Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for AYLESBURY, or Ailesbury

AYLESBURY, or Ailesbury, a town, a parish, a subdistrict, a hundred, and a district, in Bucks. The town stands on a rising-ground, and on a small affluent of the river Tame, in the rich vale of Aylesbury, at rail way termini, 16 miles SSE of Buckingham, and 38 by road, or 43½ by railway, NW of London. One railway goes from it into junction with the Northwestern; another goes into junction with the Great Western; and another 12¼ miles long, the Aylesbury and Buckingham, authorised in Aug. 1860, and opened in 1868, goes north north-westward to the Buckinghamshire at Claydon. A canal also, 6 miles long, rising 95 feet, with 16 locks, goes eastward to the Grand Junction canal at Marsworth. Aylesbury was a strongly-fortified seat of the ancient Britons; and was maintained by them in independence till captured, in 571, by Cuthwolf, brother of Ceadwin, king of the West Saxons; and it was then called Æglesberg or Elisberie. It became a royal manor at the Conquest; was soon given to one of the followers of the court; belonged for ages to the Packingtons; passed, in the time of Henry VIII., to Sir John Baldwin, chief-justice of the common pleas; and was an important post of the parliamentarian forces in 1644 and 1645.

The town is irregularly built, and consists of a spacious central, rectangular market-place, and diverging streets and thoroughfares. The corn exchange and market house were built in 1865, at a cost of £10,000; and are in the Tudor style. The county-hall is a large, handsome edifice of red brick. The county-gaol was built in 1847; contains 220 cells for male prisoners, 17 cells for female prisoners, and very ample accommodation for debtors; and stands within an enclosure of 5 acres, entered by an archway. The workhouse was built in 1844; and is an edifice of red brick, in Tudor architecture. The parish church is a cruciform structure, of successive ages, from early English to the latest perpendicular; is surmounted at the centre by successively a low embattled tower, a square turret, a short spire, and a cross 9 feet high; was restored by Scott in 1849; contains beautifully-stained windows, and two canopied decorated tombs; and is so situated as to command a fine view, and be seen for many miles round. The church. yard is extensive; and is laid out in walks, and planted with trees. The prebendal house, adjoining the church yard, occupies the site of an ancient monastery; was formerly the residence of the prebendaries of Aylesbury; and became the private property of the vicar, Archdeacon Bickersteth. The new county infirmary was erected in 1862, and has accommodation for 54 patients. There are chapels for Independents, Baptists,-Methodists, and Quakers. A grammar school has an endowed income of £539; and other charities have £1,056.

The town has a head post office,‡ three banking offices, and four chief inns; and publishes three newspapers, two of them weekly, the other twice a-week. Markets are held on Saturdays; and fairs on the Friday after 18 Jan., Palm Saturday, 8 May, 14 June, 25 Sept., and 12 Oct. Public conveyances run daily to Princes-Risborough and to Thame. Lace-making once flourished, but has greatly declined; straw-plait-making is prosperous; there is a silk factory; and about £22,000 worth of ducks are annually sent to London. Aylesbury is the seat of the assizes for the county, the principal place of the county elections, and the sent of the county quarter sessions. It was a borough, governed by a corporation, under a charter of Mary, dated 1554; but, from neglect and disuse of its privileges, it forfeited the charter in the time of Elizabeth. It sends two members to parliament; but, in 1804, in consequence of excessive corruption by bribery, the franchise was extended to the whole hundred of Aylesbury. The number of electors in 1868 was 1,329; and the amount of direct taxation in 1859 was £13,845. The town gives the titles of Earl and Marquis to the family of Bruce. The vale of Aylesbury is a fer tile tract, described by Drayton as "lusty, firm, and fat," affording pasturage to an extraordinary number of sheep, interesting to geologists for abundance of ammo nites and other fossils, and bounded along the S and the N by chalk hills. Pop. of the town, returned with the parish; of the borough, the same as that of the hundred.

The parish includes the hamlet of Walton. Acres, 3,200. Real property, £19,694. Pop., 6,168. Houses, 1,313. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Oxford. Value, £300.* Patron, the Bishop of Oxford. The vicarage of Walton is a separate charge.-The subdistrict contains five parishes. Acres, 11,239. Pop., 8,272. Houses, 1,715.-The hundred, which is also the borough, comprises the parishes of Aylesbury, Aston-Clinton, Bierton-with-Broughton, Buckland, Cuddington, Haddenham, Halton, Hartwell, Hulcott, Stone, and Weston Turville, and part of the parish of Dinton, in the district of Aylesbury; the parishes of Lee and Great Missenden, in the district of Amersham; and the parishes of Bled low-with-Ridge, Ellesborough, Great Hampden, Little Hampden, Horsendon, Great Kimble, Little Kimble, Little Missenden, Monks-Risborough, Princes-Risborough, Stoke-Mandeville, and Wendover, and part of the parish of Hitchenden, in the district of Wycombe. Acres, 71,069. Pop. in 1851, 26,79 4; in 1861, 27,090. Houses, 5,718.

The district of Aylesbury comprehends the subdistrict of Aylesbury, containing the parishes of Aylesbury, Hartwell, Stone, Aston-Sandford, and Dinton; the sub district of Haddenham, containing the parishes of Haddenham, Cuddington, Chearsley, Nether-Winchendon, Ashendon, Wotton-Underwood, Grendon-Underwood, Ludgershall, Upper-Winchendon, and part of Waddesdon; the subdistrict of Aston-Clinton, containing the parishes of Aston-Clinton, Weston-Turville, Halton, Hawridge, Choulesbury, Drayton-Beauchamp, Buck land, Hulcott, Bierton-with-Broughton, and Wingrave with-Rowsham; and the subdistrict of Waddesdon, containing the parishes of Aston-Abbotts, Cubling ton, Creslow, Whitchurch, Hardwicke, Quarrendon, Fleet-Marston, Quainton, Pitchcott, Oving, and part of Waddesdon. Acres, 73,364. Poor-rates in 1866, £15,993. Pop. in 1861, 23,600. Houses, 5,063. Marriages in 1866, 160; births, 802,-of which 65 were illegitimate: deaths, 490,-of which 147 were at ages under 5 years, and 16 were at ages above 83 years. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60,1,661; births, 7,781; deaths, 5,026. The places of worship in 1851 were 35 of the Church of England, with 9,879 sittings; 2 of Independents, with 590 s.; 13 of Baptists, with 2,695 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 182 s.; 13 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 2,669 s.; 6 of Primitive Methodists, with 809 s.; 1 of Roman Catholics, with 120 s.; and 4 undefined, with 1,033 s. The schools were 22 public day schools, with 1,787 scholars; 19 private day schools, with 337 s.; 55 Sunday schools, with 4,096 s.; and 4 evening schools for adults, with 41 s.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a town, a parish, a subdistrict, a hundred, and a district"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Aylesbury CP/AP       Aylesbury Hundred       Aylesbury SubD       Aylesbury SubD       Aylesbury PLU/RegD       Buckinghamshire AncC
Place names: AEGLESBERG     |     AILESBURY     |     AYLESBURY     |     AYLESBURY OR AILESBURY     |     ELISBERIE
Place: Aylesbury

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