History of Harvington Parish

Although now the largest of the four parishes in the benefice, in 1086 "Herferthun cum Wiburgestoke" was listed in the Domesday Book as having a population of only 10 households, smaller than any of the Lenches settlements and only slightly larger than Abbots Morton. Today no trace of Wiburgestoke remains. The name Harvington derives from the nearby ford over the river Avon and may have started as Herverton, Hereford or Herefordtun, the "farmstead near the ford [suitable for the passage] of the army" where "tun" indicates a farmstead or enclosure and "here" is the Old English word for army. The ford over the Avon can still be seen, although it is no longer open to traffic.

Village websites: www.harvingtontrust.co.uk

Images of Harvington.

The modern village of Harvington is formed from the original village, centred around the parish church of St James the Great, and the hamlet of Harvington Cross, which developed during the 19th century at the crossroads on the Evesham-Alcester road. The village has expanded during the 20th century and now contains approximately 700 houses, a far cry from the 10 households of the Domesday Book.

The manor of Harvington belonged to the estates of the abbey church of St Mary, Worcester. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries, ownership of the manor was granted to the Dean and Chapter of Worcester and remained with them until the 19th century when it as taken over by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

19th and 20th centuries: Transport and education

Unlike the other villages in the benefice, Harvington could be approached by river and by rail. During the 19th and early part of the 20th centuries, the village had a wharf on the River Avon, probably situated somewhere near the modern lock. There was also a ferry across the river, close to the site of the ford.

The Evesham and Redditch Railway Company brought the railway to Harvington in the 1860s, and the village was served by a station on the Evesham-Alcester line, part of the Midland Railway. The railway closed in the early 1960s and the station has now been converted into a private house.

The village school was established during the middle of the 19th century, at the instigation of the Revd. A.H. Winnington-Ingram. The exact date when the school opened is uncertain, but it was between 1850 and 1855: the Worcestershire Records Office possesses papers dated 1847-1851 concerned with the establishment of the school, while a Gazetteer of Worcestershire compiled in 1855 lists Harvington as possessing a "modern-built National School" with around 40 pupils.

Lock on the river Avon near Harvington

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