• Richard Prosser

Diasporan Diary

Updated: Aug 21, 2019

Sunday 18th August 2019. Napton Marina, Napton-on-the-Hill, Warwickshire

Napton-on-the-Hill is a village about 15 miles from here. It dates back to ages ago. The Domesday Book records the village name in 1086 as "Neptone".

The name Napton comes from the Old English words cnaepp meaning 'hilltop' and tun meaning 'settlement'. The hill on which the village is built is just over 500 feet (150 m) above sea level, commanding the remainder of the parish which for the most part is at a height of about 300 feet (91 m).

The population today is about 1,000, roughly the same as it was in 1400AD. How many of the locals are original inhabitants I don't know.

The Village Store, which occupies the old Post Office, sells everything from wines and spirits, to Lotto tickets, to buffalo milk ice cream. There's a cafe included. By included I don't mean attached - there are people sitting having breakfast at tables that are situated in the aisles, as you browse your way through jars of preserves, gumboots, fluffy stuffed cats, locally made bling, household cleaners, and free-range pork and lentil sausages.

Wiki has some interesting history on the place;


The first section of the Oxford Canal from Hawkesbury Junction was completed in 1771 and it reached Napton in 1774. This made Napton the head of navigation for coal supplies to be forwarded by road to Banbury, Bicester, Woodstock and Oxford until 1777, when the canal reached Fenny Compton which then took over as the trans-shipment point.

Today the canal boat trade is still booming, but centres on tourism and recreation rather than freight.

The village itself towers above the canal and locks, from the lofty heights of the hill:

Some friendly locals came to say hello while we were parked up looking like bloody tourists.

Farming is most of what happens in this part of the world, and most of it it is pretty much what you'd expect in New Zealand.

Except with more hedgerows and fewer seven-wire fences.

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