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Aston Clinton (including St Leonards)

"Aston Clinton is a large parish, very long and narrow in shape, lying on the northern slopes of the Chiltern Hills."
[© copyright of the editors of The Victoria Histories of the Counties of England]

Map showing the location of the parish

Bibliography Church Records Names, Geographical
Cemeteries Descriptions and Travel Photographs
Census History  
Church History Maps  

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.

"A Short History of St Leonards Church", the official church guide
"Buckinghamshire Contributions for Ireland 1642", Wilson J., 1983, p 87-88.
"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 500-501.
"Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England) Buckinghamshire", HMSO, 1912-1913
"The History and Antiquities of the County of Buckingham", Lipscomb G., 1847
"The History of Buckinghamshire", Reed Michael, 1993, p95, 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 3, Aylesbury Hundred pt. one", 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 100 people named in the tax returns for contributions for Ireland for Aston Clinton (excluding St Leonards). Between them they were assessed at £15.17.0 of which sum Mr. Gerard contributed £5. For St Leonards there were 22 people named in the tax returns for contributions for Ireland. Between them they were assessed at £3.4.4 of which sum Mr. Cripps contributed 10 shillings.

In 1798 the Posse Comitatus listed 131 men between the ages of 16 and 60 in Aston Clinton and 38 men in St Leonards.

In the earliest government census of 1801, there were 721 inhabitants in 154 families living in 144 houses recorded in the parish of Aston Clinton (the following figures include both the township of Aston Clinton and the hamlet of St Leonards, which was part of the parish).

Census Year Population of Aston Clinton parish Population of Aston Clinton township Population of St Leonards hamlet
1801*
721
584
137
1811*
823
652
171
1821*
908
723
185
1831*
1001
854
147
1841
1025
847
178
1851
1096
928
168
1861
1297
1108
189
1871
1435
1235
200
1881
1495
1317
178
1891
1393
1246
147
1901
1279
1131
148

* = 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.

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Church History

St Michael & All Angels

Stands on the south side of the village and is built of flint with stone dressings. The roofs of the chancel, nave and north porch are tiled and the others roofs are covered with lead. There are indications that there was an 12th century nave which was lengthened towards the west circa 1270 when the south aisle was built. The north aisle was added in 1340 at the same time the chancel was rebuilt with a vestry on the north side which has since been destroyed, the clearstory may have been added about the same time. There have been various other alterations and additions since but in 1867 the whole church was restored and all the stonework re-tooled.

The fittings include a 17th century carved chair in the chancel, a chest at the west end of the north aisle, with a panelled front, plain lid and three locks, probably late 17th century. There is an Easter Sepulchre in the north wall of the chancel, it is 2 ft 2 inches wide and 10 inches deep, with trefoiled ogee head, crocketed label and carved finial, pilasters at the sides with corbels carved as heads of knights in mail coifs, late 14th century and has been much restored.

The font is modern. At the east end of the south aisle is the bowl from the original font, with the top worn or broken away, but the ornament indicates shallow arcading and below this is a series of circular flowers of sunk shell pattern, 12th century, much defaced, and had been used as a flower pot in the garden, and was restored to the church in the 19th century.

In the chancel there is a 14th century piscina, much scraped and partly restored, and in the south aisle there is another piscina with trefoiled two-centred head also of the 14th century.

In the chancel there are three sedilia in line with the piscina, these are also of the 14th century and have been much restored.

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

St Leonards

The Church of St Leonard, stands about 3 3/4 miles southeast by south of the parish church of Aston Clinton. The original chapel is believed to have been built on the site of an ancient hermitage or cell belonging to Missenden Abbey, and founded circa 1278 when Richard Gravesend, Bishop of Lincoln and Archdeacon of Oxford, performed his visitation and granted to William de Clinton, patron of the church of Eston (Aston Clinton), a chapel within that parish. It was called "The Chapel of St Leonard of Blakemore".

After the dissolution of the Monasteries, the chapel seems to have been disregarded, until Queen Elizabeth, in 1586, granted its site to Edward Wymarke for services. At the time it was in tenure of Silvester Baldwin who held other lands in the same parish which the queen had granted to Sir Edward Stanley, Knight, and his heirs. In 1587 it is recorded that Queen Elizabeth granted "the decayed Free Chapel of St Leonard, a tenement called Chapel Farm, and all lands thereunto belonging in Aston Clinton and Wendover" to "William Tipper and Robert Daw, esqs."

Much of the present church is thought to have built in the 15th century, however, the piscina and sedile are 14th century and appear to be of re-used material possibly from the earlier building. The walls of the church are covered with cement and the roofs tiled. The west end of the nave which supports the Bell Cot is a later edition. Restoration was done to the church in the 17th century. The south porch and small north porch are modern.

The Bell Cot is square with thin walls, possibly timber framed, but now covered with cement and topped by a tall pyramid shaped roof, with a weathercock at the pinnacle. There is one bell which is inaccessible, it was made in 1702 by Chandler of Drayton Parslow..

The piscina in the chancel, with cinquefoiled two centered head, label, having head stop on the east side and carried over the sedile on the west side, octofoil basin, partly cut away in front, probably 14th century, the head modern. The sedile next to the piscina with cinquefoiled two centered head and label, also probably 14th century, the head and west jamb modern; the label continues towards the west apparently for a second sedile.

There are two large commemorative memorials to the Wood family, one of which has a fine marble bust of General Cornelius Wood who died in 1712.

The sanctuary 'Fletcher' memorial window designed in 1918 by Gregory Strachan replaced an earlier stained glass window.

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 Clinton 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

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

Event Dates covered
Christenings 1738 - 1822
Marriages 1739 - 1754
Burials 1738 - 1812

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

Event
Society Library*
St Michael & All Angels
Society Publication
St Michael & All Angels
Society Library*
St Leonards
Society Publication
St Leonards
Society
Christenings
1566 - 1900
1738-1850
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
Marriages
1560 - 1862
1738-1850
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
Marriages
1557 - 1835
Buckinghamshire Family History Society
Marriages
1739 - 1754
Buckinghamshire Family History Society
Burials
1560 - 1904
1739-1754
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 Clinton and St Leonards showed the following numbers:

Church Attendance
Aston Clinton, St Michael's 127 - Morning General Congregation
50 - Morning Sunday Scholars
177 - Morning Total

257 - Afternoon General Congregation
100 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars
357 - Afternoon Total

Aston Clinton, Baptist Chapel 46 - Morning General Congregation
15 - Morning Sunday Scholars
61 - Morning Total

94 - Afternoon General Congregation
21 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars
115 - Afternoon Total

102 - Evening General Congregation
102 - Evening Total

St Leonards Chapel 88 - Morning General Congregation
72 - Morning Sunday Scholars
150[sic] - Morning Total

185 - Afternoon General Congregation
70 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars
255 - Afternoon Total

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Descriptions and Travel

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

Aston Clinton, in the hundred of Aylesbury and deanery of Wendover, lies 4 miles east of Aylesbury, on the road to London through Tring. The principal manor of this place was the property of Edward de Salisbury, who was standard-bearer to King Henry I. In 1217, King Henry III. gave it to Sir William de Farendon: it was afterwards in the Bassets. King Edward I. granted this manor to the Montacutes, ancestors of the Earls of Salisbury, from whom it descended to their representative, the unfortunate Margaret Countess of Salisbury, beheaded by King Henry VIII. in 1541. In Queen Mary's reign it was in the family of Hastings, and since passed by marriage to the Barringtons, Gerards, and Lakes: it is now the property of General Gerard Lake, who, for his great services as commander in chief of his Majesty's forces in the East Indies, was, in 1804, created Lord Lake, of Aston Clinton. There appears to have been another manor in Aston Clinton, which was successively in the families of Audeley, Grey, Brocas, St Cler, and Grange: it seems to have been united to the other manor before 1541, when the Countess of Salisbury died, seised of the manors of Aston Clinton and Aston Cherry. This manor is called, in the list of gamekeepers' deputations for the year 1803, Aston Clinton, otherwise Chivery. The manor, or reputed manor of Dundridge, in this parish, was purchased in 1748, the heir of J.M. Baldwin esq. in whose family it had been for a considerable time, by the father of Edward Darell esq. the present proprietor. The advowson of the rectory was sold by the Gerards, to the principal and scholars of Jesus College in Oxford in 1727.

At St Leonards, a hamlet of this parish, which lies about 4 miles distant from the mother church, is ancient chapel, supposed to have been formerly a chantry chapel to the abbey of Missenden. In this chapel is the monument of General Cornelius Wood, a distinguished officer in the reign of Queen Anne, who died in 1712: it is ornamented with a bust of the general, in white marble, surrounded with military trophies. This chapel is endowed with an estate, vested in ten trustees, who have the appointment of the minister.

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

Aston Clinton is a large parish, very long and narrow in shape, lying on the northern slopes of the Chiltern Hills. The highest point, 817 feet above the Ordnance datum, is near the most northerly of the two Chivery Farms. The hamlet of St Leonards in the extreme south-east corner of the parish lies over 700 feet above the Ordnance datum, but the village of Aston Clinton and a large part of the parish lies in the Vale of Aylesbury, its height varying from 200 feet to 300 feet. The subsoil is Upper Greensand and Gault and the surface stiff loam. The population is mainly occupied in agriculture, and the parish contains 1257.5 acres of arable land and 1621.5 of permanent grass. The parish is not well timbered except at the Park and about the village. Straw-plaiting used to be an important industry in the village, but there is now but little demand for the plait and the industry is gradually dying out. The Aylesbury branch of the Grand Junction Canal passes through the parish, along the south-east boundary of Aston Clinton Park, where there is a spring of water and an ornamental lake. One of the many streams that water the Vale flows through the north of the parish and forms the moat at Vaches or Vatches Farm. Another branch of the Grand Junction Canal crosses the parish, but is now disused.

In the Chiltern Hills the Chiltern Hills Water Company has its waterworks, and there is a large reservoir near Aston Hill. The high road from Aylesbury to Tring, following the course of Akeman Street, runs through the parish and forms the main street of the village of Aston Clinton, The houses being mostly modern. The Lower Icknield Way runs from Weston Turville to the village and the Upper Icknield Way also crosses the parish; a branch road connecting with Akeman Street and the Upper Icknield Way runs south-east through the length of the parish, by St Leonards hamlet and on to Cholesbury. No line of railway passes through the parish, and the nearest station is 3 1/4 miles away at Stoke Mandeville on the Metropolitan Extension Railway.

The common fields of Aston Clinton were inclosed by Act of Parliament, the award being dated 14th November 1816. There is a common to the north of the hamlet of St Leonards. A few houses, two farms and an inn form the hamlet Chivery, preserving the name of an ancient manorial division of Aston Clinton. Various archaelogical discoveries have been made in the parish; miscellaneous neolithic instruments have been dug up as well as late Celtic pottery and a Roman amphora. Aston Clinton House, the only house of importance in the parish, the residence of the Dowager Lady de Rothschild, is modern, and is surrounded by finely-timbered grounds. The church stands on the edge of the Park in an ample churchyard at the entrance to which is a counterpoise lichgate. [© copyright of the editors of The Victoria Histories of the Counties of England]

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History

Before the Norman Conquest, the manor of Aston Clinton was held by Wlwen, a 'man' of King Edward. Wlwen is a womans name and she seems to have been the predecessor of Edward de Salisbury who at the time of the Domesday Book held Aston Clinton which was assessed at 20 hides. At that time there was enough land for 17 ploughs. There were 28 villagers and 4 smallholders and 13 slaves. There was also a mill, woodland and 300 pigs.

Edward de Salisbury was the standard-bearer of King Henry I at the battle of Brenville in 1100 and was made Earl of Salisbury. It is not certain whether the tenancy descended to his heir Walter de Salisbury, but at the end of the 12th century it belonged to the family of Clinton.

Among the Lords of the Manor of Aston Clinton are included the medieval family of Minshull, Lord Luke of Delhi, and Sir Anthony de Rothschild. It was the latter who in the mid 19th century built, by private patronage, a school in the village. Also at this same period he bought an estate in Aston Clinton and built a house on the grand scale, this house has since been demolished.

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Maps

A street map of Aston Clinton and a County map of Buckinghamshire can be found on the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society pages.

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Names, Geographical

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Photographs

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