Stockton Parish Council
History of the Parish
History of the Parish
The name of Stockton was first recorded in 1272 and could have two origins. It could mean a fenced enclosure or it could derive from “Stoke", a dwelling place.
The main source of employment before the middle of the 19th century was agriculture but as this lost a lot of its importance due to cheaper imports from abroad, it was replaced by the extractive industries of lime, bricks and cement. Lime works were first recorded in the area about 1770, the lime being used in making mortar for bricklaying before cement was used. There was a large increase in the number of quarries from about 1800 onwards, such as Griffins and Nelsons to the east of the village in an area now called “Cally Pits" and some remains of the quarry buildings can still be seen. This quarry closed in 1949 and the quarries have now reverted to nature and a butterfly conservation area is being developed. Limestone was excavated from the area now occupied by the Blue Lias Industrial Estate in a quarry operated by Greaves, Bull & Lakin soon after the Warwick to Napton canal was opened in the 1790's. A tunnel under the road for a tramway used to connect the quarry workings on both sides of the road. A company shop (now chairmaker Lawrence Neal's premises), a village hall and a working men's club and most of the houses in Victoria Terrace, Napton Road, George St, Elm Row and Greaves Cottages were funded by the cement companies. When the quarry at Cally closed there still remained the larger quarry at Long Itchington, initially Kays and then the Rugby Portland Cement Company and now owned by Cemex. The quarry is now used for the extraction of clay that is transported to the Cemex plant in Rugby. The name “Portland Cement" comes from its resemblance to the natural portland stone, a limestone from the Isle of Portland in Dorset. A low point in the history of the village was the long-running strike over holiday pay and bonuses at Nelsons in 1924 when the strikers were dismissed and some evicted from their homes.
When the digging out of the clay was done by hand many fossils were uncovered including the complete remains of an Ichthyosaurus at Greaves quarry in 1898 that was estimated to be 20 million years old. This was exhibited in the Natural History Musuem. When mechanical digging came into use most of the fossils were broken up during the process.
The Canal and the Railway
The nearby Warwick to Napton canal, built around 1800, would also have played an important role in the economy of the village bringing in coal and transporting out bricks, lime and cement from the local works sites. Several local families can trace their ancestry back to the boat people who lived and worked on the canal barges. The London, Midland and Scottish railway was opened in the 1890's and the line from Leamington to Daventry stopped at Stockton and Napton Station at the end of Station Road. The line closed during the Beeching cuts in 1958 and although the station was demolished Station Road Cottages are still there.
The present school probably dates back to around 1906 but there was an earlier school behind the church which is recorded in 1824 and records show a school master being employed in 1832.
The stone which stands on the grassed triangle in High Street originally cam from Mount Sorrel in Leicestershire and was presumably left in that area by glacial action during the last Ice Age. It was said to be in ditch at the top of The Hill at one time but was first moved to a place outside the church and then to its present location by the Reverend Tuckwell. At one time is was protected by some fine iron railings but these were taken away for use in the WWII.
Street names and develoment of the village
Stockton was first settled in the area around the church. Very few of the old village houses remain and the village expanded rapidly from 1880 onwards with the estalishement of local cement works.
Post Office Lane used to accommodate the original post office in the fine double fronted house a few doors up from the Barley Mow (the current Post Office used to be a bakery).
Mount Pleasant is still called High Bully by some of the older village residents.
Tuckwell Close was built in the 1960's and was named after the Rev. Tuckwell, the rector from 1878 until 1893.
Beck's Lane probably took its name from John Beck who farmed thereabouts and the houses opposite the school field date from the early 1970's.
St Michael's Crescent was built in the 1950's and is named after the church.
Earles Close was built in the late 1960's and was named after Mr. Earle who gave six cottages in Post Office Lane to start a charity that still bears his name.
Manor Road was part of the mediaeval Manor House that originally had a moat around it and work on house building started in the 1930' but was halted by WWII. The Manor House may have been demolished following an outbreak of the Plague that also lead to a depopulation of the part of the village to the east of the church.
Victoria Terrace was built at the end of Queen Victoria's reign.
George Street was named after George Blyth who owned and managed Nelsons cement works.
Elm Row was named for the row of large elms that had to be taken down in the 1926 following an outbreak of Dutch Elm Disease, the stumps remaining until the 1940's. Elm Row and George Street were built between 1890 and 1926.
Greaves Cottages belonged to the Greaves, Bull and Lakin lime works.
Rectory Close is part of the former rectory grounds but sadly the beautiful 18th century Rectory was demolished in 1972.
The Church and its Incumbents
There are early references to a church in the reign of Henry I between 1100-1135. The original church would have been constructed of wood but the south wall, the tower and the arch leading to the chancel were rebuilt of lias stone around 1530. Other alterations took place in 1809 and 1862 using brown and red sandstone. Archedeacon Colley came to Stockton at the turn of the 19th century and could be desribed as a true eccentric. He wore his mitre and gown at all times and he had a glass topped coffin constructed that he used to be carried round the church in. He also constructed what today we would call a summerhouse that stood at the end of the Rectory garden. This had a speaking tube and those children who could recite their religious tracts correctly received an orange rolled down the tube. Another famous incumbent was the Reverend Tuckwell, known as the “Radical Parson", who championed the cause of his poorer parishioners. He gave up his church, or glebe land, to be used as allotments so that his parishioners could supplement their meagre income. These allotments stood on the footpath known as The Radical that carries on from Rectory Close and is probaly named in memory of Rev. Tuckwell. The last allotments were in use until the 1990's.