Aston shown within Oxfordshire
|OS grid reference|
|Parish||Aston, Cote, Shifford and Chimney|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
|Website||Aston, Cote, Chimney and Shifford|
|List of places: UK • England • Oxfordshire|
Aston is a village in the West Oxfordshire district of Oxfordshire in England. According to the 2001 census the parish had a population of 1,264. The southern boundary of the parish is the River Thames. The village is part of the civil parish of Aston, Cote, Shifford and Chimney.
Until the 19th century Aston was a township in the ancient parish of Bampton. In 1866 the civil parish of Aston and Cote was separated from Bampton. In 1931 Aston and Cote was united with Chimney were united to form the civil parish of Aston Bampton, which was merged with Shifford in 1954 to form the parish of Aston Bampton and Shifford. The parish was later renamed Aston, Cote, Shifford and Chimney.
The Church of England parish church of Saint James was built in 1839 with only a low squat tower and one bell. Later a spire and second bell were added. The Gothic Revival architect Joseph Clarke restored the building in 1862, even though it was only 23 years old at the time. The architect H.G.W. Drinkwater made further alterations in 1885-89.
The present six bells were supplied by John Taylor & Co. of Loughborough in 1883, the two original bells being taken in part exchange. Two brass plates in the church commemorate the names of local clergy & churchwardens at the time of the bells' dedication and benefactors who contributed to the cost, the balance of which was raised by public subscription. In 1992 the bells were restored and re-hung by White's of Appleton following two years of local fund-raising.
Aston Pottery was founded in 1990 and now employs 40 people producing over 120 different patterns on 45 different shapes.
It has recently undergone a huge expansion and now has a Country Cafe, which serves locally-sourced fare that is all made on the premises. The new building was opened in December 2008. Food critic, Helen Peacocke, gave the following review about the cakes on offer there: "Each of these cakes is baked from a tried and tested country recipe, to which Celia [head chef and manager of the Cafe] adds a modern twist. Having been lucky enough to taste of several different slices during my visit, I can confidently say you would be hard pushed to find a more delicious homemade cake, unless you make it yourself."
Aston's location is one of great historical significance. To the west lies Chimney and its ancient church. The church dates back to Anglo-Saxon times and was the central point for trade and worship as well as a meeting place for the small hamlet that arose around it over 3,000 years ago. Outlines of the town roads and housing banks can still be made out in the earth just in front of the church, as the land makes its way down to the river where many village life activities would have taken place.
From the ancient Bronze Age preaching cross that still stands in front of the church doors it becomes clear why this location was chosen for settlement. Protected by the river in front, defenders could have seen a threat coming from a long distance as it is possible to see the rise in the land which runs from Newbridge, just south of Standlake in the east, right along the Ridgeway past Buckland and away towards Tadpole Bridge in the west.