Watlington Town and Market Hall
|Area||14.55 km2 (5.62 sq mi)|
|Population||2,727 (parish, 2011 Census)|
|• Density||187/km2 (480/sq mi)|
|OS grid reference|
|• London||43 mi (69 km)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
|Website||Watlington Parish Council|
Watlington is a market town and civil parish about 7 miles (11 km) south of Thame in Oxfordshire, near the county's eastern edge and less than 2 miles (3 km) from its border with Buckinghamshire. The parish includes the hamlets of Christmas Common, Greenfield and Howe Hill, all of which are in the Chiltern Hills. The 2011 Census recorded the parish's population as 2,727.
A market town is a European settlement that obtained, in the Middle Ages, the right to host markets, which distinguished it from a village or city. In Britain, small rural towns with a hinterland of villages are still commonly called market towns, as sometimes reflected in their names.
Thame is a market town and civil parish in Oxfordshire, about 13 miles (21 km) east of the city of Oxford and 10 miles (16 km) southwest of the Buckinghamshire town of Aylesbury. It derives its name from the River Thame which flows along the north side of the town. The parish includes the hamlet of Moreton south of the town. The 2011 Census recorded the parish's population as 11,561.
A hamlet is a small human settlement. In different jurisdictions and geographies, hamlets may be the size of a town, village or parish, be considered a smaller settlement or subdivision or satellite entity to a larger settlement. The word and concept of a hamlet have roots in the Anglo-Norman settlement of England, where the old French hamlet came to apply to small human settlements. In British geography, a hamlet is considered smaller than a village and distinctly without a church or other place of worship.
The Watlington area is likely to have been settled at an early date, encouraged by the proximity of the Icknield Way. The toponym means "settlement of Waecel's people" and indicates occupation from around the 6th century. A 9th-century charter by Æthelred of Mercia records eight 'manses' or major dwellings in Watlington. [ citation needed ] Medieval documents indicate that the modern street plan was in existence in the 14th century, as Cochynes-lane (Couching Street), and Brook Street are recorded.The Domesday Book of 1086 identified the area as an agricultural community valued at £610.
The Icknield Way is an ancient trackway in southern and eastern England that goes from Norfolk to Wiltshire. It follows the chalk escarpment that includes the Berkshire Downs and Chiltern Hills.
Toponymy or toponomastics is the study of place names (toponyms), their origins, meanings, use and typology.
The Waeclingas were a tribe or clan of Anglo-Saxon England. Their territory or regio was based in the modern city of St Albans, whose name is recorded as Wæclingaceaster in the writings of Bede in the early 8th century, and in an early 10th century Anglo-Saxon charter. Before the territory came under Mercian control around 660 it may have formed part of the province of the Middle Saxons, or it may have fallen under the influence of the Kingdom of Essex – neither is certain.
There are records of inns in Watlington since the 15th century. In 1722 the town's market was listed as being held on a Saturday.By the end of the 18th century the town had six inns, all of which were bought up in the next few years by a local brewing family, the Haywards. The number of licensed premises increased until late in the 19th century when George Wilkinson, a Methodist bought six of them and closed them down. Today Watlington has three public houses: the Carriers Arms, The Chequers and The Fat Fox Inn.
Methodism, also known as the Methodist movement, is a group of historically related denominations of Protestant Christianity which derive their practice and belief from the life and teachings of John Wesley. George Whitefield and John's brother Charles Wesley were also significant early leaders in the movement. It originated as a revival movement within the 18th-century Church of England and became a separate denomination after Wesley's death. The movement spread throughout the British Empire, the United States, and beyond because of vigorous missionary work, today claiming approximately 80 million adherents worldwide.
A pub, or public house, is an establishment licensed to sell alcoholic drinks, which traditionally include beer and cider. It is a social drinking establishment and a prominent part of British, Irish, Breton, New Zealand, South African and Australian cultures. In many places, especially in villages, a pub is the focal point of the community. In his 17th-century diary Samuel Pepys described the pub as "the heart of England".
Parliamentarian troops were billeted at Watlington during the English Civil War. It is thought that John Hampden stayed in the town the night before the Battle of Chalgrove Field.
Roundheads were the supporters of the Parliament of England during the English Civil War (1641–1652). Also known as Parliamentarians, they fought against King Charles I of England and his supporters, known as the Cavaliers or Royalists, who claimed rule by absolute monarchy and the principle of the 'divine right of kings'. The goal of the Roundhead party was to give the Parliament supreme control over executive administration of the country/kingdom.
The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars and political machinations between Parliamentarians ("Roundheads") and Royalists ("Cavaliers") principally over the manner of England's governance. The first (1642–1646) and second (1648–1649) wars pitted the supporters of King Charles I against the supporters of the Long Parliament, while the third (1649–1651) saw fighting between supporters of King Charles II and supporters of the Rump Parliament. The war ended with Parliamentarian victory at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651.
John Hampden of Hampden House in the parish of Great Hampden in Buckinghamshire, England, was one of the leading Parliamentarians involved in challenging the authority of King Charles I and became a national figure when he stood trial in 1637 for his refusal to be taxed for ship money. He was one of the Five Members whose attempted unconstitutional arrest by King Charles I in the House of Commons in 1642 sparked the English Civil War.
In 1664–65 the Town Hall was built at the expense of Thomas Stonor. Its upper room was endowed by Stonor as a grammar school for boys, and in 1731 Dame Alice Tipping of Ewelme gave a further endowment to increase the number of pupils. In 1842 the town Vestry established a National School, which shared the same rooms in the Town Hall. In 1843 a National School for girls was built next to St Leonard's church. In 1872 the boys' and girls' schools were absorbed into a new Board school, which like its predecessors was affiliated to the National Society for Promoting Religious Education. In 1927 the school was divided into separate junior and senior schools. In 1956 a new secondary school – the Icknield School – opened for senior pupils and the primary school took over the old premises.The Icknield School is now Icknield Community College.
Ewelme is a village and civil parish in the Chiltern Hills in South Oxfordshire, 2.5 miles (4 km) north-east of the market town of Wallingford. The 2011 Census recorded the parish's population as 1,048.
A National school was a school founded in 19th century England and Wales by the National Society for Promoting Religious Education. These schools provided elementary education, in accordance with the teaching of the Church of England, to the children of the poor. Together with the less numerous British schools of the British and Foreign School Society, they provided the first near-universal system of elementary education in England and Wales.
The National Society for Promoting Religious Education, often just referred to as the National Society,and since 2016 also as The Church of England Education Office (CEEO) is a Church of England body in England and Wales for the promotion of church schools and Christian education.
By 1895 the Town Hall, no longer used as a school, was in disrepair. In 1907 it was restored by public subscription.It is a landmark at the meeting point of three roads in the centre of the town.
Since 1990 Watlington has been twinned with the town of Mansle in the Poitou-Charentes region of France.
The Watlington Hoard, a collection of silver items dating back to the time of Alfred the Great in the 9th century, was rediscovered in Watlington by James Mather, an amateur metal-detectorist, in 2015. The hoard was subsequently excavated, and eventually purchased by the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford for £1.35m.
The town of Watlington lies at the foot of Watlington Hill, a 240-metre peak on the western edge of the Chiltern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Ridgeway National Trail walking route, which is part of the longer Icknield Way, passes nearby between the town and the hill.
Due to its close proximity and easy access to the Chilterns, Watlington is a popular gateway to the many outdoor activities in the area, including hill walking, cycling and birdwatching, especially of the red kite, which is well established in the vicinity.
Watlington Hill is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, and is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It is managed by the National Trust.
The Watlington White Mark is cut into the chalk soil of Watlington Hill. This was designed by local squire Edward Horne, who felt that the parish church of St Leonard, when viewed from his home, would be more impressive if it appeared to have a spire. He therefore had this unusual folly cut into the chalk soil in 1764, and it continues to this day to be maintained by the local residents. The mark is 36 feet (11 m) wide at its base and 270 feet (82 m) long.
The oldest parts of the Church of England parish church of St Leonard are Norman, including a diapered tympanum that was over the north door until this was dismantled for the building of the north aisle. The church was extensively rebuilt in the 14th century, and the arcade of the south aisle survives from this period.The south chapel is 15th century, built for Maud Warner as a memorial for her husband Richard, a woolman. The tower is also Mediaeval. A few Decorated Gothic and Perpendicular Gothic windows survive, but in the 1870s some were moved to different positions within the church.
In 1763 Edward Horne, a local landowner, obtained permission to build a burial vault east of the Warner chapel and south of the chancel.In 1877 the architects H.J. Tollit and Edwin Dolby restored St Leonard's. The church is a Grade II* listed building.
The west tower had a ring of six bells until 1909, when two recently cast ones were hung and increased it to eight.Henry I Knight of Reading, Berkshire cast the fourth bell in 1587. Ellis I Knight cast the sixth bell in 1635. Henry II Knight cast the third and fifth bells in 1663. Charles and John Rudhall of Gloucester cast the seventh bell in 1785. Mears and Stainbank of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry cast the tenor bell in 1869 and the treble and second bells in 1905.
St Leonard's parish is now part of the Benefice of Icknield, along with the parishes of Britwell Salome, Pyrton and Swyncombe.
During the English Reformation Oxfordshire had numerous recusant Roman Catholics. In 1549 William Grey, 13th Baron Grey de Wilton was sent to Oxfordshire with 1,500 troops to enforce the Reformation. Grey ordered William Boolar, a Catholic of Watlington, to be hanged as an example. Despite persecution, a number of local landowning families including the Stonors remained Catholic, and they and their chaplains supported small numbers of other Catholics in the area.
In 1930 Fr. William Brown, the chaplain at Stonor Park, brought about the building of the Roman Catholic church of the Sacred Heart in Watlington.
The present Roman Catholic church in Watlington is dedicated to St Edmund Campion,a Jesuit priest who was executed at Tyburn in 1581.
During the 17th and 18th centuries several nonconformist denominations existed in Watlington, with Quakers, Baptists and Seventh Day Baptists most prominent in different periods. Methodist preachers visited Watlington by invitation from 1764, with John Wesley himself preaching in the town in 1766, 1774 and 1775.
The current Wesleyan chapel was built in 1812,and now forms part of the Oxford Methodist Circuit.
Early years and primary education in Watlington is provided by Watlington Primary School.
Lower secondary education for students up to the age 16 from Watlington and many of the surrounding villages is provided by Icknield Community College, a mixed-sex comprehensive school.
Icknield Community College does not provide sixth form education, and instead works with three partnership schools in the area, Henley College in Henley-on-Thames, Lord Williams's School in Thame, and Wallingford School in Wallingford, as well as sending students to many other sixth forms and colleges in the area.
Watlington Town FC is a Non-League football club.Its first team plays in North Berks Football League Division 1.
Watlington has a cricket club.Its first eleven plays in Oxfordshire Cricket Association League Division 2.
The Watlington Club (previously the Watlington Memorial Club) provides facilities for the sports of tennis, squash and lawn bowls.
Watlington has a Women's Institute.
Decathlete Peter Gabbett was born in Watlington in 1941.[ citation needed ]
Actors Jeremy Irons and Sinéad Cusack have a home in Watlington.
First World War Royal Naval veteran Bill Stone lived in Watlington until he was 106.
Five episodes of the TV series Midsomer Murders have been filmed partly in Watlington, with the library featuring as Midsomer Library.
At least one episode of the TV series Inspector Morse was filmed partly in Watlington, with the nearby Shirburn Castle featuring as the Balcombe family home in the episode Happy Families.
The 2014 film Fury , starring Brad Pitt, was partly filmed in and near Watlington.
The pivotal balloon-accident-scene in the opening chapter of the novel Enduring Love by Ian McEwan takes place on an escarpment of the Chiltern Hills above Watlington.
The M40 motorway is about 2 1⁄2 miles (4 km) from Watlington, with access at junctions 5 and 6.
There are frequent coach services to Oxford and London, and to London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports, from M40 junction 6 at nearby Lewknor.
Bus routes serving Watlington have been reduced in the 2010s because of funding cuts by Oxfordshire County Council. Earlier services to Thame, Wallingford and Reading have been discontinued. The only remaining service is the Thames Travel route T1between Chinnor and Oxford, calling at Watlington, although services only extend to Oxford city centre at peak times, otherwise terminating at Cowley. There are no evening or Sunday bus services.
In 1872 the Watlington and Princes Risborough Railway was opened. Its Watlington terminus is in fact in Pyrton parish, 1⁄2 mile (800 m) from Watlington. In 1883 the Great Western Railway took over control of the line. In 1957 British Railways closed Watlington station and withdrew all passenger services between Watlington and Chinnor, which was still being used by the local Chinnor Cement Works. In 1961 BR withdrew all services from the line, the track was lifted and the line left abandoned. Watlington railway station site remains, as does the station building, the corrugated iron carriage shed, and the brickwork of the goods shed.
Oxfordshire is a county in South East England. The ceremonial county borders Warwickshire to the north-west, Northamptonshire to the north-east, Buckinghamshire to the east, Berkshire to the south, Wiltshire to the south-west and Gloucestershire to the west.
Benson is a village and civil parish in South Oxfordshire, England. The 2011 Census recorded the parish's population as 4,754. The village is about 1 1⁄2 miles (2.4 km) north of Wallingford at the foot of the Chiltern Hills at the confluence of a chalk stream and the River Thames, next to Benson Lock.
Chinnor is a large village and civil parish in South Oxfordshire about 4 miles (6.4 km) southeast of Thame. The village is a spring line settlement on the Icknield Way below the Chiltern escarpment. Since 1932 the civil parish has included the village of Emmington. The 2011 Census recorded the parish's population as 5,924.
Aston Rowant is a village, civil parish and former manor situated about 4 1⁄2 miles (7 km) south of Thame in South Oxfordshire, England. The parish includes the villages of Aston Rowant and Kingston Blount, and adjoins Buckinghamshire to the southeast. The 2011 Census recorded the parish's population as 793.
Britwell Salome is a village and civil parish in South Oxfordshire, England centred 4 1⁄2 miles (7 km) northeast of Wallingford. The 2011 Census recorded the parish's population as 204.
Stadhampton is a village and civil parish about 5 miles (8 km) north of Wallingford, in South Oxfordshire, England. Stadhampton village is on the A329 road and close to the River Thame.
Christmas Common is a hamlet in Watlington civil parish, Oxfordshire about 7 1⁄2 miles (12 km) south of Thame in Oxfordshire, close to the boundary with Buckinghamshire. The hamlet is 812 feet (247 m) above sea level on an escarpment of the Chiltern Hills. Because of its elevation, Christmas Common has two radio masts that are prominent local landmarks.
Drayton St. Leonard is a village and civil parish on the River Thame in Oxfordshire, about 8 miles (13 km) southeast of Oxford.
Emmington is a village in Chinnor civil parish about 4.5 miles (7 km) southeast of Thame in Oxfordshire.
Lewknor is a village and civil parish about 5 miles (8 km) south of Thame in Oxfordshire.The civil parish includes the villages of Postcombe and South Weston. The 2011 Census recorded the parish's population as 663.
The Oxfordshire Way is a long-distance walk in Oxfordshire, England, with 6 miles in Gloucestershire and very short sections in Buckinghamshire. The path links with the Heart of England Way and the Thames Path.
Pyrton is a small village and large civil parish in Oxfordshire about 1 mile (1.6 km) north of the small town of Watlington and 5 miles (8 km) south of Thame. The 2011 Census reforded the parish's population as 227.
St Mary's Church is the Church of England parish church of Pyrton, Oxfordshire, England. Its parish is part of the benefice of Icknield, in the deanery of Aston and Cuddesdon, the archdeaconry of Oxford and the diocese of Oxford. The church is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II* listed building.
Swyncombe is a hamlet and large civil parish in the high Chilterns, within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty about 4 1⁄2 miles (7 km) east of Wallingford, Oxfordshire, England. Swyncombe hamlet consists almost entirely of its Church of England parish church of Saint Botolph, the former rectory and Swyncombe House. The population of the parish is in the hamlets of Cookley Green and Russell's Water, and the scattered hamlet of Park Corner. The 2011 Census recorded the parish's population as 250. It is partially forested and is the fifth largest of 87 civil parishes in the District.
Stonor is a mostly cultivated and wooded village centred 3.8 miles (6.1 km) north of Henley-on-Thames in South Oxfordshire, England. It takes up part of the Stonor valley in the Chiltern Hills which rises to 120 m above sea level within this south-east part of the civil parish. Stonor House close to the village centre has been the home of the Stonor family for more than eight centuries. The house and park are open to the public at certain times of the year. The house has a 12th-century private chapel built of flint and stone, with an early brick tower. There are also signs of a prehistoric stone circle in the park, which gives the place name its etymology.
Shirburn is a village and civil parish about 6 miles (10 km) south of Thame in Oxfordshire. The parish has a high altitude by county standards. Its eastern part is in the Chiltern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Shirburn, the largest civil parish in the district, is forested to the south. A motorway cuts through one edge.
Sydenham is a village and civil parish about 3 miles (5 km) southeast of Thame in Oxfordshire. To the south the parish is bounded by the ancient Lower Icknield Way, and on its other sides largely by brooks that merge as Cuttle Brook, a tributary of the River Thame. The 2011 Census recorded the parish's population as 451.
Crowell is a village and civil parish in Oxfordshire, about 4 miles (6.4 km) southeast of the market town of Thame and 1 mile (1.6 km) southwest of the village of Chinnor. The 2001 Census recorded the parish's population as 100.
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