Fenny Stratford is a constituent town of Milton Keynes,
England and in the
Civil Parish of
Fenny Stratford. Originally an independent town, it was included in
Milton Keynes "designated area" in 1967. From 1895 it formed an
urban district with Bletchley, until 1974 when it became part of the
borough of Milton Keynes. It is located at the south east edge of the
city and is its gateway to northbound travellers on the A5.
3 Parish church
3.1 The Fenny Poppers
4 Invention of the Diesel Engine in Fenny Stratford
6 Manor Fields
8 External links
Bull & Butcher
A mixture of old buildings and new developments,
Fenny Stratford is a
small town at the edge of Milton Keynes. Its market may be long gone
but it hosts various shops, restaurants, pubs, newsagents, and hotels
centered mainly around
Aylesbury Street. There is an
night club on Watling Street.
Fenny Stratford railway station, one of
the five railway stations that serve Milton Keynes, is served by the
Bletchley - Bedford) Marston Vale Line.
Milton Keynes Hoard § Magiovinium
The town name is an
Old English language
Old English language word that means 'marshy ford
on a Roman road'. The
Roman road in this case is the Watling Street.
There are traces of the Romano-British settlement MAGIOVINIUM (or
Magiovintum) at Dropshot Farm, on the edge of the present day
occupation. (Possibly the oldest known gold coin in Britain was
found here in 1849, a gold stater of the mid-second century BCE.
Although known as the "Bletchley" hoards, two coin hoards were also
found at or near the site of MAGIOVINIUM, consisting of silver
denarii, in 1967 and 1987.) The town was recorded in manorial
rolls in 1252 as Fenni Stratford. King James I awarded a market
charter in 1608, making it formally a town.
Being an ancient market town,
Fenny Stratford was the location of a
weekly market for many years until 1665 when the town was badly hit by
the bubonic plague. As a result, the main London-
Chester route that
ran through the town on
Watling Street was diverted away from it,
and the market ceased to exist. The market was never
reinstated: the town was very much in ruins by the early eighteenth
century, and had by this time been joined with both
Simpson, being commonly considered a hamlet of the former.
St Martin's Church
St Martin's Day
St Martin's Day 1724, the first stone was laid of the new parish
church of Fenny Stratford, marking a fresh start in the town's
history. Browne Willis, a historian of the day, had raised the funds
for its construction. The Church was built on the site of the old
chantry chapel of St. Margaret and St. Catherine at Fenny Stratford.
He erected the church as a memorial to his grandfather Dr. Thomas
Willis, a famous physician, who lived in St. Martin's Lane in the
parish of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London, and who died on St.
Martin's day, 11 November 1675. To perpetuate his own memory, Browne
Willis arranged for a sermon to be preached at St. Martin's Church on
each St. Martin's Day, for which a fee was payable. During his
lifetime, he also celebrated the occasion with a dinner attended by
local clergy and gentry, an event which has continued to the present
The Fenny Poppers
The Fenny Poppers are six small ceremonial cannon which date from this
time and are still fired ceremonially (with blank charges) today.
There is no record of their first use. In 1740,
Browne Willis bought a
Fenny Stratford and the rent from this was
used to pay for the sermon and gunpowder. Following his death in 1760,
the traditions were carried on and later documented.
All six Poppers were re-cast by the Eagle Foundry, Northampton in
1859, after one of them burst. They are still in use today, and were
recently examined and x-rayed to ensure there are no cracks. During
their long history, many sites have been used for this battery. These
include the Canal Wharf, land behind the Church, St, Martin's Hall,
the Churchyard and now the Leon Recreation Ground, which was once part
of the lands belonging to the Chantry.
The Poppers each weigh about 19 pounds (8.5 kg). The bore, 6" by
1¾" (152 mm x 44 mm) will take one ounce (28g) of
gunpowder, which is plugged with well-rammed newspaper. They are fired
three times on
St. Martin's Day
St. Martin's Day (11 November): noon, 2pm and 4pm.
There is of course no connection with
Remembrance Day (also 11
November). In 1901 they were fired to mark the death of Queen
Victoria; the 81 salvoes were heard as far away as Olney.
On 1 January 2000, at 11am the Poppers were fired to mark the
beginning of the second millennium.
At 2pm on 4 August 2000, a salute of six Poppers was fired to
celebrate the 100th birthday of the Queen Mother.
At 2pm on 5 June 2012 a salute was fired to mark the Diamond Jubilee
of Queen Elizabeth II.
Invention of the Diesel Engine in Fenny Stratford
The world's first successful heavy oil engines were invented and built
Herbert Akroyd Stuart
Herbert Akroyd Stuart in Fenny Stratford. There is a plaque
commemorating this at the westerly end of Denmark Street in Fenny
Stratford opposite The Foundry public house – though the location of
Akroyd Stuart's workshop is usually given as "Bletchley", which is a
larger town adjoining Fenny Stratford. These engines were precursors
to what is now known as the Diesel engine:
Rudolf Diesel based his
designs (1892) on Akroyd Stuart's proven inventions (1890) of direct
(airless) fuel injection and compression ignition. An experimental
model was tried out at the offices of the
Fenny Stratford Times
Newspaper, and the first production models were installed at the
nearby Great Brickhill Waterworks where they were in operation from
1892 to 1923. (It has been argued that engines of this type might have
become known as "Akroyds", had Diesel not been a rather paranoid
person not prone to giving other inventors credit.)
Grand Union Canal
Grand Union Canal runs through the southern outskirts of the town
and Fenny Lock is located in Simpson Road area to the east of Watling
Street. It is notable both for the manually operated swing bridge
which crosses the lock and for the very small rise in the lock (around
30 cm (12 in), the shallowest on the Grand Union Canal
network). This was deemed necessary by the canal engineers because the
next section northwards of the canal could not be made adequately
watertight at reasonable cost without it. The level persists from
this lock for eleven miles, through what is now Milton Keynes, through
to the next lock at Cosgrove. A little further south of the canal
Watling Street crosses the river Ouzel (a tributary of the
river Great Ouse: it was the marshy ford across this river that gave
the town its name.
Fenny Stratford is bordered by North Street,
Bletchley Leisure Centre,
Knowles School/Leon Recreational Ground and the Fenny Allotments from
the west, the Rail line, Watling street and Denbigh East from the
Water Eaton Brook
Water Eaton Brook by the south and the
River Ouzel and Grand
Union Canal from the east.
Manor Fields sports ground to the south of the town (and just across
Grand Union Canal
Grand Union Canal from Bletchley's 'Trees' estate) is home to
Bletchley RUFC, the Irish Centre and other activities.
The Roman town lay either side of
Watling Street and thus Manor Fields
lies on part of it.
^ Roman Britain: Magiovinium
^ "Object 2234: "Gold stater ('Gallo-Belgic A' type)". British Museum.
Retrieved 31 January 2018.
^ Butcher, Kevin; Ponting, Matthew (2015). The Metallurgy of Roman
Silver Coinage: From the Reform of Nero to the Reform of Trajan.
Cambridge University Press. p. 151.
British Museum research collection: Bletchley – British
^ a b c 'Parishes :
Fenny Stratford and Water
Eaton' – Victoria History of the Counties of England, A History of
the County of Buckingham: Volume 4 (1927), pp. 274–283.
^ a b Shrewsbury, John F. D. (2005). A History of Bubonic Plague in
the British Isles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 511.
^ "The Emergence of the Oil Engine". Anson Engine Museum. Retrieved 25
^ "A Glossary of Diesel Terms". Paxman History Pages. Archived from
the original on 2 July 2007. Retrieved 25 July 2007.
^ John H. Lienhard (1999). "Rudolf Diesel". The Engines of Our
Ingenuity. Episode 1435. NPR. KUHF-FM Houston.
^ Canal Settlement in Fenny Stratford, Edward Legg, Buckinghamshire
Archeological Society, p. 69 [PDF]
"Fenny Stratford". Encyclopædia Britannica. 10 (11th ed.).
St Martin's Church website
Ceremonial county of Buckinghamshire
Borough of Milton Keynes
Boroughs or districts
See also: List of civil parishes in Buckinghamshire
Schools (Milton Keynes)
Special Scientific Interest
Places of interest
Grade I listed buildings
Grade II* listed buildings