History

  Early History
  • Iron Age remains have been found in the Sherington area, indicating that the area has been inhabited for a considerable period of time. There is a tumulus in Sherington itself, at the corner of Crofts End and Bedford Road, which was declared an Ancient Monument in 1973.
  • Roman remains have also been found in the Ouse Valley area and a Roman road passed north through Sherington, branching off the main Watling Street at Magiovinium (near Bow Brickhill).
  Middle Ages
  • In the 11th Century there were 3 manors in the area belonging to Edward the Confessor. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, they were given to Geoffrey Bishop of Constance.
  • The name Sherington may have come from the Old English Sciringtun, meaning Scira's farm. In place names such as this the first part is a personal name, whilst the suffix '-ingtun' means farm. Sherington is recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086 as 'Serintone'.
  • In 1574 Christopher Saxton produced a map of Buckinghamshire, showing Sherington. This was the first map of an English county. John Speed's map of 1610 also shows Sherington. Gun
  • In the 1640s, the area became involved in the English Civil War. In 1643 some of the Parliament forces were based in Sherington, before marching north to take part in the Battle of Naseby in 1645. Gun Lane got its name at that time: there are some earthworks west of the lane which are believed to have formed part of the defences.

  Enclosure
    Fence

  • In the Middle Ages farming in Sherington, as in the rest of England, was done on a communal basis in large open fields. A significant change came about as a result of enclosure, ie: the division of the open fields into separate plots with individual landlords. Early enclosure was by agreement. However, much of the enclosure in Buckinghamshire was accomplished through Acts of Parliament. There were 132 Acts in the County, the first being in 1738, with 36 taking place after 1820. The Enclosure Act for Sherington took effect in 1796, although part of the area had already been enclosed prior to that date. Enclosure was overseen by Commissioners who had considerable power to allocate land and settle claims. They recorded the new allotments, the old enclosures and the exchanges on a map of Sherington, which now provides an insight into how Sherington looked 200 years ago.
  • It is interesting to note that the basic village layout on the 1796 map was very similar to what it is today. Apart from the Swan on the High Street, there was a second public house at the east end of Water Lane near the Knoll: the Rose and Crown. Carters Close was not the name of a road but a field which had been enclosed before 1796 and which was transferred from the Revd Samuel Greatheed to the London Company of Mercers, who were two of the biggest landlords at the time. At the time of enclosure, most of the adult population were either agricultural workers or lacemakers.
  Administration
  • Buckinghamshire was created early in the 10th Century. It was originally divided into 18 Hundreds. Sherington lies in Moulsoe Hundred. However, the Hundreds were subsequently combined into groups of three, and Newport Hundred was created by combining Moulsoe with Bunsty (or Bonstowe) and Seckloe (or Segehowe).
  • Newport Pagnell continued to be both the focus for local administration and the local market town for many years. Buckinghamshire County Council was set up in 1889, and from 1894 local government in the area around Newport Pagnell (including Sherington) was being provided by Newport Pagnell Rural District Council, whilst Newport Pagnell Urban District Council served the town itself.
  • Sherington Parish Council was set up in 1895 and celebrated its centenary with various local events during 1995.
  • On 23 January 1967 22,000 acres of North Buckinghamshire were designated as the site for a new city to house 200,000 people and to be called Milton Keynes. Although Sherington (and Newport Pagnell) lies outside the designated area of the new city, the arrival of a new conurbation nearby has had a major impact on local life. In 1974, local goverment was reorganised. Newport Pagnell Rural District Council was abolished and its responsibility for local services was split between Buckinghamshire County Council and the newly created Milton Keynes Borough Council. On 1 April 1997, there was a further local government reorganisation when this 'two tier' system was abolished and a new unitary authority, Milton Keynes Council, was created to provide all services in the area. Effectively, in recognition of the new character of the area, Milton Keynes had gained its independence from the rest of the county, which is still provided for by Buckinghamshire County Council.
  • The area covered by the new Milton Keynes Council is very similar to that of the old Newport Hundred. The new city itself occupies the southwest third of the area, whilst the remaining area (including Sherington) retains its rural character.
  Buildings
  • Apart from the church, there are many other old buildings in the village, including the following:
    • The Old Rectory in School Lane dates from 1607.
    • The stone barn with a traceried window in Water Lane was built in 1774.
    • Sherington Place, which faces the end of School Lane at its junction with Church Road and Gun Lane, is from the 18th Century.
    • The Manor House at the south end of the High Street was built in the 18th and 19th centuries. Next to the house is a moat.
    • The first bridge over the Ouse was probably built in the 13th Century. The current Sherington Bridge was constructed in 1818, although it was widened in 1971.
    • The current school building was opened in 1957. The original Parish School building (next to the current site in School Lane) was designed in 1871-2 to accommodate 105 children. It cost 900. In 1899 the average attendance was 75. The old school building later served as a shop before becoming a private residence.
    • The Yew Tree Farmhouse is dated 1595.
    • The White Hart buildings date from the 18th Century.
    • The Royal Oak public house in Church End opened in the mid 1800s, although beer was brewed on the premises before then. It closed in 1923.
  • A Friend's Meeting House was built in Water Lane in 1689 and is shown on the 1796 Enclosures map. It was subsequently converted into two cottages. The Congregational Chapel was first established in 1782, and the Chapel building in Crofts End was constructed in 1822, but has recently been converted for residential use. There was also a Wesleyian Methodist Chapel in the village from 1863 to 1974, but again the buildings have been converted to residential use.
  • The Village Hall deeds are dated 1929. The Village Hall was initially run by a trust, which first set the rates for hiring the Hall at a meeting in 1928. The Hall is now run by the Village Hall committee.
  • Many of these buildings are now Listed Buildings, and much of the village is a Conservation Area to help preserve its character.
  • There are photographs of many of these buildings in the Sherington Photo Album.
  Population
    People
  • The population of the village declined from 856 in 1841 to 447 in 1921. It has increased again from 549 in 1961 to 948 in 1991 due to the building of new houses within the existing village boundary, ie: 'in-filling', the biggest development being Carters Close.

Year Population Year Population Year Population Year Population
1821
1841
1851
796
856
826
1891
1901
1921
566
548
447
1931
1951
1961
462
501
549
1971
1991
2001
655
950
963

  The Village In 1851
  • The 1851 census paints a very different picture of village life to that of today. The census recorded 198 households: 62 in Church End, 88 in the High Street, 21 in Water Lane, 6 near Sherington Bridge and 21 at Calves End.
  • 59 children were scholars and there were 180 other children. Nearly all of these were aged 10 or less. Older children were already working. Many families were very large: the sawyer in Water Lane had 10 children, whilst a Calves End farm labourer had 7 sons. Several families had 5 or 6 children.
  • At the other end of the age scale, there were 28 people in their 70s and 6 aged 80 or over. The oldest resident was 87.
  • The main occupation for the male population was farm labourer (163 out of the 288 men and boys old enough to work). The main occupation for the female residents was lacemaking (158 out of 299).
  • Some of the more unusual Christian names included Zenas, Shadrach, Caleb, Enos, Abel, Levi, Ephram and Jepthah for the boys, and Dorcas, Leah, Kezia, Bethseba and Ziphor for girls.
  • Most of the villagers were locals. Only 36 out of the 826 residents were not born in Buckinghamshire or the nearby counties of Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire. The Sherington Bridge farmer's granddaughter was born in Philadelphia in the USA, 7 were born in London, a family of 4 came from Somerset and 1 person from Yorkshire. In Church End only 5 out of 249 were not locals: the rector and his groom came from Hampshire, the carpenter's wife from Radnorshire in Wales, the blacksmith from Surrey and a lacemaker from Gloucestershire.
  • An approximate breakdown of the occupations of the villagers is as follows:
      Male:
      • Church End - 57 farm labourers, 20 young boys, 13 scholars, 9 mat makers, 5 paupers, 3 carpenters, 2 bakers, 2 farmers, 2 general labourers, plus 1 each of the following: rector, groom, blacksmith, wheelwright, innkeeper, cooper/beermaker, brewer, painter/glazier, railway labourer, shoemaker, bootmaker, apprentice bootmaker, general dealer, castrator. (Total 127)
      • High Street/Water Lane - 86 farm labourers, 50 young boys, 19 scholars, 9 mat makers, 7 carpenters, 6 paupers, 5 farmers, 3 retired farmers, 3 tailors, 3 bricklayers, 3 sawyers, 2 shoemakers, 2 landed proprietors, 2 victuallers, 2 general dealers, plus 1 each of the following: tailor's son, servant, Chelsea pensioner, butcher, master baker, baker, grocer, grocer/letter receiver, journeyman, errand boy, wheelwright, blacksmith, painter/glazier, gardener, shepherd, lace dealer, pauper (deaf and dumb), no occupation (living at the Manor House). (Total 221)
      • Calves End/Sherington Bridge - 20 farm labourers, 14 young boys, 4 farmers, 3 scholars, 3 mat makers, 2 farmer's sons, 2 gardeners, 2 shoemakers, plus 1 each of the following: victualler, mat maker/farmer, thatcher, thatcher's son, cordwainer, bricklayer's labourer, servant, ex-contractor tolls, parish relief (blind). (Total 59)

      Female:
      • Church End - 62 lacemakers, 20 young girls, 15 wives, 10 paupers, 5 scholars, 4 house servants, 3 annuitants, plus 1 each of the following: school mistress, nursemaid, laundress. (Total 122)
      • High Street/Water Lane - 88 lacemakers, 61 young girls, 37 wives, 18 scholars, 10 paupers, 10 house servants, 5 annuitants, 4 dressmakers, 3 housekeepers, plus 1 each of the following: farmer's daughter, carpenter's widow, shop maid, funded property, shoebinder, pauper (idiot). (Total 242)
      • Calves End/Sherington Bridge - 16 wives, 15 young girls, 8 lacemakers, 5 farmer's daughters, 4 annuitants, 3 house servants, plus 1 each of the following: scholar, housekeeper, laundress, accoucherer. (Total 55)
  Roads
    Horse Carriage

  • In the 18th and 19th Centuries turnpike trusts were set up for many stretches of road in England, in order to levy tolls on road users to pay for their upkeep. The Newport Pagnell to Bedford road had a turnpike trust from 1753 to 1780 and again from 1814 to 1870. The Newport Pagnell to Kettering road also became a turnpike in 1753. A tollhouse was situated by Sherington Bridge for part of this period and is shown on the 1796 Enclosures map. At various times tollbars were also set up at other locations: including Chicheley Hill and on the road to Olney, north of the junction with Gun Lane.
  • Following the advent of the motor car, the High Street became part of the main A509 road, whilst Chicheley Hill was part of the A422. In 1980 a bypass was built to the east of the village, leading to the Newport Pagnell bypass which was built about the same time. The bypass has been successful in taking nearly all the heavy traffic out of the village.
  Other Facts
  • The 1831 Pigot's Directory of Buckinghamshire described Sherington as 'an unimportant village and parish'.
  • Kelly's Directory of 1899 states that the parish consisted of 1799 acres of land plus 6 of water. The assessable (or rateable) value was £2431 (which had risen to £3683 by 1928). The chief crops were wheat, barley, beans and roots.
  • The large London plane tree on the Knoll was planted in 1935 to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of King George and Queen Mary. It was planted by Mrs Florence Wellesley-Taylor of Sherington Manor. A second tree was planted by her daughter Mrs Dorothy Clutton in 1937 to celebrate the Coronation, but unfortunately this has not survived.
  • On 14 February 1935, the universities of Oxford and Cambridge met on the Knoll to 'Bury The Hatchet'. This event symbolised the two universities putting aside their differences in order to work against their 'common enemy', the younger universities. Sherington lies midway between the two towns. The ceremony was re-enacted in 1995 as part of the Parish Council centenary celebrations.
  Further Information
    Books

  • In 1965, A.C.Chibnall published a very detailed account of Sherington's history called 'Sherington: Fiefs and Fields of a Buckinghamshire Village' and published by Cambridge University Press. It was re-published as a paperback on 16 February 2012 and is now available again for £14.99 from Cambridge University Press or Amazon. ISBN-13: 9780521158268.
  • The '1851 Census of Gayhurst, Sherington, Chicheley, Hardmead, Astwood' was published in 1995 by the Buckinghamshire Family History Society - ISBN 0 946591 35 0. It is Volume VII 3.1 of a series covering the whole of the county.
  • 'A Walk Around Sherington' was published in 1987 by the Sherington Book Group and contains details of recent history in the form of contributions from current village residents.
  • Further details of the history of Sherington are given on The Sherington Historical Society's website. Membership of the Society is open to anyone who is interested in the history of the village and would like to assist in the preservation of historical material and information for future generations.

 
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