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Aynho

Aynho has a recorded existence back to the time of Edward the Confessor, although the spelling of the name has changed over the centuries. Nearly all the buildings in the old part of the village are of local limestone, and most were originally thatched. The oldest cottages in the village, formerly known as Pintle Row, are on Blacksmith's Hill. One has a 60ft well in the front garden, and is dated c.1500.

The Cartwright Arms, an old coaching inn, was named after the family who were the squires of the village from 1616 to the 1950s. The original manor was burnt down at the end of the Civil War by the Royalist troops vacating the premises under the command of the Compton brothers. The troops had occupied the house on the retreat from the battle of Edgehill and retained it most of the time until the end of the war. Charles I stayed the night there on his way to Oxford after the battle of Edgehill. Charles II paid the family compensation after his restoration to the throne, and Park House was restored in 1680.

The church of St Michael and All Angels is built of limestone and the tower is 14th century. Severe damage was caused to the church during the Civil War and the main body was demolished in 1723, then rebuilt in the Grecian style. Outside is the old preaching cross.

From the churchyard can be seen the old icehouse in the grounds of Aynho Park, which was used to store ice in the days before refrigeration. Lumps of ice cut from the canal would keep for up to two years when packed with straw in its depths.

The village hall was built in 1920 from stones taken from the ruined plaguehouse in Pesthouse Wood. Plague victims were once isolated there, and villagers would leave them food every day at the boundary fence. There are many other interesting buildings in the village, including the Jacobean grammar school and the almshouses built in 1822 with a bequest from John Baker, an Oxford glazier.

(The above extract from 'The Northamptonshire Village Book', compiled by the Northamptonshire Federation of Women's Institutes, is reproduced by kind permission of the publishers, Countryside Books, Newbury, Berkshire)


(Updated 1 July 1997 - Maurice Kellner)