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Kenilworth to Southam


 

Running north west from Kenilworth (aka ‘Killingworth’ and, better still, ‘Little Brummigum’ in the 18th century) is the way to Balsall and Birmingham, the route the comb-makers must have taken to sell their wares.  Hides came into the tanneries of Kenilworth with head & horns attached, and the insides of the horns were heated and rolled to make combs.

 

The Balsall Road was also one of the ways the drovers took, coming in the opposite direction.  A tangle of ‘Lanes’ criss-cross each other to the north and west of Kenilworth, ‘Lane’ being code for Drovers’ Road.  Coming south from Meriden (SP 245 824), Meriden Road leads into Hodgetts Lane at Carol Green, then  Red Lane, then Clinton Lane (unlabelled on the OS Explorer 221), which takes you to Kenilworth Castle.

 

On Clinton Lane, previously Cripplegate Lane, was a drovers’ inn (see #1).  It probably doubled as a turnpike cottage, being sideways to the road .   The drovers are said to have dodged behind the row of houses to avoid the toll.

 

The route heads south east out of town to Chesford Bridge (SP 303 698), where many cow shoes have been found, then forks left to Cubbington and becomes ‘Welsh Road’.  At Offchurch is the Stag Inn (#2), opposite an old forge, now ‘Tudor House’.  Forges often sprung up opposite inns.  


The road continues south-east to Southam and #'3 shows a stretch near 'Welsh Road Farm', half a mile east of the Fosse Way at SP 374646.  A reader of this site tells me that the ground to the left of the road used to be a holding pen for animals.

 

Southam was an important gathering point for the droves.  Information was swapped, beasts were bought & sold and a lot of beer was drunk in this busy market town (#4).  There used to be 28 inns in Southam.  Pendicke (#5) was a pound for cattle; Pinfold (which I couldn’t find) for sheep – according to Mary Williams, to whom I am grateful for all this information.  The town is sleepy now, but two hundred years ago it must have been the sort of place Wyatt Earp would have recognised1.

 

The 19th Century Southam baptism register has 2 Davies, 4 Evans, 4 Williams, 6 Jones, 31 Hughes and 36 Edwards.


Now we enter one of the most delightful and sparsely populated areas of England...  


 A sad little story from the Southam Parish records: Robert Lloyd, a drover from Dduallt in Merioneth, died on his way to London at the King's Head (later called the Craven Arms and now, sadly, a residential property) from "drinking small beer when hot".  He was buried in Southam Churchyard on August 31st 1773.  There is, of course, no gravestone.  (There were many families called Lloyd in Dduallt at that time, the most prominent being the owners of the Plas, or Manor House; but the only Robert of the right age from that family was labelled an "idiot".  As that was a technical term rather than an insult, he would not have been able to earn his living away from home.)
My thanks to Linda Doyle for telling me this.



Kenilworth to Southam image 1
Inn in Clinton Lane
Kenilworth to Southam image 2
Stag at Offchurch
Kenilworth to Southam image 3
Nr. Welsh Road Farm, Offchurch
Kenilworth to Southam image 4
Southam, Market Square
Kenilworth to Southam image 5
Pendicke in Southam