Willoughby, a Warwickshire Village
Willoughby is an ancient Warwickshire village situated adjacent to the A45 trunk road between Dunchurch in Warwickshire and Daventry in Northamptonshire.
The village was in the Hundred of Knightlow part of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Mercia.
It is thought the village's name derived from willow trees that bordered the stream that runs through it. Viligbýr is old Norse for "willow farmstead". References to the village in the Doomsday Book refer to "Wilebere", "Wilebei" and Wilbec.Old deeds use many other variations of the name from Wilbi to Wyllybi largely because the scribes were using phonetic spelling.
Mineral water springs are to be found at the southern end of the village at Tattle Bank and at Willoughby House, formerly the Bath Hotel or Willoughby Bath Spa to the west. The water is similar in quality to that found in Harrogate. At one time the village might have grown to prominence instead of Leamington Spa but that was not to be.
The church of St Nicholas, patron saint of seafarers, has stood at Willoughby since, at least, 1215 and probably before. The church tower houses an early 18th-century clock and a hand-wound carillon which was installed in 1724 and plays five tunes. The carillon was restored in 1820 and again in 1983 and is in good working order. The font dates from 1230. In the north entrance porch can be seen evidence of where soldiers on their way to the battle of Edge Hill on 23rd October 1642 sharpened their swords.
The Rose Inn and the Village Hall and recreation ground are at the modern centre of the village in Main Street. The Rose was renovated in 2008 following a disastrous fire in December 2007 which destroyed the thatched roof and timbers of the old part of the building. The Village pond is to be found in Lower Street close to the junction with Brooks Close which leads to the Church.
Many years ago there was another inn at the junction of what is now Main Street and the A45 this was originally the Three Crosses Inn later renamed the Four Crosses. According to local legend the name was changed after the author Jonathan Swift, who was staying at the inn, had an argument with the landlord's wife, and engraved on a window pane "You have three crosses on the door, hang up your wife and she'll make four".
Willoughby used to have a railway station on the Great Central Railway. All that remains are some sections of embankment, the abutments of the bridge that spanned the A45, and the old Sation Master's house. The 13-arch Willoughby viaduct that crossed the River Leam has also gone.
If you would like to know more about the village's history visit the Archives & History Page .