WHAT MAPS REVEAL:
With the wonders of SatNav, maps are used less regularly in every day life these days, but maps are still a vital tool when investigating our communities and how they changed and developed over the centuries. In this section you will see a selection of Aston specific maps that reveal a hidden history.
Village specific maps were created for a range of reasons - these first two (below) were created by estate agents putting significant Aston estates onto the market. The 1951 map in particular shows several orchards and paddocks that were built on in the 1960's and 70's:
ASTON MANOR SALE MAP: 1951
Click HERE for a larger image - opens in a new window
A MYSTERY REVEALED:
National mapping by Ordnance Survey began at the beginning of the 19th century in response to military needs highlighted by the Scottish rebellion of 1745 and the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815). This map (left) was surveyed in 1876, and unexpectedly reveals the intriguing history of a house on the corner of Moreton Road and Thorpe Street (now called The White House). The map shows it a much larger property in this position, and with a garden extending further along Thorpe Street.
Looking at the Curry slide of that corner from the 1890's (1) you can see an extra wing to the front and a porch canopy which in a 1930's photo (2) can be seen on the 'new' front wall of the building. In the 1990's photo (3) an extra window can be seen to have been added to the first floor. However thinking about that stretch of road as it is now what is missing from the 1876 map is Orchard House, a large house with extensive gardens built in 1910.
POSSIBLE CONCLUSION: a fire ravaged the front wing of 'The White House' and while derelict a large section of the garden was sold to the owner of the proposed new building?
LOOK CLOSELY: on closer inspection the Curry slide (1) shows 'The White House' with three elements - main house to the front, an attached cottage (with its own front door and steps to the road) and lastly an attached barn. Building works to the middle section in the 1980's revealed a lower floor level, so presumably when the cottage was combined with the main house (possibly at the same time as the ownership changes above) the floor and roof were raised to match.
OTHER EXAMPLES OF ASTON SPECIFIC MAPPING:
The 18th and 19th centuries saw the medieval landscape of strip and common lands being replaced by larger and more efficient field systems.The process of enclosing common fields in Berkshire took place between 1738 and 1883 (the Astons were in Berkshire until 1974). TO BE CONTINUED...
Allotments were set up on Chalk Hill in 1895, but these did not fully compensate for the loss of common grazing and gathering rights.
Enclosure maps and awards are an incredibly detailed record of land holdings and ownership. The information they provide can be almost compared to the Doomsday Book survey some 800 years earlier. Field names marked on those enclosure maps often remain to this day.
In 1965 the National Federation of Womens Institutes (as part of their celebration their mark their 50th anniversary) invited individual institutes to create field name maps for their areas. The Astons maps were researched by Jenny Worthington, and give a real sense of connection with our agricultural past as we continue to walk our footpaths. The WI don't just make jam!