Memories of Horn Hill

The little Church called St. Paul's, a Chapel of Ease, is about the only landmark which has not changed in any way, the same yew trees surround and shade it. Everything else is quite different.
The wood known as Eight Acres Wood at the far end of the field on which the church stands has been completely demolished. We always used to blackberry
in this wood and get crabs for jelly, and the wood was a sheet of bluebells in the spring.

The cottage behind the village hall where I was born was very tiny and covered with pink roses. The orchard had several large cherry trees and the cherries were small and black and had an out-of-this-world sweetness. There was no water laid on in the cottage and my father used to go down to the bottom of the meadow nearest the road to the well, so we had to use water carefully. This well has disappeared. Also, under a holly bush half way between the church and the Dumb Bell, on the left side of the road at the end of Kiln Wood, was a spring, and water carts came to this for water when springs and wells were dry in other places. Although there is no actual pond as there used to be, the road nearby is never completely dry and springs of water can still be seen beside the road.
The postman used to walk from Chalfont St Peter to the pillar box near the Dumb Bell and would blow a whistle when he got to our corner, so that my mother could have her letters ready by the time he came down the road—and he also brought stamps and sold them to her.

The village hall was built in 1911 by Mr H. Harben, Chairman of the Prudential, who lived at Newlands Park, now a Teacher Training College, and it is on the site where there were five or six cottages on the corner.

Except for Braillings Lane, every other lane has been widened or altered and there is not one cottage or house unaltered, except perhaps the Crooked Billet and the Cross Keys next door. In this latter cottage my father was born one hundred years ago in November, 1874. Horn Hill Court, the 'big house', also cannot now be seen as it is a nudist colony and only the roof and upper windows are visible overhigh corrugated iron fences!

Mary E. Stevens, Horn Hill

Extracted from 'A Pattern Hundreds' (1975) and reproduced with the kind permission of the Buckinghamshire Federation of Women's Institutes

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