Market Place, Stony Stratford
|Population||7,736 (2011 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||Milton Keynes|
Stony Stratford is a constituent town of Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England. Historically it was a market town on the important route from London to Chester (Watling Street). It is also the name of a civil parish with a town council in the City of Milton Keynes. It is in the north-west corner of the Milton Keynes urban area, bordering Northamptonshire and separated from it by the River Great Ouse.
The town name is Anglo-Saxon in origin, and means "stony ford on a Roman road". The road in this instance is Watling Street, which runs through the middle of the town and crosses the River Ouse just outside it (nowadays by bridge).
In 1789, at Windmill Field (probably) in the parish of Old Stratford near Stony Stratford, an urn was uncovered which contained three fibulae and two headdresses. Known as the Stony Stratford Hoard, it also contained around thirty fragments of silver plaques which were decorated with images of the Roman gods Mars, Apollo and Victory. There were also inscriptions to Jupiter and Vulcan leading to theories that this was a votive hoard associated with a Roman temple. The hoard is now kept at the British Museum.
There has been a chartered market in Stony Stratford since 1194 (by charter of King Richard I). (Until the early 1900s, livestock marts were still held in the market square but in more recent times the square has become a car park, apart from a monthly farmers' market in one corner. The weekly market has moved to Timor Court, and of course no longer deals in livestock). Stony Stratford formally became a town when it received letters patent from King John in 1215.
Stony Stratford was the location where, in 1290, an Eleanor cross was built in memory of the recently deceased Queen Eleanor of Castile, as her funeral cortège had stopped overnight in the town en route to London. The cross was destroyed during the English Civil War.
ARCHBISHOP: Last night, I hear, they lay at Stony Stratford,
Wm. Shakespeare, Richard III, Act II, Scene 4
The former Rose and Crown Inn at Stony Stratford was reputedly where, in 1483, the boy-king Edward V stayed the night before he was taken to London (to become one of the Princes in the Tower) by his uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who soon became King Richard III. Edward had been returning from Ludlow Castle in the Welsh Marches to London to claim his crown on the death of his father, Edward IV, when he was met in Stony Stratford by his uncle, who later deposed him. The inn is now a private house but a plaque on the front wall commemorates the event.
The town has twice become almost completely consumed by fire, the first time in 1736 and the second in 1742. The only building to escape the second fire was the tower of the chapel of ease of St Mary Magdalen, now a scheduled monument.
Since at least the 15th century, Stony Stratford was an important stop on the road to Ireland via Chester, becoming quite rich on the proceeds in the 16th century. In the stage coach era of the 17th and early 18th centuries, it was a major resting place and exchange point with the east–west route with coaching inns to accommodate coach travellers. Traffic on Watling Street and the consequent wear and tear to it was such as to necessitate England's first turnpike trust, from Hockliffe to Stony Stratford, in 1707. In the early 19th century, over thirty mail coaches and stagecoaches a day stopped here. That traffic came to an abrupt end in 1838 when the London to Birmingham Railway (now the West Coast Main Line) was opened at Wolverton – ironically, just three years after the bridge over the Ouse had been rebuilt. Wolverton railway works provided an important source of employment in the town, with the Wolverton and Stony Stratford Tramway being built to serve the workers. With the arrival of the motor car, the town's position on the original A5 road made it again an important stopping point for travellers.
The 1841 census lists the population as 1,757.
Cock and Bull Story
Due to the juxtaposition of two hotels in the centre of town, The Cock and The Bull (both originally coaching inns on the main London – Chester turnpike), it is claimed locally that the common phrase a cock and bull story originated here.
The modern town
Today Stony Stratford is a busy market town. In early June, Stony Live is a week of cultural events that culminates in Folk on the Green, a free festival of folk music, folk rock and eclectic taste that takes over Horsefair Green.
Sport and leisure
Stony Stratford Cricket Club is an amateur cricket club, officially founded in the 1898, that is based at Ostlers Lane. The club has five senior XI teams that compete on Saturdays in the Northamptonshire Cricket League, two women senior XI teams in the Home Counties Women's Cricket League, a Sunday XI team in the Bedfordshire County Cricket League and an established junior training section that play competitive cricket in the Buckinghamshire CB Junior League.
Stony Stratford Lawn Tennis Club was founded in 1923 and is based at Ostler's Lane. The club have 9 courts of which 7 are floodlit and a new club house. Both Men and Women teams compete in the local Milton Keynes leagues, and Juniors also play in the Aegon Team Tennis League.
Stony Stratford Bowls Club was formed in 1923, and started playing on the present site at Ostler's Lane in 1924. The club compete in the Bletchley and District Bowls League and became league champions in 1994 and 2016.
Scenes from the 1987 cult film Withnail and I were filmed in Stony Stratford. Cox and Robinsons chemist is the 'Penrith tea rooms' where Withnail demands "the finest wines known to humanity." The Crown pub became the 'King Henry pub' in the film. Both premises are on Market Square.
From about 1648, Stony Stratford was divided between the ecclesiastical parishes of Calverton and Wolverton, and covered by two chapelries: St Giles, attached to Calverton; and St Mary Magdalen, attached to Wolverton. St Mary Magdalen dates from about 1450, though only the tower remains from the 1742 fire. St Giles dates from the 15th century (as a chantry chapel), but all but the tower was rebuilt in 1776 to accommodate the parishioners of St Mary Magdalen.
A single civil parish of "Stony Stratford" is recorded in 1767, which was divided in the "late 18th century" in Stony Stratford East and Stony Stratford West CPs. Both the civil parishes became part of Wolverton Urban District in 1919. These urban parishes were wound up in 1927 and both added to the parish of Wolverton.
The civil parish consists of the land north of H2 Millers Way to the south, the boundary with Calverton parish to the west, the Great Ouse (and Northamptonshire) to the north and west, and the A5 road to the east. The V4 Watling Street becomes Queen Eleanor Street here as it follows the original Stony Stratford bypass. Its districts are these:
- Stony Stratford itself (defined H1 Ridgeway (and reservation) to the southeast, the Calverton border to the southwest, then river around west to north, and Queen Eleanor Street to the east and southeast)
- Galley Hill (H1 to the southeast, V4 to the southwest and the A5 around to the north-east).
- Fullers Slade (H2 to the southeast, H1 to the northwest, V4 Watling Street to the southwest and the A5 to the northeast).
The modern civil parish was established in 2001.
The town is no longer on any national routes. Watling Street, a Roman road, runs through the town (where it is called "London Road", "High Street" and "Towcester Road"): this was route of the A5 until it was rerouted (twice) onto new alignments in the latter half of the 20th century. Today, the A5 (towards Towcester or Dunstable), the A422 westbound (towards Buckingham) and the A508 (towards Northampton) meet about 1 mile (1.6 km) away, at a roundabout just north of Old Stratford. Local roads link the town directly to Fenny Stratford, Wolverton and Winslow.
The nearest station to the town is Wolverton (about 2 miles (3.2 km) away), and is on the West Coast Main Line though only local stopping trains call there. Intercity services stop at Milton Keynes Central, about 5 miles (8.0 km) away.
Bus 6 (Arriva) connects the town with Wolverton, Central Milton Keynes, Bletchley and the Lakes Estate (running roughly every 30 mins from Monday to Friday), whilst Bus X60 (also operated by Arriva) connects the town with Aylesbury, Central Milton Keynes and Crownhill.
Images of Stony Stratford
The High Street in festive mood
18th-century sundial on the front of 40 Church Street. The Latin motto Tempus et ignis omnia perdunt ("Time and fire lose all") refers to the great fire of 1736.
- Wolverton and Stony Stratford Tramway
- The Stony Stratford Hoard (actually found in Old Stratford parish).
- UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Stony Stratford (parish) (E04012192)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
- Stony Stratford Town Council website
- Parishes in Milton Keynes Archived 8 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine – Milton Keynes Council.
- William Page, ed. (1927). "Parishes : Stony Stratford". A History of the County of Buckingham. Victoria History of the Counties of England. Vol. 4. London: Constable & Co. Ltd. p. 476–482. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
- R. H. Britnell, 'The Origins of Stony Stratford', Records of Buckinghamshire, XX (1977), pp. 451–3
- "Key to English place names: Stony Stratford". Institute for Name-Studies, University of Nottingham. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
- "The Stony Stratford Hoard (Roman)". Northamptonshire County Council. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
- "Diadem". British Museum.
The Stony Stratford hoard, Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire, 3rd-4th century AD. This hoard of temple treasure was found in a pottery urn in 1789. It consists of two ornate bronze headdresses, probably worn by priests, and numerous fragments of silver plaques. Many of the plaques were plain, but three on display here show Mars, Mars with Victory and Apollo. PY OA 252
- Thomas Deloney, The Pleasant Historie of Jack of Newbery, London (1626), chapter 2: Letters & Papers Henry VIII, vol. 1 (1920) no. 2278: Calendar State Papers Venice, vol.2, no. 340: Hall, Edward, Chronicle, (1809), 564: Ellis, Henry, ed., Original Letters Illustrative of English History, 1st Series, vol.1, Richard Bentley, London (1825), 82–84, 88–89.
- The tower of the former Church of St Mary Magdalene.Scheduled monument.No. 1310932
- "House of Lords Journal". British History Online. University of London. 18: 267–269. 4 March 1707. Retrieved 3 June 2008.
- "General History of Stony Stratford through the Ages". Milton Keynes Heritage Association. Archived from the original on 1 July 2019.
- The National Cyclopaedia of Useful Knowledge. Vol. III. London: Charles Knight. 1847. p. 899.
- GB Historical GIS. "Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire". A Vision of Britain Through Time. University of Portsmouth. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 26 February 2022.
- Quinion, Michael. "Cock and bull story". worldwidewords.org. Retrieved 26 November 2010.
- St Mary & St Giles Church (Church of England parish church). (listed building.No. 1125375);
48 High Street (listed building.No. 1311040);
75 High Street (listed building.No. 1125378);
92 and 94 High Street listed building.No. 1159586);
Burnham House, Silver Street listed building.No. 1160550);
The Bull Hotel listed building.No. 1332253);
The Cock Hotel listed building.No. 1310973);
12 and 13 Market Square listed building.No. 1332270)
- "Stony Stratford". English Heritage. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
- "Stony Stratford Town F.C." stonystratford.gov.uk. Stony Stratford Town Council. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
- "Stony Stratford Cricket Club". stonystratford.gov.uk. Stony Stratford Town Council. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
- "Stony Stratford CC". stonystratford.play-cricket.com. Stony Stratford Cricket Club. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
- "Northamptonshire Cricket League". ncl.play-cricket.com. Northamptonshire Cricket League. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
- "Home Counties Women's Cricket League". homecountieswcl.play-cricket.com. Home Counties Women's Cricket League. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
- "Bedfordshire County Cricket League". bedsccl.play-cricket.com. Bedfordshire County Cricket League. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
- "Buckinghamshire CB Junior League". buckscbjl.play-cricket.com. Buckinghamshire CB Junior League. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
- "Stony Stratford Lawn Tennis Club". stonystratford.gov.uk. Stony Stratford Town Council. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
- "A History of Stony Stratford Lawn Tennis Club 1921-2013" (PDF). ssltc.co.uk. Stony Stratford Lawn Tennis Club. 26 May 2018. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
- "SSLTC Teams". ssltc.co.uk. Stony Stratford Lawn Tennis Club. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
- "Stony Stratford Bowls Club: About". stonystratfordbowlsclub.com. Stony Stratford Bowls Club. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
- "The History of the Bletchley and District Bowls League". banddbowlsleague.co.uk. Bletchley and District Bowls League. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
- "Stony Stratford conquer croquet league". miltonkeynes.co.uk. MKCitizen. (JPIMedia Publishing Ltd.). 6 October 2016. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
- Youngs, Frederick (1980). Guide to Local Administrative Units of England: Volume 1. Offices of the Royal Historical Society; University College, London. p. 41.
- GB Historical GIS Project (2014). "Stony Stratford". A Vision of Britain through Time. University of Portsmouth, Department of Geography. Retrieved 8 January 2023.
- "Bus and Taxi, Bus Timetables, Maps and Travel Updates". Milton Keynes City Council.
- The Retreat almshouses at rear of 14 and 16 High Street, Stony Stratford listed building.No. 1125396
- A tour of Stony Stratford, comparing early and modern photographs, at the Milton Keynes Heritage Association web site.
- Panoramic images and large selection of photographs of the town and its locality.
- Stony Stratford Methodist Church
- 'Parishes : Stony Stratford', A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 4 (1927), pp. 476–482.
- Aerial photographs & video of Stony Stratford and the surrounding area.
- Aerial panoramas of the landscape surrounding Stony Stratford.
- Stony Stratford redevelopment, part of Milton Keynes - A Village Life on BFI Player.