Wootton Wawen Railway Station
A village close to Henley-in-Arden and where the oldest Anglo Saxon church in Warwickshire is situated.
Wootton Wawen railway station has been welcoming visitors and serving commuters, schoolchildren and shoppers, since 1908. The village has a population of approximately 1400 people with tea rooms, a marina restaurant, two pubs, three food stores, other specialist retailers, a Post Office, two churches, two clubs, two-vehicle workshops and a bus route.
In medieval times, the Forest of Arden swept down into the valley, which forms the centre of Wootton, growing out of an Iron Age tribal kingdom c.500 BC. Close to where St Peter's parish church would be built was a Benedictine priory and its priory pool for the monks to catch fish for supper.
Wootton Wawen's history dates back to pre-Norman times with links to: An English queen who reigned for just nine days, The Gunpowder Plot, The escape of Charles II, William Shakespeare, Lords of the Manor from when the Forest of Arden was young, England's longest cast iron canal aqueduct, The Saxons' 1st millennium chapel at the centre of the parish church and the South Sea Bubble scandal when thousands of investors lost all.
The area has links to the Gunpowder Plot with connections to several Warwickshire families. Robert Catesby, leader of the plotters, was born in 1572, just a few miles north of Wootton Wawen at Bushwood Hall. While King James I survived the plot, another monarch, Charles II, had a close call in 1651, fording the river in Wootton Wawen on his escape from the Roundheads at Worcester, diverting into Shropshire and then via Bromsgrove and Stratford to Southampton and a ship to safety.
St Peter's Church, founded c.850 AD by a king of Mercia, to be rebuilt in stone c.900 AD by the priors whose monastic masons went on to establish 11 'daughter' churches in the area. The oldest church in Warwickshire, St Peter's, exhibits an illustrated display of how the church and its environs have developed over the centuries. Its early Saxon chapel forms the building's core with the tower and several arches showing Saxon and Norman influence. But the architecture takes several styles from periods of enlargement, notably the south aisle added in the 13th century, the 14th century Lady Chapel and some restoration in the 17th century.
In the church is a memorial to Robert Knight, secretary of the South Sea Company and about the only one to retrieve his money when the bubble burst. The porch has marks in the stone said to signify business deals and there is conjecture one seals the unrecorded marriage of William Shakespeare to Anne, who through William’s mother, knew the vicar.
Adjacent is Palladium-style 17th century Wootton Hall which houses the village archive and has an 18th century chapel used by Roman Catholics before the church of Our Lady & St Benedict was built in 1904 on land overlooking the cutting for the railway. In the century before the present hall was built, the manor of Wootton was bestowed briefly on the Grey family, whose daughter Lady Jane, was to become the 'nine-day queen' in 1553.
There are two public houses, The Bulls Head and The Navigation, the latter of which is situated adjacent to the Stratford upon Avon canal.
Wootton Wawen Railway Station, Wawensmere Road, Wootton Wawen B95 6BJ