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Stoke Bruerne is a small village and civil parish in South Northamptonshiremarker, England about north of Milton Keynesmarker and south of Northamptonmarker.

History

There has been a settlement here for many years and the village is mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086 as "Stoche" meaning "an outlying farmstead or hamlet". The form "Stokbruer" is used in 1254 being a suffix by the "Briwere" family of the Manor House. The village is fairly typical for this area of south Northamptonshire containing many traditional stone and thatched cottages. The village's main claim to fame is its situation on the Grand Union Canalmarker and thus it is a favourite destination for gongoozlers and tourists. The population is split 196 male and 199 female in 169 households (2001 census).

The parish is part of Tove Ward, named after the River Tovemarker, of the district council of South Northamptonshiremarker.

The nearby country estate of Stoke Park along Shutlangermarker Road is occasionally open to the public in August, but all that remains of the main house are the two east and west wings known as Stoke Park Pavilionsmarker.

In December 2008, the conservation project won the East Midlands' Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Award, alongside Foxton Locksmarker, another major canal restoration project in Leicestershiremarker, near Market Harboroughmarker.

Canal Museum

The village is home to The Waterways Trust's canal museum (part of the National Waterways Museummarker), housed in a restored corn mill at the top of a flight of canal locks. The museum vividly tells the story of Britain's inland waterways and the people who worked on them. It provides a fascinating insight into the transport system which was fundamental to the industrial revolution in Britain. There are working models and 3-D displays including a model of the short-lived inclined-plane mechanical lift at Foxtonmarker in Leicestershire. The museum has a shop and café. Admission to the museum is £4.75 (ca.€8) with reduced rates for children, school parties, groups etc. It has a school/activity room available for educational visits. The museum is closed on Mondays in winter.

About half a mile north of the village is the south portal of Blisworth tunnelmarker - accessible by a walk along the old towpath (on the eastern side of the canal - north of the village, the western side is either private property or inaccessible.) The tunnel is long and is one of the longest in the UK.

Facilities

There are two canalside public houses, 'The Boat Inn', and 'The Navigation', both serving a variety of meals and drinks. There is a restaurant/takeaway, 'The Spice of Bruerne', various bed and breakfast facilities and tearooms. The village attracts many visitors all year round and especially during the summer months. There are parking restrictions at all times, except for residents, on village roads which are all marked with 'double yellow lines'. There is, however, a pay and display car park close to the Museum (charge £2.50, ca.€4). The parking restrictions are strictly enforced. A variety of boat trips may be booked from the canalside. Most of the time there is plenty of activity on the canal with boats going through the locks regularly and plenty going in and out of the tunnel.

Conservation area consultation

In November 2007 the area of the village and surroundings, including Stoke Park, were the subject of an extensive conservation consultation by South Northants Council. Extensive additional documentation, including maps, pictures and historical documentation, is available from the South Northants Council's Planning website.

Walks

Many public footpaths cross the area around Stoke Bruene. One such walk, taking in Grafton Regismarker, was the subject of a Daily Telegraph article. Other walks in and around Northampton are mentioned in the County Council Right of way site.

Railway

Stoke Bruerne had its own railway stationmarker, part of the Stratford-upon-Avon and Midland Junction Railway (SMJR). This ran close to the village over Blisworth tunnel near the south portal. The former railway station has been converted to a private house and is along the road to Blisworth just outside the village. The line of the railway is still visible and the Blisworth road has a railway bridge still in position near the former station. The railway ran east to join the West Coast Main Linemarker and then into Bedfordshire.

Film

The village appears, with Blisworth, in the Ealing Studios film Painted Boats (1945), filmed at the end of World War II and directed by Charles Crichton whose notable sucessess include The Lavender Hill Mob (1951) and A Fish Called Wanda (1988).

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