"The parish of Thornborough covers 2392 acres on the east bank of the Ouse, which forms its western boundary. Of the total area 1579 acres are under permanent grass and 580 acres are arable. The soil is clay on a subsoil principally of cornbrash, and the land has an elevation of 300 ft. except in the centre of the parish, where a small stream, called in the 17th century the Cowarde Brook, flows westward into the Ouse. In this valley is the village. Its main street, crossed and re-crossed by the stream, runs east and west; there is a parallel Back Street to the north. There are many 17th-century stone houses and cottages with thatched roofs. The New Inn is an interesting example of a 17th-century timber-framed house with brick filling of a later date. On the green are the stocks, now much decayed. The church of St. Mary is in the centre of the village on the south side of the street..." [© copyright of the editors of The Victoria Histories of the Counties of England]



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.
"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.
"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: Buckingham Hundred, Volume 7", Peter Quick.



War Memorials

War memorials in Thornborough have been transcribed by Peter Quick, and published in a booklet entitled "War Memorials and War Graves: Buckingham Hundred, Volume 7", available from the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.



In 1642 there were 37 people named in the tax returns for contributions for Ireland. Between them they were assessed at £2.3.6 of which sum James Carye vicar contributed £0.5.0

In 1798 the Posse Comitatus listed 109 men between the ages of 16 and 60 in Thornborough.

In the earliest government census of 1801, there were 458 inhabitants in 115 families living in 84 houses recorded in Thornborough.

Census YearPopulation of Thornborough

* = 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 Mary the Virgin, Thornborough have been deposited in the Buckinghamshire Record Office in Aylesbury, and they hold the following years:

EventDates covered
Christenings1602 - 1887
Marriages1602 - 1981
Burials1602 - 1952

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

Society Library*
Dates covered
Society Publications
Dates covered
1602 - 1901
Buckinghamshire Family History Society
1654 - 1725
1754 - 1837
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
1602 - 1901
Buckinghamshire Family History Society
1602 - 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 Thornborough showed the following numbers:

St Mary the Virgin
150 - Afternoon General Congregation
100 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars
250 - Afternoon Total

120 - Evening General Congregation
30 - Evening Sunday Scholars
150 - Evening Total

High Calvinist
Lower End Chapel
35 - Morning

40 - Afternoon

50 - Evening

Wesleyan Methodist Chapel
60 - Afternoon General Congregation
26 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars
86 - Afternoon Total

50 - Evening General Congregation
13 - Evening Sunday Scholars
63 - Evening Total


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Thornborough which are provided by:




Historical Geography

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



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

THORNBOROUGH, in the hundred and deanery of Buckingham, lies about three miles and a half to the east of the county town. The manor belonged to the priory of Luffield, and was given, with the site of that monastery, to Sir Nicholas Throckmorton. Having passed by marriage to the family of Temple; to Thomas Roper, Lord Viscount Baltinglass; and Thomas Lennard Earl of Sussex, it was sold by the latter in 1707 to Benjamin Woodnoth, of whose family it was purchased by the late Earl Verney: it is now the property of his niece Mary Baroness Fermanagh.

The manor, or reputed manor, of Bartons in this parish, belonging to the Marquis of Buckingham, is the same, probably, which belonged in the fourteenth century to the Damorys and afterwards to the Bartons of Thornton, who gave it by way of endowment to some chantries of their foundation. This chantry estate was granted in 1553 to Edward Chamberlain; it came into the Temple family in 1561 by purchase from Richard Sanders, who bought it of the original grantee. The president and scholars of Magdalen college in Oxford, have an estate in Thornborough, for which they hold a court-baron: it formed in ancient times part of the endowment of St. John's hospital in Oxford, which was sold about the year 1456, with all its lands to William Waynfleet bishop of Winchester, founder of Magdalen college.

In the church are some memorials of the Woodnoths. The rectory was given to the priory of Luffield by an ancestor of the Barons of Wolverton, and the great tithes were appropriated to that monastery. After the reformation the rectory was for many years annexed to the manor, but is now the property of the Marquis of Buckingham, who is patron of the vicarage. The parish has been inclosed by an act of parliament passed in 1797, when an allotment of land was given to the Marquis of Buckingham as rector, another allotment to the family of Lowndes as proprietors of a portion of tithes, and a corn rent to the vicar with a small allotment of land not exceeding 15 acres. An allotment of land was assigned to the poor in lieu of their right of cutting furze.



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SP744337 (Lat/Lon: 51.996771, -0.917755), Thornborough which are provided by:


Names, Geographical

The name of Thornborough derives from the old english thorn + burh, and means 'hill where thorn-trees grow'.