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Chesham, Buckinghamshire

Historical Description

Chesham, a market-town and a parish in Bucks. The town stands on the river Chess, near its head, 2½ miles N by E from Amersham. It has a station on the Metropolitan Extension railway, and a post, money order, and telegraph office (R.S.O.) It is governed by a local board of nine members formed in 1885, is well drained, and is supplied with water from an artesian well bored about 160 feet into the chalk. The industries include brewing, shoemaking, brickmaking, flour-milling, the breeding of ducks, and the manufacture of chairs, bowls, dairy utensils, children's toys, cricket bats, &c., from beechwood, which is largely grown in the neighbourhood. There are also engineering factories. The church is an ancient cruciform structure, chiefly in the Perpendicular style. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Oxford; net yearly value, £244 with residence. There is a mission room, erected in 1887, and several Baptist and Congregational chapels, and a Friends meeting-house. The town-hall is an oblong structure of brick supported on arches, the open part below being used as a market. A weekly market for corn and cattle is held on Wednesdays, and annual fairs on April 21, July 22, and Sept. 28. The parish includes the ecclesiastical parishes of Ashley Green and Latimer (noticed under separate headings), and the hamlets of Asheridge,. Bellingdon, Botley, Charteridge, Hundridge, and Waterside. Asheridge, which commences at the edge of the town, extends a distance of about 4 miles to the NW. It has a Congregational chapel. Bellingdon is about 2 miles from the town, towards the NW. Botley extends for about 2 miles along the high road to Hemel Hempstead. It has a Baptist chapel. Charteridge commences at the verge of the town, and extends about 3½ miles in a north-westerly direction on the road to Aylesbury. It also has a Baptist chapel. Hun-dridge is on the high road to Great Missenden. The hamlet of Waterside, which is on the hanks of the Chess, was formed into an ecclesiastical parish in 1867. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Oxford; gross yearly value, £180 with residence. The church, a building of flint and stone in the Early English and Decorated styles, was consecrated in 1864. The area of the parish is 12,746 acres; population, 8018. The Bury and Germans are chief residences.

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 parishChesham 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 1538


Churches

Church of England

dedication unknown
St. Mary (parish church)

The parish church of St. Mary is a cruciform building chiefly in the Early English and Decorated styles, consisting of chancel, clerestoried nave, aisles, south porch with parvise, transepts and a central embattled tower with octagonal spire, containing a clock, with Cambridge quarter chimes, 6 bells recast in 1812, and a sanctus bell, hung in 1370 and rehung in 1790; the curfew is regularly rung from the first Sunday after New Michaelmas day until the Saturday evening immediately preceding March 10: the earliest existing portion is perhaps, a portion of the north transept, retaining half a Norman window, the lower stage of the tower, the arcades of the nave and a lancet in the north aisle are Early English, the Decorated porch has a grained roof and upon it a parvise, reached by a turret stair from the south aisle, and also retains a stoup; the chancel is also of this period, but the clerestory and many of the windows are Perpendicular: the south transept was formerly the burial place of the Cavendishes of Latimer, and contains a monument to Sir John Cavendish K.B. a younger son of the first Earl of Devonshire, 1618, and an altar tomb with a lofty pyramidal structure above to Mary (Banks), wife of Sir Francis Whichcote bart. 1728: on the north side of the chancel is a monument, witb effigy in the act of preaching, to Richard Woodcock, a former vicar, 1623; and one to Richard Bowle, 1626; the two latter were restored in 1887 at a very considerable cost by William Lowndes esq.: in the chancel are memorlals to Nicholas Skottowe, 1798, by Bacon, and several inscribed stones to members of tbe Lowndes family: in the north transept is a brass, inscribed to George, son of Major William Wade, 1738; a brass is also recorded to the family of Eggerley: the entire building was restored in 1869; the external walls were partly refaced, and in doing this many fragments of worked stone, proving the Norman character of the building, were met with; the area of the north aisle was enlarged and the nave roof cased in the Perpendicular style; those of the south aisle and transepts restored and a new roof of the original pitch placed on the chancel: the new font, in the Early English style, was the gift of William Lowndes esq. of the Bury, and the lectern that of the Misses Sutthery; the organ, erected in 1852, was enlarged and improved in 1869; the stained east window was presented by the 9th Duke of Bedford K.G. others by the Misses Nash and Mrs. Lowndes; there are memorial windows to Mrs. Morton, Miss Aylward, Richard Clare and Mary his wife, the Rev. A. F. Aylward, 25 years vicar of Chesham, who fell a victim to a terrible epidemic of fever in the parish, Nov. 12, 1871, while visiting his parishioners, and to William Lowndes esq. of The Bury: a mural brass, erected by the poor of the parish, has been placed above the prayer desk: during the restoration several ancient paintings were discovered on the north and south walls and on the northwest pier of the tower, one of these being a colossal figure of St. Christopher: in 1898 an oak lobby was erected in commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria: there are 800 sittings.


Civil Registration

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

Chesham was in Amersham Registration District from 1837 to 1974


Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Chesham from the following:


Land and Property

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


Maps

Online maps of Chesham 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:


Villages, Hamlets, &c

Asheridge
Bellingdon
Botley
Charteridge
Hundridge

Visitations Heraldic

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

DistrictChiltern
CountyBuckinghamshire
RegionSouth East
CountryEngland
Postal districtHP5
Post TownChesham