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Little Shrewley is a hamlet of attractive old and new houses and was once the hub of the area. In the 1930’s it had a pin factory, a coal yard, grinding mill and a large nursery, all of which ceased functioning after the Second World War.

Local resident Joe Colledge recalled that before the Second World War, the large nursery which was situated on the corner of Stoney Lane and Mill Lane by Newlands Wood, employed 65 workers in the spring and early summer, who would come to work on bicycles from surrounding villages. Most of the trade was cut flowers particularly carnations and every night a horse drawn wagon would take boxes of flowers to Hatton Station. The pin factory was at Penryn crossroads and had about 20 employees, making hinge pins and cotter pins. The Mill, which is now a craft centre, was run by a corn merchant who delivered cattle feed to local farms using a horse and wagon.

Shrewley Common was merely an area of open land in Little Shrewley’s heyday, although in 1960 a Roman settlement was discovered when homes were built on the strawberry patch. Artefacts from the excavations are in the Warwick Museum.

It consists mainly of modern houses on a straight road and a history of transport is its heritage. On the western boundary, the M40 motorway, completed in 1988, and the Paddington to Birmingham railway, opened through Hatton in 1852, run in deep cuttings.

Nearer the centre, the Grand Union Canal passes under the village in an unusual double tunnel built in 1798. In the days of horse-drawn narrow boats, the horses were unhitched and led through a narrow passage at the north-west end to cross the road, while the men legged the boat through the 400 metre straight tunnel.

The Durham Ox, a country pub and restaurant, is situated between the railway and the motorway. Built in the 18th century, the pub supplied beer to the navvies building both the nearby canal and railway. The name is said to derive from a famous beast of that name which was exhibited at local cattle shows, and until recently portrayed on the pub’s sign.

Once well known for its Marrow Sunday post harvest celebration, steam fair, flower and produce competition and auction, the

Durham Ox has undergone many changes over the last few years.

Hatton Station is a linear settlement mainly developed in the 1950’s and 1960’s. It evolved around the former Great Western Railway station, which is currently operated by Chiltern Railways providing a direct service to Birmingham, London and Stratford upon Avon.

Case Lane is a straight lane only partly in Shrewley Parish, with traditional cottages and farms, together with the 300 year old ‘Case is Altered’ country pub. This was originally called ‘The Case’, a single bar alehouse occupying a cottage in a row of three dwellings. During the 19th century, the owner attempted to obtain a spirit licence, but the application was refused by local magistrates on the grounds that the pub was too small. The owner then bought the adjacent cottages and the magistrates finally awarded a full licence. The case was altered and the pub acquired a new name, although this was changed to The Shrewley Arms for a brief period in the Second World War.

The original bar is charmingly simple, featuring old settles and a mix of old pub tables and chairs on a red quarry tiled floor. A brick fireplace with an open log fire warms the room on cold days and a couple of collectable brewery posters and a First World War Sopwith Pup propeller are the only decoration. As a traditional pub, the provision of bar food is not a priority and only crisps and nuts are available so people visit for the excellent ale and atmosphere. This gem of a pub is a real rarity indeed. Long may it remain so!

Shrewley Parish has no church but until the 1990’s had an independent chapel on Shrewley Common, which has now been turned into a dwelling.

About the Parish