Church of St Mary Magdalene
designed by Robert Hooke
|Post town:||Milton Keynse|
|Milton Keynes North|
Willen is an ancient parish in the Newport Hundred of Buckinghamshire that now forms a district of Milton Keynes. It was one of the villages to have been included in the designated area of the New Town in 1967. At the 2011 Census the population of the district was included in the civil parish of Campbell Park. The original village is now a small but important part of the larger district that contains it and to which it gives its name.
The village was first recorded as Wilinges (12th century) and later as Wylie, Wilies (13th century); Wilne, Wylyene (14th century); and Wyllyen, Wyllyn (15th century). Willen is not recorded by name in the Domesday Survey, but it can be identified with the 4 hides 1 virgate assessed under Caldecote, part of the neighbouring parish of Newport Pagnell, and held under the Count of Mortain by Alvered. The name Willen is probably from Anglo-Saxon or Old English meaning (at the) 'willows': the River Ouzel meanders through land ideal for willows. The Willen civil parish was merged with Great and Little Woolstone to become Woolstone-cum-Willen in 1934. It is now part of the civil parish of Campbell Park.
Environment and amenities
The tiny parish church (1680) at Willen was designed by the architect and physicist Robert Hooke and is a classic of the early English Baroque period.
Further around the lake, there is a Buddhist Temple/monastery and a large stupa, a Peace Pagoda built in 1980 by the Monks and Nuns of the Nipponzan-Myōhōji. It was the first to be built in the western hemisphere. There is a grass labyrinth nearby.
One of the more important features of the district is a large balancing lake on the River Ouzel, designed to capture flash floods lest they cause problems down stream. The north basin is a wild-life sanctuary and a favourite of migrating aquatic birds. The south basin is for leisure use, used by wind surfers and dinghy sailors, with many pathways designed for group walks and runs.
Overlooking the lake, Willen Hospice provides specialist care for people whose illness no longer responds to curative treatment (also known as specialist palliative care).
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