Chalfont St. Peter in old picture postcards volume 1

Chalfont St. Peter in old picture postcards volume 1

:   Audrey Wheelband
:   Buckinghamshire
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-2367-9
:   80
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Chalfont St. Peter in old picture postcards volume 1'

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Chalfont St. Peter, or Ceadeles Funta or Ceadel's Spring to give it its very earliest names, is a village in the county of Buckinghamshire, twenty miles west of London and twenty miles east of Aylesbury, the county town of Buckinghamshire. The parish is a large one. Though residential itself, it is within easy reach of several big industrial towns: Uxbridge and Slough are within six miles and High Wycombe, renowned for furniture manufacture, ten miles.

Until ab out 1914, Chalfont St. Peter was purely an agricultural area with about a dozen or so farms, the land being arabie and pasture. The chief crops were wheat, oats and barley. Surplus milk produced on the farms was sent in to Uxbridge on a farm waggon,

The village lies in a valley on the spur of the Chiltern Hills, The main road from London runs through the village. as does the River Misbourne. This had a footbridge on either side of the road. In about 1904 a road bridge was built. Later, the river was culverted at this point. A number of houses were early 16th century. One 1 Sth century building at the east end of the village was called 'Barrack Yard'. Originally, it had been a large coaching inn, 'The Cross Keys', which is the symbol of St. Peter. It had a long frontage with a coach entrance. At the back were two rows of cottages, one on either side of a large yard. It is said that those buildings were used as barracks in Cromwell's time, hence the name. When 'Barrack Yard' was demolished in 1938, ceiling and wall paintings were discovered, as well as relics, which were sent to our County Museum.

"The Greyhound Inn', a 14th century building, was a stop for the stage coach. The infamous Judge Jeffreys held courts here when he lived in the parish. He presided over the notorious 'Bloody Assizes' and is alleged to have been responsible for sen ding over three hundred people to their death.

The village comprised the usual few shops. Two bakers each made their own bread, delivered daily, The only butcher had a slaughterhouse behind his shop, which was used regularly. There were two carriers: one went to Uxbridge daily, the other to London twice a week. He had to stay the night in order to rest his horse. A three-storey building was the workhouse in the last century. This has been destroyed and re built as shops. Most of the remaining cottages are now adapted to shops.

Two old farrnhouses, three inns, an early 16th century farmer vicarage, and other cottage property were destroyed, giving way to a by-pass and a shopping centre.

There were several large estates in the parish. These are now used commercially , or as private schools.

All the village people obtained their water from well or pump, and had oillamps or candles for light. Same cooked on oil stoves, but most on the living room fire which had an oven at the side. Wamen and children carried wood from the hedges and copses to feed the fire, as well as for the copper fire on washing day , Two blacksmiths, one at each end of the village, were bath kept busy shoeing farm, carriage and hunting harses. The roads were dusty in summer and muddy

in winter. There had, earlier, been a mill on the River Misboume.

The church of St. Peter, in the diocese of Oxford, is of brick and stone. It stands in the centre of the village. A church has been on this site for centuries. One collapsed and was re built in 1708. This stands today, having been en1arged in 1867 and sin ce restored. There is also in the parish All Saints church, built seventy years ago, and St. Paul's at Hom Hill, a nearby hamlet. The Baptist Church is on Gold Hill to the north of the village, and the Roman Catholic church of St. Joseph's nearly a mile from the village. The Church of England girls and infants schools were built in 1888. The conditions then, and for a number of years after, were primitive. Children walked from neighbouring farms for miles to attend. These schools are now much larger and, of course, modernised. A boys school was built near the girls school in 1912. Now there are Council schools in the district, as well as a Roman Catholic school near to their church. In addition, there are several excellent fee-paying boarding and day schools.

The local hospital was built in 1871, and was the gift of the Hibbert family. This boasted six beds and one cot but has since been enlarged and improved several times and now has thirty-one beds.

A mile west of the village is the Chalfont Centre for Epilepsy. This was founded in 1894 and serves an excellent purpose, caring for and administering to the needs of epileptic patients. Over the passage of years, the management has acquired land and farms, making

the centre 1argely self-supporting, and selling a lot of their pro duce. They also carry on craftwork and light industry.

A mile or sa away still stands Jordan's Meeting House (1688), serving the Society of Friends, the Quakers. In the adjoining cemetery are the graves of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, and of his family. These, together with the Mayflower Barn and the Old Hostel, draw visitors from all over the world, especially America, as does Milton's Cottage in the next village of Chalfont St. Giles, two miles away. In addition, we have now started to create "The Chîltem Open Air Museum', a repository for old buildings and other historie reliquaries. This should prove weIl worthwhile.

Now, so much has changed. From a population of 1,456 in 1881 and around 6,000 in 1931, we have grown one-hundred fold in 100 years to 14,498 in 1981, the late st census year. Fields are built on, farms have disappeared or are private houses. We now have all types of sports facilities: a leisure centre with swimming pool, gymnasium and other sporting amenities, and a community centre.

Much of the population explosion is due to the opening of the railway in 1906. The joumey time to London is now only thirty minutes. Also two World Wars have contributed to the population density. Many evacuees never retumed, many friends joined them. Thus progress has been gained at immeasurable cost to rare property ,

1. Chalfont House, set in extensive grounds, has been in existence for centuries. In 1755 it was owned by General Charles Churchill, whose brother-in-law, Horace Walpole, redesigned the house to the form seen here. During part of the 19th century it was owned by the Hibbert family (also of Chalfont Lodge), later by Captain Penton and, early in the 20th century, by Sir Edward Mackay Edgar, Bart. Captain Penton had an excellent cricket pitch laid in the park, which is in use today, After World War I. the house became a luxurious hotel. The present owners are The British Aluminium Company, using it for their research staff. The house remains but the towers have been removed, also the creeper from the walls. Commercial buildings are now in the gardens, Some of the park now forms golf links for the Gerrards Cross Golf Club.

2. The garage was set up at the rear of Chalfont House, being part of the old stables, by Frank Dell after he returned from World War 1. Later, Tom Samuells carried on this business. Both offered a car hire service. By this time Chalfont House was an hotel for a period, but is now the Research Department of The British Aluminium Company. Frank DelIlater had a garage at the entrance to the High Street on part of The Grange estate, carried on eventually by his son, Dennis. This remains today. During 1939-1945, part of Dell's premises was used for war work.

3. The South Lodge and entrance gates to Chalfont Park about 1912. This stood on the rnain road not far frorn the viaduct, shown in the next illustration, on the rnain road to London, sorne nineteen rniles away. At this time, Sir Edward Mackay Edgar was at Chalfont House. His chauffeur, a MI. Jenkins, lived in this lodge. There was another, North Lodge, where a Mr. Francis Jived. Just out of picture to the right were watercress beds, fed frorn the River Misbourne, and controlled by a Mr. Andrews. When the by-pass was built in 1955-1960, this Lodge and entrance was pulled down and a roundabout is nowhere.

4. This pretty scene still exists today, though not so tranquil. The by-pass now runs through Chalfont Park by the side of the viaduct, which was built in about 1904 in conjunction with the railway, opened in 1906. The River Misbourne still flows through Chalfont Park.

5. Taken about 1910 in Chalfont Park, by the bank of the lake forrned by the River Misbourne. This was after a clearance of weeds and lots of fish. There were always plenty of fish to be found here. Pictured, from left to right, are Mr. Wood (senior), the owner of the several watercress beds in the area, Bert Wood, his san, who was killed in World War 1., P.C. Tucker, the local constabie at that time, Billy Marsh and Richard Knight, father ofthe author. All were local men.

6. The greenhouses at Chalfont Park, where a large staff were employed. Formerly the residence of Sir Edward Mackay Edgar, Chalfont House had been converted to an hotel at the time this photograph was taken in 1922, and the kitchen gardens were privately maintained.

7. This family group was photographed outside the Grange Lodge, one entrance to The Grange estate. There is another entrance on Gold Hill, to the south of the village. This entrance stood on. the main London road, about three hundred yards from the vilIage. It was not altered in any way during this century and was occupied until its demolition in 1966. Note the open fields to the left on the hill, belonging to Swan Farm. This entire area is now built up and is known as the Chalfont Heights Estate.

8. Another picture of the Grange Lodge, showing it more fully. This photograph was taken some time befare its demolition in 1966, but the Lodge had not been altered in any way through the years and was still occupied. Immediately to the rear stood a spinney of mostly Scots pines. These have now gone and, in about 1960, houses were built here.

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