Pyrton and Shirburn
is an attractive small village within Pyrton parish
which originally extended for about 12
miles from Stonor in the Chilterns to the low-lying land
to the north west of the village. Strip parishes such as Pyrton have
a narrow elongated shape and were typically formed during
the Anglo-Saxon and early medieval period. The name Pyrton
is of Old English origin and means "pear-tree farm".
Mary's Church in Pyrton dates from 1856 although parts of the original
12th century church still remain. There has been a church on
the site since 987. In early Spring the churchyard is
pretty with snowdrops but the real colour appears in late
March when the churchyard is covered in daffodils and
is well worth a visit. The church is running a "living
sanctuary" project where they are keeping a record
of significant sightings of flora and fauna.
to the church, but hidden from view, is the 17th century
Pyrton Manor, an attractive Elizabethen-style brick building
with stone quoins and dressings. In 2004 refurbishment
of the house, outbuildings and estate cottages was started,
together with extensive external landscaping. Nearby is
the moated site of a medieval manor house.
The tiny village of Shirburn straddles the
but don't blink or you might miss it as you concentrate
on the sharp bends in the road at that point! Off the
main road there are a few houses and on the main road
there are even fewer!
The main interest in this village
is Shirburn castle, a fortified manor house built in 1378
with four towers and a gatehouse and surrounded by a moat. Unfortunately
the castle is now empty and in need of substantial repair. Until
recently it was occupied by the Earl of Macclesfield -
Richard Timothy George Mansfield Parker - but he was evicted
from the castle after a family dispute which was settled
in the High Court.
All Saints Church is now a redundant (though still consecrated)
church. It is situated within the grounds of Shirburn
Castle and is now in the care of the Churches Conservation
Trust. There is limited access to the church, which currently
is restricted only to weekends.
is just off the B4009
between Watlington and the M40 motorway. The tiny village of Shirburn is nearby on the