Brill (All Saints)
BRILL (All Saints), a parish, in the union of Thame, hundred of Ashendon, county of Buckingham, 7 miles (N. W. by N.) from Thame; containing 1449 inhabitants. Here was a palace belonging to the kings of Mercia, which was subsequently a favourite residence of Edward the Confessor, who frequently came hither during the hunting season, to enjoy the pleasures of the chase in Bernwood Forest. After the Conquest, Henry II., attended by his chancellor Thomas à Becket, kept his court here, in 1160 and 1162; and Henry III., in 1224: King John also appears to have resorted to the place, as there are some remains of a building called after him. In 1642, a garrison stationed here for the king was attacked by a detachment of the parliamentary forces under the patriotic Hampden, but the latter were repulsed with considerable loss. The parish comprises 3100 acres of fertile land, of which 2395 are meadow and pasture, 310 arable, and 240 wood. Lace-making is carried on; and there is a small manufactory for earthenware. Brill and Ashendon Hills abound with interesting geological features, and numerous specimens of fossil remains; and the former also with excellent yellow ochre, of which considerable quantities have been conveyed to distant parts. There are likewise some quarries of stone used for roads, and for burning into lime; building-stone is occasionally found, and there is an excellent quarry of iron sandstone. From its elevated situation, the place commands a most extensive and richly varied prospect, comprehending a panoramic view of nine counties; and the salubrity of the air, and the nearness of Dorton spa, have made it the frequent resort of invalids, for whose accommodation several well-built lodging-houses have been erected. A fair granted to Sir John Molins, in 1346, has been revived within the last few years, and is held on the Wednesday next after Old Michaelmas-day.
The living is a perpetual curacy, with that of Boarstall annexed; net income, £101; patron and impropriator, Sir T. D. Aubrey, Bart. The church is a small edifice of considerable antiquity, partly in the Norman style, with a low tower and spire; the entrance is through a rude porch in the south wall, over which is the date 1654, probably the period when the church was repaired after the parliamentary war. There are places of worship for Wesleyans and Independents. A national school was established in 1815, and united with a school founded by Samuel Turner, Esq.; it is endowed with £60 per annum, arising from £2000 three per cent. consols., bequeathed by Sir John Aubrey in 1825. On the disafforestment of Bernwood Forest, under a commission appointed in the 21st of James I., an allotment was set apart for the benefit of the poor, consisting of a farmhouse and buildings, with 181 acres of land, let at a clear rent of £120. On the north side of Muswell Hill, partly in this parish and partly in that of Piddington, stood the hermitage of St. Werburgh, a cell to the priory of Chetwood.