Parish History

Almeley is mentioned as a small village in the Domesday Book of 1086 and also in 14th-century “feet of fines” (property transactions). There is an entry for it in Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary of England in 1848. It has a largely fourteenth-century church, and is notable as the birthplace of Sir John Oldcastle, a Lollard sympathizer who was eventually executed for treason in 1417; he is presumed to be the basis for Shakespeare’s character of Falstaff.

One of the early Quaker meeting houses is to be found in Almeley Wootton, a hamlet about half a mile north of Almeley village, but within the parish. It was given to the Quakers in 1672 by its owner, Roger Prichard, and is still in use by Quakers today. Two of the Quakers who worshipped there (Roger’s son, Edward Prichard, and Edward’s brother-in-law, John Eckley) were involved with William Penn in setting up the colony of Pennsylvania in 1682 Almeley Quakers’ website.

Of historical interest are the Oldcastle (on the north-west side of the village) and Almeley Castle just south of the church. A brook, offering a reliable water supply, runs past both castles.  A third castle is situated in the hamlet of Woonton in the Parish near The Mere at a place called Hall Mote.

The whole parish has physical evidence of shrunken settlement at Woonton, Almeley Wootton,Hopleys Green, Upcott and Logaston, numbering over 100 buildings. There is also map evidence for these lost buildings, which appear to have disappeared by the mid 19th century. Finds in the Parish include Neolithic polished axe heads from Upcott, flint tools from various locations, Roman coins from Spearsmarsh and Eccles Alley, Roman Pottery from the Manor House area near the church, and coins of King John, Henry III, Edward I and most subsequent periods to modern times, indicating continuous occupation for over 4000 years.