Newton Regis and a Persistent Legend

Royal links

The main road and church in Newton Regis.
Caroline Smedley

The name Newton Regis commemorates the ownership by King Henry II (reigned 1154-1189). From the 17th century, possibly because at the time royalty was out of favour under the Commonwealth, the favoured name of the village was “Newton in the Thistles”. The name “Kings Newton” has also been used but much less commonly. Old documents from the 18th century often use “Newton in the Thistles otherwise Newton Regis” or vice versa. By the middle of the 19th century Newton Regis was the more usual version.

However the connection with kings does not stop with its name.


A legend, which cannot be proved but is often repeated, says that King Charles I prayed at the church in Newton Regis on the way to a battle. Historically this seems highly unlikely. I have read extensively about Charles I’s wanderings in Warwickshire and his presence in this part of the county is not recorded.

There is sometimes mention given to a fictional “Battle of Seckington” [a nearby village] to which Charles was supposed to be on his way when he stopped to pray at Newton. However this battle, if it happened at all, happened long before Charles I’s day, in the 8th century!

The story of the king’s visit was first printed, as far as I can ascertain, in Arthur Mee’s “Warwickshire” published in the “King’s England” series, 1946. I would love to know how he came by the idea!

I do know that the legend was not recorded in an early 20th century memoir and history of the village by a school teacher born in Newton Regis in 1846. Had he heard the story he would without doubt have repeated it. So I would dismiss it as a mistake on Arthur Mee’s part, but still the story persists, and by repetition it gains credence, true or not.

Anyone with any information to prove it, or where the story originated, please inform the writer.