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Upper B to Thorpe M

The Drovers’ Road from North Wales

(Continued from Warwickshire page)


After Upper Boddington the road gradually descends to Trafford Bridge, near Edgcote, at SP 518 482.  I haven’t a picture of the beautiful Edgcote Hall, but there are plenty on the web: it’s been used by the BBC many times.


Colin Wyman of Blakesley believes it stands on the site of a Roman villa.  The Romans would choose the best spot to build, and best spots don’t change.  Also, if you stand on Trafford Bridge facing south and look half right, you can see a Roman culvert (#1) the other side of the brook, providing water to the villa.


More recent history takes over now: two hundred yards down from the bridge a Wars of the Roses battle is supposed to have been fought in 1469.  The Lancastrians, under the Earl of Pembroke, lost heavily and power flowed into the hands of Warwick the Kingmaker, who restored Edward IV to the throne.  (The information board tells us that ‘168 Welsh noblemen died’ at the Battle of Edgcote, but, with due respect to all Welshmen, were there as many as that in the whole of Wales?)


At the information board the road bends sharply towards Culworth (SP 521 477) but there’s a gap in the hedge going straight on (#2).  My heart rate quickened dangerously when I first saw it: gaps on sharp bends usually lead to old roads, the ones that drovers would have used to avoid villages, in this case Culworth.


So we go through the gap and the modern world fades away (#3). 


And, behold on our left, a row of Scots pines (#4), which shows there is a drovers’ inn hidden somewhere in the dip.  And there she is: The Three Conies at Thorpe Mandeville (SP 532 447) built, according to the sundial on the front wall, in 1622 (#5).  A delightful place, by the way: excellent food and beer.


The drovers’ objective was to reach the west-east ‘Welsh Lane’ to Buckingham, now the B4525, and they certainly found lots of ways to skin this rabbit.  Either the route above; or via Culworth village and Magpie Farm (old drovers’ inn at SP 547 452), hitting the 4525 at Marston Hill Farm (541 436), another inn; or through Sulgrave, turning off to the old village of Stuchbury at 567 445 and following the byway.


(Stuchbury was destroyed by the Washingtons for sheep-rearing, but long before that famous family emigrated.  Apparently, the derivation is from an energetic Anglo-Saxon called ‘Stut’, meaning midge or gnat.  A much more expressive word than its modern equivalents.)


So that’s three conies skinned.


Follow the route down to Syresham next…

Upper B to Thorpe M image 1
Roman Culvert at Trafford Bridge
Upper B to Thorpe M image 2
The Edgcote Turn
Upper B to Thorpe M image 3
The Old Road
Upper B to Thorpe M image 4
Pines at Three Conies
Upper B to Thorpe M image 5
Three Conies at Thorpe