St Botolph's Church
Aspley Woods at the southern corner of the civil parish
Aspley Guise shown within Bedfordshire
|OS grid reference|
|– London||48 miles (77 km)|
|Unitary authority||Central Bedfordshire|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||MILTON KEYNES|
|Fire||Bedfordshire and Luton|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
Aspley Guise is a village and civil parish in the west of Central Bedfordshire, England. It directly adjoins Woburn Sands in the Borough of Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, it is centred 6 miles (9.7 km) east by southeast of Milton Keynes and 1 mile (1.6 km) south of the M1 motorway's junction 13. It has its own railway station, three calling points from Bletchley's on the West Coast Main Line, and a large historic centre with 29 listed buildings, four of which are in the second highest category.
- 1 History
- 2 Early history
- 3 20th century
- 4 Landmarks
- 5 Topography
- 6 Localities
- 7 Transport
- 8 Notes and references
- 9 External links
The name derives from "Aspenlea" meaning the aspen clearing – and from the late medieval period, "of the de Guise family".
By the time of the Domesday Book, 1086, the parish had 25 households, five of which were recorded as serfs, most of whom may not have been able to have their own households. The Book notes it covered a large tract of agricultural land, valued at £10 to its overlords, though rendering only £8, and was held before the conquest by Leofeva of Earl Waltheof. Its contemporary manor owner was Acard of Ivry who held of Hugh of Beauchamp, its feudal overlord.
In total were 12 ploughlands (larger than average), 10 ploughs of meadow, woodland producing 50 hogs per year, one mill however the Book records no church at that date.
Its church is mentioned in the records of the diocese in 1223.
Most of the cultivated land was of course held by the manor in the medieval period. This stayed in Acard's family until his descendant, Reginald de Ivri granted a lease to Falkes de Breauté. On the confiscation of Falkes's estates in 1225 the relatively young King Henry III granted the rest of the lease to Henry de Capella, however by 1227 a certain "Reginald de St. Valery" was free to release the land (entire fee) to his regent, now Henry was a 20-year-old adult, Hubert de Burgh, 1st Earl of Kent, with an official approval (confirmation of alienation).
Similarly however, in 1233 the King confiscated his lands, however Hubert was restored to all his wealth the following year in the Testa de Nevill. By 1267 it is established in the royal returns and copies (literally, rolls) of letters that he had subinfeudated the manor to Anselm de Gyse, in return for knight's service to John de Burgh and heirs.[n 1]
After the middle of the 14th century the heirs of Hubert de Burgh in Aspley seem to have lapsed, and the manor was held directly of the barony of Bedford.
As such the tenancy's was in this period the de Guise's. Anselm died in 1295 left as heir a son John, then aged seventeen – his descendants inherited this tenancy and became direct tenants as mentioned. In 1428 the lord of the manor's lord briefly changed to Giles Bridges, who had married Catherine Gyse, widow, of the previous lord, Reginald Gyse, however this was brief.
Nonetheless, Catherine had from her first marriage, male issue and the House of Gyse remained with the manor's possession. As such, Sir John Gyse created a knight by Prince Arthur (Tudor), died holding Aspley Guise Manor in 1501.
By hook or crook, in 1541 the manor of Aspley Guise was annexed to the newly formed honour of Ampthill, which in 1551 was granted for life to Princess Elizabeth (later queen).
An extent of the manor in 1560 mentions two windmills, but none survive in the historic ecclesiastical parish.
In 1560 she gave this asset by royal grant to Sir Richard Lee, military engineer: summarised as being worth a fairly average £14 13s. 11½d., &c. (i.e. additionally, impecuniary benefits accrued) per year. His daughter Ann, later Mrs Ralph Norwich, received permission to alienate (sell) the manor to Francis Bury, whose heir, Frances, by arrangement or fate married Ann's grandson, Thomas Lee Sadleir.[n 2]
The estate passed down in a straightforward line of Sadleirs to Richard Vernon Sadleir who died in 1810, whose sister Ursula Moody inherited it. The owner in 1912 was accordingly her descendant, a certain Mr F. Moody.
The current manor house was built about 1700.
As to the church lands and tithes, in 1317 a further confirmation of Simon de Beauchamp's grant of the church and two parts of the tithes was made in favour of Newnham Priory. In 1544, these lands and the advowson were released by John Gyse and Anselm his son and heir to the Crown. In the similarly timed Dissolution of the Chantries (one year before its famed successor) an acre here was appropriated by the crown and its proceeds given to fund a new church window. What remained of the rectory was consolidated the vicarage of Husborne Crawley in 1796 and re-established half a century later.
The Church Charities
The Town Close, administered by the ecclesiastical parish, containing 4.75 acres (1.92 ha) awarded under the Inclosure Act 1761, by 1912 still produced for the poor agricultural produce worth £8 18s. a year, which was expended from time to time on its produce growers' work.
In the early 20th century large brickworks, with clay extraction was the main industry in the parish itself, having ceased by that century the extraction of fuller's earth, on which profit was no longer possible. Agriculture, as today formed a minority of employment.
Aspley has three historic houses of higher architectural classification. Its church, equally, is Grade II* listed.[n 3] The garden walls and gateway of Aspley House are listed in an entry separate from it, giving 30 structures in all identified by English Heritage as worthy of listing.
St Botolph's church
The medieval Anglican church is dedicated to St Botolph and was reworked extensively in the early and late 19th century.
Its tower has six bells. Its southern window of a nativity screen was installed during the last major series of renovations and is described by the church as "very fine".
The north aisle has a 15th-century traceried screen, a similarly dated circular font and a tomb chest with effigy of knight, probably Sir William Tyrington, estimated to date to c.1400. In this floor are typical brasses, one to John Danvers, rector, c.1410, another c.1500, probably to Sir John de Gyse/Guise.
In the 18th century, Guise House and its grounds were home to (Aspley) Classical Academy until 1845, a school at its peak rated to rival Eton and Harrow. It has above its façade a Greek-style open pediment with windows in its tympanum (triangular area). It has a stone parapet tower.
The Old House
The village has 26 other examples of listed architecture, many of them early Georgian.
The southwestern area, which includes Aspley Wood has substantial pine trees, the west has a public golf course, accessed from either road to Woburn Sands village. In the northern part crops are grown. Aspley Heath, once part of the parish, is now its own village and civil parish and is south of Aspley Wood, relatively distant to the south-west.
Elevations range from 75m AOD at the northern boundary marked by the middle of the M1 (with side-by-side, parallel, local road the A422), to the start of village centre which is at between 84m (at the station) and 124m at the Common Farm and Golf course in the southwest, just below which to two sides is most of the village. Streets are steepest between the station developed area and the historic upland area. A spring rises on this slope, east of Church Street, the single road scaling the slope.
Aspley Guise Triangle
The 'Aspley Guise triangle' is its northern area of farmland bounded by the A421 to the north and north-east and the Marston Vale line to the south (which separates it from the developed and recreational areas of Aspley Guise) and Cranfield Road to the west. It had been named with this term in the regional body's Expansion plans for Milton Keynes and identified as an appropriate possibility, being served by a railway station. In the ministerial ruling on the plan, this area was excluded on the technicality that it is not part of the South East of England Region, though with a hint that it might appear again in an East of England regional spatial strategy, which had its own fulfilled plans.
Following the 2010 United Kingdom general election, the coalition government cancelled its predecessor's regional housing targets and bodies, and the local authority has no plans to introduce a development plan to permit the urbanisation of the northern part of the parish.
Aspley Guise is centred 6 miles (9.7 km) SE of Milton Keynes and 1 mile (1.6 km) south of the M1 motorway's junction 13, which is the country's principal motorway from London to County Durham, West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire and south of its junction with the M6 motorway to other northern cities.
Notes and references
- These heirs were in prominent families at the time: namely Robert de Gresley and son-in-law John de la Warr.
- This is the middle category, below Grade I.
- William Page (editor) (1912). "Parishes: Aspley Guise". A History of the County of Bedford: Volume 3. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- Domesday Map
- Church of England (a church near you)
- Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1321714)". National Heritage List for England.
- The Rookery, Aspley Guise – Bedfordshire Record Office, accessed 26 July 2010
- Aspley House's Gateway and Garden Wall Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1113953)". National Heritage List for England.
- St Botolph's Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1312070)". National Heritage List for England.
- Aspley House Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1113948)". National Heritage List for England.
- Guise House Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1113952)". National Heritage List for England.
- The Old House Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1113954)". National Heritage List for England.
- Consultation Home > Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) > Proposed Changes for Consultation > Secretary of State's Proposed Changes 23 > Milton Keynes and Aylesbury Vale Commentary on chapter 23(5).
- Grid Reference Finder distance tools
- Association of Train Operating Companies – official timetable
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