Castlethorpe

Castlethorpe is one of the most northern villages of Buckinghamshire. It is bounded in the west by the river Tove which separates it from the Northamptonshire village of Cosgrove. It is intersected by the main railway line between London and the north of England. At one time Castlethorpe was part of Hanslope and a large and impressive earthwork of the motte and bailey castle is reputed to be Hanslope Castle. The castle was the seat of the Manduit family and has had a chequered career.
The church of St Simon and St Jude stands within the fortifications of the castle and parts of the church date back to Norman times. Over the centuries considerable alterations have taken place within the church. At one time there was a west gallery in the church which was known by the congregation as the 'fishes pew'. It was occupied by the Eel, the Pike and the Whiting families.

In 1905 a spark from a passing train set fire to houses in North Street having 'jumped over' the houses in South Street. The women and children were given hospitality by neighbours and the men were allocated the waiting room in the railway station. This was the second spark since the turn of the century to cause fire in the village. Most of the menfolk worked either in Wolverton railway works or on the land, but as the century has moved on so have the occupations. In spite of the fact that the railway station was closed in the 1960s Castlethorpe is now quite a 'commuter village'. Farming still plays a large part in the village life.

Article written by members of the Buckinghamshire Federation of Women's Institutes for the publication "The Buckinghamshire Village Book" (1987) and reproduced here with their permission

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