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Stony Stratford in 1836

Stony Stratford is on the Ouse, in the hundred of Newport, 52 miles from London, on the parliamentary and mail-road to Holyhead ; it is built also on the ancient Watling Street, along which it extends about a mile. Population in 1831, 1,619. The houses are built of freestone, which was, in Camden’s time, quarried at Caversham, in the neighbourhood. There is a church, that of St. Giles, on the S. W. side of the town, rebuilt in 1776, it exhibits a bad imitation of Gothic architecture. On the N.E. side of the town is the tower of the former church of St. Mary Magdalen : the body of the church was destroyed in 1742, in a fire which laid a considerable part of the town in ashes. The streets are partially paved, and not lighted. There is a stone bridge over the Ouse at the farther (i. e. N.W.) end of the town. One of the crosses erected by Edward I at the places where the corpse of his queen Eleanor of Castile rested on its way to interment in Westminster Abbey, stood in this town, but it was demolished in the great civil war. There was in remote times an hospital of St. John. There are Independent, Baptist, and Wesleyan meeting houses in the town, or very near it. There are a national school and two large Sunday schools, in which the children of the poor are taught the rudiments of education.

It has been supposed by Camden and others that the Lactodorum or Lactorodum of the Itinerary of Antoninus was at or near Stony Stratford ; and Camden supports his opinion by urging the similarity of the meaning of Lactorodum (from the Celtic lleck, a stone, and ri and ryd, a ford) to that of Stratford. In the map of Ancient Britain, published by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, Lactoroclum is fixed at Towcester. It was in this town that Richard III possessed himself of the person of the unhappy Edward V and arrested Sir Thomas Vaughan and the Lord Richard Grey.

The market is on Friday, and there are three fairs, viz., on August 2nd, October 11th, and November 12th. There was till of late years a fourth fair, held in April, but this has been discontinued. The only manufacture is that of lace. Carlisle (Top. Dict. of Eng.) fixes the October fair on the Friday before the 10th ; the others on the Friday after.


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