Bledlow

Bledlow is a conservation village and thus retains much of its original pattern. It now includes the hamlets of Skittle Green, Forty Green, Holly Green and Pitch Green all of which lie north of the busy B4009, the Lower Icknield Way.
Though the origins of the village can be traced to the 10th century, there is clear evidence of earlier occupation. Close to the Upper Icknield Way is a Bronze Age barrow known locally as 'The Cop' which was excavated in 1938. One mile south of the village is Bledlow Cross, carved out of the Chiltern Ridge by the Anglo-Saxons and, with its neighbour Whiteleaf Cross, are the only turf-cut crosses in the country.
After the Norman Conquest, William I granted the Manor of Bledlow to his half-brother Robert, who held it in 1086. In the reign of Henry VI it was granted to Eton College but in 1650 James Blanck became owner and he built the original Manor House. Records show that the present Manor was sold in 1801 to Lord Carrington whose successor holds it at the present day.
The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Chapel Lane was built in 1869. In 1913 a schoolroom was added on reclaimed marshland where older residents of Bledlow can recall skating on frozen water. The Chapel provides the village with its Sunday School attended by many young children in the schoolroom.
The main Village School was built in 1868 and celebrated its centenary before closure in 1973 and subsequent demolition in 1984. Miss E. M. Folley had almost 52 years association with the school as both pupil and teacher. Present primary children must travel some 2 miles to Longwick. Five new flint and brick houses now stand on the site of the old school.

Bledlow has many listed buildings. The 16th century timber framed houses built near the church show the decorative Elizabethan brick herringboning but 'The Cottage' in West Lane is reputed to be the oldest house in the village of ancient cruck construction. It was once 2 cottages, the older of which is some 600 years old.

Now, although the old names of Heybourn, Gomme and Tappin are still here, most residents are commuters either to London, High Wycombe or Aylesbury. Like many villages it has become a haven, of rural living rather than a bustling village where people once were born, lived, worked and died; where the village was a self-sufficient entity within its own community.

Article written by members of the Buckinghamshire Federation of Women's Institutes for the publication "The Buckinghamshire Village Book" (1987) and reproduced here with their permission

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