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Parish church of St James the Great
Bierton shown within Buckinghamshire
|Population||2,178 (civil parish)|
|OS grid reference|
|Civil parish||Bierton with Broughton|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
Bierton is a village in Buckinghamshire, England, about half a mile northeast of the town of Aylesbury. It is a mainly farming parish, The hamlets of Broughton, Broughton Crossing and Burcott lie within Bierton with Broughton civil parish part of Aylesbury Vale district and forms part of the Aylesbury Urban Area.
A substantial Belgic settlement once occupied the site of the village with an extensive ditched enclosure. Excavations in 1979 detected four phases of occupation . The ditches were deliberately filled in the first century and little is visible today.
The village name was first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Bortone and means "farmstead near a stronghold" in modern English. The development of Bierton as a village was hampered by its being a linear settlement along the last road leading from Aylesbury to have its toll gate removed. The extra costs involved in travelling northwards using this route deterred many merchants, who favoured the less costly route via Winslow and Buckingham. The village remained an important point on this alternative northward route however, due to the presence of a wagon pond. This was used to swell the wooden axles of carts, and was a popular watering spot for carthorses.
The Church of England parish church of Saint James the Great is largely 14th century. At one time the village contained no fewer than seven public houses and porter houses. The stained glass door of the long since defunct "Star" can still be seen as can that of the "Eagle" next door to the Jubilee Hall. The two remaining pubs are the historically significant Red Lion, and the Bell.
The Red Lion public house is a 16th-century inn, and was significant during the English Civil War. Bierton was a Royalist stronghold, opposed to its larger Parliamentarian neighbour of Aylesbury, and the Red Lion was host to many Cavalier Officers, and rumours have it to Charles I himself. A minor battle was fought northwest of the village towards Weedon.
The major industry of the village in times past was brick making. Sitting on large sub-strata of Bierton Complex blue clay, the resource was mined for several centuries, and the bricks were fired close to the quarry. Brick Kiln lane exists to this day, although the workings themselves are no longer active.
The clay pits are now quiet pools, known as The Ponds. They have been turned into a private carp and tench fishery, whose fishing plots are extremely highly sought after.
A well close to the church of St James the Great is dedicated to St Osyth, a local Anglo Saxon princess born at Quarrendon Palace. Reputedly beheaded in the woodland at St Osyth Priory by the Danes after having earlier drowned in a stream and been revived by nuns, it was said that a Spring sprung up in nuns wood within the grounds of St Osyth Priory that is still in existence today. It is not known why the well at Bierton is dedicated to the saint, only that ancient Bierton was on the route that her body was taken from the priory to her final resting place, and it is said that they made a stop off at bierton and laid her body down at the wells current spot and it is for this reason that the well is dedicated to her.
Today, with Aylesbury growing, the village is at risk of becoming a suburb of the larger town. All that separates the two presently is a field of allotments about a hundred yards wide, owned by Bierton with Broughton Parish Council.
Notable inhabitants of Bierton include architect Deborah Saunt of Channel 4 television's series Grand Designs, playwright Robert Farquhar, BBC fashion commentator Jerry O'Sullivan, and the notable author and poet May Sinclair who lived at The Gables in Burcott Lane for the last ten years of her life.
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