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Amersham, Buckinghamshire

Historical Description

Amersham, a market and a union town, and a parish in Bucks. The town was formerly called Agmondesham. It stands in a pleasant valley near the Misbourne tributary of the river Colne, surrounded by wood-crowned hills, 29 miles from London by the Metropolitan railway, 7 ENE from High Wycombe, and 8½ SSW from Berkhampstead. It consists chiefly of a long street crossed by a shorter one. The town-house was erected in 1682 by Sir William Drake, and is a substantial brick edifice, with arched and pillared basement, used as a market-place, and a surmounting clock lantern. The parish church is a Gothic edifice of brick coated with stucco; has a fine east window, filled with ancient stained glass; and contains monuments of the Drakes, the Dents, and the Curwens. The living is a rectory with the chapelry of Coles-hill annexed, in the diocese of Oxford; gross yearly original value, £1500 with residence. There are also General Baptist, Particular Baptist, Primitive Methodist, and Wesleyan chapels. There are a free grammar-school, founded in 1620, almshouses, and other charities with aggregately about £400, and a workhouse. A weekly market is held on Tuesday, and fairs on Whit-Monday and 19 Sept. Manufactures of straw-plait and wooden chairs are carried on, and there are three flour mills and a large brewery and malting establishment. The town has a head post, money order, and telegraph office, and some good hotels. It was a borough from the time of Edward I., sending two members to parliament, but was disfranchised in 1832. The Drakes represented it for upwards of two centuries, the poet Waller in the reign of Charles I., and Algernon Sydney in 1679. Several of its inhabitants were burnt at the stake as martyrs in the times of Henry I. and of Mary, and John Knox preached in its church.

The parish includes also the hamlet of Coleshill, 1½ mile S of Amersham. It has a chapel of ease to St Mary Amersham. Area of the parish, 7969 acres; population of the civil parish, 2613; of the ecclesiastical, with Coleshill, 3129. Coleshill has an area of 1850 acres, and a population of 516. The manor belonged to the Nevilles, to Warwick the Kingmaker, and to the Tothills, and passed to the Drakes. Shardeloes, the manor house, stands about a mile NW of the town, in a park of 700 acres, and is a fine edifice, designed by Adams.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5

Administration

The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyBuckinghamshire 
Ecclesiastical parishAmersham St. Mary 
HundredBurnham 
Poor Law unionAmersham 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.


Church Records

The parish register dates from the year 1561


Churches

Church of England

St. Mary (parish church)

The parish church of St. Mary, is a structure of flint, about 125 feet in length, chiefly of Perpendicular date, and consists of chancel with north aisle or Drake chapel, nave of four bays, with clerestory, aisles, richly groined, south porch and, an embattled western tower with pinnacles, surmounted by small spire and contraining a clock and 6 bells: the nave and aisles are divided by arcades of five pointed arches of Late Decorated work: the stained east window was removed here from the chapel of Lamer Manor House, Herts, on its reconstruction by Sir Bennett Garrard, 6th bart. M.P. for Amersham in 1761: there are also in the Drake monument room other memorials to the family of Drake, including a mural monument, by Bacon, to Thomas Drake Tyrwhitt-Drake esq. of Shardeloes, M.P. for Amersham, d. 1810; a monument to William Drake esq. M.P., LL.D. d. 8 Aug. 1796; and in the vestry a mural tablet to Dr. Thomas Drake, rector of Amersham, 1775, and Elizabeth, his wife, 1765: on the north side of the chancel is a monument, with demi-effigy, placed in a niche, to Sir William Drake bart. d. 1669, and on the south side, also in a recess, between pilars of the Doric order, a cenotaph of black and gold, above which are medallion portraits of Montagu Drake esq. M.P. for Amersham, d. 1698, and Jane (Garrard), d. 1724: the mortuary chapel of the Drake family, on the north side of the chancel, has on the north side a magnificent tomb, by Peter Sheemaker, consisting of a sarcophagus of black marble, with figures in white marble, beneath an elliptic arch, supported on pilasters, to Montague Garrard Drake esq. M.P. for Amersham in 1713, 1715 and 1727 and for Bucks in 1722; he died in 1728; in the south side of the chancel is a brass, with the effigy of a child, and some quaint rhyming couplets, to John, son of the foregoing, d. 1623: in the chancel is an altar tomb, with fluted pillars supporting a pediment, beneath which are kneeling figures of a lady and gentleman, and below an inscription to Elizabeth, widow of William Bent esq. of Corby, Leic. 1730, and to George Bent, her son, 1714; near which is a mural tablet, with an account of her bequests to the town by will, dated June 25, 1728: in the north cross aisle is a mural tablet to James Rumsey M.D. 1824, and various memorials to the family of Eeles, 1727-1815: in the south aisle are inscribed stones or mural monuments to Edward Childe, 1676; Philip Ayres esq. 1712 and the Rev. John Drake LL.D. 50 years rector of Amersham, d. 26 June, 1860; and in the vestry a mural tablet to the Rev. Benjamin Robertshaw. rector of Amersham, 1728-43: in the south cross aisle are brasses, with effigies, to John de la Penne, 1537, and Elizabeth, his wile, 1521; and to Henry Brudenall esq. 1430 and Alianora, his wife: in the north aisle is a brag effigy and inscription to Thomas Carbonell esq. 1439 and Elizabeth, his wife 1438; there is also a mutilated brass, c. 1440: on the north side of the chancel is a chapel, formerly the burying place of the Brudenell end Proby families: in the 18th centnry it was closed up and used as a mausoleum, and continued to be so used until 1874: the personas there deposited, about 60 in number, have since been interred in the churchyard; the restoration of the chapel was competed in 1908: the exterior of the church was substantially restored in 1890: there are 600 sittings.


Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

Amersham was in Amersham Registration District from 1837 to 1974


Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Amersham from the following:


Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Buckinghamshire is available to browse.


Maps

Online maps of Amersham are available from a number of sites:


Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Buckinghamshire papers online:


Visitations Heraldic

A full transcript of the Visitation of Buckinghamshire, 1634 is online

DistrictChiltern
CountyBuckinghamshire
RegionSouth East
CountryEngland
Postal districtHP6
Post TownAmersham