Henley-in-Arden Railway Station
Serves Henley and Beaudesert residential commuter villages in a rural setting. Minimal station facilities. Buses run along the High Street at the bottom of the hill: they do not pass the station.
Henley-in-Arden is the birthplace of William James (13 June 1771 – 10 March 1837), an English lawyer, surveyor, land agent and pioneer promoter of rail transport. According to his obituary, he was the original projector of the Liverpool & Manchester and other railways, and may be considered as the father of the railway system, as he surveyed numerous lines at his own expense at a time when such innovation was generally ridiculed.
James worked closely with George Stephenson, whose brother Robert Stephenson designed and built the famous 'Rocket' locomotive. Sadly, William James received little recognition for his work and died in poverty despite many pleas to Parliament by him and his children for financial assistance and recognition of his contribution to the system we still use to this day.
The town lies at a crossroads between the A3400 and the A4189 roads and is the starting point for the circular Arden Way footpath. It also lies on the Heart of England Way.
Originally a hamlet of neighbouring Wootton Wawen, Henley-in-Arden was on Feldon Street, the original route out of the Forest of Arden. In the 11th century, Thurstan de Montford built Beaudesert Castle on the hill above Beaudesert.
Henley-in-Arden was known far and wide for its famous Mile of Pubs. It was common for young men to be taken down the High Street to drink in every one of the then 18 hostelries along the High Street. Sadly, not all have survived, but there are still many who will give you a warm welcome.
Although Beaudesert Castle no longer remains, several other historical buildings and structures still exist in the town, including the churches of St. Nicholas and St. John the Baptist as well as the 15th-century Guildhall.
Henley-in-Arden has a 'Court Leet'; this Ancient order is a rare leftover from the days when local residents were the keepers of law and order for the residents of towns and villages around Britain. Very few Court Leets still exist, but Henley-in-Arden has retained the posts. The officials no longer have the power, but the traditional roles are filled each year for a High Bailiff, Low Bailiff, Mace Bearer, Constable, Ale Taster, Butter Weigher, Hayward, Brook Lookers, Tax Collectors, Chamberlain, Searcher and Sealer of Leather, Town Crier. Chaplain to the Court, and Honorary Burgesses. All with ancient regalia to wear on formal occasions.
In the 20th century, Henley-in-Arden became well known for ice cream. In 1934 two brothers, Harry and Arthur Fathers began experimenting with ice cream with the 'know-how' given to them by their mother, who used to make ice cream for her shop in Rubery. Originally produced by hand, the ice cream was sold under the Henley Ice Cream brand.
Henley Ice Cream won a premier award, voted the best ice cream in the United Kingdom in 1937. Henley-in-Arden Ice Cream remains available today at the same parlour on the High Street.
Henley-in-Arden Railway Station, Station Lane, Henley-in-Arden, Solihull B95 5JH