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Dorton (St. John the Baptist)

DORTON (St. John the Baptist), a parish, in the union of Thame, hundred of Ashendon, county of Buckingham, 5½ miles (N. N. W.) from Thame; containing 151 inhabitants. This place is situated near the bases of three hills, whereof the principal is Brill. It is supposed to have derived its name from the celebrity of its mineral springs, which, though they afterwards fell into neglect, and for many years remained unnoticed, are said to have been well known to the ancient Britons, and to have obtained for the place the appellation of Dwr-ton, or "the town of the waters." That it is of considerable antiquity, is evident from the site of an encampment on the summit of a hill on the southern border of the parish, and which, though neither its precise form nor extent can now be distinctly traced, appears to have been of British or Roman origin. The parish comprises 1400 acres. Dorton House, erected by Sir John Dormer, Knt., and modernised and greatly improved by Sir John Aubrey, Bart., in 1784, has a very interesting appearance: the park, situated in the north-eastern part of the parish, and formerly an inclosure for deer, is contiguous to Bernwode Forest, and was once probably a part of it. In the grounds is the chalybeate spring, the efficacy of which in the cure of many disorders has, within the last few years, attracted a progressively increasing number of visiters; a pump-room and baths have been erected on an extensive scale, with which are connected a reading-room and a ball-room, and 12 acres of the park as a pleasure-ground. The spring issues from a small orifice in the upper grounds of Dorton Park; the iron absorbed by the water amounts to more than one-fifth part of its solid contents, which is a far greater proportion than is contained in any other chalybeates in this country. The neighbourhood abounds with objects of interest; there are many pleasing rides, and in the village of Brill adjoining are ample accommodations for visiters. The living is a perpetual curacy, united to that of Ashendon: the church is a plain edifice, with a tower, and a spire of wood surmounted by a cross covered with lead.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.