Wotton Underwood


"This Parish comprises 3220 acres, and lies on the borders of Oxfordshire. Its rateable value is £2074, and in 1851 it contained 253 inhabitants. The greater part of the land is in grass, and there are about 800 acres of wood. The name of the place is supposed to have been derived from its humid situation, the Saxon word Woothong, signifying nearly the same as humida villa in Latin. It received the adjunct Underwood, from its contiguity to Bernwood Forest. In old records the parish is called indifferently Ottone, Woothong, and Wooton. The Village is small and consists chiefly of cottages, to each of which a little plot of garden-ground is attached, built about 1817, by George, Marquis of Buckingham. It is distant 7 miles nearly due N. from Thame, 10 miles N.W. from Aylesbury, and 3 1/2 miles N.N.E. from Brill." [History and Topography of Buckinghamshire, by James Joseph Sheahan, 1862]



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 Returns of the Census of Religious Worship 1851", Legg E. ed., 1991, ISBN 0 901198 27 7.
"Dictionary of English Place-Names", A.D. Mills, Oxford University Press, 1997, ISBN 0 19 28131 3
"History and Topography of Buckinghamshire", Sheahan, James Joseph, 1862
"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: Ashendon Hundred, Volume 5", Peter Quick and Bertrand Shrimpton.



War Memorials

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



In 1798 the Posse Comitatus listed 56 men between the ages of 16 and 60 in Wotton Underwood.

In the earliest government census of 1801, there were 212 inhabitants in 43 families living in 29 houses recorded in Wotton Underwood.

Census YearPopulation of Wotton Underwood

* = 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 Records

The original copies of the parish registers for All Saints, Wotton Underwood have been deposited in the Buckinghamshire Record Office in Aylesbury, and they hold the following years:

EventDates covered
Christenings1599 - 1978
Marriages1599 - 1973
Burials1599 - 1979

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

Society Library*
Dates covered
Society Publications
Dates covered
1599 - 1837
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
1599 - 1836
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 Wotton Underwood showed the following numbers:

Wotton Underwood,
All Saints
50 - Morning General Congregation
24 - Morning Sunday Scholars
74 - Morning Total

72 - Afternoon General Congregation
24 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars
96 - Afternoon Total


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Wotton Underwood which are provided by:




Historical Geography

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



Wotton Underwood was described in 1806 in "Magna Britannia" as follows:

WOTTON-UNDERWOOD, in the Hundred of Ashendon and deanery of Waddesdon, lies about nine miles nearly west of Aylesbury, and about the same distance from Bicester, in Oxfordshire. It was called Wotton-Underwood from its situation with respect to Bernwood forest, which was disforested by King James I. The manor, among many others, was given by William the Conqueror, to Walter Giffard, Earl of Buckingham: Isabel, daughter and co-heir of Walter the second earl, is said to have brought it in marriage about the year 1097, to Richard de Grenville, from whom there has been an uninterrupted line of male succession, through twenty generations, to the present proprietor, th Marquis of Buckingham

Wotton-house has been from time immemorial the seat of the Grenvilles. The present mansion was built in 1705, after the model of Buckingham-house; the staircase and saloon were painted by Sir James Thornhill, who was paid 1000l. a year during three years, for his professional labours at Wotton. This mansion was the principal and favourite residence of the Right Hon. George Grenville, first lord of the Treasury, and chancellor of the exchequer, in the early part of the reign of his present majesty: it is now the occasional residence of Lord Temple, the Marquis of Buckingham's eldest son.

Burwells manor, in Wotton, which had in ancient times belonged to the Grenville family, was given by Sir Robert Dormer to Richard Grenville esq. in exchange for the manor of Ascot in Wing.

The parish church of Wotton has been lately repaired, and a new stone spire built by the Marquis of Buckingham. In the Grenville chapel or south aisle, which was originally built, in 1343, by William Grenville and Mary his wife, a large columbarium has been lately erected by the Marquis of Buckingham, for the internment of his family. The ancient monuments of the Grenvilles have been replaced and restored, some memorials of later date added, and the arms of the family and its alliances emblazoned under the superintendance of Francis Townsend esq. Windsor Herald. The windows also have been ornamented with the arms and quarterings of the families of Grenville, Temple, and Chandos, executed in stained glass by Eginton. The rectory of Wotton, which had been appropriated to the priory of St. Bartholomew, was annexed to the see of Canterbury, in the reign of Henry VIII. The parish of Wotton has been inclosed by an act of Parliament, passed in 1742, when an allotment of land in the neighbouring parish of Brill, was, in consequence of an exchange which took place under the act, given to the see of Canterbury in lieu of the great tithes. In consequence of a liberal donation for the augmentation of the curacy, the archbishop of Canterbury, under the powers of Queen Anne's bounty act, has lately conveyed the patronage of the donative to the Marquis of Buckingham.



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SP688160 (Lat/Lon: 51.838378, -1.002837), Wotton Underwood which are provided by:


Names, Geographical

The modern understanding of the derivation of the name of Wotton Underwood (an old version is given at the top of the page), is that the first part 'Wotton' derives from the old english words wudu + tun, and means 'farmstead in or near a wood'. The affix of 'Underwood', means 'within the wood', indicating that the village must, at one time, been sited within Bernwood Forest.