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Brill (including the hamlet of Little London)

"BRILL. Red brick decayed Georgian and seventeenth-century town, on a breezy hill, nearly 700 feet high, overlooking half Bucks and half Oxon. To this place came the little tramway from Quainton Road, a desperate and unsuccessful attempt to reach Oxford and to absorb Brill into Metroland..."
[Murray's Buckinghamshire Architectural Guide]

Map showing the location of the parish


Bibliography Church History Names, Geographical
Cemeteries Church Records Photographs
Census History & Descriptions Village website

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 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.
"Murray's Buckinghamshire Architectural Guide." editors John Betjeman & John Piper, London, 1948
"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.

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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 1798 the Posse Comitatus listed 178 men between the ages of 16 and 60 in Brill.

In the earliest government census of 1801, there were 859 inhabitants in 202 families living in 190 houses recorded in Brill.

Census Year Population of Brill
1801* 859
1811* 864
1821* 1060
1831* 1283
1841 1449
1851 1311
1861 1432
1871 1353
1881 1289
1891 1251
1901 1206

* = 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

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 parish registers for All Saints, Brill have been deposited in the Buckinghamshire Record Office in Aylesbury, and they hold the following years:

Event Dates covered
Christenings 1586 - 1884
Marriages 1586 - 1942
Banns 1754 - 1953
Burials 1586 - 1934

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

Event
Society Library*
Dates covered
Society
Christenings
1813 - 1816
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
Marriages
1735 - 1816
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
Burials
1813 - 1816
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 Brill showed the following numbers:

Church Attendance
Brill, All Saints 200 - Morning General Congregation
104 - Morning Sunday Scholars

200 - Afternoon General Congregation
104 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars

Brill, Independent or
Congregational Chapel
100 - Morning General Congregation
74 - Morning Sunday Scholars
174 - Morning Total

14 - Afternoon General Congregation
90 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars
104 - Afternoon Total

150 - Evening General Congregation
150 - Evening Total

Brill, Wesleyan Chapel 8 - Morning General Congregation
Sunday Scholars

43 - Afternoon General Congregation
Sunday Scholars

58 - Evening General Congregation
Sunday Scholars

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History & Descriptions

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

BRILL, in the hundred of Ashendon and deanery of Waddesdon, lies about seven miles to the north-east of Thame, in Oxfordshire, and about twelve miles west of Aylesbury. The manor was part of the ancient demesnes of the crown, and it is said with much apparent probability, that the Saxon kings had a palace here, which was a favourite residence of King Edward the confessor. It is certain that our monarchs had a palace at Brill for some time after the conquest: King Henry II. kept his court there in 1160, attended by Thomas a Becket as his chancellor; he was there again with his court in 1162. King John, in 1203, gave the manor of Brill to his chaplain, Walter Borstard, appointing him keeper of the royal palace there. King Henry III. kept his court at Brill in 1224: Hugh de Neville had livery of the manor in 1226. In 1233, Brill appears to have been the property of Richard, Earl of Cornwall, for we are told by Matthew Paris, that his lands and houses there were at that time laid waste by Richard Sward and other exiles. In 1346, the manor of Brill was granted to Sir John Molins, from whom it descended by female heirs to the families of Hungerford and Hastings; the Earl of Huntingdon sold it in the year 1550, to Edmund Rede esq. lord of the manor of Borstall, from whom it descended, together with that manor, to the present proprietor, Sir John Aubrey bart.

In the month of November 1642, the war having commenced between King Charles and his parliament, the king established a garrison at Brill, of which Sir Gilbert Gerard was made governor: not long after this, an attack was made on the garrison, by a party of the parliamentary army, under the command of Hampden, the celebrated patriot, but they were repulsed with considerable loss. About the month of April 1643, after the capture of Reading, Brill was evacuated by the royal garrison, which had been a great annoyance to the parliament, by its frequent excursions to Aylesbury and its neighbourhood.

The great tithes of Brill, which had been appropriated to the convent of St. Frideswide, [footnote: The chapel of Brill, and the great tithes, were given to the monks of St. Frideswide, both by King Stephen and the Empress Maude. ----- Kennet.] in Oxford, are now vested in Sir John Aubrey, who is patron of the perpetual curacy. Brill was formerly a chapel of ease to Oakley: it is now a separate parish, but pays an acknowledgment of two shillings yearly to Oakley, as having been the mother-church. There was anciently an hermitage at Brill, dedicated to St. Werburgh: which was given by King Henry III. In 1252, with an endowment of land to the canons of Chetwode, on condition of their finding a chaplain to officiate in the chapel of the hermitage, and another to officiate in the chapel of the king's palace at Brill.

A fair at this place, which was granted to Sir John Molins in 1346, is still held (though it scarcely deserves the name of a fair) on the Wednesday after Old Michaelmas-day.

Names, Geographical

The name Brill is a compound of two words, the first part being Celtic for hill and the second part (hyll) being Old English.

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Photographs

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Village website

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