"Boarstall lies in the hilly and wooded district on the border of Oxfordshire. Boarstall is a pleasant excursion from Brill (1 1/2 m. E.). The pituresque and maasive gateway, with embattled turrets, is now the only remains of Boarstall House. Boarstall, or Borrestalle, in ancient times lay within the important Forest of Bernwood, which began near Brill and extended into Oxfordshire..." [Buckinghamshire, by E. S. Roscoe]


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", E.S. Roscoe, London Methuen & Co Ltd, 1935.
"Buckinghamshire Returns of the Census of Religious Worship 1851", Legg E. ed., 1991, ISBN 0 901198 27 7.
"Magna Britannia: Buckinghamshire", Lysons S. and Lysons D., 1806.
"Dictionary of English Place-Names", A.D. Mills, Oxford University Press, 1997, ISBN 0 19 28131 3
"The Victoria History of the Counties of England: Buckinghamshire", Page W. ed., 1905-1928
"War Memorials and War Graves: Ashendon Hundred, Volume 5", Peter Quick and Bertrand Shrimpton



War Memorials

War memorials in Boarstall have been transcribed by Peter Quick and Bertrand Shrimpton, and published in a booklet titled "War Memorials and War Graves: Ashendon Hundred, Volume 5", available from the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.



In 1798 the Posse Comitatus listed 45 men between the ages of 16 and 60 in Boarstall.

In the earliest government census of 1801, there were 179 inhabitants in 40 families living in 34 houses recorded in Boarstall.

Census Year Population of Boarstall
1801* 179
1811* 188
1821* 231
1831* 268
1841 252
1851 243
1861 255
1871 244
1881 209
1891 188
1901 151

* = 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.


Church History

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


Church Records

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

Event Dates covered
Christenings 1640 - 1812
Marriages 1640 - 1836
Banns 1826 - 1888
Burials 1640 - 1813

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

Society Library*
Dates covered
1716 - 1812
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
1640 - 1812
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
1717 - 1812
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 Boarstall showed the following numbers:

Church Attendance
Boarstall, St James 31 or 32 - Morning General Congregation
13 - Morning Sunday Scholars
44 or 45 - Morning Total

42 - Afternoon General Congregation
15 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars
57 - Afternoon Total

Boarstall, Independent and
Congregational Meeting House
36 - Evening General Congregation


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Boarstall which are provided by:




Historical Geography

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



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

BORSTALL, in the hundred of Ashendon and deanery of Wendover, lies about nine miles north-west of Thame, in Oxfordshire, and about 13 miles west of Aylesbury. Tradition says, that the site of this manor was given by King Edward the Confessor to one Nigel, for his services in slaying a wild boar, which infested the forest of Bernwood, to be held by cornage, or the service of a horn; and that the mansion built by him on this land was called Boar-stall, in memory of the slain boar. It appears from an inquisition taken in the year 1265, that Sir John Fitz-Nigel or Fitz-Neale then held a hide of arable land, called the Dere-hide, at Borstall, and a wood, called Hull-Wood, by grand serjeanty, as keeper of the forest of Bernwood; that their ancestors had possessed these lands, and this office, before the conquest, and held them by the service of a horn, as the charter of the said forest; that they had been unjustly withheld by the family of Lisures, of whom William Fitz-Nigel, father of Sir John, had been obliged to purchase them. It appears that, about three years before the date of this inquisition, Borstall-house was the property of William Belet. It is certain that the manor of Borstall passed by marriage from the Fitz-Neales to the family of Handlo. John de Handlo had the king's licence to fortify his mansion at Borstall, in 1312. In 1327 he was summoned to parliament as a baron. From his descendants the manor of Borstall passed by heirs female to the families of De la Pole, James, Rede, Denham, Banistre, Lewis, and Aubrey. The present proprietor is Sir John Aubrey bart. Whose family have been in possession more than a century. It is remarkable that this manor has passed, without alienation or forfeiture, through a succession of female heirs, from a period prior to the conquest. Sir John Aubrey has in his possession a very ancient horn, supposed to be same by which this manor was originally held by the Fitz-Neales. The horn, which is thought to be that of a buffalo, is of a dark brown colour, variegated and veined like tortoise-shell. It is two feet four inches in length, on the convex bend, the diameter of the larger end is three inches; at each end it is tipt with silver, gilt, and has a wreath of leather, by which it is hung about the neck. This horn has been figured in the third volume of the Archæologia. Bernwood was disforested in the reign of James I.

Borstall-house was one of King Charles's garrisons, in 1644, and perhaps at an earlier period of the civil war. It appears that in the Spring of that year, it having been thought useless to retain possession of some of the lesser garrisons, this house(among others) was evacuated, and the fortifications destroyed. No sooner was this done, than the parliamentary garrison of Aylesbury, which had experienced much inconvenience from the excursions of their neighbours at Borstall, took possession, and soon became as great a nuisance to the king's garrison at Oxford, as the former garrison at Borstall had been to them, by seizing provisions and obstructing the intercourse between Oxford and the neighbouring country. The ill policy of having evacuated this garrison being now apparent, Col. Gage undertook to reduce it, and succeeded; with little resistance he got possession of the church and out-works, and then commencedso heavy a fire with his cannon against the house, that the besieged shortly surrendered it: Sir Edward Walker says, that lady Denham, the owner, conscious of her disaffection, stole away in disguise. Col. Gage left a garrison there, which nearly supported itself by depredations in Buckinghamshire, particularly in the neighbourhood of Aylesbury. In May 1645, General Skippon attacked Borstall-house, and afterwards Fairfax himself, but both failed in the attempt. The next year Fairfax was more successful, and it was surrendered to him on the 10th June, after a siege of 18 hours, by the governor, Sir Charles Campion, who was afterwards slain at Colchester. All that now remains of this house is a large gateway, with turrets at the corners, sufficiently spacious to have been occasionally the residence of Sir John Aubrey's family, whose chief seat in this country is at the neighbouring village of Dourton.

Borstall was formerly a chapel to Oakley: it was made parochial in 1418; an annual acknowledgment of two shillings is still paid to the mother-church. The church of Borstall, which was nearly demolished in the civil war, was repaired by Lady Denham: it contains nothing remarkable. The great tithes of this parish were given, by the Empress Maud, to the monks of St. Frideswide, in Oxford: the impropriation is now vested in Sir John Aubrey, who is patron of the vicarage.

At Borstall is a large field, called poor-folks pasture, given by King William III. In 1699, to the parishes of Brill and Oakley; it now produces a rent of 110 l. per annum to Brill and 75 l. per annum to Oakley.- Arrengrove is a hamlet of this parish.



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SP625143 (Lat/Lon: 51.823835, -1.094569), Boarstall which are provided by:


Names, Geographical

Boarstall derives its name from the Old English burh-stall meaning 'the site of a stronghold'.