Church: All Saints

Hundred: Newport

Poor Law District: Newport Pagnell

Size (acres): 2364

Easting & Northing: 488249

Grid Ref SP880490 Click to see map


Names & Places

Emberton PARISH All Saints
Ambretone NAMES name for Emberton in Domesday Book in 1086
Ambritone NAMES name for Emberton in Domesday Book in 1086
Hollingdon field NAMES name for Hollington Wood in 1639
Hollingdonslade NAMES name for Hollington Wood in 1694
Primitive Methodist NON-CONFORMIST First Mentioned: ?. Recorded in 1851 religious census
Hollington Wood PLACE within the parish
Mulducks PLACE within the parish




These population figures are based on the Census results. The boundaries are those used in the particular census which may vary over time..

1801 549
1811 541
1821 549
1831 598
1841 658
1851 613
1861 632
1871 637
1881 653
1891 526
1901 510
1911 458
1921 410
1931 399
1941 N/A
1951 409
1961 465
1971 501
1981 552
1991 564

There was no census in 1941.



Parish  Church  Register  Start
Emberton   All Saints   Baptisms   1659   1901   Yes,
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Not available
Emberton   All Saints   Marriages   1591   1902   Yes,
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Not available
Emberton   All Saints   Burials   1673   1902   Yes,
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Not available




These were extracted from our own records and presented as a guide.

PositionBefore 1700  18th Century  19th Century  Overall Surnames  


The village of Emberton in north Buckinghamshire lies on the southern edge of the wide, lush water meadows through which the Great Ouse winds. The old coach road from Newport Pagnell used to swing between its fine stone houses and past its clock tower before setting off across the causeway and bridge into Olney.

Today, rescued by a by-pass, the village seems to the casual visitor a quiet and tranquil place, the clock tower still providing the focal point and parts of the ancient high street shaded with magnificent chestnuts, copper beeches and sycamores. But the quiet is deceptive. Though the number of its working farms has dwindled and lace making is now a hobby instead of an industry, Emberton is underneath humming with activity.

From what archaeologists have discovered there has been a settlement at Emberton from Roman times or earlier. The original form of the name was Eanbeorht's Tun, the word 'tun' meaning a farm. So possibly a Saxon of that name after crossing the North Sea, travelled up the Ouse until he found this good defensive position slightly raised above the flood plain of the river. The Norman conqueror divided Ambreton, as it became known at one point, between the Bishop of Coutance and Judith, Countess of Huntingdon and from then on its manor was held by various great local families until it came into the hands of the Tyringhams.

For as long as there have been records the village seems to have remained remarkably stable. Strangely enough the continuity did not come through the big houses but through the cottages. Names of Emberton people well known today such as Lett, Howson, West, Mynard and Lovell go far, far back.
Emberton has always been dominated by farming and remnants of the great ridge and furrow fields that surrounded the village before it was enclosed in 1798-9 can still be seen. The oldest villagers living today can still remember when seven farms employed the local men and when the main street was pitted and potholed with dust rising in clouds as herds of cattle were driven through night and morning.

At the south end of the village on a piece of rising ground stands the church of All Saints. It was built in the second half of the 14th century but considerably restored in Victorian times. The chancel is said to contain the mortal remains of Sir Everard Digby of nearby Gayhurst, famed for his part in the Gunpowder Plot.

It was the Rev Thomas Fry who gave the village its central focus today. Just below the church, where the High Street curves sharply, he built a clock tower in 1846 which he named 'Margaret's Tower' in memory of his second wife (he had three altogether). It replaced an old elm surrounded by a stone wall. The site had traditionally been known as Emberton Cross, indicating that a preaching cross once stood there. Today, the clock still keeps excellent time. The British Legion lay their poppies beneath its war memorial and the more robust members of the community dance round it on New Years Eve.
Probably the most dramatic development in recent times took place in 1964, not in the village itself but on its outskirts. Just before the bridge crosses the Ouse into Olney were fields rich with gravel. When the construction of the MI began, these fields were heavily quarried and left as an eyesore. But two members of Newport Pagnell Rural District Council under whose authority Emberton then came, had a wonderful idea. They turned the scarred landscape into a huge country park with wildlife reserves, reed fringed lakes and open waters for sailing. So successful was Emberton Park that it won a Countryside award.

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


Emberton is a small village situated in the north of the county, one and a half miles from Olney, with a square Clock Tower standing in the centre, in which a bell was tolled to call to the men working in the fields.
There was until recently a blacksmith's forge-always very busy shoeing horses for hunting, working on farms and drawing traps. A four-wheeled 'fly', driven by Arther Brown, met all trains arriving at Olney Station—now closed.

Cattle were taken on foot by drovers to markets at Bedford, Northampton and Wellingborough, and any cattle found straying were put into 'the pound', a field attached to Manor Farm, until claimed, a small charge being made.
Near the forge was the village pump where women filled their buckets for a day's supply. It was never known to go dry.

A horse show was held annually on Bank holiday in one of the farm's fields.
At Emberton Feast and other holiday occasions Morris Dancers danced around the Tower—afterwards taking refreshment at the Bell or the Bear Inn (now gone). Sports were held for children and grown-ups and a meat tea was provided in the Dutch barn. School children danced round the maypole.
In the winter a Plum Pudding Party was held in the village schoolroom—when plum puddings boiled in many of the surrounding cottages were served— everyone holding a hot plate in readiness.

On Sundays people carried their dinner to be cooked at the village bakehouse, the meat in a baking tin covered with a cloth and Yorkshire pudding batter in a jug or can, and at 'drawing time' would be seen hurrying home with it all ready to eat.

Across the River Ouse is Weston Underwood where the poet Cowper sat in his summer-house in The Wilderness writing his poems and where in the spring is to be seen a carpet of snowdrops.

A. Fairey, Emberton

Emberton where I was born in 1892 has always seemed a happy, friendly village, partly owing to the lasting influence of my grandparents, parents and cousin who lived and served in the Old Rectory for nearly a hundred years. My parents regularly visited every house and cottage, my mother with the shawl which she knitted for each new baby, while my father had his sticky pockets stuffed with almond toffee and peppermints for the children.

We always kept huge dogs, Great Danes and Russian Wolfhounds.
Our front gate was always open and the villagers allowed to walk through the garden and use our field for picnics.

The lovely church was nearly always full, extra chairs being needed for Christmas and Harvest festivals, and the six bellringers and our churchyard were the pride of the countryside. Most of the stained-glass windows were put in to the memory of my grandparents and uncles; Grandmamma's is dedicated to 'Faith, Hope and Charity'. Poor thing, she must have needed all three with thirteen children on £250 a year, but they all grew up hale and hearty.

Seventy years ago in Emberton the roads were terrible, covered with small stones and needing the constant use of steamrollers which terrified our horses.
The climate was quite different. For months there was hot sunshine and all meals were taken at a long table under the big plane trees, but the winters were bitter and we skated for days on the river and flooded fields between Weston and the Olney road.

We made our own pleasure, and as the families varied from seven of us to thirteen children at both Filgrave and Clifton rectories, it was easy to collect two teams for hockey and cricket matches and every big house had its own tennis court. My elder sisters were renowned for arranging plays and concerts which meant three months' hard work, and one sister spent chilly hours in the cellar painting scenery. Twice a week twenty lucky children came to learn choruses for flowers and fairies and were quite contented with two sweets at the end.
We also taught country dancing and took parties of boys and girls to Tyringham and Gayhurst in fancy dress. One of our plays was A Pageant of the Queens, acted by twenty WI members, beginning with the poisoning of Queen Boadicea and ending with the Queen Mother. No one was anxious to be Bloody Mary so I borrowed a ruby velvet frock and leapt delightedly into my three-minute scene set to music in which I was signing a Death Warrant. My brother wrote an appropriate verse for each Queen which we sent to Buckingham Palace and in three days we had a charming letter from Lady Delia Peel, telling us that the Queen Mother had thoroughly enjoyed reading, them.

We could usually count on at least four dances at Christmas at Tyringham, Crawley Grange and Gayhurst and the satin or silk long dresses, sometimes sparkling with silver sequins, low necks—but not too low—and white kid gloves to the shoulders were so very pretty. We had pale pink or blue programmes with pencils danging on matching silk to write in partners' names, but to have the same partner more than three times was considered highly improper. The sequined, handpainted and feathered fans were enchanting, and there was great variety in the dances: waltzes, polkas, Washington Post, Pas de Quatres and the Lancers in which one was invariably swung off -one's feet.

The river too was a great joy, as we had a large boat called the 'Old Aunt Jane' in which we rowed up to an island near Filgrave and built a fire to boil the kettle. I dreaded going under Olney bridge towards the mill because the great wheel threatened to drag us down and grind us to bits.

Sidney Sams, Emberton

Extracted from 'A Pattern Hundreds' (1975) and reproduced with the kind permission of the Buckinghamshire Federation of Women's Institutes


Description of Emberton from J. J. Sheahan, 1861.

 Emberton parish, including Okney-cum-Petsoe, contains 1,860 acres, and 613 souls. The rateable value is £2,412. Stone of good quality is found here in abundance, and, at a greater depth, some excellent freestone. The village, a very neat and compact one, contains several genteel residences. It skirts the high road between Newport Pagnell and Olney, 1.5 mile S. of the latter town, and 4 miles N of the former. The road between Emberton and Olney is through the pleasant valley of the Ouse, and the parishes are connected by a very long bridge over that river, and the low marshy track bordering upon it. About the centre of the village is a square clock-tower which was erected by subscription in 1845. The clock and bell were the gift of Miss Hughes, of Emberton. The tower is protected by an iron palisading.

The Rectory House, an ancient building stands a little north of the Church. The school, which is situated in the centre of the village, is attended daily by about 50 children.



Emberton with Okeney-cum-Petsoe Parish (Pop. 598)

One Day and Sunday School, attended by 70 children of both sexes daily, and 30 in addition on Sundays; supported by voluntary contributions, and has a lending Library.