Earlsdon ward

History of Earlsdon

History of Stivichall

Sometimes spelled Styvechale, the name means land overgrown with stumps or clearing in a wood, and refers to an area 1½ miles south of Coventry which was taken into the city in 1932. Before this date it was a separate parish with boundaries which were often the subject of dispute, and it includes such features as the War Memorial Park (opened in 1921), the confluence of the rivers Sherbourne and Sowe, and the Coat of Arms Bridge (built in 1842 to carry the Coventry-Leamington railway and decorated with the coat of arms of the Gregory Hood family).

Although it is not mentioned in Domesday Book, two documents of the 12th century record the transfer of the chapelry and manor of Stivichall from the Earls of Chester to Coventry Priory and the Bishop respectively. At this time Stivichall was already a well-established farming community, with mills on the Rivers Sherbourne and Sowe and none of the heath and wasteland which characterised neighbouring parishes. By 1378-9 the population was only 50, and it did not vary much through the centuries. The Gregory family were the chief landowners from the 1500s onwards, and their influence discouraged the spread of the mining and weaving industries to the area. Some changes took place in the 18th century, however, when the Gregorys built Stivichall Hall south east of the church in 1750-60 and the Kenilworth and  Leamington Roads were turnpiked in 1775. St. James's Church was completely rebuilt in 1810 - 17, and more alterations and extensions were made in 1955. No trace remains of the Norman building or the medieval village that once surrounded it, but part of the original manor house may well still exist.

In 1927, Colonel Gregory-Hood sold part of the estate to Coventry Corporation and it was decided to preserve the portion around Stivichall Croft as a model village, with the smithy, green and one of two old cottages. Stivichall Hall was demolished in stages in the years following the sale of the property, and modern housing now covers most of the area except those parts designed as park or common. The old building known as Stivichall Grange stands near the busy Coventry bypass and is really in Stoneleigh parish. It dates back to the 14th century and has been listed for historic preservation, but is in a poor state of repair. Elizabeth Swillington, a resident in Stivichall in the 16th century, founded a charity to provide for the maintenance of roads between Coventry, Stivichall and Warwick, by her will of 1552.

 

Thanks to Coventry Archives for the above information.