Aylesbury is only one amongst many wonderful places to explore in the
area whilst you are on holiday or just visiting friends.
The Romans were in the Aylesbury area when they built Akeman Street (now
A41). Apart from the Saxon mercenaries they left to guard Akeman Street,
there is little sign that they did anything else in the area. The Celtic
Britons had the Aylesbury area almost to themselves until an Anglo-Saxon
army lead by Cuthwulf forced them out in 571. Aylesbury probably took
its name at this time from the Anglo-Saxon word "Aigle's Burgh" meaning
HILL TOWN or FORT. The Danes were in this area in 921 but were ousted by
Edward the Confessor. There was then no real stability until the Norman
Conquest in 1066.
Aylesbury as a settlement in Saxon times was a small market town, it has
been the county town of Buckinghamshire since the reign of Henry VIII.
Queen Anne Boleyn's father William through marriage took over Lordship
of Aylesbury in 1515. Aylesbury received borough status in 1554 as a
reward for supporting Mary Tudor's accession. Aylesbury remained mostly
like a small market town until the town centre was redeveloped in the
early 1960's. The population of Aylesbury in 1811 was 3,447 by 1995 was
nearly 60,000. The population having nearly double since the 1960's. The
town centre was redeveloped again in the 1990's.
Most of the older buildings in Aylesbury are contained in the areas
around Market Square, Kingsbury Square, Church Street. One of the oldest
is the 14th century Kings Head, a coaching hostelry with
stained-glass windows commemorating the marriage of King Henry VI to
Margaret of Anjou in 1445, the couple are said to have stayed at The
Kings Head on their honeymoon. Another famous person from British
History who stayed at The Kings Head was Oliver Cromwell who stayed
their after the battle of Worcester in 1651. The chair he used can still
be seen but not used.
The Parliamentary cause is also commemorated in the form of a Bronze
Statue (at the top of the Market Square) of MP John Hampden who came
from a family of wealthy landowners and who lived at Great Hampden. John
Hampden was a cousin of Oliver Cromwell, he apposed Charles 1 by voting
against and refusing to pay Ship Money, a tax levied for increasing the
Royal Navy at that time. He led the defense of Aylesbury at the Battle
of Holman's Bridge in 1642, he died of his wounds, received at the
Battle at Chalgrove Field Oxfordshire in 1643.
Another radical MP for Aylesbury was John Wilkes who was a former member
of the Hell Fire Club. Wilkes was imprisoned in King's Bench Prison for
seditious libel after he published The North Briton newspaper that
publicly criticized King George III.
The Aylesbury Branch of The Grand Union Canal was opened in 1814
In 1839 Aylesbury was the very first place in the world to get its own
railway branch line. This was part of the main London to Birmingham
The Metropolitan Railway arrived in 1892.
Another one of Aylesbury's claim to fame or shame took place in the
1960's with the Great Train Robbery. Aylesbury was the base for the
police enquires, where the Train Robbers and their Trials were held.
Where the robbery took place and the robbers hideout are not far from
From 1204 until its closure in 1987 there was a twice weekly cattle,
sheep and pig market where these animals were sold by auction. The area
around Aylesbury has always been known for its dairy rich farmlands
owing to the River Thame (not THAMES) and other rivers and streams that
flow through this part of The Vale of Aylesbury.
The Parish Church, St Mary’s, dates back from the 13th
Century, the central tower being Norman, the Stained glass windows
Victorian. From the Norman Conquest until 1845 the Parish of Aylesbury
belonged to the Bishops of Lincoln, and its vicars were appointed by the
Canon of Lincoln Cathedral.
Other attractions none
of whom are very far from Aylesbury include: -
those of you who like old church's, apart from St Mary's in Aylesbury, The Saxon Church at Wing is worth a visit, it is reputed to be
the Oldest one in England probably the British Isles.
those of you who like old houses, stately homes and Gardens, just
outside Wing at Ascott is
a Jacobean half timbered
house that has many fine paintings. There is a lavishly decorated
Jacobean Manor House at Middle Claydon and of cause the Baron Ferdinand
de Rothschild’s 1870’s Renaissance style Chateau, Waddesdon Manor in
Waddesdon. If you want to take a trip out of the area into the North
Bucks Province there is Woburn Abbey or into the Oxford and District
Province where there is Blenheim Palace.
those of you who like old Castles there are the remains of
the moat and earthworks
of Bolebec Castle
Whitchurch which was originally built in 1147 and pulled down after the
For those of you who like Zoo's and Safari Parks not far from Aylesbury
in the North Bucks Province you will find Woburn Abbey Safari Park and
in the Luton and District Province, Whipsnade Zoo.
Those of you who like Windmills there are at least three within easy
reach of Aylesbury, these being Brill, Pitstone and Quainton Windmills.
For the Steam Railway enthusiast there is Quainton Steam Railway
originally built to be a major Railway Junction and Station where the
Metropolitan Line from London and the Steam Trains from Manchester where
to meet. Quainton Station was included in a 1973 TV program about the
Metropolitan Line made by Sir John Betjeman.
Hopefully we have given you a taste of the history of Aylesbury and of
the many things that are in the area for you to visit. There are lots of
other interesting places in Aylesbury and the surrounding area, if we
tell you about them all you will not need to visit us. So come along and
explore Aylesbury Town and The Vale of Aylesbury we guarantee you will
not be disappointed.