Aston Upthorpe & Aston Tirrold
villages of Aston Upthorpe and Aston Tirrold lie in the
shadow of the Berkshire downs in the south of the county.
These are twin villages in every sense of the word. Unless
you know the Astons you would think you are in one village,
but the two signs tell you differently. Approaching from South Moreton the sign
on the right hand side of the road says Aston Upthorpe
whilst opposite is a sign saying Aston Tirrold - all very
confusing! Both are attractive picture-postcard villages
with plenty of cob, thatch and half-timbering in evidence.
Aston Upthorpe nestles at the foot of Blewburton
Hill which has the clear outlines of a fair size Iron
Age fort around part of the top, whilst at the foot is
Blewburton Hall. The small plain church of All Saints
is thought to be Norman and may well be standing on the
site of an earlier church. In 1992 traces of wall painting
were discovered, the earliest (early C14) being of St.
Christopher holding the Christ Child on his shoulder.
It is said that the battle of Assendune (Ashdown) was
fought in this neighbourhood and, if this is the case,
the church may be where King Ethelred was praying while
Alfred, his brother, defeated the Danes.
St. Michael's Church in Aston Tirrold has been altered
over the centuries but there is evidence of Norman and
perhaps Saxon origins. In the early 13th century the Chancel
was rebuilt and the south Transept was added and later,
a tower. A lot of the medieval work was destroyed in the
19th century, including wall paintings, when the church
was again restored and enlarged.
During the 20th century the Astons have been closely connected
with horse racing. At one time there were four trainers
in the two villages. Although there is now only one, in
Aston Upthorpe, horses can still be seen exercising around
the villages. The stud farm is one of the leading stud
farms in England.
The Chequers Inn in Aston Tirrold is home to a smart French
restaurant, The Sweet Olive.
Aston Upthorpe and Aston Tirrold lie just off the A417, about 5 miles north-east of Streatley.