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Whitchurch

"The area of the parish of Whitchurch, exclusive of Creslow, is 1580 acres; and the population is 915. The rateable value of the parish is £2686. The soil consists of clay, loam, and gravel in the higher parts, but in the lower grounds it is a deep tenacious clay, intermixed with gravel, to a very great depth. Good stone for building and other purposes is found in the parish, and there are several copious springs - some of which are unaffected by the vissitudes of the season: never frozen in the severest winters, nor dried up in the hottest summers. The pastures are very rich. The open fields and commonable lands were inclosed in 1772. The Village, which is of considerable extent, skirts the turnpike road between Aylesbury, Winslow, and Buckingham, and is distant 5 miles N. from Aylesbury, 5 1/2 miles S. from Winslow, and 12 miles S.W. from Buckingham. It consists chiefly of one street, on the west of which is a number of houses surrounding a sort of square called "Market Hill." Many of the houses denote antiquity, being built of plaster and brick, or wood and plaster, with the upper stories overhanging the lower ones.

Here is a Silk Manufactory - a branch of those at Aylesbury and Waddesdon - at which about 30 females are employed. The other female villagers make straw plait and pillow lace. Bricks and tiles are manufactured here on an extensive scale. A weekly Market at Whitchurch was granted in 1245, together with a Fair on the festival of St. John the Evangelist."
[History and Topography of Buckinghamshire, by James Joseph Sheahan, 1862]

Map showing the location of the parish


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

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 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.
"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: North Central Bucks, Volume 4", Peter Quick.

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Cemeteries

War Memorials

War memorials in Whitchurch have been transcribed by Peter Quick, and published in a booklet entitled "War Memorials and War Graves: North Central Bucks, Volume 4", available from the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.

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Census

In 1642 there were 99 people named in the tax returns for contributions for Ireland. Between them they were assessed at £7.11.0 of which sum Mr Edmund Matts contributed £0.12.0

In 1798 the Posse Comitatus listed 121 men between the ages of 16 and 60 in Whitchurch.

In the earliest government census of 1801, there were 646 inhabitants in 150 families living in 97 houses recorded in Whitchurch.

Census Year Population of Whitchurch
1801* 646
1811* 714
1821* 845
1831* 928
1841 930
1851 915
1861 884
1871 799
1881 725
1891 709
1901 619

* = 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 St John the Evangelist, Whitchurch have been deposited in the Buckinghamshire Record Office in Aylesbury, and they hold the following years:

Event Dates covered
Christenings 1653 - 1966
Marriages 1653 - 1991
Burials 1653 - 1915

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

Event
Society Library*
Dates covered
Society
Marriages
1575 - 1837
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 Whitchurch showed the following numbers:

Church Attendance
Whitchurch,
St John the Evangelist
50 - Morning General Congregation
66 - Morning Sunday Scholars
116 - Morning Total

100 - Evening General Congregation
66 - Evening Sunday Scholars
166 - Evening Total

Whitchurch,
Primitive Methodist Chapel
160 - Afternoon General Congregation
160 - Afternoon Total

150 - Evening General Congregation
150 - Evening Total

Whitchurch, Primitive
Wesleyan Chapel
120 - Morning General Congregation
53 - Morning Sunday Scholars
173 - Morning Total

150 - Evening General Congregation
150 - Evening Total

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History & Descriptions

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

WHITCHURCH, in the hundred of Cotslow, and deanery of Muresley, lies about five miles from Aylesbury in the road to Buckingham. It had formerly a market on Mondays, granted in 1245, together with a fair on the festival of St. John the Evangelist. The manor was anciently in the Giffards Earls of Buckingham, afterwards in the Bolebecs. Hugh de Bolebec built a castle at Whitchurch, of which the site is plainly discernible, close to the village on the left hand as you pass from Aylesbury to Buckingham. From the Bolebecs this manor passed by a female heir to the Veres Earls of Oxford, by whom it was sold in the reign of Queen Elizabeth to the family of Waterhouse. It was afterwards successively in the families of Watson and Smith. In 1695, it was purchased of a son of Sir Edward Smith, Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in Ireland, by the family of Reynolds, from whom it soon afterwards passed to the Russells. In or about the year 1720, it was purchased of Governor John Russell by the family of Rowlands of Caerau, in the isle of Anglesea. This manor is now the property of dame Rebecca Williams, relict of Sir David Williams bart. and mother of the late Sir David Williams.

In the parish church is a monument of Chief Justice Smith, who died in 1682. The great tithes were appropriated to Woburn abbey. When the parish was inclosed under an act of parliament passed in 1771, allotments of land were assigned to the impropriator and to the vicar in lieu of tithes. The rectorial estate is now the property of Major-general Northey Hopkins, under the will of his uncle the late Richard Hopkins esq. of Oving. The vicarage is the gift of the crown.

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Names, Geographical

The name of Whitchurch derives from the old english hwit + cirice, and translate to 'white church', and this almost certainly means 'stone built church'.

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Photographs

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