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Bayston Hill is a large village and civil parish in central Shropshiremarker, Englandmarker. It is south of the county town Shrewsburymarker and located on the main A49 Shrewsbury to Hereford Road.

Occupied continuously since before the Middle ages the village is now home to over 5,000 residents and mainly serves as a dormitory village for nearby Shrewsbury. The village has a larger than average retired population in comparison to many similar Shropshire villages, but lower than the national average. The village is well served by a range of shops and facilities, several public houses, two churches and two junior schools.

The adjacent and popular Lyth Hill Country Park stands above the village.

History

Early History

The village was recorded in the Domesday Book and there is remaining evidence of both an ancient British hill fort and a Roman settlement located on the village's high grounds. In the Middle Ages the heavily wooded Bayston Hill and Condover area was established as a Royal hunting forest. A busy rope works complete with its own windmill built in 1835, existed on Lyth Hill in the 19th Century; supplying the many mines, farms and barge owners across the district. A church was built alongside the village glebelands in 1843 to serve the local miners, quarry men and railway navvies.

Standing on the south east side is the village's oldest archeological site of a mounded iron age bivallate hill fort, relatively low lying for a such a structure and oddly named with the Danish Viking name of The Burgs, but probably was not called that until sometime between the 14th and 16th centuries.

The village was surveyed for the Domesday Book during the year 1086 and the following list of Norman nobles and Norse descended freemen were recorded as owning lands within Bayston Hill, or Bestune as it was then called:

Aelfgifu; another Aelfgifu; Aisil; Algar; Almaer; Alsige; Alwig; Azur; Burrer; Countess Godgifu; Eadric; Earl Edwin; Earl Harold; Fech; Godwine; Grimkel; Helgot; Hrafnsvartr; Ingelrann; Karli; Leofwine; Ordgrim; Ordwig; Ralph de Mortimer; Richard; Roger; Sasfrid; Thorgot; Thorsten; Ulf; Walter; Walter of Lorraine, Bishop of Hereford; Wicga; William Pantulf; William de Warenne; Wulfgeat; Wulfric


Fine Buildings

Great Lyth manor house was built in 1638 but had fallen into dereliction by 1948. In recent years it has been rescued and renovated and remains a fine representation of a classic 17th century manor.

In 1785 the famous London architect George Steuart designed and built a classically handsome brick mansion house Lythwood Hall for the Blakeway family, which was accessed via a grandiose sweeping driveway through carefully landscaped gardens to the west of the village. Steuart went on to build Attingham Hall for the 1st Lord Berwick but sadly Steuart's earlier Lythwood Hall fell into disrepair under the squireship of the Hulton-Harrop family in the 1890s and after many years of almost dereliction was later split into multi-ownership units and, belying its fine past, now lurks rather sadly up a short track behind a new housing estate.

Bayston Hill was established as a new ecclesiastical parish with the building of Christ Church in 1843 as an amalgamation of sections from the parishes of St. Julian's Shrewsburymarker, Meole Bracemarker and nearby Condovermarker. The village became a civil parish in the reoganisation of 1967.

Modern History

Although the Shrewsbury to Herefordmarker mainline railway remains open and runs straight past the village, Bayston Hill has never had its own railway station, the nearest being situated at Condover.

The 1920s novels House in Dormer Forest and Seven for a Secret were written at Spring Cottage, Lyth Hill by romantic novelist Mary Webb who lived in the village on and off for ten years, alternating between Spring Cottage and her London home, until her death in 1927. The action in her most famous novel Precious Bane took place around the nearby Bomere Poolmarker, that she called Sarn Mere. The oldest known ghost in Shropshire, a dead Roman soldier, is also reputed to haunt Bomere Pool, the site of a Roman army camp and its associated civilian settlement.

A further literary connection can be found in the Brother Cadfael medieval detective novels of Ellis Peters with much of the action in several stories taking place within the traditional forest, lanes and footpaths in and around Bayston Hill or between the village and other surrounding medieval settlements.

The original 1843 church building at Christ Church still stands and a modern church rebuilt on a site, next to the church's Glebelands in the early 1980s

In 2001 an application to further extend the Bayston Hill quarry was turned down after a detailed survey identified six previously unknown historical sites of archaeological importance that would be destroyed by the proposed extension . These included sections of at least one or possible two AD 43 - 450 Roman roads, two 1066 -1547 medieval or mid 16th century post-medieval roads or trackways, a group of cropmarks suggesting historical earthworks or buildings, and a group of three medieval parish boundary stones.

Governance

Parish

The village has a parish council which contains 15 elected councillors currently chaired by Mrs Janet Whittall. In early 2008 the council took the radical step of appointing two young persons aged between 14 and 18 to represent the views of the village youth at council meetings.

County

The village is a Shropshire Council electoral division that returns one councillor, an appointment currently filled by Ted Clarke.

Westminster

The election in 2005 saw Labour lose many votes to the Liberal Democrats, which allowed Daniel Kawczynski of the Conservatives to be elected as MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham with a majority of 1,808

Geography

Berries Lane
Bayston Hill stands on an outcropping spur, of a Pre-Cambrian limestone and sandstone sedimentary rock extension of the Longmyndian range, intruding into the Shropshire plain with major appearances at Longden, Lyth Hill, Bayston Hill, and Sharpstone Hill. North of the river Severn it does not outcrop again until it appears east of Shrewsbury as Haughmond Hill. The sediments were laid down under a vast warm ocean, surrounded by many volcanoes that were ground down by later ice age glaciers which provided the fertile soil that contributed to Bayston Hill becoming a successful farming community throughout medieval times. There are still several active geological fault lines underlying the area and on 2 April 1990 Bayston Hill experienced an earthquake, measuring 5.4 on the Richter Scale, that was centred on nearby Bishop's Castlemarker.

The village lies just three miles south of Shrewsburymarker and is separated from the county town by the main A5 Trunk road. It has good road transport links with easy access to both the A49 and A5. To the south lies the pre-Cambrian Lyth Hill, with Sharpstone Hill standing to the east, the latter now mostly a major sandstone quarry with little of the hill itself now remaining after several hundred years of constant quarrying activities.

Demography

According to the 2001 census, there were 2,103 households containing a population of 5,247 which makes Bayston Hill one of the most populated villages in Shropshire and larger than many English towns. It is estimated from electoral registrations that since 2001 the village population has probably grown to something over 5,500.

Only twenty-five percent of the village are aged 60 or over, which is significantly lower than the national average and only 466 individuals were recorded as being over the age of 75.

Of the 2,146 recorded households only 630 had dependent children. Half of the 1,905 owner-occupiers own their own homes outright with the remainder still having mortgages. Of the 2,919 residents in gainful employment, 264 work exclusively from home and of those who travel to places of work, 77 cycle, 132 walk, 170 take the bus and vast majority of 1,966 travel by motor vehicle.

A 2003 housing survey identified that ninety-six percent of village homes were owner occupied, compared to a borough and national average of only seventy-four percent. There is a current under provision of social and housing association properties, particularly in the one-bed and two-bed market for new family starter and retirement housing. It is felt that building of new housing has to be balanced against a general desire amongst residents to keep the village at close to its current size and prevent further overspill towards Shrewsbury.

Facilities

The village facilities include a Women's Institute, the Mary Webb library which is open all day on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday morning and a large doctors surgery The Beeches Medical Practice.

There are two churches in the village, Christ Church near Oakland School is an evangelical Anglican fellowship church and Bayston Hill Methodist Church is on Lansdowne Road.

Within the village are four public houses including The Three Fishes, The Fox, the Compasses Inn and The Beeches.

Unlike many modern rural villages Bayston Hill has managed to retain a compact and busy central parade of shops that include a post office and newsagents, a supermarket, a fish & chip shop, a greengrocers, a baker and a family butchers. The village is also served by a ladies hairdressers and several mobile home hairdressers.
View of the Wrekin from Lyth Hill
The Village Association organises several well supported annual events, an annual Christmas carol concert at the parade and distributes a free monthly newsletter publication known as the "Villager" to every village household, which contains useful information about local events and amenities.

There is a popular local beauty spot to be found at Parrs Pool and the village is surrounded by attractive open countryside and many well used public footpaths and bridleways. The most frequented local walks and panoramic views can be found at the popular Lyth Hill Country Park.

Education

There is no secondary school in the village, with children over the age of eleven being bussed to attend a range of secondary schools in nearby Meole Brace, Shrewsbury or Church Stretton and the sixth form college in Shrewsbury.

There are two primary schools in Bayston Hill both with excellent reputations and good teaching standards. They are Longmeadow and Oakland Primary Schools. Falling pupil numbers have led to local discussions about amalgamating the schools. The idea is supported by some and opposed by others in the community.
In September 2008 the statutory notices were formally served by Shropshire County Council and the Diocese of Lichfield, stating their intent to discontinue both Oakland and Longmeadow schools as from 31 August 2009. The Diocese of Lichfield is invited to establish a new Church of England school in Bayston Hill as from 1 September 2009.


Notable people

  • Mary Webb - the famous author, born in nearby Leighton and lived in Bayston Hill with her husband for the latter period of her life.
  • Flight Lieutenant Eric Lock - a renowned Battle of Britain RAF pilot, who was born in the village. As one of The Few, Lock, shot down sixteen and a half Lutfwaffe aircraft during the brief battle and ranked as the highest scoring British born pilot for number of kills. Lock then went on to become one of the highest scoring RAF pilots in World War II despite being killed after just twelve months of combat. Eric Lock Road in Bayston Hill is named after him
  • Christopher Timothy - the TV and film actor lives in the village, famous for portraying James Herriott in the 1980s. More recently he has featured in the BBC soap drama Doctors.


See also



References

External links




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