The stocks and pond at the centre of the village
Aldbury is a delightfully pretty village in Hertfordshire, near the borders of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, in a valley close to Ashridge Park. The nearest town is Tring; Tring railway station, 1 mile west, is in the parish of Aldbury.
Uphill from the village are the Bridgewater monument and the Ashridge estate.
Aldbury has around 800 inhabitants, a small shop, a garage, and two pubs: The Valiant Trooper and the Greyhound. A troop of Morris men is based here and perform outside both village pubs.
Aldbury is a village of the Old English type. In the centre is a green and pond; close by stand stocks and whipping-post, in excellent preservation though sadly out of regular use. It has a primary school and the Church of St John the Baptist. In the days of Edward the Confessor the manor of Aldeberie was held by Alwin, the king's thegn.
The Valiant Trooper has served as an alehouse for several centuries, the first traceable evidence dates back to 1752. The ascent of the wooded slope towards the Bridgewater Monument is one of the most beautiful districts in the county.
On the 6 January 1954 a Royal Air Force Vickers Valetta twin-engined training aircraft crashed at Tom's Hill just south of the village. Sixteen of the 17 airmen on board were killed.
The Church of Saint John the Baptist is of Early English style. The church was restored in 1867, and is notable for the Verney Chapel, separated from the nave by a screen of stone. It contains a monument to Sir Robert Whittingham, who was slain at the battle of Tewkesbury (illustrated below). The church also contains memorials of the Hides and Harcourts, families who left charities to the poor of the parish.
The Valiant Trooper
The 17th century cottages that comprise the Trooper have served as alehouses for several centuries.
The first traceable evidence dates back to 1752 when the pub, then known as The Royal Oak, was left in the will of one John Barnes. Its next owner was Isaac Dell Master, whose initials "ID" and the date "1769" can be seen carved in the brickwork alongside the main front window. The name changed to The Trooper Alehouse in 1803 – rumoured to be because the Duke of Wellington met his troops here to discuss tactics. It became The Valiant Trooper in 1878.
I===Stocks House=== The largest house is Stocks House which was the country home of Victor Lownes and the rural base of Playboy UK; and before that home of Mary Augusta Ward, the author of Clinton Magna whose character Bessie Costrell lived in Aldbury.
Aldbury in film and on television
Aldbury is a popular location for films and television. Among film and television series scenes filmed in the village are:
- 1947: Jassy (Gainsborough Pictures)
- 1967: The Dirty Dozen (the scene at the beginning of the training exercise)
- 1969: Crossplot (last scene)
- 2004: Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, the Greyhound pub (including a scene involving fox hunting cut from the cinema release but on DVD)
- 1967: The Avengers, two episodes of the sixties TV series, episode "Dead Man's Treasure" town renamed "Swingingdale" original air date 21 October 1967 (UK). And the complete episode "Murdersville" renamed "Little Storping In-The-Swuff" original air date 11 November 1967 (UK).
- Inspector Morse, the TV detective series, the pub
- Shillingbury Tales series, filmed in 1980. The church, churchyard/graveyard and path to the primary school as well as the Greyhound pub also featured in a Dave Allen sketch (the race to the graveyard between two funeral parties)
- Marchlands TV Drama
- Midsomer Murders Written In Blood
| ("Wikimedia Commons" has material|
- Hertfordshire, by Herbert W Tompkins, 2nd Edition, 1922, from Project Gutenberg
- Tring Council web site
- Aldbury (A Guide to Old Hertfordshire)
- Aldbury Primary School
- The Valiant Trooper web site
- Aldbury Morris Men
- Dave Allen Funeral Sketch hosted on YouTube