Place:Shalstone, Buckinghamshire, England

Alt namesCeldestanesource: Domesday Book (1985) p 44
Celdestonesource: Domesday Book (1985) p 44
Shaldestonesource: Family History Library Catalog
TypeVillage, Civil parish
Coordinates52.017°N 1.05°W
Located inBuckinghamshire, England
See alsoBuckingham Rural, Buckinghamshire, Englandrural district of which the parish was a part 1894-1974
Aylesbury Vale, Buckinghamshire, Englanddistrict which the parish joined in 1974
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Shalstone is a village and also a civil parish within Aylesbury Vale district in Buckinghamshire, England. It is located in the north of the county, about four miles north west of Buckingham. The village name is Anglo Saxon in origin, and means 'farm by a shallow stream'. In the Domesday Book of 1086 the village was recorded as Celdestone.

Shalstone Church dedicated to St Edward the Confessor was almost entirely reconstructed in 1862 by the architect Sir George Gilbert Scott. Some memorial tablets in the church survived the rebuilding and these are dedicated to members of the Purefoy family and their relatives the Jervoise family. Some of the memorial statuary is by Sir Richard Westmacott (remembered chiefly for his work on the new Houses of Parliament in London).

One remarkable memorial tablet commemorates the life of Elizabeth Purefoy - a seemingly dominating woman who ruled her unmarried son Henry until he predeceased her. She was widowed in 1704 when she was 32, and survived her husband by a further 61 years. Her memorial reads:

She was a Woman of Excellent Sense and Spiritt
Prudent and Frugal
As well as a true friend To the family She married into
And was moreover endued
With all Those Graces and Virtues
Which distinguish and Adorn
The good Wife The good Mother and good Christian (sic)

The most remarkable thing about this glowing tribute is that Mrs. Purefoy not only wrote it herself, but had the tablet erected in the church while she was still alive. She died in 1765.

Shalstone's claim to fame came in 1973 with the publication of the 'Purefoy Letters' a detailed catalogue of the everyday lives of the inhabitants of the village and surrounding area as seen through the eyes of the 90-year-old Elizabeth Purefoy to her son Henry during the period 1735-1753. Henry, the squire, and his mother both lived at Shalstone House. The book records Shalstone at this period in minute detail.

Shalstone House is built in the Georgian style, of stone. The rectangular house is of a plain design five bays by six bays, on two floors. The hipped roof is hidden by a solid parapet. The house contains a notable chimneypiece by William Palmer installed in 1739. Shalstone House is still the home of the Purefoy family today,

Shalstone was part of the Buckingham Hundred, and, from 1894 until 1974, part of the Buckinghamshire Rural District.


Research Tips


  • The page, Buckingham Rural District, includes a map of the parishes in the district.
  • An outline map of the current civil parishes of Buckinghamshire (post 1974 and omitting Milton Keynes unitary authority) is provided by the Boundaries Commission.
  • Another map which gives no source, appears to have been drawn to show the county in the late 19th century and labels the parishes directly. However, the map does not show towns and villages (unless they are parishes using the same name) and some parishes have been found to be missing from this map.
  • A map provided by the Open University (a British university based in Milton Keynes) gives the locations of the old civil parishes and the new communities that make up Milton Keynes. It can be expanded to read the labels.

Registration Offices

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

  • Church of England and Nonconformist churches including registers of baptism, marriage and burial.
  • Around 35,000 wills proved by the Archdeaconry of Buckingham.
  • County and District Councils (lists of councillors, minutes of meetings, etc).
  • Quarter and Petty Session courts.
  • Landed estates of families including the Aubrey-Fletchers, Hampdens, Carringtons and Fremantles.
  • Historic maps including OS, tithe and inclosure maps
  • A wide range of local history books, some for loan.
  • Pamphlets and articles of local history interest.
  • Local newspapers
  • Computers for access to family history resources like Ancestry and FreeBMD.
  • Published material is listed in the Library Catalogue.
  • Catalogues to some of our manuscript material is available through Access to Archives, part of The National Archives (TNA). Their database contains catalogues describing archives held locally in England and Wales and dating from the eighth century to the present day.

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

  • GENUKI for Buckinghamshire provides a lot of material on the county history from a variety of aspects. The maps of the hundreds are reproduced from 19th century publications and show the topology as well as the locations of the various parishes. There is also a schematic map covering the whole county. GENUKI does not contain much information about the 20th century and beyond.
  • Local History Online provides a list of local historical organizations. Each of these societies and organizations has its own website.
  • The FamilySearch Wiki on Buckinghamshire explains the jurisdictions relating to civil affairs, parishes and probate (wills and testaments) for each parish in the county and also outlines when these jurisdictions were in existence. The data does not cover the post-1974 period.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Shalstone. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.