'bumps' in the ground, old hedges. This means looking down a lot and sometimes doing it when the weather is foul. The second thing is to examine Bidfords original documents, a long and patient recess; there are many of them in these Record Offices Stratford, Warwick, Worcester. And then there is the copying out of such things as the census returns from 1841 to 1881. No -one says that this sort of thing is easy - or quick. Sooner or later these things must be done and it will depend on what sort of local interest there is among Bidfordians as to whether it does get done; they cannot expect outsiders to do it for them !
Summer 1986 Index
© Alcester & District Local History Society 1991