Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire Genealogy

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Guide to Stratford Upon Avon history, family history, and genealogy: parish registers, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.

Stratford RSC.jpg

History[edit | edit source]

Stratford town council coat of arms
Stratford location in the England

Stratford Upon Avon (Stratford) has Anglo-Saxon origins, and developed as a market town during the medieval period. In 1196 Stratford was granted a charter from King Richard I to hold a weekly market in the town, giving it its status as a market town. As a result, Stratford experienced an increase in trade and commerce as well as urban expansion, making Stratford over 800 years old. The name is a combination of the Old English strǣt, meaning "street", and ford, indicating a site at which a road forded a river.

Stratford is located on the broad alluvial plain of central England. To the west, the land drops off slowly toward the River Severn valley. Stratford is at the lowest place on the River Avon that can be forded at most times of the year. The River Avon itself slowly winds down to Tewkesbury where it enters the Severn River. The districts around Stratford have been famous for generations for fruit tree growing and sheep herding.

During Stratford's early expansion into a town, the only access across the River Avon into and out of the town was over a wooden bridge, thought to have been constructed in 1318. However, the bridge could not be crossed at times due to the river rising and was described by antiquarian John Leland as "a poor bridge of timber and no causey [causeway] to it, whereby many poor folks and other refused to come to Stratford when Avon was up, or coming thither stood in jeopardy of life." In 1480, a new masonry arch bridge was built to replace it called Clopton Bridge, named after Hugh Clopton who paid for its construction. The new bridge made it easier for people to trade within Stratford and for passing travelers to stay in the town. [1]

For most of its history, Stratford lay in the shadow of larger towns and cities in the area. Such places as Warwick, Leamington Spa, and Worcester were of much greater significance. The town itself was the central market town for local produce from neighboring villages such as Snitterfield, Aston Cantlow, Hampton Lucy, and Luddington.

It was not until 1769 when the actor David Garrick organized a 3 day extravaganza of Shakespeare's works, that the phenomenon of "Bardolatry" was started, and that has continued to this day.

Resources[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries (Civil)[edit | edit source]

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Parishes[edit | edit source]

While Stratford is a small city, and is part of the Diocese of Coventry, it has a number of Anglican Churches. These follow:

The Church of the Holy Trinity, Shakespeare's Church
Old Town
Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 9BG

All Saints Luddington, Luddington
1 Church Close
Luddington, Warwickshire, CV37 9SJ

St Peter Ecumenical Centre
Drayton Avenue
Bishopton, Warwickshire, CV37 9PS

St. James the Great
Church Road
Snitterfield, Warwickshire, CV37

Shakespeare's family originated in the village of Snitterfield, about 3 miles from Stratford.

Non Conformists[edit | edit source]

There are a number of other church groups in the Stratford area:

  • Baptists
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is located in Redditch
  • Christian Science
  • Methodists
  • Roman Catholic

Non Christian Groups include:

  • Buddhist Center
  • Hindu Temple
  • Muslim Mosque

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The following link provides access for Stratford:

For outlying villages, the following link can be used:

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Newspapers for Stratford:

Occupations[edit | edit source]

Historically, Stratford was a major center for the movement of trade by the British Canal System. In addition it was the Market Town for the local farming communities, and had a lively stock-market and produce market.

Today this has somewhat diminished, and Stratford has looked for other areas to provide occupations for its citizens.

Tourism is now the major occupation for the town, and is built totally around the phenomenon of William Shakespeare, receiving between 2.5 million and 3 million visitors annually. There are, nominally, three theaters run by the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company, which attract large audiences and income for the town.

Other industries in the town include boat building and maintenance, bicycles,[39] mechanical and electrical engineering, food manufacture, Information Technology, call centers and service sector activities, a large motor sales sector, industrial plant hire, building suppliers, market gardening, farming, storage and transport logistics, finance and insurance, and a large retail sector. [2]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Stratford-upon-Avon" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 19 February, 2017.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Stratford-Upon-Avon," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, accessed 26 February, 2017.