Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Slapton is a village in Buckinghamshire, England. It is located between the Grand Union Canal and the border with Bedfordshire, about three miles south of Leighton Buzzard, three miles west of Edlesborough.
The manor in Slapton once belonged to a convent in Barking, Essex, though it was seized by the Crown in the dissolution of the monasteries in 1547. The manor was, for some time after that, property of the Earl of Bridgwater.
Today Slapton contains few old buildings of any architectural merit. The church dedicated to 'The Holy Cross' is of plain design with tower, nave and chancel. The chancel is probably the oldest part of the building. The church yard contains many memorials to the 'Turney' and 'Buckmaster' families.
The village contains one or two older cottages such as 'Woodbine Cottage' and 'Chiltern Cottage' from the 18th century. The remainder of the older properties in the village were built by the 'Buckmaster Family' in the 19th century. The Buckmasters were a prosperous farming family from Ivinghoe, who at one time owned 'Bury Farm' in the centre of the village. Until recently the remainder of the houses (approximately 30) in the village were owned by the local authority who built them immediately following World War II. Since 1990 there have been a few developments of 'executive style' homes built in the village.
The village hall was built and given to the village by the Griffin Family of Bury Farm in memory of Elizabeth Griffin in the 1950s. Known as the EGM Hall, an incongruous neon sign now announces this to passers-by. The Griffin Family still own Bury Farm, and have the unusual distinction of farming buffalo in the village. This has become a minor tourist attraction, having regular open days.
There was a farm (Church Farm) immediately next to the church, until the mid 1970s; this property had been in the ownership of one family since 1066. Originally given to 'de Tournai' by William the Conqueror the family survived in Slapton spelling their name in various ways until the death of William Turney circa 1975. He was childless, so the farm was sold for the first time in 900 years. The new owners demolished the farm-house and buildings, and on the site built a development of flats known as Tournay Court. Like Bury Farm the new Church Farm is located outside of the village.
The village once contained a water mill known as Slaptonbury Mill, the ruins of this were finally cleared in the 1980s. There is a legend:- The ghost of a young girl rides through the village on her pony, from Slaptonbury Mill, to a farm on the other side of the village; sent on an errand to the mill by her father, she and the pony both drowned in the flooded mill stream, and still today she attempts to return home! The hooves of the pony are heard during the hours of darkness only. Whatever the truth of the legend, the mill stream still regularly floods.
The village today has a thriving community in spite of the closure of the small village school in the early 1990s and later the closure of the one village shop and post office. The village has lately had an influx of Didicoys who have set up several seemingly permanent campsites on the outskirts of the village.
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