Bix & Lower and Middle Assendon

These three hamlets in the Oxfordshire Chilterns make up the parish of Bix and Assendon, the origins of which can be traced back to two Saxon settlements, Bixa Brand and Bixa Gibwin/Gibwyn. The origin of the name Bix is most likely to have been box shrub, a type of evergreen which grows in the parish.

Location map:

Byxe Brand was the Saxon settlement situated in the area around the ruins of the ancient parish church of St James at Bix Bottom, now a delightfully quiet area well off the beaten track along a road which leads to the Warburg Nature Reserve. The church was originally a tiny Norman Church, its arch is only slightly over a metre wide, built on a Saxon site. The ruins of the old church can still be seen and remain as consecrated grounds. Maintenance of the ruins is paid for by English Heritage.

The Hamlet of 'modern' Bix is close to the location of Byxe/Bixa Gibwin/Gibwyn. There appears now to be little evidence of historic Bix and the hamlet comprises mainly up-market houses spread around three sides of an open grassed common and out along the roads to Lower and Middle Assendon. The 'new' parish church of St James was built in the centre of the village in 1875.

There are 22 listed buildings in and around Bix, including the two chapels at Henley Cemetery and the ruins and other buildings at Bix Bottom. One of these listed buildings is the former public house, The Fox, which is prominently situated on the A4130. This is now a private dwelling.

An interesting feature in the village is a victorian brick-lined open water tank which was constructed c.1895. The tank was derelict for some sixty years becoming overgrown, broken up, lost to view and obviously serving no purpose. However, in 1998 it was spotted and investigated, and slowly its story was established and restoration of the tank began. Restoration was completed in 2002. The water is obtained using a hand pump and the most likely uses were for watering horses and as a refill water station for the steam engines as well as being the domestic water supply for the village.

Leading from Bix are three narrow lanes which wind down steep hills towards Bix Hall and Lower and Middle Assendon. Lower Assendon, in particular, has some attractive old cottages. The names were first recorded in 800 AD as Assundene which was thought to derive from the Saxon word "denu", meaning a long, narrow, winding valley, and "assa", meaning an ass; together this was translated as the Valley of the Wild Ass. Assundene changed to Afsington and then to Assendene. This was the name of the hamlets until the early 20th century, when the modern name of Assendon came into use.

The Golden Ball pub in Lower Assendon has been featured in an episode of the popular TV series Midsomer Murders.
http://midsomermurders.org/lowerassloc.htm

Bix is about 2.5 miles north-west of Henley-on-Thames just off the A4130.

The hamlets of Lower and Middle Assendon are in the low-lying Stonor Valley on the B480 which leads to Watlington.

Images of Bix:
(Click to view)

Bix 1
Bix 2
Bix 3
Bix 4
Bix 5
Bix 6
Bix 7
Bix 8
Bix 9
Bix 10
Bix 11
Bix 12



Images of the Assendons:
(Click to view)

Assendon 1
Assendon 2
Assendon 3
Assendon 4
Assendon 5


 

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