Milton Keynes, sometimes abbreviated M.K., is a large town in Buckinghamshire, about north-west of London. It is the administrative centre of the Borough of Milton Keynes. It was formally designated as a new town on 23 January 1967, with the design brief to become a 'city' in scale.
At designation, its area incorporated the existing towns of Bletchley, Wolverton and Stony Stratford along with another fifteen villages and farmland in between. It took its name from the existing village of Milton Keynes, a few miles east of the planned centre.
At the 2011 census the population of the Milton Keynes urban area, including the adjacent Newport Pagnell and Woburn Sands, was 229,941, and that of the wider borough, which has been a unitary authority independent of Buckinghamshire County Council since 1997, was 248,800, (compared with a population for the Borough equivalent area of around 53,000 for the same area in 1961), with almost all the approx 196,000 population increase since 2001 arising in the urban area.
On 23 January 1967 when the formal new town designation order was made, the , area to be developed was largely farmland and undeveloped villages. Before construction began, every area was subject to detailed archaeological investigation: doing so has exposed a rich history of human settlement since Neolithic times and has provided a unique insight into the history of a large sample of the landscape of north Buckinghamshire.
From its establishment in 1967 to its abolition in 1992, the Milton Keynes Development Corporation created by far the largest and most ambitious of the British new towns: indeed its objective was to build a new city of 250,000 people. Many of Britain's most acclaimed building and landscape architects contributed to what was to be a show-piece of British design. Unlike previous new towns, Milton Keynes has a preponderance of privately funded development but these developments were subject to an exacting design brief in line with the design principles laid out in The Plan for Milton Keynes.
From the Norman Conquest through the Medieval Period
Excavations in and around the modern villages have failed to find any evidence of occupation before the 10th or 11th centuries, except in Bradwell where Bradwell Bury is traced to the 9th century. The Domesday Book of 1086 provides the first documentary evidence for many settlements, listing Bertone (Broughton), Calvretone (Calverton), Linforde (Great Linford), Lochintone (Loughton), Neuport (Newport Pagnell), Nevtone (Newton Longville), Senelai (Shenley), Siwinestone (Simpson), Ulchetone (Woughton), Waletone (Walton), Wluerintone (Wolverton) and Wlsiestone (Woolstone).
Administration of the area that was later to become the Borough of Milton Keynes was in "Hundreds". Bletchley, Bradwell, Calverton, Fenny Stratford, Great Linford, Loughton, Newport Pagnell, Newton Longville, Shenley (part of), Simpson, Stantonbury, Stoke Hammond, Stony Stratford, Water Eaton, Willen, Great and Little Woolstone, Wolverton, and Woughton on the Green were in Secklow Hundred (Sigelai Hundred); Cold Brayfield, Castlethorpe, Gayhurst, Hanslope, Haversham, Lathbury, Lavendon, Little Linford, Olney, Ravenstone, Stoke Goldington, Tyringham with Filgrave, and Weston Underwood were in Bunsty Hundred (Bunstou Hundred); and Bow Brickhill, Great Brickhill, Little Brickhill, Broughton, Chicheley, Clifton Reynes, North Crawley, Emberton, Hardmead, Lathbury, Lavendon, Milton Keynes (village), Moulsoe, Newton Blossomville, Olney with Warrington, Ravenstone, Sherington, Stoke Goldington, Tyringham with Filgrave, Walton, Wavendon, Weston Underwood, and Willen were in Moulsoe Hundred. (These hundreds became "the three hundreds of Newport" [Pagnell] in the middle of the 16th century).
The moot mound of Secklow Hundred has been found, excavated and reconstructed – it is on the highest point in the central area and is just behind the Library in modern Central Milton Keynes. Only one medieval manor house survives: the 15th century Manor Farmhouse in Loughton. There are sites of other manor houses in Great Woolstone, Milton Keynes village and Woughton on the Green. The oldest surviving domestic building is Number 22, Milton Keynes (village), the house of the bailiff of the manor of Bradwell.
Newport Pagnell, established early in the 10th century, was the principal market town for the area. Stony Stratford and Fenny Stratford were founded as market towns on Watling Street in the late 12th or early 13th centuries.
By the early 13th century, North Buckinghamshire had several religious houses: Bradwell Abbey (1154) is within modern Milton Keynes and Snelshall Priory (1218) is just outside it. Both were Benedictine priories. Many of the medieval trackways to these sites still survive and have become cycleways and footpaths of the Redway network.
The Eighteenth Century and the Industrial Revolution
For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article History of Milton Keynes. Sections not reproduced here cover the twentieth century and future prospects.
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