Stony Stratford was part of the Newport Hundred and the Potterspury Poor Law Union. The parish was located in the Stratford and Wolverton Rural from 1894 until 1919, and in the Wolverton Urban District from 1920 until 1974.
Since at least Roman times, there has been a settlement here at the ford of Watling Street over the Great Ouse. The town's market charter dates from 1194 and its status as a town from 1215. It is in the north west corner of Milton Keynes, bordering Northamptonshire and separated from it by the River Great Ouse. Before the designation of Milton Keynes in 1967, Stony was in Wolverton Urban District (1920-1967) in north Buckinghamshire and prior to that in Stratford and Wolverton Rural District (1894-1919). (Stratford and Wolverton Rural District was renamed Stratford and Wolverton Urban District for the last year of its life.)
For a time between the late 18th century and 1927 Stony Stratford was divided into two parishes named Stony Stratford East and Stony Stratford West. The division was probably Watling Street. Both of these parishes have been redirected here.
Stony Stratford (often shortened to Stony) is now a constituent town of Milton Keynes (in north Buckinghamshire, England) and is a civil parish with a town council within the Milton Keynes unitary authority.
In 1789, at Windmill Field in the parish of Old Stratford near Stony Stratford, an urn was uncovered which contained three fibulae and two headdresses. Known as the Stony Stratford Hoard, it also contained around thirty fragments of silver plaques which were decorated with images of the Roman gods Mars, Apollo and Victory. There were also inscriptions to Jupiter and Vulcan leading to theories that this was a votive hoard at a Roman temple.The hoard in now kept at the British Museum.
The town name 'Stratford' is Anglo-Saxon in origin, and means 'ford on a Roman road'. The Roman road in this sense is the Watling Street that runs through the middle of the town. The ford is the crossing of the River Ouse. The prefix 'Stony' refers to the stones on the bed of the ford, differentiating the town from nearby Fenny Stratford.
There has been a market in Stony Stratford since 1194 (by charter of King Richard I). (Until the early 1900s, livestock marts were still held in the market square but in more recent times the square has become a car park, apart from a monthly farmers' market in one corner. The weekly market has moved to Timor Court, and of course no longer deals in livestock). Stony Stratford formally became a town when it received letters patent from King John in 1215.
Queen Anne House also known as Shell House, at 48 High Street, was once the Dower House for nearby Wolverton Manor (demolished in 1728). This house has many distinct sections, spanning from the 1520s to the early 1700s, with a rare number of original features still intact. The front portion is believed locally to have been underwritten in some way by Sir Christopher Wren or – more likely – his colleague Nicholas Hawksmoor circa 1700–1703. At dates which would appear to concur with this, Wren and Hawksmoor were sourcing building materials from Stony Stratford whilst working on other estates in close proximity. In 1700, Wren was busy remodelling Winslow Hall to the South; and at the same time Hawksmoor was working on Easton Neston to the North, which he completed in 1702.
Both men were known personally to one early 18th century owner of Queen Anne House, John Radcliffe, as all three belonged to the same masonic circle. Radcliffe, who was Queen Anne's physician, took ownership of the house in 1713 as part of his acquisition of the Wolverton estate. Architecturally, there are features within all three properties that bear more than a passing resemblance. The drawing room at Queen Anne House has scallop shell recesses which are notably similar to stairwell features at Easton Neston. Interestingly, the hallway is dominated by a grand oak staircase with carved inverted pentagrams: Hawksmoor was well known for his fondness of using pagan symbols in his designs, and as such has been posthumously referred to as "The Devil's Architect". Such use of appropriated "warding off" medieval symbolism would be entirely consistent with his hand. Despite compelling circumstantial evidence, given the passage of time it is unlikely that direct evidence will be uncovered linking Wren or Hawksmoor to Queen Anne House.
The town has twice become almost completely consumed by fire, the first time in 1736 and the second in 1742. The only building to escape the second fire was the tower of the chapel of ease of St Mary Magdalen.
Since at least the 15th century, Stony Stratford was an important stop on the road to Ireland via Chester, becoming quite rich on the proceeds in the 16th century. In the stage coach era of the 17th and early 18th centuries, it was a major resting place and exchange point with the east/west route with coaching inns to accommodate coach travellers. In the early 19th century, over thirty mail coaches and stagecoaches a day stopped here. That traffic came to an abrupt end in 1838 when the London to Birmingham Railway (now the West Coast Main Line) was opened at Wolverton – ironically, just three years after the bridge over the Ouse had been rebuilt. For the rest of that century, Stony was in decline until the arrival of the motor car, when again its position on the original A5 road made it an important stopping point for motorists.
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