Brill is a village and civil parish in Aylesbury Vale
Aylesbury Vale
The Aylesbury Vale is a large area of flat land mostly in Buckinghamshire, England. Its boundary is marked by Milton Keynes to the north, Leighton Buzzard and the Chiltern Hills to the east and south, Thame to the south and Bicester and Brackley to the west.The vale is named after Aylesbury, the...

 district in Buckinghamshire
Buckinghamshire is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan home county in South East England. The county town is Aylesbury, the largest town in the ceremonial county is Milton Keynes and largest town in the non-metropolitan county is High Wycombe....

, England, close to the boundary with Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire is a county in the South East region of England, bordering on Warwickshire and Northamptonshire , Buckinghamshire , Berkshire , Wiltshire and Gloucestershire ....

. It is about 4 miles (6.4 km) north-west of Long Crendon
Long Crendon
Long Crendon is a village and civil parish within Aylesbury Vale district in Buckinghamshire, England, about west of Haddenham and north-west of Thame in neighbouring Oxfordshire.The village has been called Long Crendon only since the English Civil War...

 and 7 miles (11.3 km) south-east of Bicester
Bicester is a town and civil parish in the Cherwell district of northeastern Oxfordshire in England.This historic market centre is one of the fastest growing towns in Oxfordshire Development has been favoured by its proximity to junction 9 of the M40 motorway linking it to London, Birmingham and...

. It has a Royal charter
Royal Charter
A royal charter is a formal document issued by a monarch as letters patent, granting a right or power to an individual or a body corporate. They were, and are still, used to establish significant organizations such as cities or universities. Charters should be distinguished from warrants and...

 to hold a weekly market, but has not done so for many years.


Brill's name is a combination of Brythonic and Anglo Saxon
Old English language
Old English or Anglo-Saxon is an early form of the English language that was spoken and written by the Anglo-Saxons and their descendants in parts of what are now England and southeastern Scotland between at least the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century...

 words for 'hill' (Brythonic breg and Anglo Saxon hyll). In the reign of Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor also known as St. Edward the Confessor , son of Æthelred the Unready and Emma of Normandy, was one of the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England and is usually regarded as the last king of the House of Wessex, ruling from 1042 to 1066....

 it was a town called Bruhella.


The manor
Manorialism, an essential element of feudal society, was the organizing principle of rural economy that originated in the villa system of the Late Roman Empire, was widely practiced in medieval western and parts of central Europe, and was slowly replaced by the advent of a money-based market...

 of Brill was the administration centre for the royal hunting Forest of Bernwood and was for a long time a property of the Crown
The Crown
The Crown is a corporation sole that in the Commonwealth realms and any provincial or state sub-divisions thereof represents the legal embodiment of governance, whether executive, legislative, or judicial...

. King Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor also known as St. Edward the Confessor , son of Æthelred the Unready and Emma of Normandy, was one of the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England and is usually regarded as the last king of the House of Wessex, ruling from 1042 to 1066....

 had a palace here. There is evidence that Henry II
Henry II of England
Henry II ruled as King of England , Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Count of Nantes, Lord of Ireland and, at various times, controlled parts of Wales, Scotland and western France. Henry, the great-grandson of William the Conqueror, was the...

, John
John of England
John , also known as John Lackland , was King of England from 6 April 1199 until his death...

, Henry III
Henry III of England
Henry III was the son and successor of John as King of England, reigning for 56 years from 1216 until his death. His contemporaries knew him as Henry of Winchester. He was the first child king in England since the reign of Æthelred the Unready...

 and Stephen
Stephen of England
Stephen , often referred to as Stephen of Blois , was a grandson of William the Conqueror. He was King of England from 1135 to his death, and also the Count of Boulogne by right of his wife. Stephen's reign was marked by the Anarchy, a civil war with his cousin and rival, the Empress Matilda...

 all held court at the palace. It remained in place until the time of Charles I
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

, who turned the building into a Royalist
Cavalier was the name used by Parliamentarians for a Royalist supporter of King Charles I and son Charles II during the English Civil War, the Interregnum, and the Restoration...

Garrison is the collective term for a body of troops stationed in a particular location, originally to guard it, but now often simply using it as a home base....

 in the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

. This led the Parliamentarian
"Roundhead" was the nickname given to the supporters of the Parliament during the English Civil War. Also known as Parliamentarians, they fought against King Charles I and his supporters, the Cavaliers , who claimed absolute power and the divine right of kings...

 John Hampden
John Hampden
John Hampden was an English politician, the eldest son of William Hampden, of Hampden House, Great Hampden in Buckinghamshire, John Hampden (ca. 15951643) was an English politician, the eldest son of William Hampden, of Hampden House, Great Hampden in Buckinghamshire, John Hampden (ca. 15951643)...

 to destroy it in 1643.

Church and Priory

The Church of England parish church
Church of England parish church
A parish church in the Church of England is the church which acts as the religious centre for the people within the smallest and most basic Church of England administrative region, known as a parish.-Parishes in England:...

 of All Saints was built early in the 12th century, and its nave
In Romanesque and Gothic Christian abbey, cathedral basilica and church architecture, the nave is the central approach to the high altar, the main body of the church. "Nave" was probably suggested by the keel shape of its vaulting...

 and chancel
In church architecture, the chancel is the space around the altar in the sanctuary at the liturgical east end of a traditional Christian church building...

 remain essentially Norman
Norman architecture
About|Romanesque architecture, primarily English|other buildings in Normandy|Architecture of Normandy.File:Durham Cathedral. Nave by James Valentine c.1890.jpg|thumb|200px|The nave of Durham Cathedral demonstrates the characteristic round arched style, though use of shallow pointed arches above the...

 structures. The chancel's north wall has a blocked lancet window
Lancet window
A lancet window is a tall narrow window with a pointed arch at its top. It acquired the "lancet" name from its resemblance to a lance. Instances of this architectural motif are most often found in Gothic and ecclesiastical structures, where they are often placed singly or in pairs.The motif first...

 from that period. The pointed chancel arch is 13th century. The Perpendicular Gothic west tower was built early in the 15th century. The present chancel roof dates from the 17th century.

The north aisle was built in 1839 but its east window dates from about 1275. In 1888 All Saints' was largely rebuilt under the direction of John Oldrid Scott
John Oldrid Scott
John Oldrid Scott was an English architect.He was the son of Sir George Gilbert Scott and Caroline née Oldrid. His brother George Gilbert Scott Junior and nephew Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, were also prominent architects. He married Mary Ann Stevens in 1868, eldest daughter of the Reverend Thomas...

. Scott extended the chancel eastwards by about 6 feet (1.8 m) and added a new Gothic Revival
Gothic Revival architecture
The Gothic Revival is an architectural movement that began in the 1740s in England...

 east window. He added the south aisle and porch at the same time but its east and west windows are re-used Perpendicular Gothic ones, probably dating from early in the 16th century.

All Saints was a chapel of ease
Chapel of ease
A chapel of ease is a church building other than the parish church, built within the bounds of a parish for the attendance of those who cannot reach the parish church conveniently....

 to the nearby parish of Oakley
Oakley, Buckinghamshire
Oakley is a village and civil parish in Aylesbury Vale district in Buckinghamshire, England of about 400 households with a population of 1,059 people and an area of...

 from the 12th until the 16th century. It belonged to the Priory of St Frideswide, Oxford
Priory of St Frideswide, Oxford
The priory of St Frideswide, Oxford was established as a priory of Augustinian canons regular, in 1122. It was set up by Gwymund, chaplain to Henry I of England. It lasted to the 1520s, when it was dissolved by Cardinal Wolsey so that he could use its premises together with those of other adjacent...

 until the Dissolution of the Monasteries
Dissolution of the Monasteries
The Dissolution of the Monasteries, sometimes referred to as the Suppression of the Monasteries, was the set of administrative and legal processes between 1536 and 1541 by which Henry VIII disbanded monasteries, priories, convents and friaries in England, Wales and Ireland; appropriated their...


Brill had a hermit
A hermit is a person who lives, to some degree, in seclusion from society.In Christianity, the term was originally applied to a Christian who lives the eremitic life out of a religious conviction, namely the Desert Theology of the Old Testament .In the...

age or priory
A priory is a house of men or women under religious vows that is headed by a prior or prioress. Priories may be houses of mendicant friars or religious sisters , or monasteries of monks or nuns .The Benedictines and their offshoots , the Premonstratensians, and the...

 dedicated to St. Werburgh
Werburh or Wærburh is an English saint and the patron saint of Chester....

 that was annexed to Chetwode
Chetwode is a civil parish about southwest of Buckingham in the Aylesbury Vale district of Buckinghamshire. The parish is bounded to the southwest and southeast by a brook called The Birne, which here also forms part of the county boundary with Oxfordshire....

 Priory from 1251. Chetwode Priory surrendered the advowson
Advowson is the right in English law of a patron to present or appoint a nominee to a vacant ecclesiastical benefice or church living, a process known as presentation. In effect this means the right to nominate a person to hold a church office in a parish...

 of the hermitage to the Bishop of Lincoln in 1460.

Brill Windmill

Brill is also known for its windmill, last owned and used by the Pointer and Nixie family who also baked bread in their house in the village. With timbers dating from 1685, Brill Windmill provides one of the earliest and best preserved examples of a post mill (the earliest type of European windmill) in the UK. Management and ownership of the Grade II* listed mill was passed to Buckinghamshire County Council
Buckinghamshire County Council
Buckinghamshire County Council is the upper-tier local authority for the non-metropolitan county of Buckinghamshire, in England, the United Kingdom. Its area of control does not include Milton Keynes, which is a unitary authority...

 in 1947 who, through a number of major interventions, have ensured that the mill still stands today. In 1967 the Council installed a structural steel framework that helps to support the mill's ancient timber frame but means that the mill is static and can no longer turn to face the wind.

Restoration Project

By the 2000s water ingress and weathering had caused timber decay to the extent that the structure's integrity was described as "At risk". The Brill Windmill Management Group was established in 2007 to help plan a restoration project and to seek the necessary funds. With funding from English Heritage
English Heritage
English Heritage . is an executive non-departmental public body of the British Government sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport...

 and WREN, full repair and preservation work was completed by July 2009. The mill is now structurally sound and once again open to the public, once a week, between March and September.

Brill Tramway

Brill railway station
Brill railway station
Brill railway station was the terminus of a small railway line in Buckinghamshire, England, known as the Brill Tramway. Built and owned by the Duke of Buckingham, it was later operated by London's Metropolitan Railway, and in 1933 briefly became one of the two north-western termini of the London...

 was once a north-western terminus of the London Underground
London Underground
The London Underground is a rapid transit system serving a large part of Greater London and some parts of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex in England...


After the completion in 1868 of the Aylesbury and Buckingham Railway
Aylesbury and Buckingham Railway
The Aylesbury and Buckingham Railway was an English railway located in Buckinghamshire, England operating between Aylesbury and Verney Junction.-History:...

, the Duke of Buckingham
Duke of Buckingham
The titles Marquess and Duke of Buckingham, referring to Buckingham, have been created several times in the peerages of England, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom. There have also been Earls of Buckingham.-1444 creation:...

 built the light railway to provide freight access by rail to his estates at Wotton Underwood
Wotton Underwood
Wotton Underwood is a village and civil parish in the Aylesbury Vale District of Buckinghamshire, about north of Thame in neighbouring Oxfordshire....

. The extension to Brill gave access to a brickworks there. The line was opened in 1871, and following public demand passenger facilities were provided early in 1872. Originally known as the Brill Tramway
Brill Tramway
The Brill Tramway, also known as the Quainton Tramway, Wotton Tramway, Oxford & Aylesbury Tramroad and Metropolitan Railway Brill Branch, was a six-mile rail line in the Aylesbury Vale, Buckinghamshire, England...

, the line’s name changed to "Oxford and Aylesbury Tramroad" when a company was formed in an abortive attempt to extend the line to Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

; the biggest hindering expense was the cost of tunnelling under Brill Hill.

The original Quainton Road
Quainton Road railway station
Quainton Road railway station was opened in 1868 in undeveloped countryside near Quainton, Buckinghamshire, from London. Built by the Aylesbury and Buckingham Railway, it was the result of pressure from the 3rd Duke of Buckingham to route the railway near his home at Wotton House and to open a...

 station was north of the Quainton
Quainton is a village and civil parish in Aylesbury Vale district in Buckinghamshire, England, north west of Aylesbury. The population is 1290, of which 1000 are adults. The village has two churches , a school and two public houses...

Waddesdon is a village within the Aylesbury Vale district in Buckinghamshire, England, 6 miles from Aylesbury on the A41 road. The centre of a civil parish, including the hamlets of Eythrope, Wormstone and Woodham, Waddesdon was an agricultural settlement with milling, silk weaving and lace making...

 road, and wagons from the Brill line reached it by means of a wagon turntable; there was no direct access. When the Metropolitan Railway
Metropolitan railway
Metropolitan Railway can refer to:* Metropolitan line, part of the London Underground* Metropolitan Railway, the first underground railway to be built in London...

 took over the line in 1896, it doubled the main line from Aylesbury
Aylesbury railway station
Aylesbury railway station is a railway station in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England and is a major stop on the London to Aylesbury Line from Marylebone station via Amersham. It is 37.75 miles from Aylesbury Station to Marylebone Station...

 and re-sited the station to its present position, replacing a level crossing with the present road over bridge; a running connection between the Brill line and the main line was constructed at that time. In 1935, on the creation of the LPTB, control was transferred to it from the Metropolitan and Great Central Joint Committee which had taken it over in 1906; the whole branch was closed on 30 November 1935.

Little London

The hamlet
Hamlet (place)
A hamlet is usually a rural settlement which is too small to be considered a village, though sometimes the word is used for a different sort of community. Historically, when a hamlet became large enough to justify building a church, it was then classified as a village...

 of Little London
Little London, Oakley, Bucks
Little London is a hamlet of around 70 houses to the east of Oakley in Buckinghamshire. It is first mentioned around the 16th century and is clearly visible on the New College, Oxford map of Bernwood Forest of 1590...

 to the south was part of Brill parish until 1934, when Buckinghamshire County Council moved the parish boundary and transferred the hamlet to Oakley
Oakley, Buckinghamshire
Oakley is a village and civil parish in Aylesbury Vale district in Buckinghamshire, England of about 400 households with a population of 1,059 people and an area of...

. When the Metropolitan railway built Brill station, it has been said that in honour of the metropolitan ambience the planners were trying to evoke, another Little London was founded to the north of the village.


Brill Church of England Combined School is a mixed, voluntary controlled, Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 primary school. It takes children from the age of four through to the age of eleven. The school has about 175 pupils.

Notable people

James Govier
James Henry Govier
James Henry Govier was an English painter born at Oakley, Buckinghamshire.He was the only son of Henry Govier and Mary Ann Measey. In 1914 the family moved to the small town of Gorseinon in Gower near Swansea, where James was educated at the local school. At the age of fourteen he left school to...

 (1910–74) the British painter, etcher and engraver produced images of Brill church and windmill, along with images of Buckinghamshire. Govier's family originated from Brill and the adjoining parish of Oakley, and he was born in Oakley. Examples of Govier's work can be seen at the County Museum
Buckinghamshire County Museum
The Buckinghamshire County Museum is a museum in the centre of Aylesbury, in Buckinghamshire, England. It displays artefacts pertinent to the history of Buckinghamshire including geological displays, costume, agriculture and industry...

 in Aylesbury
Aylesbury is the county town of Buckinghamshire in South East England. However the town also falls into a geographical region known as the South Midlands an area that ecompasses the north of the South East, and the southern extremities of the East Midlands...

 and at the Ashmolean Museum
Ashmolean Museum
The Ashmolean Museum on Beaumont Street, Oxford, England, is the world's first university museum...

 in Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...


The perpetrators of the Great Train Robbery
Great Train Robbery (1963)
The Great Train Robbery is the name given to a £2.6 million train robbery committed on 8 August 1963 at Bridego Railway Bridge, Ledburn near Mentmore in Buckinghamshire, England. The bulk of the stolen money was not recovered...

in 1963 hid at the remote Leatherslade Farm on the boundary with the village of Oakley.

External links

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