Infobox UK place
country = England
official_name= Henley-in-Arden
latitude= 52.291
longitude= -1.778
civil_parish= Henley-in-Arden
population = 2,011 (parish) 2,797 (urban area)
shire_district= Stratford-on-Avon
shire_county= Warwickshire
region= West Midlands
constituency_westminster= Warwick and Leamington
post_town= HENLEY-IN-ARDEN
postcode_district = B95
postcode_area= B
dial_code= 01564
os_grid_reference= SP1566

Henley-in-Arden (also known as simply Henley) is a small town in Warwickshire, England. The name is a reference to the former Forest of Arden. In the 2001 census the town had a population of 2,011.

Henley is known for its variety of historic buildings, some of which date back to medieval times. The High Street of Henley is a conservation area.

Location and geography

Henley-in-Arden is roughly 5 miles west of Warwick, 15 miles from Birmingham, and 8 miles from Stratford upon Avon (where the road between Stratford and Henley is named Henley Streetfn|1).cite book|title=The fall of Leicester: a dramatic poem|author=George Warmington|date=1842|location=London|publisher=Simpkin, Marshall and co.|pages=1 (in a footnote)] [cite book|title=The Aldus Shakespeare|author=Henry Norman Hudson, Israel Gollancz, and C.H. Herford|date=1909|publisher=Bigelow Smith|pages=3]

It is located in a valley of the River Alne, which separates Henley from the adjacent settlement of Beaudesert. Henley and Beaudesert effectively form a single entity, and share a joint parish council, although Beaudesert is a separate civil parish.

The town lies at a crossroads between the A3400 and A4189 roads and is the starting point for the circular Arden Way path. It also lies on the Heart of England Way.

In the 2001 census the population of the civil parish of Henley-in-Arden was 2,011 [http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/viewFullDataset.do?instanceSelection=03070&productId=779&$ph=60_61&datasetInstanceId=3070&startColumn=1&numberOfColumns=8&containerAreaId=790540 ONS Neighborhood statistics] ] . Whilst the population of its urban area which includes Beaudesert was 2,797 [ [http://www.statistics.gov.uk/statbase/ssdataset.asp?vlnk=8271&More=Y 2001 urban areas headcounts] ] .


Henley-in-Arden is not listed in the Domesday Book and may not have existed until the 12th century. The first record of the town is in a legal instrument drawn during the reign of Henry II. It was originally a hamlet of Wootton Wawen, on Feldon Street, the original route out of the Forest of Arden. [cite book|title=Rural England, 1086–1135: A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions|author=Lennard, Reginald Vivian|date=1959|publisher=Clarendon Press] cite book|title=The Amateur Historians Guide to the Heart of England: Nearly 200 Medieval and Tudor Sites|author=Sarah Valente Kettler and Carole Trimble|pages=123|date=2004|publisher=Capital Books|id=ISBN 1892123657] cite book|title=The Beauties of England and Wales|author=John Britton, Joseph Nightingale, James Norris Brewer, John Evans, John Hodgson, Francis Charles Laird, Frederic Shoberl, John Bigland, Thomas Rees, Thomas Hood, John Harris, and Edward Wedlake Brayley|date=1814|location=London|publisher=Longman and co. (and 10 others)|pages=272–273]

In the 11th century, Thurstan de Montfort constructed Beaudesert Castle, a motte and bailey castle, on the hill above Beaudesert. In 1140, the Empress Matilda granted the right to hold a market at the castle and Henley became a prosperous market town, conveniently located on the Birmingham-to-Stratford road. In 1220 in the reign of Henry III, the lord of the manor, Peter de Montfort, procured the grant of a weekly market, and an annual fair to last two days, for the town. [cite book|title=A History of Warwickshire|author=Terry Slater|date=1981|publisher=Phillimore & Co Ltd|pages=56–57]

The prosperity came to an end however during the Second Barons' War when, in 1265, Peter de Montfort died fighting at the Battle of Evesham. The royalist forces won, and the town and castle were burnt in reprisal. The town and castle recovered however and Henley became a borough in 1296. In 1315 all of the recorded townsfolk were . The King stayed at the castle for 7 days in January 1324. [cite book|title=Calendar Patent Rolls, 1321-4|publisher=PRO|pages=360] By 1336 the market was so prosperous that the inhabitants were able to obtain a licence from Edward III to impose a local sales tax on all goods brought to the market, for a period of three years, in order to pay for the cost of paving the streets. [cite book|title=The West Midlands from Ad 1000|author=Marie B. Rowlands|date=1987|publisher=Longman Publishing Group|pages=27] [cite book|title=Calendar Patent Rolls, 1334-8|publisher=PRO|pages=310]

The Lord of the Manor, Peter de Montfort 3rd Baron Montfort, as Commissioner of Array for Warwickshire sent 160 archers to the Battle of Crecy during the Hundred Years' War in 1346. [cite book|title=The Antiquities of Warwickshire|author=William Dugdale|pages=803]

By the 15th century, the lords of the manor were the Boteler family. Sir Ralph Boteler, Lord Sudley obtained a charter from Henry VI in 1449, confirming the grant of the weekly market, and a grant for two annual fairs. [cite book|title=Records of the Manor of Henley in Arden, Warwickshire|author=F. C. Wellstood|date=1919|publisher=Shakespeare Press, Stratford upon Avon]

The town suffered another misfortune during the English Civil War, when in 1643 it was plundered by Prince Rupert.Fact|date=April 2007

As a non-chartered market town, Henley's administration was based upon a manorial court. Under the lord of the manor were a high bailiff, a low bailiff, a third-borough, a constable, and pairs of ale-tasters, Chamberlains, brooklookers, leathersealers, fieldreeves, and affearers. Officials were chosen annually by a meeting of former bailiffs and constables, and were members of the jury of the biannual court leet. The bailiff, accompanied by his predecessors, would formally open the annual town fair. The town hall was inherited from a medieval guild.cite book|title=The Cambridge Urban History of Britain|editor=Martin Daunton|pages=448|date=2001|publisher=Cambridge University Press|id=ISBN 0521417074|chapter=Small Market Towns 1540–1700|author=Alan Dyer]

The records of the court leet and the court baron in Henley date from 1592 onwards. The court rolls are largely concerned with (in Dyer's words) modest problems, such as preventing the poor from migrating into the town (which burgers considered would become a burden on the rates and result in the destruction of hedges for fuel), the ringing of loose pigs, and the prevention of horses being parked in the streets. The poor were a significant problem for Henley's court leet. In the early 17th century there was a marked increase in the landless poor, squatting on commons and on wasteland in the Forest of Arden, and such people were generally regarded as violent and criminal by townsfolk. Between 1590 and 1620 there were a disproportionate number of people, relative to the size of the population, presented by the court leet for engaging in violent affray, something which Underdown states to be "surely no coincidence".cite book|title=Shakespeare And The Lawyers|author=Owen Hood Phillips|pages=36|date=2005|publisher=Routledge|id=ISBN 0415353130] [cite book|title=Revel, Riot, and Rebellion: Popular Politics and Culture in England 1603-1660|author=Underdown, David|pages=34|date=1987|publisher=Oxford University Press|id=ISBN 0192851934]

In "Love's Labours Lost" Rosaline says "Better wits have worn plain Statute Caps.". This is believed to be a reference to events in Henley during the writing of that play, before its publication, when the denizens of Henley were prosecuted in the court leet for being in breach of a statute (enacted with the aim of ensuring economic support for the wool industry) that required the wearing of woollen caps on Sundays and other holy days.

By 1814, Henley had a weekly market every Monday, three annual fairs (on Lady Day; on Tuesday in Whitsunday-week, for cattle; and on October 29 for horses, cattle, sheep, and hops), and a population in 1811 (according to returns made to Parliament) of 1,055 (with 242 inhabited houses and 12 uninhabited houses). [cite book|title=A geographical dictionary of England and Wales|author=William Cobbett|pages=388|location=London|publisher=William Cobbett|date=1832]

Although the castle no longer remains, several other historical buildings and structures still exist in the town, such as the churches of St Nicholas and St John the Baptist, the 15th century Guildhall (which has been restored), the medieval market cross (much of the decoration of whose shaft has been mutilated but which has three ranges of kneeling places and sculptures representing the Holy Trinity, the cruxifiction of Jesus, and, it is believed, St Peter), the 16th century White Swan, and several timbered residences along High Street, the main street of the town.

Lunatic asylums

Historically, Henley has had several private lunatic asylums. The first was licensed in 1744, which housed pauper lunatics at the expense of the parish. Another was run by Thomas Burman in 1795, who charged "one guinea/week for board and medicines, the patient finding their own linen and washing. If any person chuses a servant constantly to attend on them, board and wages are separately considered.". [cite book|title=Victorian Lunatics: a social epidemiology of mental illness in mid-nineteenth century England|author=Marlene Ann Arieno|pages=24|date=1989|publisher=Susquehanna University Press|id=ISBN 0945636032] [cite book|title=Psychiatry for the Rich: : a History of Ticehurst Private Asylum, 1792–1917|author=Charlotte MacKenzie|pages=39|date=1992|publisher=Routledge|id=ISBN 0415088917]


Henley-in-Arden has a railway station on the Birmingham to Stratford Line and has regular rail services to Birmingham and Stratford-upon-Avon.

The town lies a few miles south-west of the M40 motorway, which links Birmingham and London.

People from Henley

The prolific writer of hymns, Benjamin Beddome (1717–1795), was born in the town. Many of his hymns are in the "General Baptist Hymn Book".

William James (1771–1837), pioneer railway promoter, was born in Henley. [cite book|author=Miles Macnair|title=William James (1771-1837): the man who discovered George Stephenson|publisher=Railway and Canal Historical Society|location=Oxford|date=2007|isbn=978-0-901461-54-4]


* The road out of Alcester leading to Henley is also called Henley Street, a name that is in frequent use from 1772 onwards. However, at least one document before than time, a lease from 1597, calls it "Hyghe Street". [cite book|title=Alcester—a History|author=George Edward Saville and Alcester and District Local History Society Staff|date=1986|publisher=Brewin Books|pages=151]





Further reading

* – more information about Henley's market cross

External links

* [http://www.henley-in-arden.co.uk/ Henley-in-Arden Joint Parish Council]
* [http://www.henley-in-arden.org/ Henley-in-Arden.org]
* [http://www.henley-in-arden-church.fsnet.co.uk/church.htm History of the town's churches]
* [http://www.hads.org.uk/ Henley-in-Arden Drama Society (HADS)]

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