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St. James Great, Aston Abbotts, Bucks
Central Bucks branch of the ODG
St. James Great, Aston Abbotts
St. James Great, Aston AbbottsİBM 31 May 2004
Dedication:St. James Great, Aston Abbotts

Practice night: Fri 8.15pm

The Bells (6) 6-2-27

Access to ringing chamber: 10 sturdy wooden steps up a ladder with handrail and hand-holds at the top.

The following information comes from a Taylor job book through Chris Pickford.

A ring of 6; tenor 6-2-27, diameter 35½”, tuned to G#
Bell Weight
cwt-qr-lb
Diameter
(inches)
Strike
note
Date
cast
Founder Foundry
location
Inscription
treble 3-2-17 25½ E# 1929 Taylors Loughborough GIVEN BY H. PUTNAM OF HARTFORD U.S.A. IN MEMORY OF HIS ANCESTOR, JOHN PUTNAM OF ASTON ABBOTS AND SALEM MASS. ABOUT 1640
2 3-3-25 27¼ D# 1929 Taylors Loughborough [Cross Fig 77] [Fleur-de-lys Fig 78] 1652 [Star Fig 79] [Fig 78] CHANDLER MADE ME
RECAST 1929
3 4-0-18 29 C# 1652 Anthony Chandler Drayton Parslow [Fig 79] 1652 [Fig 78 twice] CHANDLER MADE ME
4 4-2-16 30¼ B# 1739 Edward Hall Drayton Parslow EDWARD HALL MADE ME J739
5 5-3-1 32¾ A# 1652 Anthony Chandler Drayton Parslow [Fig 78 twice] 1652 [Fig 79] CHANDLER MADE ME
tenor 6-2-27 35½ G# 1740 Edward Hall Drayton Parslow EDWARD HALL MADE ME J740
Notes:

  1. On bells 2, 3 & 5 the ‘N’ in ‘CHANDLER’ is reversed.
  2. Origins: By 1552 there were 3 bells. By 1714 there were 5 bells. In 1929 4 of the existing bells were rehung in a new steel frame, the old treble (4-0-13) recast and an additional new treble added to complete the present ring of 6 bells. The Chandler family cast bells at their blacksmith’s shop from 1636 till 1726. Edward Hall took over in 1726 and died in 1755. The foundry was located behind ‘The three Horse Shoes’ in Drayton Parslow.
Church Architecture

A church is first mentioned at Aston Abbotts in 1291 when £3 from the tithes was given to the kitchener of St. Alban’s Abbey. The parish records begin in 1550.

The church underwent extensive rebuilding and renovation during the 1st half of the C 19th. In 1818 the church roof was renewed and a plaque commemorating this work was erected close to the Royal coat of Arms on the wall above the Chancel arch. In 1864 plans were drawn up to refit the interior of the church but also to undertake essential work on the church walls including new foundations for both the Nave and Chancel walls which necessitated replacing the roof. The chosen architect was the famous G.E. Street.

The Church was rededicated by Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, on Whit Tuesday, May 1866.

The rebuilding gave the opportunity for Aston Abbotts’ most distinguished resident, Rear Admiral Sir James Ross, (b 15 April 1800 d 3 April 1862) to be commemorated in the stained glass window above the altar. Sir James was England’s outstanding explorer of the time who discovered the North magnetic pole in 1831 and also led the expedition which discovered the Great Ice Barrier in the Antarctic in 1842. He paved the way for Amundsen and Scott. In fact, Amundsen regarded him as the foremost explorer of his time. He married in 1843, bought the Abbey House and lived there till his death in 1862.

Ross GravestoneİKMC 23 Apr 2005
His tomb is in the churchyard.
It is inscribed:

IN AFFECTIONATE MEMORY OF
REAR ADMIRAL JAMES CLARK ROSS KT FRS
ARCTIC & ANTARCTIC & DISCOVERER
OF THE
MAGNETIC NORTH POLE
WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE AT ASTON ABBOTTS HOUSE
APRIL 3, 1862 AGED 62 YEARS
DEEPLY LAMENTED & REGRETTED

Also of interest are:

Oak treasury chest of 1695, with three locks:- one for the vicar and one each for the church wardens.

Chair by the altar presented to the church with an engraved date of 1707.

Font with octagonal bowl probably made in the 1500s.

The oak-panelled Nave screen erected in 1909 in memory of Ann Congreve Martyn, the vicar’s wife.

The church tower is in the perpendicular style, built in the early C 16th and its roof is covered in lead. It contains a chiming clock made by Gillett and Co in 1889 and six bells.

The colourful cushions and kneelers for the deal pews were made by members of the church and village over a four year period starting in 1990.

The above items were extracted from the visitors’ guide to the church — anonymous.

Travel Details: OS Grid Ref: SP847203 - Park on the road or by the village green

Eating Places: ‘The Royal Oak’

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