Contact Us Website updated 18th July 2017
In 1999, as the whole world approached a new millennium with ever increasing excitement, many villages looked to ways in which they could mark the event, Aston Abbotts was no exception and an Aston Abbotts History Group was formed with the express purpose of creating a written record of the growth of Aston Abbotts and its community. A great deal of research, a lot of hard work, a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and sponsorship from villagers resulted in an excellent book 'Aston Abbotts 1000-2000, A Village History'. Its 115 A4 pages paint a vivid picture of life and changing times within Aston Abbotts and it is gratefully and freely acknowledged as the main information source from which this History section of the website was constructed. This book is now BACK IN PRINT in 2016, in a limited run in aid of the Village Hall improvement funds. Copies cost £10 plus postage outside the local area and are available from Caroline Lane, 01296 681373 or email astonabbottsvillagehall@yahoo.com
HISTORY
The name Aston Abbotts came about in the eleventh century. At that time two distinct communities existed: Eastun or East Tun (a 'tun' is a settlement), roughly at the location of the present village and an earlier settlement at Bricstochr (latterly Burston) at the bottom of Lines Hill. Tolf, a Danish chief who held the village at that time, gave his land to the Holy Church of Alban the Martyr (St Albans) in an effort to ingratiate himself and earn the right to be buried there. Thus the village became Aston (or Eastun) Abbotts, to distinguish itself from Aston Clinton and the other Astons. By the time the Domesday Book was compiled at the direction of William the Conqueror in 1086 the Abbott of St Albans owned about 1200 acres at Aston Abbotts. The survey reported six villagers, with twelve smallholders having six ploughs between them, one slave and pasture for three plough teams. The next few hundred years passed apparently without Aston Abbotts attracting much attention and there are few mentions of it in official records.
There are accounts of a mill existing at Burston in Windmill Fields by the end of the sixteenth century. Aston Abbotts location on a hill would have made it an ideal position, but any physical trace of the mill has long since disappeared. Aston Abbotts remained the property of the Abbott of St Albans until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539. The manor then passed into the hands of lord Russell, who sold it to Sir William Dormer in 1553. The manor then went through the hands of Sir William Stanhope and onto the Earls of Chesterfield, who sold it to Lord Overstone. It was Lord Overstone who was responsible for overseeing much of the rebuilding of Aston Abbotts that took place in the mid-nineteenth century. Lady Wantage inherited the estate after the death of Lord Overstone (her father) and, in 1919, sold off the land to and some houses to the sitting tenants. So it was less than 100 years ago when ownership of the land around Aston Abbotts finally passed into the hands of the private individuals who lived, and in many cases worked, upon it.
Origins