All Saints Church, Marsworth
Marsworth is a small, pretty village in Buckinghamshire, running down to the Grand Union Canal (from which here two arms branch off) and hard by the Hertfordshire border. Marsworth is about two miles north of Tring in Hertfordshire, and six miles east of Aylesbury, which lies across the Tring Salient.
The village name is from Old English: Mæssanweorth means 'Mæssa's enclosure'.
The construction of the Grand Union Canal, which passes through this village, brought with it many new business opportunities and the village expanded greatly as a result. Pubs and inns appeared on the canal, and wharves and commerce. The great traffic on the canal has ceased though it is still popular for leisure boating, and the inns serve as attractive country pubs. A footpath runs along the canal and this too brings visitors to Marsworth.
Within the parish boundary of Marsworth, to the south of the main village where the canal crosses the Lower Icknield Way is the hamlet of Startop's End. In 2010 the during building work engineers dug up over 40 bodies in un-marked graves which were subsequesntly interred in a ceremony conducted by the vicar.
Nearby are three of the four Tring reservoirs, one of which is named Marsworth Reservoir.
The parish church is All Saints and sits at the village's heart, above the valley bottom and canal.
There are records of a church in Marsworth since the 12th century. All Saints Church was further extended in the 14th and 15th centuries. Despite further restoration in the first part of the 19th century by 1880 the church was in a deplorable condition and the newly appointed vicar, the Rev F W Ragg set about with the help of parishioners to restore it over the next 25 years.
Marsworth is first mentioned in the will of Aelfgyfu (before 975) as granted to King Edgar, who in turn passed it to St Etheldreda's Church, belonging to the Bishops of Ely.
After the Norman Conquest Marsworth (Missevorde) is recorded in the Domesday Book as in the possession of Robert D'Oyly and was connected to Wallingford in Berkshire, an association which continued into the 17th century. The tenants were the Bassett family. By 1319 records show there were still several overlords controlling various parts of Marsworth including a descendant of Isabel Bassett, John de Beauchamp Lord of the Manor at Hawridge. This is the first indication of a connection between Marsworth and the detached manor or Hawridge, possibly to provide woodland and hilltop summer pasture for the estate across the narrow isthmus of Hertfordshire known as the Tring Salient.
There were connections between another estate in Marsworth and the Savoy Hospital in Middlesex to whom the Boughton family granted lands in 1514 in the honour of Henry III. It subsequently became an endowment for St Thomas's Hospital and in 1876 was swapped for lands in Essex by William Brown of Tring.
In the seventeenth century the Basset land was split between six sisters and through their line the estates passed to the Goldingtons at which time the manor becomes recorded as Marsworth with Goldringtons.
The canal came in the nineteenth century and two great arms were thrown out from Marsworth, to Aylesbury and Wendover, which gave Marsworth Junction, as this section became known, some commercial importance, which is still seen in the commercial operations hereabouts, albeit that far less is today carried on the canal.
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