Meriden is a village and civil parish in the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull, West Midlands, England. Historically, it is part of Warwickshire and lies between the cities of Birmingham and Coventry. It is located close to the Warwickshire border within a green belt of the countryside known as the Meriden Gap and is in the ecclesiastical parish of the Diocese of Coventry. The village is 6.5 miles (10 kilometres) east-northeast of Solihull, 6.5 miles (10.5 kilometres) west-northwest of Coventry and 5 miles (8 kilometres) east-southeast of Birmingham Airport. Birmingham city centre is 13.5 miles (22 kilometres) east-northeast of the village. Known as "Alspath" in the Domesday Book, it was historically thought to be the geographical centre of England until the early 2000s, after an analysis by the Ordnance Survey proved this to be incorrect.
The village gives its name to the Meriden parliamentary constituency, which was created in 1955 and covers the Meriden Gap. In the 2011 Census, the population of the Meriden parish was 2,719. The population is estimated to have risen to 3,096 by 2017.
Meriden is served by National Express West Midlands service X1 between Birmingham and Coventry and by Johnson's service X20 between Stratford, Solihull and Coventry. The latter also serves the nearest mainline station at Hampton-in-Arden.
Meriden was identified as the centre of England as early as 1829. That designation was shown to be inaccurate in 1920, when the first systematic attempt was made to validate the claim.
A grade II listed sandstone monument on the village green carries a plaque commemorating Meriden's status as 'Centre of England'. Traditionally known as the 'sandstone cross', a photograph from 1879 shows a garland that would have originally enclosed a cross on top of the monument, like the one at Hockwold cum Wilton. The garland was lost between 1879 and 1885. The cross was originally located in the old centre of the village, where the road initially came in from Berkswell before the junction was straightened in 1785. The monument was moved to the village green in 1822. It was moved yet again to its current position on the green in 1952–1953.
Also on the village green is a memorial bench to Walter MacGregor 'Robbie' Robinson (died 17 September 1956). He was also known as 'Wayfarer' and had a major role in promoting cycle touring for the general public in the UK from the 1920s onwards through writing, giving lectures and as a cycling role model. The bench was installed by the Cyclists' Touring Club.
The area has been occupied since the Stone Age, as evidenced by flints in the Blythe valley. Bronze Age swords have also been found in Meriden. In 43 AD, nearby Corley Rocks marked the southern limit of the cattle rearing Cornovii tribe.
The original name of the village was Alspath, meaning "Aelle's path" in Old English. The village was centred on the site of the parish church, overlooking the current village, at the Coventry end of Meriden.
Alspath is listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 as the property of Godiva, the former Countess of Mercia. For the few centuries after the conquest, the whole area was the Forest of Arden. The importance of the hilltop location of Alspath as the hub of the village declined as the 'king's highway' main route from London to Chester and Holyhead developed—in turn encouraging the development of Meriden. The name 'Meriden' derives from the Old English myrge, pleasant, and denu, valley. Between the 15th and 17th centuries, the name 'Meriden' gradually supplanted that of Alspath as the straggling settlement at the foot of the hill grew in importance.
In the late 11th century, the village was small and impoverished, with a population of only nine families (45 persons). The first mention of it as a separate hamlet was in 1230. By the time of Edward I (1272–1307) there was a thriving community 'worth encouraging' in the eyes of the Lord of Alspath. By the reign of Henry VIII, the village was growing more substantial and stretched from the foot of Meriden Hill to where the Bull's Head is now. Ogilivy's Traveller's Guide Book in 1675 describes Meriden as "... A scattering village consisting chiefly of inns". By 1686 the population had grown to 290 people. By 1772 there were 93 cottages and houses. In 1811 the village had 152 homes, 171 families and 817 people."
Meriden was a local distribution point in the 16th century cattle driving trade, with the pool at the centre of the old village used to water the animals. Cattle would rest in Meriden before continuing either to the cattle pens at the top of Meriden Hill for the Coventry cattle market, or towards the cattle market then held in Berkswell.
The path of the London-Chester/Holyhead road gained strategic and commercial importance over time. The section which ran through Coventry to the bottom of Meriden Hill became a turnpike in 1723. Thomas Telford renovated the whole route to Holyhead in 1810, lowering Meriden Hill and thus bypassing the Queen's Head Pub and the 'Old Road'. This 'Telford road' remained the main Coventry to Birmingham Road until 1958, when the village was bypassed by the A45 dual carriageway. The old, narrow road past the Queen's Head is the site of the pre-Telford turnpike.
The shape of the current center of the village, around the green, was another product of enclosure post-1785. Whilst the west end of the village had previously been the meeting place of lanes coming in to the main London-Chester road from Fillongley, Maxstoke and Packington; the ultimate shape was completed with another enclosure provision "staking out a new road to Hampton-in-Arden across the Heath".
The data used is based on the CV7 7 Postcode District. Some roads of Meriden may lie in other postcode districts as other areas may reside in this postcode sector.
Due the small sample size, the data can become compromised due to fluctuating transaction levels or unusual transactions. As such, the data provided is for guidance only and must not be relied upon.
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