Chenies, Cheneys, or Isenhampstead-Cheynes, a village and a parish in Bucks. The village stands on the verge of the county, on the river Chess, 4½ miles E by N of Amers-ham, and 1¼ mile NW from Chorley Wood station on the Metropolitan railway. It consists of neat cottages grouped round a pretty green, and is known as the model village of the Duke of Bedford. It has a post office of the name of Chenies "under Rickmausworth (R.S.O.); money order office, Chorley Wood; telegraph office, Latimer. It gives the title of Baron to the Duke of Bedford. The parish comprises 1759 acres; population, 378. The manor belonged formerly to the Cheynes and the Sapcotes, and passed by marriage in 1560 to the Eussells. The manor-house of the Sapcotes was almost rebuilt by the first Lord Russell, and gave entertainment to Queen Elizabeth in 1570; and a picturesque fragment of it, now a farmhouse, still stands adjacent to the church. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Oxford; net yearly value, £340 with residence. The church is an ancient edifice beautifully restored; was the marriage-place in 1630 of the Countess of Dorset to the Earl of Pembroke; contains two remarkable brasses of the Cheynes; and includes a chapel which has been the burial-place of the Russells since 1556, and which contains a series of magnificent tombs of the Earls and Dukes of Bedford and their children and relatives, including Earl Russell, best known as Lord John Russell, who was twice prime minister. There is a Baptist chapel, which was erected in 1760.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Poor Law union||Amersham|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
The parish register of baptisms dates from the year 1592, and that of marriages and burials from 1593, and it contains many entries relating to the Russell family.
Church of England
St. Michael (parish church)
The parish church of St. Michael, restored in 1861 by the Duke of Bedford, and again in 1887, is chiefly of the Perpendicular period, and consists of chancel with mortuary chapel, nave, south aisle, south porch, and an embattled western tower with turret, but destitute of parapet, containing 6 bells, recast in 1826: there is a clock facing the east: the nave is separated from its aisle by three pointed arches of Decorated work on octagonal columns, and there are two-light windows of the same period in the chancel, the rest of the church being Perpendicular: the font is Norman and cup-shaped, with foliaged scrolls round the border, and stands on a square base: opening from the chancel on the north side is the Russell chapel, and below it is the vault where lie the remains of most of the family who have borne the name for three centuries and a half, including Earl Russell, the distinguished statesman, who died 28th May, 1878, and his son John, Viscount Amberley M.P. for Nottingham, who died 9th Jan. 1876, And here also was buried Francis, 10th duke, d. 23 March, 1893: on a stone tablet in the chapel are the words :-Thys Chapel ys built by Anne, Countesse of Bedford, wyfe to John Erle of Bedforde, according to ye last will of the sayde Erle A.D. 1556; the earliest monument in the chapel is the tomb of Lady Anne, 1558, and of her husband, 1554, one of the finest of its kind in Europe; it is of beautiful pink-veined alabaster and bears the recumbent figure of the earl, in plate armour, with coronet, collar of SS. and sword and of the countess in ermined robes; on the sides of the tomb are the arms of both, with the Russell motto, Che Sua Sara and inscriptions; the faces are evidently careful likenesses, for the earl had lost an eye in action and here the eyelid droops over the socket as in life; the monument of the second earl, Francis K.G. with the big head, ob. 28th June, 1585, and Margaret (St. John) his wife, adjoins, but is altogether inferior to that of his father and mother; it has also recumbent effigies of alabaster, but coloured according to the taste of the 17th century, in white, red and gold, while at the head of the figures is a raised frame with the arms, coronet and supporters; here also is another altar tomb, consisting of a slab of black marble, supported on four columns and bearing the effigy of a lady in scarlet and ermine robes, with a coronet and a profusion of ornaments and inscribed to Anne, wife of Ambrose (Dudley) Earl of Warwick and daughter of the above-named Francis, Earl of Bedford, and to her brothers and sister; the panels around the sides of the tomb enclose various shields of arms; in the middle of the south aisle is a gorgeous tomb, with similar recumbent figures, to Francis, second Lord Russell, of Thornaugh and afterwards fourth Earl of Bedford, ob. 9th May, 1641, and his Countess, Catherine (Brydges), 1653; behind the principal figures, within two niches in the wall, are other figures and inscriptions to their daughters Frances, 1612, and Elizabeth, 1616; and around the monument the arms of Russell, Chandos and others; at the west end is the tomb of William, first Duke of Bedford K.G. ob. 7th September, 1700, and his Duchess, Anne (Carr), ob. 1680; it has a Circular basement, supporting a pavilion of grey marble, upon which are the sitting figures of the Duke and Duchess in an attitude of violent grief, their bodies flung back and their heads buried in their hands, in the anguish of petrified despair; medallions of their children are ranged on either side in perpendicular rows, and in the centre is that of the eldest, William, Lord Russell, beheaded in Lincoln's Inn fields, July 21, 1693; the execution of this medallion is exceedingly good and the likeness to extant portraits remarkable: on the north wall is a monument, with reclining effigy, to Frances, wife of Gyles, Lord Chandos, 1623; the memorial to Wriothesley, second Duke of Bedford K.G. d. May, 1711, and Elizabeth (Howland) his wife, d. 1724, is an allegorical work by Sir W. Chambon R.A. and stands on the south side: in the chapel there is also a large black marble slab resting on four columns of white marble commemorating Lady Frances Bourchier, daughter of William, third Earl of Bath, d. 1612, and similar to this is the monument to John, Earl Russell K.G:, P.C. d. 28 May, 1878; above is a memorial to Odo, 1st Baron Ampthill G.C.B. d. 25 Aug. 1884; there are also various other memorials, besides inscriptions to various members of the house of Russell on the tombs above mentioned; in the chancel is a mural tablet to the Rev. William Morris M.A. 29 years rector of Chenies, d. 1824; in the north aisle is an inscribed tablet to Mary, widow of Samuel Attomi, of Islington, esq. d. 1721, and there are brasses to John Walliston, smith, ob. 1469, with his wives Isabell and Joan; Edmund Molyneux esq. ob. 1484, and his wife Agnes, with effigies under a canopy; Anne, widow of Sir David Phelip, ob. 1510, with figure holding a heart, from which issue two scrolls, and on eithee side are pinnacles with shields of arms, supporting a Crocketed ogee canopy; Agnes Johnson, widow, mother of Robert Leyss, rector, ob. 1511, with veiled effigy; Elizabeth, daughter of John Broughton esq. ob. 1524, with effigy, shields and marginal inscription; Richard Newland, rector, ob. 1494, with effigy and an inscription; Sir Nicholas Smythe, parson, of Latimer, ob. 1517; in the chapel is the upper half of an ancient stone statue of a man in armour, boldly sculptured in hard, cross-grained stone; the pointed bascinet, mail gorget and emblazoned surcoat indicate the date of the effigy to be of the later 14th or beginning of the 15th century; two martlets only, of the heraldic bearings, remain, but the figure is supposed to represent Sir John Cheyne, lord of this manor, who died about 1440; lying beside this is the figure of a lady, somewhat mutilated, dressed in a long robe, over which is the peculiar jacket worn at the beginning of the 15th century; the head is attired in a caul and rests on a lozenge-shaped pillow; the date is probably about 1413: the Bedford chapel was restored in 1906: there are now 150 sittings: in the churchyard is an altar tomb, with arms and inscription, to John Vernon, gent. ob. 1622.
For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.
Chenies was in Amersham Registration District from 1837 to 1974
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Chenies from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858. (Chenies)
Land and Property
The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Buckinghamshire is available to browse.
Online maps of Chenies 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