Aston Abbotts

(including the hamlet of Burston)

"The parish of Aston Abbotts, containing the village of the same name and hamlet of Burston, covers an area of 2198 acres, of which 263 acres are arable land producing crops of wheat, 1814 acres and laid down in grass, and there are 17 acres of woods and plantations. The soil is of sand and gravel, with a subsoil of sand." [© copyright of the editors of The Victoria Histories of the Counties of England]

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Bibliography

The following reference sources have been used in the construction of this page, and may be referred to for further detail. Most if not all of these volumes are available in the Reference section of the County Library in Aylesbury.

"Buckinghamshire Contributions for Ireland 1642", Wilson J., 1983, p 59.
"Buckinghamshire Returns of the Census of Religious Worship 1851", Legg E. ed., 1991, ISBN 0 901198 27 7.
"Domesday Book, Buckinghamshire", text and translation edited by John Morris, Phillimore & Co Ltd, ISBN 0 85033 168 4
"Magna Britannia: Buckinghamshire", Lysons S. and Lysons D., 1806, Vol. 3, pp 499-500.
"Royal Commission on Historical Monuments - An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Buckinghamshire", H.M.S.O, 1912/3
"The History and Antiquities of the County of Buckingham", Lipscomb G., 1847
"The Place-Names of Buckinghamshire", Mawer A. and Stenton F.M., 1925, pp 76.
"The Victoria History of the Counties of England: Buckinghamshire, Page W. ed., 1905-1928
"War Memorials and War Graves, Volume 2, Cottesloe Hundred", Quick P., 1995, , p 1.

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Cemeteries

The following Monumental Inscriptions are available as publications or as part of a Society library:

* = material held in a Society library is generally available for loan to all members either via post, or by collection at a meeting

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Census

In 1642 there were 26 people named in the tax returns for contributions for Ireland. Between them they were assessed at £1.14.9 of which sum Mr. William Hall contributed 10 shillings.

In 1798 the Posse Comitatus listed 57 men between the ages of 16 and 60 in Aston Abbotts.

In the earliest government census of 1801, there were 276 inhabitants in 60 families living in 55 houses recorded in Aston Abbotts.

Census Year Population
1801* 276
1811* 267
1821* 321
1831* 303
1841 356
1851 343
1861 311
1871 327
1881 290
1891 281
1901 290

* = No names were recorded in census documents from 1801 to 1831.
** = Census documents from 1911 to 2001 are only available in summary form. Names are witheld under the 100 year rule.

Microfilm copies of all census enumerators' notebooks for 1841 to 1891 are held at the Local Studies Libraries at Aylesbury and Milton Keynes, as well as centrally at the PRO. A table of 19th century census headcount by parish is printed in the VCH of Bucks, Vol.2, pp 96-101.

Availability of census transcripts and indexes.

  • 1851 - Full transcripts and indexes for Buckinghamshire are available on CD-ROM, hard copy and microfiche from the Buckinghamshire Family History Society.
  • 1861 - Available on CD-ROM with advanced search and mapping capabilities etc. from the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.
  • 1881
    • Available on CD-ROM from the Church of the Latter Day Saints, as part of the National 1881 Census Index.
    • Available on CD-ROM for Buckinghamshire, with advanced search and mapping capabilities etc. from Drake Software.
  • 1891 - Available on CD-ROM with advanced search and mapping capabilities etc. from the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.

Churches

You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Aston Abbotts area or see them printed on a map.

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Church History

St James the Great

Stands at the north end of the village. Was rebuilt in 1865-6 but the west tower which is of rough ashlar is of the late 15th or early 16th century and there is some 14th century work which has been reset in the chancel.

There are five bells. The first, second, and fourth, by Anthony Chandler 1652. There is a plain, possibly 17th century or earlier, chest in the tower and at the west end another chest with curved lid bound with floriated bands and studded with nails, in front two enriched moulded panels, on the lid an inscription and date, 1695. The 15th century font has a plain octagonal bowl, octagonal base, broach-stopped on a square plinth. There is a piscina in the south wall of the chancel, with moulded pointed head, apparently 15th century.

Details of the stained glass in the church can be found on the following web sites (the site includes many photos):

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Church Records

The original copies of the Aston Abbotts parish registers have been deposited in the Buckinghamshire Record Office in Aylesbury, and they hold the following years:

Event Dates covered
Christenings 1559 - 1953
Marriages 1559 - 1990
Burials 1559 - 1983

Copies or indexes to the parish registers are available from societies as follows:

Event
Society Library*
Dates covered
Society
Christenings
1559 - 1837
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
Burials
1559 - 1837
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
Marriages
1559 - 1837
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society

* = material held in a Society library is generally available for loan to all members either via post, or by collection at a meeting

An ecclesiastical census was carried out throughout England on 30 March 1851 to record the attendance at all places of worship. These returns are in the Buckinghamshire Record Office and have been published by the Buckinghamshire Record Society (vol 27). The returns for Aston Abbotts showed the following numbers:

Church Attendance
Aston Abbotts, St James the Great 36 - Morning General Congregation
34 - Morning Sunday Scholars
70 - Morning Total

65 - Afternoon General Congregation
35 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars
100 - Afternoon Total

Aston Abbotts, Indepenent and
Baptist Chapel
103 - Morning General Congregation
17 - Morning Sunday Scholars
120 - Morning Total

17 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars
17 - Afternoon Total

19 - Evening General Congregation
19 - Evening Total

Aston Abbotts, Primitive
Methodist Chapel
112 - Afternoon Total

172 - Evening Total

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Description and Travel

In 1927 "The Victoria History of the Counties of England: Buckinghamshire" states as follows:

At Aston Abbotts the land is high, rising to 468ft. above the ordnance datum at a point north of the village, whence extensive views can be obtained of the surrounding country. The village, which includes several buildings of the 16th and 17th centuries, is small and compact, with a small green in the centre, on the north side of which is the church. Near by is the vicarage, a substantial building dating from c. 1830. The present school was built in 1874, the former one together with five ancient cottages having been pulled down. There is an Independent chapel, built about 1839, and a Primitive Methodist chapel dating from 1862.

Slightly to the west of the village is the site of the ancient country house of the Abbotts of St Albans, from whom the parish derived its distinctive name.The present house, known as the Abbey, is a modern building of brick covered with stucco, having been practically rebuilt in the 19th century. Some of the walls, however, are of exceptional thickness, and may be part of the original building. The house stands in grounds containing a sheet of water, with a view over the town and vale of Aylesbury. It was once occupied by Sir James Clark Ross, discoverer of the Magnetic Pole in 1831, who died here in 1862. It is now the property and residence of Lieut.-Col. Henry Mitchell Sholto Douglas.

To the south-west of the Abbey is Windmill Hill, an elevation of 440ft. The hamlet of Burston lies about a mile south-west of Aston Abbotts, and consists of Lower Burston and Upper Burston, the farms respectively of Mr W. H. Denchfield and Mr Pargeter. [© copyright of the editors of The Victoria Histories of the Counties of England]

Aston Abbotts was described in 1806 in "Magna Britannia" as follows:

Aston Abbotts, in the hundred of Cotslow, lies about 5 miles nearly north of Aylesbury. The manor, which had belonged to the abbey of St Albans, was granted by King Henry VIII. to John Lord Russell: not long afterwards it became the property of the Dormer family, from whom it passed by a female heir to the Stanhopes, and is now the property of the Earl of Chesterfield. The manor-house which is pleasantly situated, was occupied by the late Colonel Freemantle.

This parish is in the peculiar jurisdiction of the Archdeacon of St Alban's, and in the diocese of London: Lord Chesterfield is patron of the vicarage. The parish has been inclosed by an act of parliament, passed in 1795, when an allotment of land was assigned to the vicar, in lieu of the vicarial, and a considerable portion of the great tithes to which he was entitled.

Burston-house in this parish, was the feat of a branch of the Lees: Cromwell Lee, a younger son of Sir Anthony Lee of Burston, compiled a very bulky Italian Dictionary, now in the library of St John's College in Oxford, of which he was a member; he died in 1601. The old mansion was nearly rebuilt by Sir Henry Lee, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, but left by him in an unfinished state, and has never since been completed: it is occupied as a farm-house, and is now the property of Mr William Leader, who purchased it, in 1802, of Lord Dillon, the representative of the Lee family.

You can see pictures of Aston Abbotts which are provided by:

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Gazetteers

Ask for a calculation of the distance from Aston Abbotts to another place.

Click here for a list of nearby places.

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Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Aston Abbotts has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.

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History

In the time of Edward the Confessor a certain Danish chief called Tolf, or Wolf, held land which was called Eastun (Aston) from the king. He gave this land with the kings consent 'to the holy church of Alban the martyr' where he wished to be buried.

At the time of the Domesday Book (1086) the Abbot held Aston Abbotts himself. The manor lay within the Lordship of St Alban's church. The manor was assessed at 10 hides and was held as one manor and remained in the possession of the abbey until the dissolution (1539). The following year it was granted to John Lord Russell by whom it was alienated two months later to Sir Robert Dormer, who afterwards obtained Grove manor with which Aston Abbotts has since been held, the manorial rights, at the time of the writing of the Victoria County History, were both vested in Lady Wantage.

During the Second World War The Abbey, home of Captian Morton,  was used as a residence for  the President of Czechoslovakia  Edvard Benes.

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Names, Geographical

  • Aston Abbotts - 'East farm,' but why 'east' it is difficult to say, unless the name was fairly late in origin and arose from its being the most easterly farm of the Abbey of St Alban's, to whom it belonged in Domesday Book.
  • Burston - is believed to mean 'Briddel's thornbush'.