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The population of the village grew slowly in the first part of the last millennium, and then faster as better farming practices increased the yield of the land allowing it to support more people. Just 26 people were named in the tax returns for contributions for Ireland in 1642, but by the time of the earliest government census of 1801, there were 276 inhabitants in 60 families living in 55 houses. The population peaked in the mid nineteenth century (356 in 1841), but had dropped back to 290 by 1901. In the 1991 census there were just under 400 residents; 404 in 2001. The poulation estimate in 2020 was 416. The village community was largely self-supporting until the last century and many people never needed to leave the village. There are villagers alive today who remember the village bakery and the blacksmith and just about everything a villager needed was close to hand.
The number of houses of course reflects the population size. In the mid 1500s there were 31 houses in the parish, including nine at Burston. This had risen to around 70 in the nineteenth century and it remained pretty much at this level until new building commenced in the 1930s. Few of the older properties remain as significant rebuilding took place in the 1800s. Several blocks of 'Overstone' cottages were built (by Lord Overstone) just after the middle of the 19th century. (One block is pictured today on the right.) These generally comprised a block of four cottages in one building, each including two main living rooms, two bedrooms, and a substantial garden plot (for growing vegetables). Communal water, pigsty, dung pit and a boiler were provided for each block. These well-constructed houses were built for around £150 (about $225) and are much-valued village homes today, although a couple of the blocks of four have been converted into two larger houses.
Primitive Methodist chapel Aston Abbotts
The last fifty years have seen great changes. Improved public transport and widespread car ownership coupled with a general decline in farming have seen Aston Abbotts transformed from a farming community towards becoming a commuter village. Although there are still farms in and around the area, modern farming practices are largely mechanised and most of the population seek employment elsewhere. These days many work in local towns such as Aylesbury and Leighton Buzzard, but relatively easy access to the capital has attracted a number of London commuters. There are quite a number of retired people living in Aston Abbotts nowadays. Many of these bought houses here years ago and commuted for work. Now they have reached retirement age.
Overstone Cottages in Aston Abbotts