Lilbourne is a small village located at the north-west corner of Northamptonshire, on its borders with both Warwickshire and Leicestershire.
The site was originally settled by the Saxons, and by the end of the dark ages had become an important trading centre - to the point that the Normans built a motte and bailey fort here in the late 1100s - of which the mounds can still be seen today, just opposite the Church.
The Church itself - seen here in a painting from a 300-year old lithograph - is one of the oldest in the area. Research indicates that parts of the chancel date back to Saxon times. Lilbourne has very well-defined mounds showing the formation of the Norman motte and bailey castle, and also some very clear ridge-and-furrow fields. To the north of the Church are the earthwork remains of a millpond and leat contructed in the Norman period.
Lilbourne once had a railway station sited just over the county river Avon border, into the neighbouring parish of Catthorpe, Leicestershire. The entire railway line & station closed on June 6th. 1966.
A field, on the Warwickshire side of the A5 Watling Street first surveyed c1910 as a possible airfield was privately built upon c1913, eventually becoming a WW1 grass airfield with the construction of hangars & service buildings, c1915, being de-commissioned c1920. The site continued to be utilised for several years after the war returning to usage as a private airfield.
In the mid 1920's the airfield & much of the surrounding landbecame what was known as Rugby Radio Station opening for transmission on January 1st. 1926. The national "time signal" was transmitted from an aerial suspended between two of the southern most, 820ft. high, masts until several years ago. The whole site will eventually be developed into housing, light industry & warehousingin the coming years.
On the Northamptonshire side of Watling Street & a few hundred yards to the north of the airfield, was the former site of the officers quarters. Many years afterwards, the land & some of these buildings were converted into a petrol filling station and cafe. During the late 20th. century, this area has been progressively developed into a large "truck-stop" with lorry parking, re-fuelling and catering facilities.
The community now numbers some 160 houses. Younger children go to school in the neighbouring village of Yelvertoft, in our own village mini-bus, whilst older pupils travel by coach to Guilsborough.
Our volunteer-driven mini-bus commutes two or three trips per week into Rugby, our nearest town. We have a modern village hall with an adjacent playing field, a Church and Chapel, but no longer a shop or post office in the village, also there is a well established motor repair and garage services including tyre fitting. (no fuel).
March 2014 saw the conversion of a private residence into a public house, located at the village end of Station Road. This family-run business has developed into a popular retreat for villagers & visitors alike. Whilst many public houses are closing elsewhere in the country, it is welcoming to see a new venture thrive in a somewhat difficult financial world.
New to the Village. A De-fibrillator unit has been installed outside the Village Hall & is fully operational.
24/7 HD CCTV recording devices monitor the Church, the Village Hall & surrounding areas.
Much of the surrounding area is farmland. An ever expanding DIRFT offers some local employment - but many villagers work in Rugby. Others find our proximity to the M1, M6 and A14 useful for commuting. The long awaited major roadworks re-modelling of junction 19 interchange are due to be completed ahead of schedule & should be fully open either by the end of 2016 or early 2017. It will be possible once again for direct access to local villages such as Swinford & beyond without diversions.
Visitors travelling to, or through the village, will inescapably notice an array of wind turbines. By the end of the year 2016, there will be six commercially active wind farms with a combined total of 37 turbines, generating upto just over, 74 MegaWatts of electrical power. Two of the five new Lilbourne turbines were raised late October 2014, with the remaining three in early November. The once familiar red aviation navigation lights on the former radio staion masts have metamorphosed & now appear as a mix of steady or flashing lights on some of the wind turbines.