The Village and its Setting

The origins of the village lie in Saxon times when the `Church of Coventry` owned the land and the name Radway is believed to be a corruption from Readan, Redweii, Radweis meaning “red way or road” probably referring to the red coloured soil. At the time of the Domesday Survey of 1086 the population was 153. It is recorded that the area of the Parish was 6 hides and ownership was then 3 hides to the Church of Coventry, 2 hides to Earl Alneric and one hide to Richard Forestarious The village has evolved across the centuries and has been very fortunate in avoiding the pressures of the late 20th century for expansion and the results of the village surveys carried out (lastly 2010) show that general population has changed little and the wishes of over 80% of the residents is to resist development including infill development.

The village contains many listed buildings as detailed in appendix 1 and a number of historically interesting sites.

The view from the top of the hill is well known. The Malvern Hills, Clee Hills and Bromsgrove Lickey and the spires of Coventry are frequently visible. Occasionally, when visibility is exceptionally good the Welsh mountains can be seen. The top of the hill is 700=-720 feet above sea level and the ground falls steadily from the village of Radway to Kineton. The top step of the shallow flight of stone steps leading to what used to be the front door of the Grange is on a level with the top of the Kineton Church tower, that being the highest ground in Kineton.

The approach to Radway is by three lanes. The Tysoe Lane which leads into the Banbury to Stratford road, the Longlands Lane (now called Langdon lane) and Farnborough Lane both lead to the Kineton to Banbury road which ascents the hill via Knole End road. This used to be a turnpike road made about 1800.

Radway is concentrated in two parts, separated by the grounds of Radway Grange. The larger part is to the west around the junction of Langdon Lane, Farnborough Road and Tysoe Road. The original focus of the village is the much smaller area of West End which branches off Tysoe Road, south of the Grange. The site of the original church and graveyard and their Victorian replacements are all in this part of the village.

It is a general characteristic in the older parts of the village that plots are relatively deep and narrow, typically 50 to 60 metres by 10 to 20 metres wide. Most buildings face the road and garaging, outhouses, yards and secondary activities are accommodated at the backs of the plots. This contributes to reasonably continuous frontages, even though in places such as Tysoe Road houses are set back up to 40 metres. On Langdon Lane they are right on the roadside and in West End they are set back only 5 metres or so, but in these locations they front generous green spaces.

These features of the older village layout generate a feeling of spaciousness and with many strong lines of mature trees and field boundaries elsewhere defined with walls and layered hedges.

The three hides mentioned previously belonging to `Church of Coventry` later came to the Bishop, Roger de Clinton who gave two of these hides to the Monks of Radmore in King Stephen’s time. The other hide went to Geoffrey de Clinton who then presented it to the Monks for the sake of his soul and his ancestors. There was much passing around of these hides which eventually settled with the Monks of Stoneleigh who had “Egge Grange” in Radway (grange meaning farm, house or land) on the lower part of Edge Hill. The monks at Radway were given free warren and were granted sanction to the appropriation to the Abbey of Radway and the vicarage.

Radway was divided as Uptown and Downtown with the middle, where the church and old school house still stand was `the City`. The old church stood at the upper end of the village at the corner of the small village Green. When the old church was demolished, foundations of a previous one were discovered, a Norman Piscina and two Gargoyles which were dug up are now fixed to the tower of the present church. There was unusually a significant population of Quakers in Radway with a separate register kept. The first birth registered was Dec. 1701.

There was a meeting room and a burial ground in the Downtown part of the village. In 1937 this meeting house was owned by Mr William Elliott with the burial ground in his back garden. The water supply to Radway was quite naturally from the hills and wells. The monks were careful to secure the water supply from St Thomas’ well not far from where the Obelisk now stands. They also created four fish pools to aid food supply.

At the time of the battle of Edgehill 1642 Radway Grange was owned by John Washington, probably a great-uncle of George Washington – the first President of the United States of America. From him it went to the Goodwins and sold to a Sanderson Miller in 1715 for £3,671. The second Sanderson Miller planted the woods and built the Tower. In 1918 Mr Cox bought the Grange but was forced to split and sell off the estate by auction in 1922 due to losses. The grand sale included Radway Grange, described as Tudor Manor House, Park and Parklands as Lots 1 and 2 sold together as 140a. Great Grounds Farm of 208 Acres as lot 5. We know that Colonel Starkey bought Radway Grange.