Charwelton lies about 5 miles (8 km) south of Daventry in South Northamptonshire, England. The parish consists of the main village and the lost settlement of Church Charwelton, where the main village church still stands. Present day Charwelton Church was built in the 13th century and is a building both ancient and relatively modern. The church is popular with local parish inhabitants and sits in beautiful surroundings.
Charwelton’s name is derived from the River Cherwell which is a major tributary of the River Thames; the river is pronounced locally as it is spelt and gives its name to the Cherwell District in Oxfordshire. The difference in spelling and pronunciation between the village and the river remains a mystery but it is possible that the name differences were influenced by local dialect changes along the course of the river.
The River Cherwell rises from a pond at Cherwell Farm; originally the Cherwell ran from the arched cellar of the old farm house on the site however since the demolition of the house the pond seems to hold the spring of the Cherwell which starts in the ironstone hills at Hellidon, two miles (3 km) west of Charwelton. The river borders the village as a small brook, intersecting the A361 main road between Daventry and Banbury. Charwelton’s earliest surviving crossing over the river is a narrow Pack Horse Bridge, which is a Grade II listed building and also a Scheduled Ancient Monument and is believed to originate from the 15th century.
In 681 the village was known as Ceruelle, changing to Cearwellan (Welle Stream). In the Domesday Book it was known as Cerweltone and in 1110, Cerweltona.
The parish of Charwelton was once owned by three monasteries – Thorney (near Peterborough), Bittlesden (Buckinghamshire) and Bec in Normandy. Two of these had houses in Charwelton – Bittlesden, which owned the manor next to the church (the house is now known as Church House or Church Farm), and Thorney, which held the manor house on the site of the present Charwelton Hall which now stands close to the village. Church House was once the Rectory, and contains early 16th century panelling, an early 17th-century fireplace and a late 17th century staircase. To the north and east of the Church can be seen earthworks indicating the site of the old village which was moved to its present site at the time of the enclosures in the 15th century (Charwelton being one of the earliest villages in the county to be enclosed).
At the end of the 12th-century William and Ralf de Cheinduit granted the manor of Charwelton to the Cistercian Bittlesden Abbey in Buckinghamshire. The Abbey retained the manor until it surrendered all its properties to the Crown in the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1538.
West of the Church House are the remains of a set of medieval fish ponds that were fed by the river. Just east of the trackbed of the former railway line is a mill mound where a windmill would have stood.
The Great Central Main Line from the north of England to London Marylebone was built through the parish in the 1890s and opened in March 1899. The line crossed the river between Charwelton and Church Charwelton. An industrial railway brought ironstone from quarries at Hellidon to the main line at Charwelton station. The long demolished Charwelton Railway Station was built just east of the packhorse bridge. British Railways closed Charwelton Station in March 1963 and the line in September 1966.
The Jurassic Way long distance footpath between Banbury and Stamford passes through the village.