History and genealogy of Warwickshire and neighbouring counties

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Welcome to the beams website, which aims to illuminate some aspects of local history and genealogy of particular interest to me, and, I hope, to you !

Littlebeams pages to date are:

A Little History of Cherington and Stourton, Warwickshire. A Little History of Cherington and Stourton is the 1934 book by Margaret Dickins, digitised here. It looks at documentary records relating to the villages from the early thirteenth to the early twentieth century. Apart from its general historical interest, it refers by name to well over 450 different individuals, most of them inhabitants.

These web pages also have photographs from the last 100 years, of the villages and of some of the inhabitants. There are sample extracts from the Millennium Book (2004), while a special tribute to Cherington and Stourton WW1 soldiers includes much biographical detail. War memorials at neighbouring Sutton-under-Brailes are also included. There are also pages on the famous Sheldon tapestries, many of which adorned the former Weston House, near Cherington.

If you are interested in church bells, check out the section created in connection with the 2005-6 bell refurbishment project, and listen to the Cherington peal.


1821 census

A Little History of Farnborough, Warwickshire
, includes the 1821 census, naming heads of households, and the personal accounts 1758-9 of Thomas Elkington.

An attempt has been made to identify as many of the 1821 householders as possible, from sources such as later, more complete censuses. Thomas Elkington appears to have been an estate servant to William Holbech of Farnborough Hall; his accounts were kept in the blank pages of his British Merlin almanac (see below).



A Little History of
Snitterfield, Warwickshire, reproduces documents concerning education in the village. One is a letter from the famous builder and civil engineer James Trubshaw to Mark Philips, Snitterfield landowner and benefactor and a Liberal M.P. for Manchester who played a major part in social and educational reform. The letter concerns an 1831 plan to build new school premises at Snitterfield. Interestingly, there are links between both Philips and Trubshaw and Weston House - see Cherington and Stourton, above.

From 1847 is an application for school funding to Betton's Charity, a trust administered by the Ironmongers' Company of London. There is an abstract of school accounts made in connection with this application.


A Little History of Stockton

A Little History of Stockton, Warwickshire
features the Griffins of Stockton Fields and a brief history of their Blue Lias Lime and Cement Works, including a long list of identified customers from far and near, dating from the 1850s. The Griffin family were farmers in this mid-Warwickshire village for 150 years from the early nineteenth century, ancestors having settled in the county at Long Itchington, Priors Marston and Fenny Compton well before the Restoration, with descendents farming in Farnborough and Avon Dassett.

There are links to information on Nelson's Cement Works, the largest Stockton works, run by the family which owned most of the land farmed by the Griffins, also old maps of the Stockton area, and the story of a local 1834 steeplechase across Stockton Fields, with Grand National connections.



A facsimile edition of Rider's Almanac, 1758
. Cardanus Rider's British Merlin was issued from 1656 until at least 1830. It is generally held that his name is a pseudonym, and near-anagram, of physician and astrologer Richard Saunders.

Physicians of the time were astrologer, doctor, pharmacist and nurse, all in one, and this is reflected in the almanac, which identifies astrologically predictable (?) times of crisis and numerous herbal remedies. The pages devoted to each month of the year are accompanied by advice on what, and what not, to eat and drink, and otherwise how to keep in good health. There are horticultural notes with abundant attention paid to herbs, fruit and vegetables. Phases of the moon, conjunctions of the planets, and details of forthcoming eclipses, also find a place.

This little book lists annual fairs in England and Wales of fixed and moveable date. Other sections of interest include "A Geographical Description of the World" and "A Computation of the most remarkable Passages of the Times from the Creation to this present Year 1758" which really take us back two and a half centuries, when according to the eighteenth century "timeline", the World was thought to have been created about six thousand years ago .....

Rider's almanac
ww1 poster

The Evesham Journal Roll of Honour 1914-15. A republication of transcriptions made by the late Malcolm J. Farmer around the year 2000. The newspaper published in weekly lists the names, regiments and places of origin of some 4,000 men as they joined up to fight in the Great War. The transcriptions made represent about 80% of the total, and many of the names are indexed by name and place. The geographical area covered is the circulation area of the Journal (which is still published). This is roughly south-west Worcestershire, north-east Gloucestershire, south-west Warwickshire - including Cherington, Stourton and Sutton-under-Brailes - and north-west Oxfordshire.



On Pickard's Pink Pages for Warwickshire is a treasure trove of online documents for Warwickshire research, including whole-county transcripts of the censuses of 1841, 1861 and 1891, many parish register transcripts, and links to other sites with information relative to Warwickshire ancestry. Many are listed alphabetically by place. Some small sites mentioned are not easily to be found otherwise; their creators are invited to send in the links.

Suzanne & Richard Brown's is an outstanding non-commercial U.K. site offering guidance on where to find information on English and Welsh ancestry. It provides a vast range of links to sources of information both on and off line. Extremely useful pages for both beginners and experienced researchers.


One way of getting a feel for the history of a place is literally to follow in our ancestors' footsteps along paths that today we know as "rights of way". These Littlebeams rambles include a few walks through areas of cultural and historical interest in and around Warwickshire, including the beautiful Cotswold Hills, on the northern tip of which lie Cherington and Stourton.


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