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Chesham (including Ashley Green, Asheridge, Bellingdon, Botley, Chartridge, Grove, Hundridge, Hyde Heath, Latimer, Ley Hill, and Waterside)

"CHESHAM (L. & N.E. Ry and Met. Ry.) is a flourishing little town at the head of the valley of the Chess, and a convenient place from which to make excursions into the pleasant country between Chesham, the Chilterns, and the Hertfordshire border. Chesham is now so modern in appearance that it is less attractive than the other little towns of the Chilterns."
[Buckinghamshire, by E.S. Roscoe]

Map showing the location of the parish


Bibliography Church History Names, Geographical
Cemeteries Church Records Photographs
Census History & Descriptions

Bibliography

The following reference sources have been used in the construction of this page, and may be referred to for further detail. Most if not all of these volumes are available in the Reference section of the County Library in Aylesbury.

"Buckinghamshire", E.S. Roscoe, London Methuen & Co Ltd, 1935.
"Buckinghamshire Returns of the Census of Religious Worship 1851", Legg E. ed., 1991, ISBN 0 901198 27 7.
"Magna Britannia: Buckinghamshire", Lysons S. and Lysons D., 1806.
"The Place-Names of Buckinghamshire", Mawer A. and Stenton F.M., 1925.
"The Victoria History of the Counties of England: Buckinghamshire", Page W. ed., 1905-1928
"War Memorials and War Graves: Amersham, Chesham and area, Volume 10", Peter Quick.

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Cemeteries

The following Monumental Inscriptions are available as publications or as part of a Society library:

* = material held in a Society library is generally available for loan to all members either via post, or by collection at a meeting

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Census

In 1798 the Posse Comitatus listed the following numbers of men between the ages of 16 and 60: Chesham - 385, Asheridge - 26, Ashley Green - 98, Botley - 97, Chartridge - 41, Hundridge - 73, Latimer - 56 and Waterside - 65.

In the earliest government census of 1801, there were the following figures:
Chesham Town - 1910 inhabitants in 379 families living in 370 houses
Ashley Green and Bellingdon - 559 inhabitants in 115 families living in 101 houses
Asheridge,Chartridge, and Hundridge - 626 inhabitants in 123 families living in 116 houses
Botley, Latimer, Waterside - 874 inhabitants in 198 families living in 184 houses

Census Year Population of Chesham
1801* 3969
1811* 4441
1821* 5032
1831* 5388
1841 5593
1851 6098
1861 5985
1871 6488
1881 6502
1891 8018
1901 9005

* = No names were recorded in census documents from 1801 to 1831.
** = Census documents from 1911 to 2001 are only available in summary form. Names are witheld under the 100 year rule.

Microfilm copies of all census enumerators' notebooks for 1841 to 1891 are held at the Local Studies Libraries at Aylesbury and Milton Keynes, as well as centrally at the PRO. A table of 19th century census headcount by parish is printed in the VCH of Bucks, Vol.2, pp 96-101.

Availability of census transcripts and indexes.

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Church History

St Mary, Chesham

Details of the stained glass in the church can be found on the following web sites (the site includes many photos):

St John the Evangelist, Ashley Green

Details of the stained glass in the church can be found on the following web sites (the site includes many photos):

St Mary Magdalen, Latimer

Details of the stained glass in the church can be found on the following web sites (the site includes many photos):

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Church Records

Chesham

The original copies of the parish registers for St Mary's, Chesham have been temporarily deposited in the Buckinghamshire Record Office in Aylesbury, and they hold the following years:

Event Dates covered
Christenings 1538 - 1986
Marriages 1538 - 1994
Banns 1780 - 1987
Burials 1538 - 1995

Copies or indexes to the parish registers are available from societies as follows:

Event
Society Library*
Dates covered
Society
Christenings
1538 - 1730
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
Marriages
1538 - 1837
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
Burials
1538 - 1730
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society

* = material held in a Society library is generally available for loan to all members either via post, or by collection at a meeting

Ashley Green

The original copies of the parish registers for St John the Evangelist, Ashley Green have been deposited in the Buckinghamshire Record Office in Aylesbury, and they hold the following years:

Event Dates covered
Christenings 1876 - 1968
Marriages 1876 - 1987

Latimer

The original copies of the parish registers for St Mary Magdalen, Latimer have been deposited in the Buckinghamshire Record Office in Aylesbury, and they hold the following years:

Event Dates covered
Christenings 1782 - 1926
Marriages 1756 - 1939
Burials 1784 - 1812

An ecclesiastical census was carried out throughout England on 30 March 1851 to record the attendance at all places of worship. These returns are in the Buckinghamshire Record Office and have been published by the Buckinghamshire Record Society (vol 27). The returns showed the following numbers:

Church Attendance
Chesham, St Mary's 360 - Morning General Congregation
230 - Morning Sunday Scholars
590 - Morning Total

440 - Afternoon General Congregation
210 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars
650 - Afternoon Total

Chesham, General Baptist 409 - Morning General Congregation
211 - Morning Sunday Scholars

619 - Afternoon General Congregation
214 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars

473 - Evening General Congregation

Chesham, Bellingdon Baptist 25 - Evening General Congregation
25 - Evening Total
Chesham, Chartridge General
Baptist Chapel
60 - Afternoon General Congregation

50 - Evening General Congregation

Chesham, Hyde Heath Baptist 70 - Morning General Congregation
23 - Morning Sunday Scholars
93 - Morning Total
Chesham, Ley Hill Baptist 61 - Morning General Congregation
Chesham, Lower Baptist
Chapel
445 - Morning General Congregation

382 - Afternoon General Congregation

401 - Evening General Congregation

Chesham, New Connexion of
General Baptist
50 - Evening General Congregation
Chesham, Town Field Particular
Baptist Chapel
179 - Morning General Congregation
55 - Morning Sunday Scholars
234 - Morning Total

196 - Afternoon General Congregation
196 - Afternoon Total

172 - Evening General Congregation
55 - Evening Sunday Scholars
227 - Evening Total

Chesham, Whelpley Hill Baptist 28 - Evening General Congregation
28 - Evening Total
Chesham, Congregational Dissenters,
High Street Chapel
174 - Morning General Congregation

153 - Evening General Congregation

Chesham, Botley Hamlet Primitive
Methodists
21 - Morning General Congregation

75 - Afternoon General Congregation

43 - Evening General Congregation

Chesham, Society of Friends 3 or 4 - Morning Total
Latimer, Free Chapel 61 - Morning General Congregation
66 - Morning Sunday Scholars
127 - Morning Total

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History & Descriptions

Chesham was described in 1806 in "Magna Britannia" as follows:

CHESHAM, in the hundred and deanery of Burnham, is about 29 miles from London: it has had a market on Wednesdays from time immemorial: the fairs are, April 21, July 22, and Sep. 28.

A manufacture of coarse wooden ware is carried on in this town, to a considerable extent; a great number of hands are employed in making shoes for the London warehouses; the female poor are for the most part lace-makers. The town of Chesham, according to the returns made to parliament, under the population act in 1801, contained 370 houses, and 1910 inhabitants; of these 887 were stated to be males, and 1023 females; 49 persons only appear to have been employed chiefly in agriculture, and 656 in trade, manufactures, and handicraft.

The manor Great-Chesham was parcel of the barony of Bulbec, and passed by a female heir to the Veres. The Earl of Oxford sold it, about the year 1550, to the Seymours: it was afterwards in the family of the Sandys, from whom it passed by purchase to that of Cavendish. The present proprietor of this manor, to which the manors of Chesham-Higham and Chesham-Bury seem to have been annexed from an early period, is the Right Hon. Lord George Cavendish, only brother of the Duke of Devonshire, who has a seat in this parish at Latimers.

The manor of Grove, in this parish, was for many generations in the family of Cheyne. After some intermediate alienations, it was purchased in 1704 by Wm. Lowndes esq. secretary to the treasury, and is now the property of his descendant of the same name. Mr. Lowndes has also the manor of Hundridge in this parish. The site of the manor-house of Grove lies about half-way between Berkhampsted and Chesham. The Cheynes had anciently a seat there, which appears to have been a place of considerable strength: part of the great hall was remaining in 1750; there was a chapel adjoining the house. Mr. Lowndes, the purchaser of this estate, built a house adjoining the church-yard at Chesham, now the seat of his descendant above-mentioned.

The parish church is a large Gothic structure: in the chancel are several monuments of the family of Skottowe, among which is one from an elegant design by Bacon, for Nicholas Skottowe esq. who died in 1798. In the south aisle is the monument of Sir John Cavendish K.B. (younger son of the first Earl of Devonshire) who died without issue in 1618, and that of Mary, the first wife of Sir Francis Whichcote bart.

The impropriation of the great tithes was formerly divided between the monastries of Leicester and Woburn, each of which appointed a vicar. The rectorial manor of Chesham-Woburn, with the advowson of one mediety of the vicarage, was granted to the Russel family in 1553. The late Duke of Bedford sold the manor to the Rev. Mr. Hubbard, but retained the advowson. The tithes of most of the estates within the manor have been purchased by the several proprietors. The two medieties of the vicarage were consolidated by act of parliament in the year 1767: the Duke of Bedford being the patron of both, built the present vicarage house, and pulled down the two houses which had belonged to the portionists. The rectorial manor of Chesham-Leicester, together with the advowson of a mediety of the vicarage, belonged in the year 1609 to the family of Ashfield, who sold it to the Whichcotes about the year 1650. The rectory-house near the church-yard was for some time one of the residences of that family, whose chief seat is in Lincolnshire. About the year 1730, they sold this estate to the Skottowes, excepting the advowson which was purchased by the Duke of Bedford. This manor has lately been sold piece-meal; the tithes were for the most part purchased by the proprietors of the several estates, and the rectory-house by Mr. Lowndes.

Thomas Wedon, who died in 1624, founded an alms-house in this parish for four poor persons, and endowed it with 35 l. per annum.

Hundridge, where was formerly a chapel of ease, Chartridge and Ashridge, Ashley-Green and Billingdon, Botley, Water-side and Latimers, are hamlets of this parish. These hamlets contained, in 1801, according to the returns then made to parliament under the population act, 424 houses, 23 of which were uninhabited. The number of inhabitants was 2059, which, added to those in the town of Chesham, makes the total number of inhabitants in the parish amount to 3967, and that of houses to 803: it being nearly as populous as the parish of High-Wycombe, and, excepting that, the most populous in the county.

The ancient name of Latimers was Isenhampsted or Iselhamsted. It seems to have been formerly considered as a distinct parish. The benefice, which has been sometimes called a rectory, but which is more properly a donative endowed with tithes, is distinct from Chesham, being in the patronage of the Cavendish family; but as the births and burials are all registered at Chesham, and it is assessed jointly to the poor-rate and other parochial taxes, it can now only be considered as a hamlet of that parish. King Edward III. in the year 1324, granted the manor of Iselhampsted, which had belonged to Hugh Le Despencer, to Sir Simon de Bereford, and two years afterwards to William Latimer, from whose family it derived its present name, being called Iselhampsted or Isenhampsted-Latimers, to distinguish it from the neighbouring village of Isenhampstead-Cheynies. From the Latimers this manor passed to the Grevilles, who sold it to Sir Edwyn Sandys. Hester, the daughter of Miles Sandys esq. who was born at Latimers and baptized at Chesham in 1569, is the lady celebrated by Fuller in his Worthies, as the parent stock of a posterity of seven hundred persons, whom she lived to see descended from her to the fourth generation: her own children were thirteen in number. The author assures us that he speaks within compass, having bought the truth by a wager which he lost on the subject. This lady married Sir Thomas Temple of Stowe, and died in 1656, at the age of 87. From the family of Sandys, Latimers passed by purchase to that of Cavendish. When King Charles I. was carried about in triumph by the parliamentary army, he was brought for a few days to Latimers, which was then inhabited by Christian, Countess of Devonshire, and her son the earl. It may be supposed that the captive monarch experienced all the attention which his illustrious rank and misfortunes claimed, from that celebrated lady, whose zeal and loyalty on a subsequent occasion exposed her life to hazard. Latimers is now the property and seat of the Right Hon. Lord George Augustus Henry Cavendish.

In the chapel belonging to this hamlet, which is situated near the mansion, is the monument of a young actress, of the name of Campion (put up by George Duke of Devonshire) with the following inscription ;- on one side: "Requiescit hic pars mortalis Mæ. Cn. Obiit 19 Maii Ao. 1706, Ætatis 19: quod superest ex alterâ parte quoere." - On the other side. - "Formam egregiam & miris illecebris ornatam virtutes animi superârunt: plebeium genus sed honestum nobilitate morum decoravit. Suprâ ætatem sagax; suprâ sortem præsertim egenis benigna; inter scenicos ludos in quibus aliquandiu versata est, verecunda et intemerata. Post quatuor mensium languorem a febri hecticâ correpta intempestivam mortem forti pectore et Christianâ pietate subivit. Humanitate præditis si quid mentem mortalia tangunt flebilis, amicis heu flebilior: dilectissimis reliquiis sacrum lapidem hunc poni curavit, G.D.D."

Names, Geographical

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Photographs

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