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Feckenham is a village and civil parish in the Borough of Redditch in Worcestershire, Englandmarker. It lies some three miles south-west of the town of Redditch and is around twelve miles north-east of the ancient city of Worcestermarker. It has a population of 670 and its immediate area is the location of notable royal manors that cover over 1,000 years of English history documented in many royal charters and Acts of Parliament. At its greatest period, the historic Forest of Feckenham stretched to the River Avon in the south , to the city of Worcester in the south-west and in 1389 employed Geoffrey Chaucer as Clerk of Works and Keeper of the Lodge.

Fekenham in the 21st century is a rural community with a traditional English village green, and is a starting point for several bridal ways, established country walks, and rambling routes based on Ordnance Surveymarker maps, including the long-distance public footpath, The Monarch's Way, that passes nearby.

History

The village has been previously known as Feccanhom (9th century), Feccheham (11th century), Fekkeham, Fekeham (12th century), Feckeham, Feckaham, Fecham (13th century), Flechenham (16th century), and Feckyngham in the 16th and 17th centuries. Its history goes back to Roman times when the village developed from its position on the ancient saltway track between Alcestermarker and Droitwichmarker which later became a Roman road, (now the modern B4090 road), and on the early stretches of the Bow Brook. In the year 840 CE Feckenham Manor was given by Ethelric to W┼ôrferth, and it is mentioned in the 11th century Domesday Survey. The area was once substantial forest covering much of Worcestershire and was used by Norman royalty for hunting. In the Middle Ages, Feckenham was the administrative centre for the royal forest and it grew into a thriving town while today's nearby large town of Redditch was still a small a village. Due to its location in the forest, the village was visited by all the early kings of England who had a lodge in the park of Feckenham Manor. Several entries in Pipe Rolls and Patent Rolls between the years 1166 and 1169 relate to the repair of the king's houses in the manor, and there was a royal hunting lodge near the village. The remains of one ancient hunting lodge are believed to lie beneath the village football ground.

In 1629 following a survey of royal forests, Feckenham reverted to common land and was greatly deforested; the manor land was sold by the crown to Lord Coventry in 1632.

As a result of the Local Government Act, in 1894 the civil parish was formed out of the part of Feckenham parish that was in the former Redditch Urban District, and was divided into Feckenham Rural and Feckenham Urban districts, and the communities of Headless Cross and Crabbs Cross became part of Redditch Urban District Council.

Economy

From around 1790 and during the industrial revolution, the manufacture of needle and fish-hooks, for which the parish and Reddich were well known. Cycles and motors have also been manufactured in the area. Agriculture is still a major activity. Feckenham was corporate headquarters of Barrets of Feckenham, a well-known former nationwide chain of gardening supplies stores that ceased trading during the 2008 economic crisis. A new chain of stores specialising in camping and outdoor equipment took over much of the Barret business and operates from the former premises in Feckenham. Several bed & breakfast guest houses, and two pubs represent the village's hospitality industry.

Architecture

There are two churches in the village. The Anglican church of St. John the Baptist was built in the mid 13th century and a has a peal of eight bells; the Roman Catholic church is dedicated to St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More.
The village also contains several examples of black and white half-timbered work, especially Middle Bean Hall.

One of the most notable is the 16th century Shurnock Court Farm, situated about a mile to the west of the village.

The largest house in the neighbourhood is Norgrove Court, a large red brick two-storey mansion built in the mid 17th century.

The massive oak door of a building that housed a former grammar school, is reported on a plaque on the south wall as being: 'Erected A.D.

1611.

Repaired A.D.

1848.'

The village also contains well preserved examples of Georgian.


Activities and attractions

A range of community activities includes an annual two-day horse show, and a triannual Feckenham Flower and Garden Festival that has been held since 1985.
A major refurbishment of the village hall was undertaken with grants from the National Lottery and other donations.

It is the location of the FeckenOdeon Cinema and many other social and community activities including the village Nursery School.


Feckenham's Wylde Moor nature reserve is an area of wetland managed by the Worcestershire Nature Conservation Trust and has two bird-watching hides. Local walkways and sections of countryside have been used as locations for films.
The Royal Shakespeare Theatremarker at Stratford-upon-Avonmarker is 15 miles away.

The village has two family owned pubs.


Education

Feckenham has a Church of England first school (primary school).

Sport

The village of Feckenham has a cricket and a football (soccer) soccer pitch.
In 2007 the final match of the five-match series of the India v England Blind Cricket tour was hosted at the Feckenham Cricket Club ground as the Worcester CC pitch had been flooded by the River Severn earlier that year.


Transport

The A441 is one mile east of the village, and the M5 motorway is about five miles west.


The nearest railway stations are Redditch and Eveshammarker.




Several bus routes serve Feckenham from Bromsgrovemarker, Droitwich, Evesham, Kidderminstermarker, and Redditch (Walkwood).
The National Cycle Network Route 5 can be reached around 2.5 miles north of the village.
The nearest Airport is Birmingham International Airportmarker.





Notable people



References

  1. Census 2001
  2. Feckenham Parish Council web site. Retrieved 14 June 2009.
  3. Fekenham leisure walks. Retrieved 14 June 2009
  4. V.C.H. Worcs. i, 320b.
  5. Pipe R. 13 Hen. II (Pipe R. Soc.), 64; 14 Hen. II, 110; 15 Hen. II, 137.
  6. Atkins, Elizabeth (2006), Feckham Parish Council web site. Retrieved 14 June 2009.
  7. A History of the County of Worcester (1913) Vol. 3 , pp. 111-120. Victoria County History. Retrieved 14 June 2009.
  8. Atkins, Elizabeth (2006), Feckham Parish Council web site. Retrieved 14 June 2009.
  9. Nash, Hist. of Worc. i, 439.
  10. official bus timetables


Further reading

  • Atkins, Elizabeth (2006) From Slate to State. An account of four hundred years of education in Feckenham, which also includes many references to local history and its inhabitants.
  • Atkins, Elizabeth (2006) The Field Names of Feckenham.


External links




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