Keresley is a civil parish within Bablake ward in the north west of Coventry. It is one of only two areas of Coventry to have its own Parish Council (the other being Allesley).
Keresley began as a Saxon village. The Saxon word leah meant a clearing in a wood. The first part of the name Keresley may be a corruption of watercress, or it may be a corruption of a man’s name. The original settlement was at Keresley Green but Keresley Heath grew up in the 18th century. Keresley first appears in documents in the mid 12th century; at that time it was called Keresleia. In the Middle Ages Keresley seems to have been a reasonably large village (by the standards of the time) with a population of perhaps 150 in the 14th century.
For centuries Keresley was a small village near the large town of Coventry. Keresley had one inn, the Shepherd and Shepherdess, which was built in the 18th century. The present building dates from 1936. However in the 18th century Keresley flourished as an industrial village. Many of the inhabitants were farmers but some were weavers who wove wool for the Coventry cloth trade.
In 1801 Keresley had a population of 312 and this had risen to over 500 by the middle of the 19th century. Then in 1842 it was decided to build a new church at Keresley. The church of St Thomas in Keresley was consecrated in 1847. It was built of red sandstone donated by a man named T B Troughton from his quarry in Sandpits Lane. The church was built in the Early English style (an architectural style of the 13th century). The architect was Benjamin Ferry.
In the 19th century the Church of England ran schools called National Schools. One was built at Keresley in 1852. However it closed in 1944. Then in 1894 Keresley was given a parish council, which still exists today.
Meanwhile in the mid-19th century the hand weavers who worked in cottages in Keresley were replaced by machines in factories elsewhere. From the mid 19th century some wealthy people moved to Keresley away from the noise and dirt of Coventry. In 1894 a man named William Hillman who made bicycles (and later cars) built Keresley Hall. The Hare and Hounds pub also dates from the 19th century. However Keresley remained a quiet, agricultural village in Warwickshire. In 1871 the population of Keresley was 471. By 1901 it had risen to 536.
In 1911 the population of Keresley was still only 689. In that year the construction of Coventry Colliery by the Warwickshire Coal Company near to Keresley Green brought the focus of development back to that area. Although located outside the city boundary, the colliery was an important employer in the city until it closed in 1996.Kere
Keresley Parish Council website is keresley-pc.gov.uk
Keresley is currently undergoing major housing development as a result of the removal of large areas from the Green Belt.