Aston has stood on the western slopes of the Cherwell
valley, mid-way between Oxford and Banbury, for well
over a thousand years.
well established by the time of the Norman Conquest,
the village was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086.
Today the size of North Aston and its population remains
much as it did then, and the land still provides employment
for many of its residents.
century ago, in 1907, the village was sold in its entirety
for the very last time, including The Hall, manor house,
three farms, more than thirty-five houses and some 500
acres of prime agricultural land. The century since
then has wrought many changes, and within living memory
an almost feudal way of life has disappeared.
book was produced a few years ago that taps into those memories
and unearths a vibrant history that stretches back through
the generations. Published to coincide with the celebration
of a thousand years of the county of Oxfordshire, North
Aston - A Millennium delves into the heart of a
rural community, revealing a diverse heritage that blends
an inherently pastoral way of life with the unique legacy
of a succession of Lords of the Manor. Copies of the book are still available, and can be ordered through this website.
are tales of ghostly misbehaviour from England’s
first recorded poltergeist, and agricultural innovation
introduced by Oldfield Bowles, a friend of the artist
Sir Joshua Reynolds. Centuries before, North Aston was
home to Timothy Kendall, the Tudor poet whose translations
of classical poetry inspired Shakespeare, while later
inhabitants included William Churchill, the great grandfather
to an American President. Bernard Gates, resident in
North Aston during the eighteenth century, is credited
with encouraging Handel to compose his splendid oratorios,
while his successor, Thomas Dupuis, became Organist
and Composer to the Chapel Royal.
a rich musical, artistic and theatrical tradition is
exposed, intertwined with royalty, high society and
the eminent characters of history.
book encapsulates the changing centuries, but most of
all, it is an account of a community and its people
– a microcosm of English society. It is a chronicle
of a thousand years of rural life, generously illustrated
with hundreds of images, including maps and rare or
previously unpublished photographs - a vivid reminder
that we are all a part of the continuity of history.
website explains some of the background and content
of the book, and offers those interested in the history
and heritage of North Aston an opportunity to order
copies direct from the village. All proceeds go to village