When the Parish Council purchased Chedham’s Yard from Bill Chedham in February 2002 there was no time to do a feasibility study or consider the long-term challenges and costs of restoring this very special historic building with its architectural treasures hidden in the heart of Wellesbourne. They only knew that if they did not purchase it, a precious and unique window on part of the roots of our village would be lost for ever.
The next four years saw slow but steady progress in consulting various bodies and coming to decisions about the future of the yard. A major step forward was taken when Elaine Hughes was appointed Project Officer by the Parish Council in 2005 and PLB were appointed as consultants shortly after.
But the real excitement started and the pace got quicker when it was decided to enter the BBC Restoration Village competition in 2006. For the full story use the timeline below.
On August 6th 2005 the first open day took place at Chedham’s Yard; Wellesbourne Water Mill, the other historic site on the outskirts of this village, was also open concurrently. A period British Charabanc ran hourly between the two sites and a good time was had by all the visitors.
The Parish Council produced a leaflet during these months summarizing the importance and historic implications of Chedham’s Yard; it outlined essential work to be done and reasons for the proposed restoration. Volunteers were asked for; several notices appeared in the local press, particularly when the giant bellows were removed from the forge and taken to be restored by Robin Coleman the well-known saddler from Kenilworth.
Towards the end of the year a voluntary body of interested people called “The Friends of Chedham’s Yard” was formed.