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St John the Baptist, Dorton, Buckinghamshire

(51°49′10″N, 1°0′58″W)
SP 679 139
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Buckinghamshire
now Buckinghamshire
  • Ron Baxter
14 March 2008

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Feature Sets

Dorton is a small village in the W of central Buckinghamshire, 8 miles W of Aylesbury. The church is at the S end of the village, and is now in the grounds of Ashfold school. St John’s consists of a nave with a two-bay S transept or chapel at the E end, a S porch to the W of the chapel, a chancel and a weatherboarded W bell turret with a tiled pyramid roof supported on a timber substructure at the W end of the nave. The nave has a 13thc lancet, the transept is 14thc, the chancel and S porch are 15thc, and the bell turret perhaps 17thc. Construction is of coursed rubble. A plain font is the only feature described here.


The manor of Dorton was held by Aelfric, a thegn of King Edward, before the Conquest, and in 1086 it was held by Walter Giffard himself. It was assessed at 5 hides, with meadow for 3 plough-teams and woodland for 100 pigs.

The overlordship of Dorton passed from the Giffards to the Marshalls and then the Earls of Gloucester by 1284, when it was held by Earl Gilbert. There is no record of a tenant before the 13thc, but a knight’s fee held by Pain de Dorton from Walter Giffard (son of the Domesday tenant) in 1166 could well have been here.

The church was originally a chapel of Chilton, with which it was given by Walter Giffard to Nutley Abbey and belonged to that house until its surrender. In 1542 it was granted by Henry VIII to Christ Church Oxford. The tithes of the demesne were given by Walter Giffard to the priory he founded at Longueville nearRouenbefore his death in 1104. After the confiscation of alien possessions in the 14thc, these tithes descended with the manor of Little Pollicot in Ashendon.

The parish is now part of the Bernwode benefice, i.e. Ashendon, Boarstall, Brill, Chilton, Dorton, Ludgershall and Wotton Underwood.





VCH describes the font as a 12thc bowl placed on a 15thc base.


N. Pevsner and E. Williamson, Buildings ofEngland: Buckinghamshire, London1960, 2nd ed. 1994, 285.

N. Pevsner, Buildings ofEngland: Buckinghamshire, London1960, 110.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Buckingham Volume 1 (south), London1912, 131-35.

Victoria County History: Buckinghamshire. IV (1927), 45-48.