Billesley church

You would be forgiven for not knowing this little church exists. It is tucked away at the end of a small lane behind nearby Billesley Hotel and a neighbouring farm. There was once a bustling village here but it was wiped out by the plague in the 1400s.

There has been a church on this site since the 1100s but the present building has “only” been here since the 1800s. There is a suggestion that Shakespeare was married here though no concrete proof. And that his granddaughter was also married here. Pushing the doors open though you can imagine that being the case, its a beautiful church, with a really simplistic charm. And as Shakespeare is also rumoured to have written As you Like It at Billesley Manor and visited there on multiple occasions I am definitely embracing the belief.

As for the box pews (something I am not sure I have seen in a church before):

In 1692, Bernard Whalley rebuilt the church to create a fashionable classical addition to his Billesley estate. He installed a gallery for his staff complete with a butler’s boxed seat. Whalley’s own pew had a fine classical fireplace. His body lies, with his wife Lucy, in a sealed vault beneath the sanctuary floor

If you find yourself driving out of Stratford Upon Avon, or staying at Billesley Manor then do look out for this church and spend some time inside quietly contemplated the history of this little corner of Warwickshire.

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