Astwood

"Astwood. The county's Farthest East, it has Jacobean timbered cottages, and is a mile from the church, a curiosity in Dove Cottage a house which was once the manor dovecot" [Buckinghamshire, by Arthur Mee]
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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", Arthur Mee, Hodder & Stoughton Ltd.
"Buckinghamshire Contributions for Ireland 1642", Wilson J., 1983.
"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.
"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 History of Buckinghamshire", Reed Michael, 1993, ISBN 0 85033 637 6.
"The Place-Names of Buckinghamshire", Mawer A. and Stenton F.M., 1925.
"The Victoria History of the Counties of England: Buckinghamshire, Page W. ed., 1905-1928
"War Memorials and War Graves, Volume 1, Newport Hundred", Peter Quick, p 1.

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Cemeteries

War memorials in Astwood have been transcribed by Peter Quick and published by the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.

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Census

In 1642 there were 34 people named in the tax returns for contributions for Ireland. Between them they were assessed at £2.2.2 of which sum Mr Barker contributed 5 shillings.

In 1798 the Posse Comitatus listed 38 men between the ages of 16 and 60 in Astwood.

In the earliest government census of 1801, there were 160 inhabitants in 32 families living in 32 houses recorded in Astwood.

Census Year Population
1801* 160
1811* 209
1821* 263
1831* 268
1841 243
1851 268
1861 247
1871 268
1881 222
1891 187
1901 168

* = 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 Astwood area or see them printed on a map.

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Church History

St Peter

The Parish Church of St Peter, stands at west end of the village and has walls of stone rubble, earlier in the 20th century the roofs were covered with lead except those of the chancel and porch which were tiled, but during the Second World War the church was damaged by bombs and the old south porch was almost destroyed and the roof was badly damaged. This damage has now been repaired. The north, south and east walls of the Nave are probably of late 12th or early 13th century date, but only reused stones in the chancel arch and inside the tower show detail of that period. In the 14th century the South Aisle was added when the chancel was rebuilt and the West Tower was built circa 1400 which cut off several feet at the end of the nave and destroying part of the western-most arch of the South arcade. The chancel was rebuilt again in the 15th century, and the clearstorey was added to the nave in the 16th century when the south porch was rebuilt for the first time. The whole church was restored in the nineteenth century.

There are three bells, the first one is inscribed 'Sancta Katerina Ora Pro Nobis', the second one 'Sit Nomen Domini Benedictum', both by John Walgrave, these are from the early 15th century; the third was by James Keene in 1631. There is a 17th century chest in the south aisle with three carved panels in front. The 14th century font has an octagonal bowl chamfered at the bottom, with a square stem which is carved with various designs including a Stafford knot on the south side. There is a monument in the chancel on the north wall to Samuel Cranmer, who was a collateral descendant of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury in 1640, and to Mary (Wood) his second wife. In the south-east window sill of the chancel there is a piscina with a plain circular basin, probably of the 14th century. There is a second one in the south aisle at the east end of the south wall, with a circular basin and having chamfered jambs and a trefoiled head, also of the 14th century. In the south aisle there is a stoup near to the south doorway, formed as a recess with straight-sided pointed head.

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Church Records

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

Event Dates covered
Christenings 1666 - 1914
Marriages 1666 - 1840
Burials 1666 - 1812

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

Event
Society Library*
Dates covered
Society Publications
Dates covered
Society
Christenings
1600 - 1901
1600 - 1901
Buckinghamshire Family History Society
Marriages
1575 - 1837
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
Marriages
1575 - 1901
1575 - 1901
Buckinghamshire Family History Society
Burials
1600 - 1901
1600 - 1901
Buckinghamshire Family History 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 Astwood showed the following numbers:

Church Attendance
Astwood, St. Peter 45 - Morning General Congregation
47 - Morning Sunday Scholars
92 - Morning Total

77 - Afternoon General Congregation
44 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars
121 - Afternoon Total

Astwood, Indepenent Chapel 30 - Morning Sunday Scholars
30 - Morning Total

77 - Afternoon General Congregation
77 - Afternoon Total

116 - Evening General Congregation
116 - Evening Total

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Description and Travel

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

This parish covers 1281 acres, of which 615 are arable and 564 permanent grass. There are 28 acres of woods, Ramacre Wood, Wallace Wood, Snakes Meadow and Jacobs Wood being the names of small woods in the parish. The soil is strong clay, and the subsoil clay, the principal crops being wheat, beans, barley and oats. the slope of the ground varies little, being from 303 ft. to 324 ft. above the ordnance datum.

The village is small, and consists mainly of thatched cottages built round the green. At the west end of the green, in one of the prettiest churchyards in the county, is the parish church. Opposite the church porch is the base of an ancient stone cross. South of the church is the vicarage, an early 19th century building. The house which it replaced has been described in a terrier of 1674 as containing 'four Bays of Building covered with straw'. [© copyright of the editors of The Victoria Histories of the Counties of England]

Astwood was described in 1806 in "Magna Britannia" as follows:

Astwood in the hundred and deanery of Newport, lies six miles north-east of Newport Pagnell, on the road to Bedford. The manor descended from the Paganells, who possessed it immediately after the conquest, to the Somerys, Suttons, and Botetorts; being afterwards divided, one moiety became the property of the Rokeleys, and (being called the manor of Rokeleys, or Church-end) passed to the families of Alban, Ingelton, Tyrell, and Chibnall. It was sold by the latter in 1667, to trustees, for the use of John Thurloe, formerly Cromwell's secretary, then by attainder rendered incapable of acquiring or possessing any estate in his own name in England. Thurloe's daughter brought it in marriage to Francis Brace, attorney-at-law, whose son was the proprietor in 1735: it is now the property of Robert Trevor esq. The other moiety of the manor constituting the estate, called the manor of Astwood-Bury, passed from the Boterots to the Lords Zouche, of Harringworth, and afterwards to the families of Hardwood and Norwood. Tyringham Norwood esq. whose ancestor acquired this manor by purchase, in the year 1540, sold it about the year 1620, to Samuel Cranmer esq. a collateral descendant of the archbishop. Sir Cæsar Cranmer, and Mr. Brace, are both described by the editors of the Magna Britannia, published in 1720, as having seats at Astwood. The manor of Astwood-Bury is now the property of William Lowndes Stone esq. whose grandfather William Lowndes esq. purchased it before the year 1752. The old mansion at Astwood-Bury, described by Browne Willis as one of the finest old seats in the county, (and said to have been built by one of the Lords Zouche,) was pulled down in 1799.

In the church are memorials of the families of Cranmer and Lowndes; among the latter is the monument of William Lowndes esq. auditor of the Exchequer, who died in 1775: he was son of Mr Lowndes, secretary to the Treasury: the great tithes of this parish, which were given by the founder of Tickford priory to that monastery, are now the property of Mr. Trevor: the vicarage is in the gift of the crown.

You can see pictures of Astwood which are provided by:

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Gazetteers

Ask for a calculation of the distance from Astwood 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 Astwood 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 1086 at the time of the Domesday Survey there is no mention of Astwood by name, but it is probable that Astwood Bury Manor may be included in the unnamed 4 hide manor which William Fitz Ansculf then held in Moulsoe Hundred.

He was lord of Newport Pagnell, head of the honour of Newport Pagnell, part of barony of Dudley, of which Astwood Bury was held circa 1240 with Little Crawley. The dependents of Astwood Bury on the manor of Newport Pagnell continued into the 18th century.

Astwood was one of the earlier Buckinghamshire parishes to be enclosed, this took place in 1840.

see also 'Descriptions and Travel'

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Names, Geographical

Astwood, originally Estwode means 'East wood'.