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Shalstone is a village and also a civil parish within Aylesbury Vale district in Buckinghamshire, England. It is located in the north of the county, about four miles north west of Buckingham. The village name is Anglo Saxon in origin, and means 'farm by a shallow stream'. In the Domesday Book of 1086 the village was recorded as Celdestone.
Shalstone Church dedicated to St Edward the Confessor was almost entirely reconstructed in 1862 by the architect Sir George Gilbert Scott. Some memorial tablets in the church survived the rebuilding and these are dedicated to members of the Purefoy family and their relatives the Jervoise family. Some of the memorial statuary is by Sir Richard Westmacott (remembered chiefly for his work on the new Houses of Parliament in London).
One remarkable memorial tablet commemorates the life of Elizabeth Purefoy - a seemingly dominating woman who ruled her unmarried son Henry until he predeceased her. She was widowed in 1704 when she was 32, and survived her husband by a further 61 years. Her memorial reads:
She was a Woman of Excellent Sense and Spiritt
Prudent and Frugal
As well as a true friend To the family She married into
And was moreover endued
With all Those Graces and Virtues
Which distinguish and Adorn
The good Wife The good Mother and good Christian (sic)The most remarkable thing about this glowing tribute is that Mrs. Purefoy not only wrote it herself, but had the tablet erected in the church while she was still alive. She died in 1765.
Shalstone's claim to fame came in 1973 with the publication of the 'Purefoy Letters' a detailed catalogue of the everyday lives of the inhabitants of the village and surrounding area as seen through the eyes of the 90-year-old Elizabeth Purefoy to her son Henry during the period 1735-1753. Henry, the squire, and his mother both lived at Shalstone House. The book records Shalstone at this period in minute detail.
Shalstone House is built in the Georgian style, of stone. The rectangular house is of a plain design five bays by six bays, on two floors. The hipped roof is hidden by a solid parapet. The house contains a notable chimneypiece by William Palmer installed in 1739. Shalstone House is still the home of the Purefoy family today,
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