The Village of Ilmington
Ilmington lies in the far South of Warwickshire, approximately 5 miles north-east of the market town of Chipping Campden and 7 miles south of Stratford on Avon and very close to the borders of three other counties - Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Oxfordshire.
Ilmington is a beautiful village mainly built of warm honey coloured local Cotswolds limestone nestling at the foot of the Campden hills, in particular Windmill Hill, surrounded by green fields and classed as part of the Cotswolds area of outstanding natural beauty.
It is totally unspoilt with old stone cottages and a village green, the village shop and the old church where bells still ring out over the orchard as they have done for many years and it used to be a centre of folk dancing.
There is a restored Manor House, the beautiful gardens of which are normally open to the public twice a year. There are two very good Inns, the Howard Arms and the Red Lion.
Visitors to the village can walk around looking at the best features including the Norman church of St. Mary which is set beyond a quiet small pathway. Once through the 16th-century porch and into the church you will find splendid oak pews and other furnishings. These were installed in the 1930's and are the work of master-craftsman, Robert Thompson (mouseman), whose descendants still produce stout oak furniture in his original workshop in the small village of Kilburn at the bottom of the steep slopes of the far-off North Yorkshire moors. Thompson's furniture include a unique signature of a carved mouse and there are 11 mice carved upon the Ilmington oak within the church.
The village lies just beneath Ilmington Downs, The highest point in Warwickshire is on Ilmington Downs. There is an almost uninterrupted 360 degree magnificent view across the countryside.
The village has several amenities including a primary school; Ilmington Church Of England Junior and Infants School and a village hall . There is also a playing field where sporting events and the summer fair are held. Ilmington is home to the Ilmington Revolution FC.
The parish church of ST. MARY consists of a chancel with a small north vestry, nave, north and south transepts, south porch, and west tower.
The building dates from about the middle of the 12th century, when it had a chancel and a nave of the present size. The west tower was the first addition, late in the same century. Early in the 13th century the chancel was rebuilt; its width and the thickness of its walls are doubtless those of the 12th century, but its length was increased. The north transept appears to have originated in the 13th century as a short aisle chapel with an arcade of two 8 to 9 ft. bays, but the transept was apparently enlarged in the 15th century when the arcade was altered from two bays into one large bay with the re-use of the older material. Most likely the south transept was then added to complete the crossshaped plan, but it has been almost entirely rebuilt in modern times (circa 1846). The clearstory of the nave was a mid-late-14th-century addition but the roof shows no detail earlier than the 16th century. The top stage of the tower is a late-15th-century heightening and the south porch an early-16th-century addition. The church was restored in 1846, apparently rather drastically; further repairs were done in 1911, when the blocked tower archway was reopened and the nave roof opened out. The roof had to be repaired again in 1939 owing to the ravages of the death-watch beetle.
There are no roads to the church It can only be reached by footpaths between the cottages. One of the treasures in the church is this embroidered Apple Map.
The Apple Map was idea of the late June Hobson, an artist and gardener, who lived in the village and inspired old and young alike to embroider the map. The map is an exact copy of old maps which show where all the orchards were. The project came out of several successful Apple Days in the village.
Ilmington Apple Day - An easy walk to celebrate Ilmington’s apple heritage starts with a guided viewing of the famous Apple Map in St Mary’s Church, then a search for some of the 38 varieties grown in the village, hundreds of people turn out celebrate Ilmington's Apple Days event highlighting the village's heritage of small orchards.
The Apple Walk was devised by children at the village primary school, working on the 1922 map that shows how the village was unusually rich in orchards. The walk is only a mile long, but steep with stiles, and could be muddy. So there’s an easy alternative walk, on the level and definitely no mud. The famous Apple Map will normally be on display in Saint Mary’s Church.
The village is lucky to have two welcoming Inns – where log fires burn in winter and good quality bar or restaurant food is served in a friendly atmosphere. The Red Lion and The Howard Arms. A place to stay to be recommended is Folly Farm B&B and for provisions Ilmington has a community shop open 7 days a week.
The Ilmington Morris Men are based in the South Warwickshire village of Ilmington and dance the traditional dances which have evolved in the village over 300 years.
They practice on Wednesday evenings in Ilmington Village Hall during the winter and dance around the local villages and towns on Wednesday evenings in the summer.
The traditional Ilmington Morris Men come from the village of Ilmington although mainly a continuous tradition of Morris Dancing has been recorded within the village for more than 350 years, there have been a number of significant periods of revival of their own unique dances, which number 24, including a broom dance (believed to have come from nearby Blackwell) originally danced by Sam Bennett (Fiddler) from the early 1900’s. Sam's original Hobby Horse (named affectionately Sam), now the oldest in the country, was made in 1899. It is still active with the side on many occasions.
Ilmington has its own village tennis club with two all weather courts and visiting players are welcome. They also have an artificial wicket which seems to be very popular with the cricketers and a skateboard ramp in the playground. It started in 1949 when a few enthusiasts from Ilmington played now and then on a grass court at York Farm, and has grown to what it is today. Ilmington Multi-Sports Facility is owned by Ilmington Parish Council and managed by Ilmington Tennis and Multi-Sports Club. Funded in 1996 by the National Lottery, Sports & Arts, Stratford District Council, Ilmington Parish Council and fund raising by Ilmington Tennis Club.
Garden lovers will enjoy the benefit of being able to visit two wonderful and well known gardens on their doorstep – Hidcote (National trust) and Kiftsgate. Situated by Hidcote Bartrim and within yards of each other, from Easter to late October/beginning November the gardens are worth a visit any time during the season.
Nearby Gardens Open to the Public
Neighbouring Towns and Villages
Stratford-upon-Avon, Shipston-on-Stour, Chipping Campden and Broadway