Tucked in the shelter of the Dassett Hills, Fenny Compton can boast of linked prehistoric trackways nearby and signs of Iron Age settlement on Gredenton Hill.
The name Fenny Compton means “settlement in a marshy valley” and the ancient Jurassic Way above the valleys, followed the south-east boundary of Warwickshire along the scarp of the Cotswold hills, while the Salt Way used to bring salt in from Droitwich to the east Midlands and left Warwickshire on high ground just north of the village.
The arrival of the Oxford Canal in the late 1700s brought its first influx of newcomers to the village, as well as taking away its more adventurous and probably discontented village born.
The 1851 census shows a further influx of newcomers with the building of the railways. In fourteen railway huts and twelve hovels near the tunnel, including a Beer House, were families from as far afield as Kent, Norfolk and Ireland. Many houses in the village were bursting with extra lodgers who were mainly railway labourers and other houses were occupied by Journeymen carpenters, blacksmiths, wheelwrights and bricklayers, expanding an already thriving community with its five public houses and butchers, tailors, shoemakers, stone masons, school teachers and many others.
Many springs from the Burton Dassett Hills supply water to the area. The local people once collected water from the springs for medicinal purposes, especially for bathing the eyes as the Dassett water was always said to be of an exceptional quality.
Then in 1866 the “Water Company” was formed, locally financed with £2 shares, to collect water from one of these springs to a reservoir to supply forty consumers in the village. Still supplying some of the houses in the village today, this supply is now threatened by political and environmental technology.
Set on the very edge of Cotswold country, there are many houses in the village built in the soft honey Cotswold stone and the beautiful church of St Peter and St Clare is only one of two churches in England with this dedication.
The Fenny Compton Footpath Group has produced a nature walk around Fenny Compton which is available for you to download from the Parish Council website.