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History - Notable Historical Figures
The Abbey Aston Abbotts
Sir James Clark Ross
John and William Deverell
John Putnam
President Benes
Sir James Clark Ross is probably Aston Abbotts’ most famous former resident and the celebrated Antarctic explorer is buried in our churchyard along with his wife Anne.
The Deverell family originated in Swanbourne, but both John and William Deverell lived in Aston Abbotts during the 19th Century. Two gravestones for members of the Deverell family can be found in St James’ churchyard.
John Putnam, born in Wingrave in 1650, is believed to have farmed in the hamlet of Burston (long gone on Lines Hill leading west out of Aston Abbotts. He later emigrated to Massachusetts where his descendants became involved in the notorious Salem witch trials. A plaque in St. James church commemorates a donation made by a 20th century descendant in memory of his ancestor.
During the second world war President Benes, the exiled president of Czechoslovakia, lived in The Abbey, the former home of Sir James Clark Ross. The then owner of The Abbey Major Morton and his family moved into the chauffeur’s cottage. After the war President Benes donated a bus shelter to the village, which still stands at Wingrave crossroads. In recent years there have been a number of commemorations of the historic links between Aston Abbotts and President Benes, held in conjunction with the Czech and Slovak embassies. See pictures here (external site). In 2021 the two embassies donated an information board celebrating the connection which stands on The Green in the centre of our village.