Grove is a tiny village in the parish of Slapton, Buckinghamshire, England. It is on the border with Bedfordshire, just to the north of Mentmore. It is the size of some hamlets, but it is distinct as a village because it had its own parish church. The place name is fairly self-explanatory, as it means 'grove', or a copse of trees. It was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Grova, and was considered a separate village even then.
In medieval times there was an abbey or priory of nuns in the parish, founded in 1169 by Henry II and attached to Fontevrault Abbey in France. Following the wars with France it was given to the dean and Canons of Windsor. The remains of this abbey were fully excavated in the late 1960s just before they were lost forever in connection with the sand-quarrying industry of Leighton Buzzard. It has been suggested that before this Grove may once have been an important place of worship in even more ancient times, thus leading to its establishment as a separate parish. The parish church was dedicated to St. Michael, the dragon slayer.
Immediately adjoining Grove was the lost hamlet known as South Waddon, today this remains only as the name of a nearby farm; however earth workings in the area suggest a substantial settlement if not fortifications.
Grove Church was converted into a small private house in the late 1970s. The area that has become the sitting room of the house has the macabre feature of a Medieval human skeleton buried under a glass panel. The skull is surrounded in turn by the skeletons of small birds, thought to have been put there to ward off evil spirits. Part of the churchyard containing the newest graves was retained by the church authorities, following their controversial decision to sell the church. It remains today but is closed for further burials.
A large farmhouse dominating the village, was during the early 1960s turned into a Victorian gothic mansion complete with clock tower when it was the property of the Shand-Kydd family. The house overlooks and indeed is a landmark for the boats on The Grand Union Canal which actually flows through the centre of the village. A former lock-keeper's cottage at nearby Grove Lock was in 2001 converted into a public house and restaurant.
Birth, marriage and death certificates can now be ordered online from Buckinghamshire County Council. The full postal address is Buckinghamshire Register Office, County Hall, Walton Street, Aylesbury, HP20 1YU.
The Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies (County Hall, Walton Street, Aylesbury, HP20 1UU) holds
In Buckinghamshire, as with other counties in England and Wales, the location of offices where Births, Marriages and Deaths were registered has altered with other changes in local government. A list of the location of Registration Offices since civil registration began in 1837 has been prepared by GENUKI (Genealogy: United Kingdom and Ireland). The table also gives details of when each Registration Office was in existence. In the case of Buckinghamshire, the same registration offices were used for the censuses since 1851.
Nineteenth Century Local Administration
English Jurisdictions is a webpage provided by FamilySearch which analyses every ecclesiastical parish in England at the year 1851. It provides, with the aid of outline maps, the date at which parish records and bishops transcripts begin, non-conformist denominations with a chapel within the parish, the names of the jurisdictions in charge: county, civil registration district, probate court, diocese, rural deanery, poor law union, hundred, church province; and links to FamilySearch historical records, FamilySearch Catalog and the FamilySearch Wiki. Two limitations: only England, and at the year 1851.
During the 19th century two bodies, the Poor Law Union and the Sanitary District, had responsibility for governmental functions at a level immediately above that covered by the civil parish. In 1894 these were replace by Rural and Urban Districts. These were elected bodies, responsible for setting local property assessments and taxes as well as for carrying out their specified duties. Thses districts continued in operation until 1974. Urban districts for larger municipalities were called "Municipal Boroughs" and had additional powers and obligations.
Poor Law Unions, established nationally in 1834, combined parishes together for the purpose of providing relief for the needy who had no family support. This led to the building of '"union poorhouses" or "workhouses" funded by all the parishes in the union. The geographical boundaries established for the individual Poor Law Unions were employed again when Registration Districts were formed three years later. In 1875 Sanitary Districts were formed to provide services such as clean water supply, sewage systems, street cleaning, and the clearance of slum housing. These also tended to follow the same geographical boundaries, although there were local alterations caused by changes in population distribution.
Online Historical References