About

The Parish of Ellesborough was not identified with its name until a relatively recent date. It is part of the county of Buckinghamshire, which was defined in 910AD during the Saxon period.

Long before this time there were people coming and going hereabouts as the Iron Age site on the side of Beacon Hill demonstrates. This settlement was partly obscured when the Normans built a ‘motte’ – a large mound that had a wooden tower, a keep, at the top. In this way the Conqueror laid his heavy hand upon the local population.

If you visit what the Ordnance Survey calls “Cymbeline’s Mount” you can see why the spot was selected as it commands a view across Aylesbury Vale. The Icknield Way, one of the oldest highways in the land passes through the parish. In the prehistoric period it linked the flint mines in Norfolk with the sacred circles in Wiltshire. On the way it passed the White Horse of Uffington.

The name of the parish first appears in Domesday Book [1086] when it was recorded as Esenberge. In the following century several spellings were used including : Eseburgh, Eselburgh. By the fifteenth century we find the first version of the modern name – Elisborough. The meaning of the parish name is enrolled in the ‘Place Names of Buckinghamshire’ [CUP 1925] which tells us that it derives from the Old English esol-beorg which indicates the hill where the ass grazes.

Buckmoor End, Brocmer-end, takes its name from the manor of Laurence de Broc who owned the land in the thirteenth century. Chequers Court dates from the thirteenth century when Henry de Scaccario [of the Exchequer] held the land. Grove has a moated site which places it in the mediaeval period. It was also known as Seyton’s Manor and one of the family, Sir John Seyton, Knight, died in Jerusalem in 1396.The parish therefore has a tenuous connection with the Crusades.

There is another moated site at Aspley Manor, partly in Kimble, which illustrates the need for our ancestors, who lived in troubled times, to have a protected dwelling place. Nash Lee & North Lee are derived from Old English ‘leah’ ,a clearing in woodland, which was distinguished by some ash trees which divided them.

Turwick Green appears on the first Ordnance map of 1822. The element ‘wic’ simply means dwelling place and can indicate a dairy farm. It has a Saxon origin so it is probably older than the parish name. The highest point in the parish is Coombe Hill, which is 852 feet above sea level. When James Sheahan wrote his history of the county, in 1862, he observed that: “ from it may be seen with the telescope, on a clear day, Harrow church spire, Windsor Castle, and the Crystal Palace at Sydenham.”

In 1858 near the Terrick Turnpike gate, now the roundabout!, the remains of a Roman building were discovered. Those who hurry through the parish today are seldom aware of its historic past.

As the inheritors of so great a heritage we will continue to recognise and care for our cultural roots. We will temper our future progress with a clear understanding of our past, which is so clearly written in the landscape.

With thanks to John Vince, a parishioner of Ellesborough, October 2003

Top