Click here to learn more about the book
Click here for a contents listing of the book
Click here to view the full index for the book
The book and its value to genealogists
Photographs and illustrations in the book
Maps and reference in the book
The technical specifications of the book
How to order a copy of the book
Discover more about North Aston, the village
How to make contact with the publishers

North Aston has stood on the western slopes of the Cherwell valley, mid-way between Oxford and Banbury, for well over a thousand years.

Already well established by the time of the Norman Conquest, the village was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. Today the size of North Aston and its population remains much as it did then, and the land still provides employment for many of its residents.

A century ago, in 1907, the village was sold in its entirety for the very last time, including The Hall, manor house, three farms, more than thirty-five houses and some 500 acres of prime agricultural land. The century since then has wrought many changes, and within living memory an almost feudal way of life has disappeared.

A book has now been produced that taps into those memories and unearths a vibrant history that stretches back through the generations. Published to coincide with the celebration of a thousand years of the county of Oxfordshire, North Aston - A Millennium delves into the heart of a rural community, revealing a diverse heritage that blends an inherently pastoral way of life with the unique legacy of a succession of Lords of the Manor.

There are tales of ghostly misbehaviour from England’s first recorded poltergeist, and agricultural innovation introduced by Oldfield Bowles, a friend of the artist Sir Joshua Reynolds. Centuries before, North Aston was home to Timothy Kendall, the Tudor poet whose translations of classical poetry inspired Shakespeare, while later inhabitants included William Churchill, the great grandfather to an American President. Bernard Gates, resident in North Aston during the eighteenth century, is credited with encouraging Handel to compose his splendid oratorios, while his successor, Thomas Dupuis, became Organist and Composer to the Chapel Royal.

Thus a rich musical, artistic and theatrical tradition is exposed, intertwined with royalty, high society and the eminent characters of history.

This book encapsulates the changing centuries, but most of all, it is an account of a community and its people – a microcosm of English society. It is a chronicle of a thousand years of rural life, generously illustrated with hundreds of images, including maps and rare or previously unpublished photographs - a vivid reminder that we are all a part of the continuity of history.

This website explains some of the background and content of the book, and offers those interested in the history and heritage of North Aston an opportunity to order copies direct from the village. All proceeds go to village funds.