The Parish of Aston Rowant does, in fact, comprise the two villages of Aston Rowant and Kingston Blount plus the three hamlets of Kingston Stert, Chalford and Copcourt. A fourth hamlet – Kingston Lilly, was located on Kingston Hill but its actual site is unknown. The total population of the Parish as recorded in the 2011 Census was 793 (next update due in 2021), with 668 registered electors as at March 2019.

The Parish history probably dates from the early Anglo Saxon period, the village and hamlets all being mentioned in the Domesday Book 1086AD. “Aston” was originally “East Ton” and “Rowant” derives from the Rohant family, Lords of the Manor in the fourteenth century.

“Kingston” was originally “Chingstone”, its name is in the Domesday Book and “Blount” comes from the family of that name who were Lords of the Manor in the 13th and 14th centuries.

The Parish has two distinct halves – the wooded slopes of the Chilterns to the south and the agricultural plain to the north. Apart from farming , the main local employment is in the two substantial stud farms in Aston Rowant. However, many of the residents now commute to other places such as Oxford, Aylesbury, Thame, High Wycombe and London, which is very accessible via a 365 day a week, 24 hours a day coach service.

Nevertheless, there is a thriving community life and major events include Aston Rowant Cricket Club and point-to-point racing.

The Ridgeway Long Distance Path (Icknield Way) passes through the Parish from east to west along the foot of the Chilterns.

Historic maps of Aston Rowant Parish

At the Millennium a book was written about the local area and one of its resources was old maps . These are reproduced here at fairly high resolution. The other useful resource is Google Earth and especially its older pictures taken in different seasons. The old maps are not as accurate as aerial photographs, but contain the imprint of lost houses and tracks. Put altogether one can work out how things have changed. Of interest to walkers and horse riders might be the location of the lost village of Penn and the pest house on the Stad Way – both off the London Weye beyond Fiveways. The Stad Way is a complicated feature and is best viewed in Map 3 (1835). The Stad Way is a parish boundary.

The information on the maps is complicated to describe, so instead of writing this up in the Parish Notes as I had planned, I have decided to put them here on the parish website for you to browse. Fiveways or Crofs Ways and its houses are marked on Map 4 (1835). The field opposite Fiveways on Church Lane is Brook Furlong.

The older Map 2 (1800) shows a few houses in Penn at the junction of London Weye (Copcourt Church Way) and the now lost track to Chalford.

The Oldest Map 1 (1797) also shows Penn and the church poor houses around Fiveways.

The maps being high resolution are capable of being enlarged. The maps show how important Fiveways was as a medieval highway junction! For those interested you might consider what the function of the Stad way was?

Mike Eaton

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