Stewkley

Introduction

Church: St Michael and All Angels

Hundred: Cottesloe

Poor Law District: Winslow

Size (acres): 3982

Easting & Northing: 485226

Grid Ref SP850260 Click to see map

Names

Names & Places

NameTypeNote
Stewkley PARISH St Michael and All Angels
Dudley Hill NAMES name for Dodley Hill in 1086
Lidcote NAMES name for Littlecote in 1691
Litecota NAMES name for Littlecote in Domesday Book in 1086
Littlecote NAMES name for Littlecote in 1720 & 1806
Stivelai NAMES name for Stewkley in Domesday Book in 1086
Methodist NON-CONFORMIST Centenary Chapel Pinfold End. First Mentioned: 1812. Rebuilt 1839
Weslyan NON-CONFORMIST Chapel Square. First Mentioned: 1803
Black End Spinney PLACE within the parish
Dodleyhill (Fm) PLACE within the parish
Littlecote PLACE within the parish

 

Population

Population

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

Note  
1801 680
1811 802
1821 933
1831 1053
1841 1262
1851 1432
1861 1453
1871 1431
1881 1361
1891 1328
1901 1159
1911 1130
1921 1018
1931 984
1941 N/A
1951 974
1961 1016
1971 1220
1981 1397
1991 1451

There was no census in 1941.

Records

Records

Parish  Church  Register  Start
Date  
End
Date  
Online
Search  
E-Mail
Search  
Publication  
Stewkley   St Michael & All Angels   Baptisms   1545   1902   Yes,
click here
 
Yes,
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Not available
Stewkley   St Michael & All Angels   Marriages   1575   1905   Yes,
click here
 
Yes,
click here
 
Not available
Stewkley   St Michael & All Angels   Burials   1598   1846   Yes,
click here
 
Yes,
click here
 
Not available

 

School

School Records Project

Place   School Type   Name   Start Year   End Year   Indexed   Document Type
    Stewkley     Infants     Stewkley     1864     1899     Yes     Logbook
    Stewkley     Mixed     Stewkley     1888     1907         Logbook
    Stewkley     Infants     Stewkley     1899     1916         Logbook
    Stewkley         Stewkley     1910     1924         Admissions Register
    Stewkley     Mixed/Combined     Stewkley     1907     1927         Logbook
    Stewkley         Stewkley     1924     1936     Yes     Admissions Register
    Stewkley     Combined     Stewkley     1927     1957         Logbook
    Stewkley         Stewkley     1936     1958         Admissions Register
    Stewkley     Mixed     Stewkley     1958     1977        

 

Surnames

Surnames

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

PositionBefore 1700  18th Century  19th Century  Overall Surnames  
1 COLES MEAD MEAD MEAD
2 STAPPE COLES HEDGES HEDGES
3 GURNEY HEDGES KEEN TOFIELD
4 TOMES WEBB TOFIELD COLES
5 BULL GRIFFIN SMITH SMITH
6 CUTLER BULL DICKINS KEEN
7 STAPP FOSTER FAULKNER GRACE
8 MEADE TOFIELD GRACE GRIFFIN
9 SMITH CUTLER DIMMOCK FOSTER
10 WILLIS GRACE CHANDLER WILLIS

 

Notes

Stewkley in the Vale of Aylesbury is the longest village in England, one mile either side of our beautiful and most unspoilt Norman church, St Michaels, which dates back to 1150. This division was known as 'Up-Town' (north) and 'Down Town' (south) and friendly rivalry existed between the two.


Stewkley was mentioned in the Domesday Book and was then spelt 'Steuclai'.
It is recorded that during the Civil War Oliver Cromwell and his soldiers put their horses in Stewkley church when they brought many guns to Pitch Green Hill and put them on three terraces. Also, quite recently a cannon ball was found behind the fireplace of a farm house, which probably dated back to this time.
Village life was mainly focused around the church and chapels and a hundred years ago Stewkley could offer just about every service required. These were six grocers, two butchers, a baker, carpenter, blacksmith, wheelwright, harness maker, shoemaker and ten public houses.

The malting and brewing of beer was carried out in quite a big way on a site which is now called The Malting Yard and some of the beer was taken to London on wagons.

Stewkley was noted for its excellent straw plaiting which was made by men, women and children. It was very well paid. The men could earn 61- to 12/- a week which was more than for farm work.

Brick making was also an important source of work in the area at The Kiln Dunton Road, and eight cart horses complete with shining brasses used to pass through the village to Swanbourne railway station to collect the coal for firing the bricks.
A tale told by older residents in the village is how, at dusk, boys used to go 'netting sparrows'. They put a net one side of the hedge and 'bashed' the other, then they would kill the birds for sparrow pie.

The Stewkley Feast, 11th October, originated from the Feast of St Michael and on that day all land owners collected their rent and they would give their tenants a meal of roast beef and christmas pudding, and the school children were given two days holiday to enjoy the fun of the fair which came at feast time.

A 16th century cottage, now 14 Ivy Lane, was at one time a forge. From 1912—14 the cottage was the country residence of Mrs Pankhurst and her daughter Sylvia, no doubt many of the leaders of the 'Votes for Women' campaign were visitors here. Soon after Mrs Pankhurst's disappearance from London the whole country was seeking to learn her whereabouts; no one knew she was living in Stewkley.
No record of Stewkley would be complete without the inclusion of the village ghost, in the name of the Rev. William Wadley. 'Old Wadley' haunted the Manor House. It is said he had a long flowing beard and rode a white horse.

Perhaps the 'new' Stewkley grew out of a long and determined fight, in the late 1960s and early 1970s against the siting nearby of London's proposed third airport. Had the Roskill Commission had its way, this Buckinghamshire village would have disappeared from the county map. Once the threat of the airport's arrival had been squashed, newcomers began to settle, and building developments sprang up — clusters of houses, and single buildings, filling in many of the remaining open paddocks along either side of the so called 'straggly' High Street. Many of these 'newcomers' were to be commuters, but have integrated into the existing community assisting with whatever needs to be done to maintain 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

Description

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

The boundary line of this parish extend to 10.5 miles; its area is 4,330 acres (including Littlecote); population 1,454 souls; and rateable value £4,455. The parish was inclosed in 1812. Lipscomb says, “The soil is a clayey loam, with sand in the northern part; the summit of the hill is covered with an intermixture of water worn pebbles and broken flints, in a considerable depth of alluval soil; the substratum, blue clay and marl, with a thin bed of lime-stone on the south-east, belonging to the Portland stratum; and the extreme limit hitherto discovered of that formation in this direction. In this stratum are found stones of the usual character, in similar beds, about Quainton and Brill, are ammonites of very large size.

The village is seated on a subordinate series of hills about 500 feet above the level of the sea, and consists of detached houses forming an irregular street about two miles in length – church, parsonage, schools, post-office, and principal inns being about its centre. The latter portion of the village is distant 5 miles W.N.W. from Leighton Buzzard, and 6 miles E. by S. from Winslow. The making of straw-plait is carried on here to a considerable extent.

Stewkley Grange, about one mile from the parish church – a good modern house of brick, stuccoed, commanding a pleasing through not extensive prospect. The adjoining fields have a park like appearances. The estate consists of 160 acres. The Manor House, belonging to the principal manor, is now a farm dwelling in the occupation of Mr. Benjamin Dawkes. It stands about 400 yards south of the church, and is an interesting double-roofed and gabled building, with twisted chimney shafts. Near it is an ancient octagonal Dove-cote.

The Cottage, situated at the north end of the village, is a genteel modern house, from which are delightful views of the three Brickhills and portions of Bucks and Beds. It is the property and residence of Mr George Windsor.

A new Vicarage House was erected in 1860-61. It is situated on the east side of the church, and is a commodious residence in the Gothic style, built of red brick, with white brick dressings. The old parsonage stands on the south side of the church-yard, and is at present occupied by the Curate of the parish.

The National School, built at a cost of £1,000, was opened by the Bishop of Oxford (who preached on the occasion in the parish church) on Tuesday, November 20th 1860, The site, given by the said Bishop, was a portion of the rectorial tithe land; their interest in the same having been purchased of the lessees. The school building is neat and appropriate, and will accommodate above 200 children. Attached is a residence for the teachers.

A large Methodist Chapel stands at Pinfold End. It is a red brick building, erected in 1839, chiefly at the cost of Mr. William Hedges. A Primitive Methodist Chapel, situate in Orchard Lane, was built in the same year.

Inclosure

The following is an extract from the book S, Michael's Church, Stewkley, Bucks by the Rev J. E. Smith-Masters, M.A. which was published in 1908.

"In the fifty-first year of the reign of George III., on 14th May, 1811, was passed the Act of Parliament for inclosing lands in the parish of Stewkley.

The advantages of inclosure were stated in the Act in these words :-
"Whereas the said open and common fields, common meadows, common pastures, and common lands, be intermixed and dispersed in small parcels, and are inconveniently situated of occupation, and the said commons and waste lands in their present state yield but little profit to the several persons interested therein, and it would be advantageous to them if the same open fields, meadows, pastures, commons, and waste lands were divided, and specific shares thereof allotted to the several persons interested therein, according to their respective estates, rights and interests : but such division, allotment, and enclosure cannot be made and effected without the aid and authority of Parliament."

Under the Act four Commissioners were appointed-- namely, Edward Horwood, of Buckland ; John Davis, of Bloxham ; John Fellowes, of Buckingham ; and Benjamin Bevan, of Leighton Buzzard ; were were to arrange for the dividing, alloting, and inclosing the said lands and for carrying the Act into execution. These Commissioners were to appoint an umpire, to whom they might appeal in case of their being equally divided in opinion upon any matter before them. Their choice of an umpire fell upon William Collisson, of Brackley. By the Act, John King, of Nash, land surveyor, was appointed surveyor for the purposes of the Act. The Commissioners had power to hold a court of survey for ascertaining and settling the boundaries of the manors, to straighten and so slightly alter the boundaries of the manors, to straighten and so slightly alter the boundaries of the parish, with the consent of the adjoining owners, and to settle all disputes.

At the time of the passing of the Act, as therein mentioned, the Deans and Canons of Windsor claimed to be Lords of the Manor of Stewkely; Sir Thomas Sheppard, Baronet, Lord of the Manor of Littlecote, and also of the Manor of Grange ; Wiliam Wodley, clerk, of the Manor of Vauxes, otherwise Fowlers ; and Wiliam Ward, gentleman, of the Manor of Stewkley Grange ; while Charles Moss, Lord Bishop of Oxford, as Patron of the Impropriate Rectory, and also of the Vicarage of Stewkley (together with Henry Wodley, clerk, and William Hedges, yeoman, his leesees of the said rectory), and as such entitled to certain glebe lands, and all ththes (or the tenth part) of corn and grain, lambs and wool ; Charles Ashford, clerk, the vicar, and as such entitled to certain glebe lands with rights of common, and all vicarial or small tithes, except the tithes of lambs and wool, and except the tithes arising out of the Clackhill (which belongs to the Rector of Drayton Parslow), and divers other persons, are named as owners and proprietors, who are interested in the lands to be enclosed.

The Act provided that any common lands which had been encroached upon at any time within the last twenty years should be deemed to be common land, notwithstanding, and be allotted and divided accordingly. Further, that the Commissioners should assign, set out, and allot unto the vicar, churchwardens, and overseers of the poor of the parish of Stewkley and their successors "such plot or plots of ground as, in the judgement of the said Commissioners, should be equivalent to and a full satisfaction and compensation for the right or liberty of the poor inhabitants of the said parish of Stewkely to cut, take, and use peat, fern, and other fuel from the said commons." Under this provision the Commissioners set apart nine acres and seven poles at the Dean ; and also assigned to the churchwardens and overseers in lieu of a cottage and garden one acre, one rood, and twelve poles, also at the Dean. These two allotments (as they are called in the award) are let out in the allotments, and the rents received from them are distributed in coal at Christmas among the poor. Adjoining these they assigned to the churchwardens, in lieu of a ley (or slip of pasture) in Broadland, one rood and twenty-seven poles, and, in lieu of the Town Mead, thirteen acres, two roods, and twenty-eight poles, the value of the common rights in each case being taken into account.

Certain allotments were made to the Bishop of Oxford and to the Vicar of Stewkley respectively, as a full equivalent and compensation for all the rights of common in respect to glebe, and other lands belonging to them, and for all the tithes in hand payable to them, and an allotment of one acre, one root, eleven poles was made to the Rector of Drayton, in lieu of the tithes arising out of the Clack Hill, and payable to him, and his allotment comes up to the corner where the Stoke Road joins the Drayton and Hollindon Road, and from the time of the award this allotment was, under the Acr, transferred to the parish of Drayton Parslow. Similarly the allotment of five acres, one rood, eighteen poles to Mrs. and Miss Lovett, including a portion of Winscot Way, was transferred to the parish of Soulbury.

At the time this Act was passed there were several large ploughed fields, of which the following names appear in the award : Folding Field, Foxhill Field, Longland Field, Mill Field, Millway Field, Thornslade Field, and Wolds Field. Instead of each of these fields being trhe property of one person, one owner might have one, two, or more "lands" in several fields ; in like manner there were meadows in the parish, in which different persons owned one, two or more "leys" ; besides these, and a few closes (called closes from being inclosed by a hedge or possibly from being close to a house or cottage and belonging to the owner thereof), there were open or common fields.

It has often been thought by those who know but little of the history of their country that a common of common field belongs to the parish, but it is not so. The real owner is the Lord of the Manor, but he cannot do as he likes with it, for the tenants of the Manor, the copyholders, and the freeholders have certain common rights, which are (1) the right, according to the value of their property, to turn out on the common so many, and only so many, horses, cattle, sheep, geese, &c., and (2) the right to cut so much peat, fern, furze, &c., but in the case of a cottage only to cut peat, &c., and to turn out geese, and when the owner lets land, house, or cottage, he lets the right with it.

In some parts of England there is Lammas Land, which is only common land from Lammas Day (August 1st) to February 2nd. In Stewkely there was a Lammas Close. There are several Manors in England where common rights exist, and when common land is enclosed under an Act of Parliament, as it was in Stewkley, it is divided amongst those which own the rest of the land, the houses, and cottages, in proportion to the amount and value of their property. When it was proposed to inclose the common lands of Stewkely, the tenant farmers and others very strongly opposed it, and were so determined to prevent it, if possible, they kept a watch over the Church door, to keep back anyone who attempted to fix to it the necessary legal notice, without which the common land could not be enclosed. But a woman, by the name Sally Sear, escaped their notice, and did what was required. Some opposed it because they feared they would have to pay more rent, and others because they did not understand that the common rights, which belonged to a field, farm, or cottage, really belonged to the owner and not to the tenant, and that by the enclosure the tenants of farms and cottages lost no rights, to which they were legally entitled, or which they could sell or give to another. By the Inclosure Act, the Commissioners were not only to arrange for enclosing and dividing the common land, but they had the power to make exchanges, so that each owner might have all his land, or most of it, together. They were to have the whole parish surveyed and all the land, the old enclosures as well as the common land, valued ; in arranging for the division and allotment of the land, according to value, as well as the quantity, so that an owner who chose, for instance, to have his portion at the Dean or at the end of the Wing Road would have a larger quantity of land than he would if his share was near the centre of the village.

The Act provided that the Lords of the Manors should bear the expenses of ascertaining the boundaries of each Manor, but all the costs of the Act of Parliament (probably about £1000), of the survey and valuation of the land throughout the parish, of the Commissioners (who received three guineas each for every day they were engaged in the work for which they were appointed), of preparing and enrolling the award, of making all the new public roads, and all other expenses incurred or ordered by the Commissioners had to be borne by all the private owners in proportion to the value of their property in the parish, and besides that, they had to enclose with hedges as directed, all new enclosures-- but they could make new arrangements with their tenants and throw on them a part of the costs, It further provided that no person should for the space of six years after the fencing of an allotment with a new hedge, as ordered, keep or depasture any sheep or lambs in any such allotments, unless the quick-set hedges or live fences were effectually and sufficiently protected from any damage. The expenses connected with the enclosure were so great that with the exception of some four or five owners they were almost, and some were quite, ruined.

The Inclosure Act was passed on 14th May 1811, and the Commissioners seem to have commenced their duties on 10th June 1812, and to have completed their award on 25th August 1814. It was enrolled in London in the term of S, Michael, in the 56th year of the reign of George III., which perhaps we may presume was the year 1815, as George II. died on October 25th 1760.

Education

Stewkley Parish (Pop. 1,053)

One small Daily School, containing 9 children, who are instructed at the expense of their parents.

Two Sunday Schools, one with 128 children of both sexes, who attend the Established Church ; the other 44 appertaining to Dissenters; both supported gratuitously.

ABSTRACT OF EDUCATION RETURNS, 1833.