Great Kingshill

Great Kingshill is situated high on the Chiltern Hills, approximately 3.5 miles from High Wycombe and 1.5 miles from Prestwood.
Way back in history when ponds were a means of water supply to the local populace it had two, one of which was hedged and gated, with stone steps leading to the water. This was for domestic use, the other being used to water the cattle and horses. One still remains somewhat diminished in size, off Pipers Lane. Remnants of the past are still in evidence near the cross-roads in the village, where a terraced pit was used for cockfighting. Today it collects water from the nearby roads and is aptly named Cockpit Hole Pond.

In the 19th century the village consisted of a few farmsteads and brick and flint cottages. These delightfully attractive cottages still stand beautifully maintained.

As time passed and the small community grew, so did industry. One of the busiest must have been the village blacksmith. In addition to shoeing horses he made iron hoops which were burnt onto the wooden wheels of waggons and carriages. Iron was used very much in his work generally. The maintenance of the local farm implements was also part of his work. At the opposite end of the village was the carriage builders and wheelwrights, essential to farmers, but equally important, had the task of making saddletrees for the army horses during the First World War. W. Anderson, General Engineer, was also involved in war work turning shell heads. After the war the business became a garage and is now in the hands of the son and grandson. Industrious ladies of that period would meet at Robin Cottage, a lovely old building still preserved, to practise the delicate art of lace-making.

Although there was a gradual growth in the village over the years, it was not until after the Second World War that development really began to take place. The whole scene began to change as cherry orchards disappeared one by one, and modern progress enabled people to purchase homes in what has now become an exceedingly desirable village in which to live.

A typically English scene is that of cricket being played on the village green. The Club was founded in 1891 or thereabouts, and is enjoyed by local and visiting spectators alike. Football is played with as much enthusiasm by the Senior and Junior Football Clubs during the winter months.

Opposite the village green is the general stores, established by Gerald Free in 1921. Before electricity was easily available, a hundred-candle-power pressure lamp was attached to the corner of the store for the benefit of the customers. Mr Free used a unique sign, that of an Alsatian's head, accompanied by the words 'Alert Service' on his delivery vans which could be seen frequently around the villages.

Surrounded by meadows and woodland, the village is well-balanced and complete.

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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