History of 'the town on the road'
Stony Stratford has always had strategic importance as the crossing point over the River Ouse, for a prehistoric trackway, the Roman Watling Street, the major London to Holyhead coaching road and latterly the A5. The town has an enviable list of key dates and events from history.
'The Town on The Road' - was where the Saxon king Edward the Elder fought the Danes. Here King John - and several successive monarchs - frequently held court. Here the funeral cortege of Eleanor, wife of Edward I, rested on its trip from Nottingham to Westminster and where there once stood an Eleanor Cross..
From Stony Stratford Edward IV courted his wife, and from a house still standing in the High Street that Richard III secured the young uncrowned Edward V to convey him to the Tower of London. Beneath the tree in the Market Square the Methodist John Wesley preached.
In 1645 during the Civil War - Parliamentarian forces were billeted upon the town when on their way to the battle of Naseby.
Stony Stratford rose to national eminence during the 18th century as one of the country's most important coaching towns, on the main London to Liverpool route. The High Street still contains a wealth of coaching inns that thrived in this period, including The Cock and The Bull; in these inns travellers vied with each other in the telling of outrageous stories, from which the phrase 'Cock and Bull story' derives.
It was in The Bull in 1792 that the plans to build Britain's first major waterway were unveiled; the Grand Union Canal was started the following year. Today Stony Stratford is known as 'The Jewel of Milton Keynes', a description coined by local historian Frank Markham, positioning the town as a unique part of the UK's most dynamic and vibrant new city.