Wilmcote is a village and civil parish in Warwickshire, about three miles (5 km) north of Stratford-upon-Avon. It has a population of about 1,200. It has a church, a primary school, a village hall, a village club, one small hotel, a shop and a pub.
Wilmcote attracts many visitors as Mary Arden's Farm (the home of William Shakespeare’s mother), a major tourist attraction, is located there. The village is a popular stop on the Stratford-upon-Avon to Birmingham Canal and it is on a National Cycleway.
Wilmcote is an old village and is listed in the Domesday Book of 1086, but little is known about it between then and the sixteenth century. In around 1540 Mary Arden was born in
Wilmcote, a farmer's daughter. She married John Shakespeare, moved to Stratford-upon-Avon, and gave birth to William Shakespeare. Mary Arden's Farm is now owned by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and is open to the public. It houses a museum of countryside life and is well worth a visit.
THE TAMING OF THE SHREW
It is the consensus among scholars that the Induction of The Taming of The Shrew is set in rural Warwickshire. One character mentioned, however, allows for a greater localization - to the village of Wilmcote. Sly, the drunken tinker, beseeches the Lord: "Ask Marian Hacket, the fat ale-wife of Wincot, if she know me not". The minutes of the Stratford Corporation, 11 November 1584 (approximately a decade before The Shrew), mention "the tythes of Wyncote"; the very spelling of the village that appears in the Folio text of The Shrew.
The geology of the area around Wilmcote contains areas of good limestone, and a significant quarrying industry grew up in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, particularly after the opening of the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal in 1816 which was routed through Wilmcote because of its quarries. Today the area has many small disused quarries, mostly filled in, and just-visible paths of tramways linking them to the canal. There is a larger quarry which has not been filled in and which is now a nature reserve. There are remains of lime kilns, built to turn the limestone into cement.
Wilmcote stone splits well into sheets and was used for paving as well as for building. It was used for paving the floors in the Houses of Parliament when these were rebuilt in the nineteenth century. The last of the quarries closed in the early twentieth century, but they have left a great legacy for the village. There are several rows of former quarry workers cottages, built in Wilmcote stone, and a pub called the Masons' Arms. The quarries were one of the main reasons why the canal and railway, which add so much to the village today, were routed through Wilmcote with the first Wilmcote railway station opening in 1860, on a site alongside the canal wharves.
The Oxford Movement was a Catholic revival movement in the Church of England in the early nineteenth century, centred in Oxford. Wilmcote was the site they chose to build a church, a school and a retreat house.
Wilmcote in the early nineteenth century had no church (as it was then a part of the adjoining parish of Aston Cantlow). It was a poor working-class village, and the population was increasing due to the growth of the Wilmcote quarries. The village was therefore much in need of a church and a school, both of which it still has. The church, built in 1841, is a very unusual small Anglo-Catholic church, dark, spiritual, and on Sundays filled with the smell of incense. It was designed by the renowned architect William Butterfield, a leader in the Gothic revival.
The present two-platform Wilmcote railway station was opened in 1908, at the same time as the inauguration of the North Warwickshire Line, the Great Western Railway's new mainline route from Birmingham to Cheltenham Spa. This replaced an earlier station which had been in existence since 1860, on the Stratford-upon-Avon Railway Company's branch line from Hatton on the GWR Oxford to Birmingham route. Today, the station, which is managed by London Midland, is served by hourly local trains between Stratford and Birmingham, operated by London Midland, and Chiltern Railways services (up to 10 a day each way) between Stratford and Leamington Spa, most of which are through services to and from London Marylebone.
Source Wikipedia: Wilmcote article.
Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 9UN