Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire
Chalfont St Giles, a village and a parish in Bucks. The village stands on the Misbourne rivulet, 3 miles SE by S of Amersham, and 3 SW from Chalfont Road station on the Metropolitan Extension railway, and has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Gerrards Cross (R.S.O.) The poet Milton resided here during the plague of London in 1665, and finished here his " Paradise Lost." The house which he occupied, a half-timbered cottage, still exists, and has his name on its front. It is now used as a museum. The parish comprises 3726 acres; population, 1286. Vatche House, or the Vache, is a modernised ancient edifice, said to have been originally built in 1277. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Oxford; net yearly value, £439 with residence. Patron, the Bishop of Oxford. The church is ancient and interesting, has a Norman tower, bases of columns, and font. It was restored in 1863, and contains brasses and monuments of the Gardiners, the Fleetwoods, the Claytons, and Bishop Hare. There are Congregational and Primitive Methodist chapels, and a Friends' meeting-house; and the remains of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, and Thomas Ellwood the friend of Milton, are in the Friends' burying-ground at Jordans.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Chalfont St. Giles|
|Poor Law union||Amersham|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
The parish register dates from 1584, but has been mutilated in several places, and the years 1642 to 1653 are missing
Church of England
St. Giles (parish church)
The parish church of St. Giles is an ancient structure, chiefly in the Decorated and Perpendicular styles, with remains of Norman work, and consists of chancel, nave of three bays, aisles, and an embattled western tower, containing 6 bells and a sanctus bell, now used for the clock: the bases of two piers in the south aisle are Norman: there is a good Early English window in the chancel; the communion rails, the gift of Bishop Hare, dean of St. Paul's, are said to have come from that cathedral; the tower, originally Norman, but restored in the Decorated style, and again restored in 1862, contains a clock made in 1710, but repaired and improved in 1869: the original one hand of the clock is preserved at Milton's Cottage: there is an elegant and curious east window, a quatre-foiled piscina and a recess for an Easter sepulchre: the font is Norman and square and has been renewed with supporting columns of Purbeck marble: in the church was buried Sir Philip de la Vache, a friend of the Black Prince, and there are brasses to the Gardiner and Fleetwood families, including in the south aisle, where was once the Grove chantry, an altar tomb with brass effigies to William Gardyner esq. 1558, Anne, his wife, and 9 children: and in the chancel, at the east end, brass effigies of Thomas Fletewode, 1510, his 2 wives and 18 children; here also is a small brass effigy of a priest, c. 1470: there is also a palimpsest brass, for many years railed against the Stone House, but now in a hinged frame attached to the wall of the north aisle: it bears on the obverse an inscription to John Salter, d. 12 Ap. 1523, and Elizabeth, his wife, and on the reverse a slightly mutilated inscription to Thomas Bridham, d. 25 ... 1521, and Anne, his wife: Francis Hare, Bishop of Chichester, 1731-40, who married the heiress of the Claytons, is buried here, and there are monuments with arms to the Clayton family, the Rev. W. Jones, Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser bart. d. 19 March, 1796, and Thomas Allen esq. and stained windows to the Mair, Fawssett, Palmer, Moore and Lloyd families: a tablet of mosaic and marble was erected in 1884 to John Milton, d. 8 Nov. 1674: the church was restored in 1862-3 under the direction of G. E. Street esq. R.A.; during the restoration many interesting objects were brought to light, including some mural paintings of architectural designs over the chancel arch, and others on the south wall of the south aisle, depicting scenes of the Old and New Testaments: in the same wall was discovered an arched recess, now inclosing remains of stone coffins found under the pews in the nave; a number of interesting specimens of old tiles bearing figures and devices of flowers were relaid: in the north and south aisles are thirteen slabs, containing the matrices of brasses: the church was re-opened June 7th, 1863: the south aisle was extended, an organ chamber erected, and a new organ provided by the parishioners in 1884 as a memorial to the Rev. Charles Lloyd B.A. 24 years rector, 1859-83, and hon. Canon of Christ Church: in 1935 the organ was rebuilt and enlarged: in 1889 the nave roof and belfry were restored, and the bells rehung: a porch of English oak was built in 1895, as a memorial to Samuel Sanders esq. of The Grove: there are 400 sittings, all free: an ancient lych gate passing under the upper storey of a timber framed house leads from the street into the churchyard.
For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.
Chalfont St. Giles was in Amersham Registration District from 1837 to 1974
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Chalfont St Giles from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, 1848 (Chalfont (St. Giles))
Land and Property
The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Buckinghamshire is available to browse.
Online maps of Chalfont St Giles are available from a number of sites:
- Bing (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- Google Streetview.
- National Library of Scotland. (Old maps)
- old-maps.co.uk (Old Ordnance Survey maps to buy).
- Streetmap.co.uk (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- A Vision of Britain through Time. (Old maps)
Newspapers and Periodicals
The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Buckinghamshire papers online:
A full transcript of the Visitation of Buckinghamshire, 1634 is online