Key Dates and Events
- 1194. Richard I granted Stony Stratford the right to hold a market.
- 1215. King John stayed in the town with his retinue, issuing letters, patents and writs.
- 1290. Edward I stayed in Stony Stratford with Queen Eleanor's funeral cortege, and erected the Eleanor Cross.
- 1380. Richard II stayed in Stony Stratford.
- 1409. Henry IV held court in the town.
- 1464. Edward IV courted his future bride from the town.
- 1483. the uncrowned Edward V - one of the Two Princes - was abducted from the Rose and Crown - as mentioned in Shakespeare's Richard III.
- 1516. Margaret of Scotland stayed in Stony Stratford.
- Henry VIII visited several times; 1525, 1531, 1540.
- Theophilus Eaton, member of a puritan family prominent in founding the colonies of Massachusetts and Connecticut (and himself the first Governor of New Haven) was born in Stony Stratford in 1590.
- 1600; The Horseshoe (or Lyon and Horseshoe) Inn mentioned in 'Sir John Oldcastle', a play attributed to Shakespeare.
- Charles I visited the town during the Civil War.
- May 1644; the region's last major Civil War skirmish was fought in the town.
- Charles II occasionally visited Stony Stratford en route to his hunting lodge in Puxley.
- Benjamin Holloway, prominent Anglican divine and noted scientist, was born in Stony Stratford in 1691.
- Stony Stratford develops its own lace pattern, called Butterfly.
- Samuel Johnson, author of the first dictionary, stayed at The Cock Hotel.
- John Wesley visited Stony Stratford three times, recorded as preaching beneath the elm tree in Market Square on 30 July 1777. He said of the town "Stony by nature, Stony by name".
- Mid 18thC - Mid 19thC - The Coaching Era; coining the phrase 'Cock and Bull story' and the nursery rhyme 'Ride a Cock horse to Banbury Cross'.
- June 1792; the meeting to launch the Grand Junction Canal was held in The Bull Hotel.
- Market Square painted by the artist Hassel in 1812.
- The 19thC authoress George Eliot was related to the Parrots of Tower House, Stony Stratford. The town features in Adam Bede.
- Mid 1800s. Hayes Boatyard, London Road, began producing ocean-going vessels.
- Stony Stratford dance teacher Joseph Hambling, who had a school in Church Street, was the model for Charles Dickens's Mr Turveydrop in Bleak House. Dickens stayed in the town on several occasions.
- 1882; the bell 'Great Paul' was hauled through Stony Stratford on its way to St Paul's Cathedral in London.
- The world's largest trams (each holding 100 people) began operating between Stony Stratford and Wolverton.
- General Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, visited Stony Stratford in one of the first motor cars in the country.
- Charles de Gaulle stayed at Pitmans House during World War II.
- Queen Elizabeth II visited Stony Stratford in 1966.
- John Habgood, present Archbishop of York, was born at Wolverton House, in 1927, and subsequently moved to Calverton House.
For further information on the history of the town please see here.
Ten Fascinating Facts
1. Stony Stratford is mentioned in Shakespeare (Richard III, Act 2 Scene 4), when Richard Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III) finds out the location of the young King Edward V and his brother, the Duke of York. These two were rivals to Richard's claims to the throne. Edward was arrested in Stony Stratford, taken to the Tower of London and never seen again.
2. When Queen Eleanor (wife of Edward I) died at Lincoln in 1290, her body was transported to London for burial. Stony Stratford was one of the eleven resting places on the journey. Each was marked with a memorial cross, although the one at Stony Stratford no longer exists.
3. Stony Stratford was originally on the main London to Holyhead Roman road, Watling Street.
4. In the last century, ocean going steam launches were built in Stony Stratford.
5. The concrete cows are perhaps the most famous landmarks in Milton Keynes. They were created by a locally based artist in the 1970s and can now be found in a field close to the railway which runs through the city.
6. The inaugural meeting of the Grand Union Canal Company was held in the Bull Inn, Stony Stratford. However, the closest the canal came to the town was at Old Stratford, part of the Buckingham Arm of the main canal.
7. The Cock Inn and Bull Inn gave their names to the Cock & Bull Story.
8. Scenes from Indiana Jones and Superman films were shot nearby in Milton Keynes.
9. The Wolverton & Stony Stratford Tram was the last steam hauled rural tram in the UK. It also had the largest carriages ever made for a tram in England. The last tram ran in 1926. One of the company's chairmen was a certain Louis Clovis Boneparte, and his successor Mr Braggins was the last man in Stony Stratford to wear a top hat.
10. Stony Stratford is the home of Folk on the Green, the area's major local free folk music festival.