Hanbury Local History
Hanbury Village is situated 7 miles equi-distant between Burton upon Trent and Uttoxeter on a headland 250ft above the Dove Valley: there are magnificent views to the north over the flood plain of the River Dove towards the Weaver Hills and Derbyshire Dales. The village is not on a main road, but the A50 trunk road is 2 miles to the north at Sudbury: the A50 connects with the M6 to the west and the M1 to the east.
Hanbury is dominated by the 13th Century Parish Church of St Werburgh (see separate page) and the nearby Water Tower. The area is primarily farming country, and much of the land on the outskirts of the Parish belongs to The Duchy of Lancaster.
Local industry was centred on the nearby Fauld Alabaster and Gypsum mine, but modern mining methods have meant a huge reduction in the workforce. Mine workings stretch for 2 miles to the south and apart from the village centre, much of the land has been undermined. During the Second World War, disused mine tunnels were used by the Royal Air Force as a storage depot for bombs and munitions en route to Bomber Command airfields. On 27th November 1944, an underground bomb store exploded and 3,500 tons of high explosives ignited, devastating the local countryside for miles around. This was the largest explosion of the Second World War after the hydrogen bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 78 people lost their lives and a huge crater remains, some 250ft deep and 400 yards across. Please search on Google or Wikipedia for 'Fauld Explosion' for more information than can be shown here
There are several buildings of interest in the village. The Thatches, close to the church, dates from the 15th Century and was formerly a public house known as the Fighting Cock (the cock-fighting ground is now the back lawn of the old vicarage). The Infants' and Primary Village School was erected in 1848 at a cost of £850, paid for by public subscription. Sadly, the school closed in 1985 due to lack of numbers, but the building has been sympathetically converted into 3 dwellings. Also of note is the Cock Inn: the original pub was destroyed in 1944 by the Fauld explosion but when the Brewery rebuilt two pubs after the war, the building plans were mistakenly swapped. Our Cock Inn should have been built on a housing estate in Birmingham, where there is now, no doubt, a slightly out-of-place small village pub.
Nowadays, Hanbury houses a mixture of commuters (who work in cities as far away as Nottingham, Birmingham and Derby), people who work in the local towns and villages, and long-standing residents who have retired. It is a peaceful, friendly village where there are plenty of activities to interest most of our 500 Parishioners.