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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Have you been spotted?

How many times have you been spotted by a waterways patrol officer. Your boat details go into his handheld computer and your sighting is logged via GPS. If like us you just comply with the rules you hardly notice them as they walk or cycle along the towpath.
I did get wondering if they would give me a list for Nb Valerie and so tagged the request onto another e mail to CRT(canal,river trust). Just a few days to reply is very impressive.

The link to the list of sightings is                        The list of codes is

Not much listed in 2006/7 but I assume perhaps the boat checkers of today were not around then with perhaps just an area manager going out occasionally.

EDIT  Both links should now be working, they do for me although slow. Let me know if still a problem and I will try something else to link them. They open as Excel Web app

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Pulling in at Marsworth for water and rubbish disposal the view had changed dramatically. Almost all the site had been cleared ahead of the builders erecting and I quote;
"12 new stunning dwellings and a sympathetic conversion of a historic building"
They make it sound like they are doing everyone a favour re the historic building but probably wished they had their way and replaced it with more housing had it not been for the planning people.
For now the services are the same but will according to the developers site be modernised with the addition of a pump out machine as an extra.

This is how it looked. To the rear was the old concrete post making factory and the remainder was a working yard for CRT. The building on the far left was used as an office and is the historic building they refer to.

Above some pictures from the developers site. My thanks to Jo on Hadar for the link to the site. The aerial view shows the Grand Union main line on the right and the Aylesbury arm going off to the left. It just won`t be the same but as is always the case we will get used to it.
Next will be the Bulbourne yard. Never I hear you say, it`s full of Grade ll listed buildings. Mmmmm maybe next post I will dig out a link that shows an artists impression with a fancy bridge and a CRT.......NO you need to see this now HERE.
Is nothing safe from the money grabbing developers.

Edit: Perhaps the above link is a little tame. Try this one and see the same Marsworth developer with their impressions of Bulborne.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Seven heaven, seven years afloat

Seven years ago Nb Valerie made her maiden voyage from Winkwell in a snow blizzard. It could have been left for better weather but having moved aboard the decision to go on that particular day was to a boating virgin was not to be put off.

Below is a section of the blog post on that day.

entered Berkhampstead and dived into a pub "The Boat" and sat by the fire with 2 cups of hot coffee, yes i know pubs sell beer but we needed to have our wits about us on this our maiden voyage. Anyway fell out the pub 30mins later intoxicated by the warmth of the open fire and followed the ARGUS coal and diesel boat through the next lock, she was two abreast loaded with coal and soon stopped to service the needs of boats moored so we went past and decided to stop outside Waitrose for some nice crusty bread and use the cash machine.
Wish we hadn`t as when we came to caste off--nothing. Forwards backwards--nothing. Now remember this is the maiden voyage of 2 virgin boaters. So plenty of water movement when forward engaged so i thinks prop is revolving but just in case have a look down the weedhatch, ok be honest how many of you are laughing. Prop clear so i think are we aground, rocked the boat and it seemed fine so i phoned Phil the builder as he said phone and he will be with us if we get into bother- what us!-get in bother! You lot must be hysterical by now. Anyway he established on the phone after a few questions that we had run aground slightly at the very front end, but i knew that just testing him wasn`t i.
Off we go through the next

So much water has flowed past the hull in those 7 years.  Hundreds, no thousands of locks plus who knows how many miles because the only records I keep are my memories. So many wonderful views as the miles slowly drift by. The many peaceful moorings sometimes just a mile or two away from  thousands of people living as I once did but you seem to be in the middle of nowhere. So many wonderful boaters who are like an extended family....I appreciate you all. I shared my adventures with hundreds of people along the way who just walked by the mooring and showed an interest in the life of a water gypsy.

Now I get to share all this with the most wonderful person that ever asked  about my life aboard my lovely wife Jaq. She first took interest with the words `Dear sir` LINK
 Her blog True love, first post HERE tells her story but be warned Jaq is a writer and this is a long read so maybe if you get into it bookmark it for a winter night read.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Spam attack, I surrender

Below is a screen snatch of the blogger page where comments await moderation by Jaq and I. There are 34 and they are all spam.
 The actual spam file contains Eighty+.  These have all been intercepted by

blogger but recently, well quite a few months actually, spam has been getting through to the above section that should be genuine comments. Spam in the right file is not a problem as one click deletes it all but in the above file we need to go through and pick out readers comments and publish them.
A lot of blogs use the moderation system pictured  left. Personally I hate it as I find the wording often difficult to interpret.
Anyway try your best to `type what you see` as we do enjoy your comments.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

More Solar on the roof

A while back when I did the blog on the fans I mentioned something was being replaced on the boat. Yes the wind generator has gone and in it`s place I have installed a solar panel. It is rated at 245watts and although large (39"x 64") it still allows me to walk along the roof when I need to.
The wind generator worked ok if moored in the open with a decent wind but those occasions were not that frequent. It also took up the same space length wise and the wire supporting the pole was across the roof preventing the space being used. At least the panel will produce energy without wind and even if no visible sunshine. So no more wind power.

It is wired up to a 20amp Tracer 2215RN MPPT controller. Not sure of the amps going into the batteries as I have still to wire in a meter. I also have a 100watt panel that is wired to the old wind Genny controller and seeing the high battery readings on it tells me the new panel is working very well indeed. The panel sits in two pieces of angle (Green) and the four corner pieces (silver) will

allow the panel to be tilted in four directions. Although not able to be rotated to follow the sun I feel this was the easier option bearing in mind the size and weight of the panel. It will give significantly more power than being left flat.
Bye bye Sun you worked well today.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Cruising Odds and Ends...

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." ~ Laozi, Chinese Philosopher

   I realized I've been holding on to a bunch of pictures I wanted to use for a general post about living aboard, so here goes, a bit of Odds and Sods as they call it over here--or Odds and Ends as we say in the States!
The Admiral--before his morning tea and cookies!
A thin rime of ice on the water
    Most of our mornings begin with Les rising to check on the fire in the wood stove. He scrapes the ash of night away and adds some wood to bring up the heat for me. Then he comes back to bed for a snuggle. Usually we fall back into a light sleep and rise about thirty or forty minutes later. One of us puts the kettle on and we settle at the dinette for a morning cup of "qwuaffee" (coffee in a Brooklyn accent) for me, tea and biscuits for Les--yes folks, Les begins his day with cookies, not eggs and bacon!
                                                                After the Admiral finally wakes up and we get underway, there is always something amazing to see.
   Last week as we moved along there was a thin rime of ice on certain stretches of the canal as we made our way from Fenny Stratford to Old Lindslade to rendezvous with family. After mooring up we often stay
Our amphibian stowaway!
a few days to work on various boat related projects, or catch up with work (me), emails, and world events.
   All geared up to change the oil, Les popped the lid on the engine hold and discovered to his amusement, a stowaway! It was hunkered down in the compartment which catches drips from the stern gland (for non-boaters this is something that attaches to the prop shaft and comes inside the engine compartment.) Amazing isn't it, what hides in plain sight all around us!
   One afternoon we moored up in time to watch a mated pair of swans chasing away their juvenile! As we watched the young bird tried to get back in the canal and swim back to his parents but they refused to allow it. 
   Specifically the Cobb (dad) who fluffed out his wings in a threatening display, hissing and carrying on. The Pen followed in his wake. Their poor offspring was obviously confused as to why he had been fed, loved, protected and sheltered by his folks only to be suddenly set upon and driven out. 
   The juvenile with his patchy brown feathers not quite replaced by the glowing white ones of adulthood, stood on the towpath, head down, trying to find something to eat as he walked along, attempting to ignore the Cobb and Pen swimming alongside hissing. Eventually his folks started to swim away so Les took some bread out and tore it up for the young bird. He ate with head tucked downward, cleaning his feathers occasionally. 
   Suddenly his mom and dad figured out there was food to be had and swam quickly up--the Cobb hoisted himself out of the water, stuck out his chest, flapped his wings and dropped his head over his chest in the most alarming display of power as he marched down the towpath hissing at his offspring and us. This display changed my mind completely about the beauty of swans. 
Cobb and Pen with wings up and out
The juvenile attempts to eat before his parents come and take it all. Note their aggressive wing posture.

Here they come and Junior cowers near the hedge as his meal is eaten by dad.
Sorry it's blurry. The Cobb marching down the towpath hell bent for leather, intimidating his frightened offspring!
A close up of the juvenile with his brown feathers.
   In fairy-tales Swans are pictured as beautiful near mythical creatures with their white gliding bodies and curved necks. In reality they are mean spirited, territorial birds large enough to break a man's arm with their wings. They open their mouths and hiss like one of those aliens that popped out of people's chests in the movie by the same name. I am completely over my enchantment of swans after watching this sad display against their own offspring.
Sentinel crow
   I'd rather be a crow, which live in extended families and keep their offspring close for up to two years to be sure they are mature enough to fend for themselves and contribute to the colony. Every settlement of crows will have a sentinel posted. This one kept watch while we were moored nearby.
    We eventually settled in again for a few days below Slapton locks. It was just us and one other boat--and quite serene until a horn broke the morning quiet. A hunt was taking place across the field from where we were moored.
   We saw folks attired in the traditional black coats, as well as Gold coats which I assume are the colors of that particular Hunt club. The scarlet coats are now generally worn by the Master of the Hunt, the Master of the Dogs, or other Masters who have earned the appropriate number of buttons (usually 5) illustrating they have helped set up and run many hunts. 

   Since it is outlawed to actually hunt foxes in England (thank the Goddess), they are usually after a scent trail laid down by a member of the hunt prior to its beginning.
   The next morning we woke to sun! After a week of overcast weather with colder temperatures threatening to descend on us, it was a joy to see the sun...but wait, it's raining! It is sunny as all get out and it is raining! Ah well let's enjoy the rainbow shall we? Soon enough the storm clouds gather in and old Sol disappears as precipitation pours from the darkened sky! All in an hour's time. Time to stretch out in front of the fire with a good book. 
A hard rain falls at Slapton lock
   I found Keith Richards autobiography in one of seven charity shops we visited while in Leighton Buzzard earlier in the week. It came out in 2010 just after Les and I met.
   I heard Keith interviewed on Weekend Edition for NPR (National Public Radio) and I thought he was actually quite thoughtful and interesting. His book was on my list and I finally had it in hand for £1.50! I can say he did not disappoint as a writer. Richards' recall of everything--his early life growing up in Dartford, his grandfather's nurturing of his love of music, meeting Mick, starting the band and all the long road between then and now was faithfully portrayed in a very
Nature's watercolor
honest fashion--miraculous given his long term drug habit.
   I came late to an appreciation of The Rolling Stones' music. I only really discovered them about five years ago! I made a 2 disc set of their music from the very early days to the present and brought it with me from Cloudhouse.
   Another morning dawned overcast but warm--in the high forties Fahrenheit. I took a walk up to the next lock, helping two women out on a day boat through the locks. It was really encouraging to see signs of spring all around.
    Sweet green budlets are plumping up along winter weary stems; Lenten roses droop to the sodden ground, and the last rose hips of winter hang withered on the stalk. I looked for signs that Comfrey was up. Nettles of course are always there!
   Imagine my surprise and delight at finding this sign posted above a sweet patch of herb garden behind the bench at Slapton lock. What a thoughtful thing to do.
   I picked several sprigs of fresh, green rosemary to add to our favorite Potato dish and returned to NB Valerie and my best beloved Les, feeling refreshed and ready to dive into making dinner. We had a lovely Chicken Tarragon Pot Pie and the recipe is included at the end of this post for folks to try. This recipe came out of the Daily Mail Weekend and I tweaked it for my own tastes.
NB Valerie
   Today Les walked into a nearby village to score a Daily Mail Weekend paper for me, and I baked, at his request, a pan of orange cranberry rolls.
   The admiral spent the day splitting wood we scored from a downed tree while coming up Seabrook locks. Our wood box is full and the rest is stacked neatly under a tarp. 
   In my rooftop garden box fresh green shoots of chives are reaching upwards; parsley grows beside them with a pale yellow green fringe of new leaves, and my large pot of mint has developed runners over the winter which now have tiny green flags sprouting from each stem!
   Back inside we are warm, dry, cozy, and listening to the Stones as I write and Les reads in front of the fire. We do live the good life and I am so thankful to have my favorite Valentine with which to share it!

Chicken Tarragon Pot Pie 
 Serves 4
Pre-heat oven to gas mark 7/425 degrees F.
2 T. olive oil
200 gr/7 oz. diced bacon or lardons
8 shallots peeled and cut in quarters
4 large garlic cloves, crushed and diced
2 T. fresh Tarragon, diced
25 gr/1 oz. butter
1 1/2 tsp. Beau Monde seasoning
3 T. flour
3 T. corn flour (corn starch)
250 ML/9 fluid oz. of Marsala wine
600 ML/1 pint of chicken broth, heated
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
200 gr/7 oz. baby new potatoes, peeled and cut in half
300 gr/7 oz. of carrots, peeled and cut into chunky bite sizes
200 gr/7 oz. fresh mushroom, cleaned and sliced into chunky slices
125 gr/4.5 oz. fresh green beans, cleaned and cut in half
100 gr/3.5 oz. fresh petite pois peas (frozen are fine)
100 ML/3.5 fluid oz. double cream (I use evaporated canned milk which works fine. You could also try using Creme Fraiche)
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed, cold and ready to use
salt and pepper to taste

   Heat oil in a heavy bottomed dutch oven or deep sided saute pan. Gently cook the bacon until golden and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
   Add shallots, crushed garlic, mushrooms, and butter to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes on medium low until the shallot softens and the garlic gives up its perfume. Be careful not to overcook or use too high a flame, otherwise your garlic will turn bitter! The mushrooms should be lightly browned on the edges.
   Stir in 3 Tablespoons of flour and turn up the heat to medium. Cook for a minute or two to remove the raw taste of the flour, stirring all along.
   Slowly stir in the Marsala wine and heated chicken stock. Bring to a simmer as it thickens and add chicken, bacon, potatoes, carrots, and green beans. Cook for 20 minutes.
   Stir in the cream or canned evaporated milk, and season with Beau Monde, salt and pepper to taste. If you want your gravy thicker now is the time to take 3 Tablespoons of corn flour and mix with a little cold water to form a paste. Stir this into your pan and let it simmer while you stir. Your gravy will thicken right up.
   Why use flour previously and corn flour now? The flour used earlier in the recipe actually absorbs all the remaining bacon grease, olive oil, and butter and incorporates their flavor into the dish. I found corn flour (starch) used at this juncture gave my gravy the thickness I wanted.
   Add the peas and fresh Tarragon and stir through gently. Pour your casserole ingredients into whatever heavy casserole dish will stand up to the high oven heat.
   Top with a sheet of thawed puff pastry, cutting it to fit if you need to do so. Place in top rack of oven and set timer for 20 minutes. Turn pan when timer goes off and let it cook until your puff pastry is fully risen and crispy browned. 
   to serve, cut into the pastry top with a knife and remove a square to a place. Scoop out the contents underneath with a serving spoon and carefully place the cooked pastry on top. Serve!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Just had to share this Valentine card Jaq sent me. I remember when I did have a lot of hair and could dance like that.

Update on the water

Had a good look at the damp and think it is because of the close proximity of the water tank making the area very cold. The opposite corner has the stove to keep things warm. I am still looking at the lack of spray foam on the underside of the well deck above the tank causing condensation to drip resulting in the damp in the corner cupboard. Just need to wipe things down and see what happens. Although no leak it was the front deck floor causing the problem so I got the location right.

I found my old hand operated oil pump that I used for oil changes before fitting a permanent pump connected to the sump plug. The water has almost gone with newspaper soaking up the remaining wet surface. I removed about 12 litres and I am suspecting it was condensation built up over a long period, time will tell.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Water where it should not be

Light snow falling as I type this but as boaters know we are warm and have no worry of getting to work on snow bound roads so we just look out the window and say "ain`t it pretty".
Bit of maintenance today having put a new themostat in the fridge. Next job is to eliminate the water I found lurking below the floor. A quick check revealed it is clean but is not coming from the internal plumbing. Further probing has found damp/wet woodwork in the corner cupboard and will be looked at in daylight.
 My guess at the moment is the join of the front well deck to the panel at the side of the front door. A lot of water floods the deck during tank filling and during cleaning the whole area while on a water point.
Failing this perhaps the breather pipe from the tank coming through the deck above the area of damp is allowing water including rainwater to seep down.  99% sure the problem is in this small area but some panel removal and a kettle of  water will expose all tomorrow.
Once it is sorted the problem will be removing the water, thinking a wet vac hire would be best.

An adrift widebeam boat is not easy to get control of. With the help of a walker I released the one rope still in place and walked down the side of our boat as Jaq came slowly along the left of it. Then the walker pulled the rear while we towed the front in. Three pins back in and it was tied up again.

Nothing to identify it but it could well be licensed. We have no license on display as we are waiting for our gold license to arrive having sent the old disc back for a refund.
Just for clarification the Gold license was about £300 ($450) extra to the canal one but it allows access to the River Thames and Middle levels for the year.
Wyvern Shipping hire fleet of 36 boats sit patiently waiting for summer.

Muntjac Deer are plentiful but not often this visible. They originate from Woburn Park having been imported from China. Some escaped and some were released with the result they are breeding and spreading far and wide. They stand about 20 inches high and weigh about 36pounds.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Fenny and Old Linslade and into Leighton Buzzard

We spent a few days at Fenny Stratford but decided to move on and fill the water tank as the weather forcast mentioned plunging temperatures.
The pictures are the same scene with perhaps a good many years between shots. The lady holding the horse with her long ankle length dress might date back to 1920/30 but i`m just guessing.

Leaving Fenny the Bridge Inn is closed with the windows boarded over. The sign on the front says for sale but I would imagine it will never be a pub again instead perhaps a block of apartments.

A few days at Old Linslade with a nice quiet mooring. The church of St. Mary`s is about a thousand years old  and was once part of Linslade village. Leighton Buzzard station is actually in Linslade and it was to this station the village moved and now the two have flowed into each other to become Leighton Buzzard.

The gravestone on the left has a symbol that appeared on many other stones in the churchyard. We are thinking it might be a stonemason`s mark. It has the cross and the letters S H. Anyone any idea?

This was Nb Valerie after a night of snow at old Linslade. The satellite dish had so much snow that the picture faded. We moved into Leighton Buzzard town centre to food shop and visit the 7 or so charity(thrift) shops looking for books. Nine books have found a new temporary home on the boat including Jaq`s find, Keith Richards(rolling stone fame) autobiography. So now out of town to find a quiet mooring.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Stantone-Stantonbury-Stanton Low: From the 12th Century to the Present

"Civilization is a movement and not a condition, a voyage and not a harbor." ~Arnold J. Toynbee, British Historian

   We were moored up on a lovely curve of the Grand Union canal between the 19th century railroad town of Wolverton and the very much older city of Milton Keynes, mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Midletone.
   Les and I took a walk across the overgrown grassland to some nearby ruins for a closer view. Forty mile per hour wind gusts whipped around us, bringing roses to our cheeks as it swept through the dry, dead hummocks of grass. 
Ruins of 12th century St. Peter's Church at Stanton Low with blasted Oak nearby
   As we came upon the ruins we could see it had once been a fine little church. Now though it was surrounded by barbed wire and fencing, with Keep Out signs. As we stood taking pictures a couple of local folks stopped to chat us up.
Closer view of ruins of St. Peters with the rebuilt manor house in the background
   We were told it was called St. Peter's church at Stanton Low--a fine bit of Norman architecture which had been continuously in use as a parish church until 1956, when the roof fell in. After years of entropy having its way, very little is now left. Juvenile delinquents used to bring their boom boxes, designer drugs, and booze to the site for raves, completing the destruction. Locals decided they wanted to try and protect the site and rebuild the church, hence the posted signs and barbed wire. 
    The couple informed us that it had been extended into a keep at one point, and the surrounding area had been the site of a small village, overlooked by a manor house.
   This small bit of local lore whet my appetite to know more and so I began my search online at two sites which have yielded much: The Domesday Book Online and British History Online
The Domesday Books and Chest,
© 2012; National
   For those readers not familiar with British historical documents,
The Domesday Book was commissioned in December 1085 by William the Conqueror, who invaded England in 1066. The first draft was completed in August 1086 and contained records for 13,418 settlements in the English counties south of the rivers Ribble and Tees (the border with Scotland at the time).
       The original Domesday Book has survived over 900 years of English history and is currently housed in a specially made chest at The National Archives in Kew, London. This site has been set up to enable visitors to discover the history of the Domesday Book, to give an insight into life at the time of its compilation, and provide information and links on related topics. (, accessed online Feb.1, 2013).
   "British History Online is the digital library containing some of the core printed primary and secondary sources for the medieval and modern history of the British Isles. Created by the Institute of Historical Research and the History of Parliament Trust, we aim to support academic and personal users around the world in their learning, teaching and research." (, accessed online, Feb. 1, 2013). 
   I asked one simple question: How did this ruin come to be located here, near the banks of the Great River Ouse, between Wolverton and Milton Keynes? My question led to a historical thread and I just could not help myself--I had to pull it and see where it led!
   The first mention I found was in the Domesday Book where the village is called Stantone (Norman French). The notation reads, "Ralph from Miles Crispin. Mill (50 eels)." (Domesday Book Online, Contents, Buckinghamshire). Bear in mind we are looking back nine hundred and forty five years!
   What a cryptic entry. One would have thought a clerk seeking to list the details of all the hamlets, villages, towns and cities in William the Conqueror's domain would have been a bit more concise. And who is Ralph?
   I decided to check in the same book under Landowners to see if I could find any mention of Miles Crispin. It said,"Crispin, Miles - Related to Gilbert Crispin, Abbot of Westminster. Married Maud, daughter of Roger d'Oilly. Castle at Wallingford. Lands became Honour of Wallingford. Holdings in Berks., Surrey and five other neighbouring counties."
   An Honour in medieval terms is an estate given as an honor--usually  to a knight to secure his services as a soldier. The one in Wallingford is located in Oxfordshire. Okay, so onward to the next clue: at British History Online I found The History of the County of Buckingham, Vol. 4; William Page, Author, published in 1927. Pages 462-466 yielded a treasure trove of information! 
   Stantone (11th century), Stanton Barry (15th century), Stanton Bury ( 18th century), Stanton bury with New Bradwell (19th century).  This is a small parish of 806 acres, of which 5 acres are arable land,  permanent grass, and 25 acres are woods....the parish is watered by the River Ouse which forms its Northern boundary. 
   According to Mr. Page the village only had four houses remaining by 1736. He wrote, "The old church of St. Peters occupies an isolated position...though local lore has it that it was formerly surrounded by houses on the the North side. The church was restored in 1910 and used throughout the summer...the plan of the house which Sir John Wittiwronge built in the 17th century can still be viewed, between the church and the artificial mound which was a part of the the general enclosures of 16th century Nicholas Vaux, then Lord of the Manor, turned much of the land from arable to pasture, putting some forty folks out of home and livelihood."
   Prior to 1066 a hide was a sufficient amount of land to support a peasant and  his household; eventually it became a unit of measurement to secure taxes, not all hides being the same amount of land. 
   In 1086 Miles Crispin owned the 5 hide manor of Stanton which upon his death went to his widow Maud and from her into the Honour of Wallingford where it was held in ownership until the 16th century by Knight service.  At some time between then and the 19th century this land went into eschat--passing to the Crown because there was no owner named in a will. How did this lovely bit of acreage go from Ralph, to Miles Crispin, to part of the Honour of Wallingford's knight service to the crown?
   A man named Bisi--one of Edward the Confessor's (King of England from 1042-1066) thegns (aristocratic Anglo Saxon) held this land prior to the Norman Conquest. He was succeeded by Ralph de Stanton who paid 100 shillings relief for this land in 1166. He is the Ralph mentioned in the Domesday book.
  In January 1201 Ralph's daughter quit claimed some of this land to a man named Simon de Stanton whose family surname was Barry. He holds the Knight's fee for the Honour of Wallingford between 1201 and 1212. 
   Simon died in 1221 and was succeeded by his son and heir Ralph Barry who paid 10 marks for relief on the land. Simon also had another son named Peter and when Ralph died his brother Peter became owner of Stantone. 
   In 1285 Peter's son Robert confirmed the right of his relative Hugh Barry to three acres of meadow at same. Documents exist showing that Robert paid his own son Thomas the right of ownership to the manor at Stantone for his life, in the yearly payment of one rose! Robert sat in Parliament representing the area in 1297, 1307, and 1312. He and Thomas obtained free warrant to the lands at Stanton by 1317. 
   Robert dies sometime before May 1321 where his widow Maud held one third of the manor in dower until 1326. Thomas Barry held the remaining two thirds until his own death in 1325 when his share passed to his son Robert, a minor of fifteen, who also succeeded to his grandmother Maud's share when she died in 1326. This is a time when women are chattel and cannot legally own anything outright for themselves. Maud's third held in dower was for a future husband or male relative to claim, which is exactly how her Grandsons Robert came to ownership of Stanton.
   At this time the manor is called Stanton Barry and included a large garden, the local acreage around the manor, a dovecote, a broken down watermill, and 3 acres of wood--all Ash which means Thomas the younger could make no money on it. Rents in kind for those feudal peasants working his land were 10 cocks, 6 capons, 1 lb. of pepper, 1 lb. of cumin and a pair of spurs!
    In 1332, the year of Robert's majority, an inquisition is held to determine his right to the Honour of Wallingford. Twelve witnesses of good character come forward on his behalf.  He marries a wife, Cecilia, who survives Robert, dying herself in 1349. Their seven year old son William Barry inherits and in 1377 he and his wife Margaret made a settlement on the manor for themselves and their issue subject to rent to a man named Robert de Kyngsfolde.
   William is dead by 1399 and Hugh Boveton of Yardley Gobion and his wife Parnel--daughter of William Barry--now make a settlement to the manor on behalf of Parnel's heirs. Somehow a man named Sir William Thirning becomes entwined in this story. Thirning I think was somehow tied to the little chapel of St. Peters, as documents exist indicating his will dated 1413 left funds to dedicate masses for William Barry's soul. In 1408 Sir William Thirning made a settlement on two men--John Fever and Reynolde Boveton--trustees of the church, and Chaplain, respectively.
   Somehow or other a family with the surname of Vaux gains access to Stanton Barry manor and its lands. It is highly likely they are related to Sir Thirning. In 1491 the lands pass by eschat to the crown as William Vaux somehow having brought a corruption to his name and family, loses right to the land by attaint.
    The manor was granted by the Crown to Ralph Hastings and Richard Fowler who held the lands until Nicholas Vaux secured a reversal of his father's attainder in 1486, gaining restoration of Stanton Barry and the rest of his father's lands. This is the man whom William Page mentioned in his History of Buckinghamhshire, Vol 4, who enclosed the commons of Stanton Barry, turning the peasants out of their homes and livelihood, ending feudalism on the manor and its properties. Nicholas was created Lord Vaux of Harrowden in April 1523 and died after only three weeks possession of land and manor!
   His son Thomas, Lord Vaux made a settlement on the land in 1535 just prior to selling much of it to Thomas Pope. Just one year later The land and manor house are sold to the Crown who granted it eleven years later to Sir Thomas Carwardine. He held onto the manor for a few years and then sold it 1551 to John Coke. In 1570 his son Robert conveyed the manor and lands to Robert Ashfield, who died in 1578. Stanton passed to his daughter Avice and her husband John Lee. Avice survived her husband, dying in 1599.
   Two daughters are left as heirs: Dorothy and Mary, both minors. Women still cannot legally inherit property for themselves, unless they stay forever single. Even then it is likely any property they might have had will go to male relatives.
   Dorothy eventually married Sir John Temple, bringing him half the title to Stanton Barry. Sister Mary with her husband John Claver conveyed his half of the title to Sir Thomas Temple, Barton of Stowe--father of Sir John Temple, Knight, on whose behalf the transfer was made. At this time a viscount Purbeck lived on the premises. He was known to be a lunatic under the treatment by a Dr. Napier, rector of the nearby parish of Great Linford. 
   Sir John Temple died in 1632 and Stanton Barry passed to his son and heir Peter, aged nineteen. In 1653 Sir Peter Temple made a settlement of the property to Sir John Wittewronge, Knight. Four years later Sir John was raised to the title of Baronet, being enrolled at Stantonbury. Aha! The name has changed again due to Sir John finding many human remains buried about the parish! He died and was buried there under the chapel floor in 1697.
   His son and successor also named John, served as a colonel in Flanders with his own named regiment--the Wittewronges. He died in January 1722 and Stantonbury was settled on his son John who had no chance to enjoy the land as he fled the country for the murder of a mountebank named Joseph Griffiths at the Saracen's head in Newport Pagnell. 
   In 1727 after returning to England John sold the property to Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, the sale being confirmed by an Act of Parliament. The Duchess died in possession of the manor in 1744 and under her will it passed to her grandson--John Spencer whose descendant Lord Spencer is now Lord of the Manor.  This then is the 9th Earl Spencer, Charles, AKA Viscount Althorp, brother of Princess Diana.
  In 1851 a census indicates there were the following living on the lands of Stanton Low: Widow Ann Bennett, an agricultural worker, aged seventy lived there with her four grown children William, Timothy, Hannah, and Maria. Will, aged thirty-nine is also a farm worker. His sisters are thirty and twenty-seven. Hannah is a lace maker and Maria is a scholar! All four are unmarried. 
  Also in residence at this time is a widowed farmer named Martin Thomas, aged sixty, owner of 440 acres. 
   In 1068 there was a mill in this parish worth 10 shillings, 8 d (53 pence/ 80Cents) and fifty eels! At last the fifty eels mentioned by the Domesday Chronicler have relevance!
St. Peter's Church, Stanton Low, 1927
©William Page
   The Chapel withstood all these changes over the centuries. Housed under floor slabs in it aisles are the bodies of Temples, Wittewronges, and several rectors as well as their wives. Just outside the chapel are many gravestones too old and worn to read.
   The chapel was an endowed gift in 1181 by brothers William and Ralph Barry. The vicarage was separate from the manor house and lands until sold by the crown in 1578 to Edmund Lee. Thereafter it descended with the manor, to his family and so on down to Sir Charles Spencer, the present patron.
   His father John, the 8th Earl Spencer was called upon in the 1950's to petition the Church to recognize a dozen or more marriages which had taken place at this historic chapel after a new church was built in Stantonbury located nearby and made the new seat of the Parish. It seems someone neglected to tell the rector of St. Peter about the change! Today we are told there is a local movement afoot to try and raise funds to restore the chapel.

Interior drawing of chapel of St. Peter, Stanton Low,
South side of chapel ruins.
Ancient pathway to former chapel door on the West side.

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs