Non-locals will travel along the new by-pass quite ignorant of the 2,000 years of history through which they pass. Local people will tend to know the various landmarks, though viewing them from a different angle than that to which they have been accustomed for many years. Here are one or two things the car traveller can ruminate on as the new road leaves the 1753 turnpike to form the by-pass.
Coming from Stratford and having passed the Haselor crossroads, Alcock's Arbour (No.1) on the left is the place where the by-pass begins. The road we have used for years turns to the right, marked 'Oversley Green' and going first to Hoo Mill Corner. For some reason, Alcock's Arbour once engraved itself on the minds of local people and even Dugdale ('Antiquities of Warwickshire) in the 17th century felt constrained to repeat the fantasy stories which had become attached to this wooded hill.
From Alcock's Arbour runs the line of the Roman road from Stratford to Alcester (No.2) and heading, towards Oversley Green: the turnpike road we have all used for so long turned right here but the new road goes straight on and must have interfered with the Roman road foundations in the vicinity of the Arbour.
As one travels on the new road, Oversley Hill Farm (No.3) appears to the right. We are now in the old Throckmorton manor of Oversley, in which the farmhouse has been since the 17th century; from the out-side it does not appear so, but it is a timber-framed building. We are also now in the mediaeval deer park. There is a field on the farm called 'Durlop', which derives from 'deer leap'.
Further along the by-pass, one passes under a footbridge which carries Primrose Hill, the lane leading from Oversley Green. At the point, the buildings of Lower Oversley Lodge (No. 4) will be seen. The prominent silo stands on the remains of the Roman fort, built in the mid first century A.D., before the settlement of Alcester had appeared. After the first roundabout, the by-pass crosses the R. Arrow; although a small river, it formed the boundary of several manors and parishes as well as a natural dividing line for the mediaeval Forests of Arden and Feckenham. No.5 is Oversley Mill, now converted to houses.
On the left may be seen the parish church of Arrow (No.6) , resting place of many of the manorial lords of Ragley hall, the Conay - Seymours.
The second roundabout gives access to the Roman and mediaeval town of Alcester as well as to the mediaeval village of Arrow. Beyond this roundabout the Spittle Brook is passed: a small stream but the boundary between Alcester and Arrow a well as the main feeder for the water wheel at Arrow. Which, from 1879, pumped water for the Alcester Waterworks Company.
The third roundabout marks the end of the By-Pass and is situated at King's Coughton, a hamlet within the parish of Alcester and the site of the home of Alcester's lords, Beauchamp Court, from the 13th to the 17th centuries.
Autumn 1991 Index
© Alcester & District Local History Society 1991