Church: St Mary

Hundred: Burnham

Poor Law District: Amersham

Size (acres): 12746

Easting & Northing: 496201

Grid Ref SP960010 Click to see map


Names & Places

Chesham PARISH St Mary
Asherugge NAMES name for Asheridge in 1535
Cestreham NAMES name for Chesham in Domesday Book in 1086
Chesum NAMES name for Chesham in 1675
Codmer Fm NAMES name for codmore in 1766
Codmers NAMES name for Codmore in 1619
Baptist NON-CONFORMIST Hinton Chapel, Waterside. First Mentioned: 1701. Rebulit 1898
General Baptist NON-CONFORMIST Broadway. First Mentioned: 1712. Present building 1901
General Baptist NON-CONFORMIST Blucher Street. First Mentioned: 1710. Rebuilt 1735, 1835
Particular Baptist NON-CONFORMIST Red Lion Street. First Mentioned: 1701. Present building 1897
Particular Baptist NON-CONFORMIST Old Meeting House. First Mentioned: 1719. Rebuilt 1814
Quaker NON-CONFORMIST Bellingdon Road. First Mentioned: 1672
Asheridge PLACE within the parish
Ashley Green PLACE within the parish
Barn Wood PLACE within the parish
Bellingdon PLACE within the parish
Blackwell Hall PLACE within the parish
Blakwell Hall PLACE within the parish
Botley PLACE within the parish
Charteridge (Part) PLACE within the parish
Chesham Bois PLACE within the parish
Codmore PLACE within the parish
Germains PLACE within the parish
Highham (lost) PLACE within the parish, now lost
Hundridge PLACE within the parish
Hundridge (Part) PLACE within the parish
Hyde House PLACE within the parish
Leyhill Common PLACE within the parish
Pednor PLACE within the parish
Skottowe PLACE within the parish
The Bury PLACE within the parish
Waterside (Part) PLACE within the parish




These population figures are based on the Census results. The boundaries are those used in the particular census which may vary over time..

1801 3969
1811 4441
1821 5032
1831 5388
1841 5593
1851 6098
1861 5985
1871 6488
1881 6502
1891 8018
1901 9005
1911 8204
1921 8584
1931 8812
1941 N/A
1951 11433
1961 16297
1971 20447
1981 20809
1991 19819

There was no census in 1941.



Parish  Church  Register  Start
Chesham   Christ Church   Baptisms   1864   1895   Yes,
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Not available
Chesham   St Mary   Baptisms   1538   1902   Yes,
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Not available
Chesham   St Mary   Marriages   1538   1911   Yes,
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Not available
Chesham   Calvinist & Old Baptist   Burials   1828   1837   Yes,
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Not available
Chesham   St Mary   Burials   1538   1933   Yes,
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Not available
Chesham   Independent   Burials   1813   1836   Yes,
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Not available



School Records Project

Place   School Type   Name   Start Year   End Year   Indexed   Document Type
    Chesham Newtown - Not available         Chesham     1932     1948     Yes     Logbook
    Chesham Newtown - Not available         Chesham     1948     1960         Logbook
    Chesham Newtown - Not available         Chesham     1960     1973         Logbook
    Chesham Newtown - Not available         Chesham     1973     1986         Logbook
    Chesham Newtown - Not available         Chesham     1986     1994         Logbook




These were extracted from our own records and presented as a guide.

PositionBefore 1700  18th Century  19th Century  Overall Surnames  



Description of Chesham from J. J. Sheahan, 1861

 The town and parish of Chesham, with its several hamlets, extend over an area of 12,657 acres, and contains 5,985 souls. Its rateable value is £20,137. The place derives its name from the small river Chess, which has its source here. Chesham is a small market town situated 3 miles N from Amersham, 13 miles S.E. from Aylesbury, 14 miles N.W. from Uxbridge, and 28 miles N.W. from London. The town is improving, and the country is beautifully diversified and very picturesque. The soil on the high lands abounds with flint and chalk, in the valleys it is more alluvial.

The town, which consists chiefly of three streets, is situated in a pleasant and fertile valley, and was formerly noted for its extensive manufacture of wood-ware and turnery. A considerable trade in shoe-making for the London and foreign markets is now carried on. The market for corn, cattle etc., is held on Wednesdays; and there are Fairs for cattle and sheep on the 21st of April, 22nd July, and 28th September. The town hall was partly rebuilt by Lord Chesham in 1856. Petty sessions are held in it on the first and third Wednesday in every month. The Gas works were erected in 1847. The Savings' Bank was established in 1854. The Mechanics' Institute was founded in 1851, and is held in the town hall. The library contains 400 volumes. The Young Men's Christian Association was instituted in 1854. The Temperance Hall was built for the Temperance Society in 1852 and a Police Station is about to be erected.

The Cemetery was opened in 1858, and consists of six acres, equally apportioned to the church people and dissenters. The grounds are tastefully laid out. The total cost of the cemetery, including the erection of two neat Chapels, is about £4,500.

The Vicarage is in the patronage of the Duke of Bedford, and incumbency of the Rev. Adolphus Frederick Aylward. Its annual gross value is £550, for which sum the small tithes were commuted in 1843. The rectorial tithes were commuted for £2,326. The great tithes were formerly divided between the Abbeys of Leicester and Woburn, each of which appointed a Vicar; but the medieties of the Vicarage were consolidated of both, built the present Vicarage House, and pulled down the two houses which had belonged to the portionists.


Is situated in a fertile vale, 29 miles from London, 9 from Rickmansworth, 3 from Amersham, 9 from Wycomb, 7 from Wendover, 7 from Tring, 5 from Berkhamsted, and 7 from Hemel Hempstead. The town consists of tree streets, the chief of which goes almost in a direct line from North to South, in which is the market-house; the market is kept, on Wednesdays, chiefly for corn. Chesham is considerably full of inhabitants.

The principal manufactures are,-1st. Lace, which is counted very good; and large quantities are made, especially black lace-2nd, Shoes; it is computed that near 1ooo pairs of shoes are made per week.-3rd, Wood-ware, which is considerably large ; round-ware, hollow-ware, Tunbridge-ware, &c. - There are three fairs annual viz. April 21, July 22, both for cattle, and Sept. 28 for cattle and servants. Here is one church, and four meeting-houses for dissenters; also, a charity school.

The post-office opens at 8 o'clock in the morning, and shuts at 8 in the evening- The inns in Chesham are, the Red Lion, the Nag's Head, the George, and the Crown. Chesham stage-coach sets out from the George innn at 7 o'oclock in the morning, in summer, and 8 in winter, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, arrives at the Bell and Crown, Holborn, the same days,.12 at noon in the summer, and 1 in winter; sets out from the above inn Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at noon in winter, 1 afternoon in summer; arrives at Chesham the same days, 5 winter, 7 summer, in the evening; by Cleadon and 7s. inside-3s. 6d. outside.

The town stage-waggon setc outt Mondays and Thursdays, at 11 o'clock in the forenoon; arrives at the King's -Arms, Holborn-bridge, at 5 o'clock Tuesday and Friday .morning; -sets out from thence the same days, 12 at noon arrives at Chesham Wednesdays and Saturdays, 'at 4 in the afternoon; by Mr. Hern.

The villages and seats in the vicinity are, Chesham Boies, Rev. Mr. Clarke rector, 2 mile.-Latimores, seat of the Right Hon. Lord George Cavendish.- The Rev. Mr. Stilton resides about 3 or 4 miles from Chesham.-Chines; in Chines church is the family vault of his Grace the Duke of Bedford; Rev. Mr. Sim, curate.


In the past, Ley Hill was well-known for its gypsies and drunkards! The former for the good camping facilities and the profusion of hazel twigs (from which they made clothes pegs) on the Common, and the latter for the close proximity of the four Pubs - The Swan, The Crown, The Five Bells and The Hen and Chickens.

The population of the village has changed over the past 50 years from agricultural workers and brickmakers, to professional people. Bricks are still made locally but by machine, not by hand.

The Common, still a very popular recreational place, has altered in appearance since local farmers ceased grazing their sheep there in the late 1930s. This has resulted in the growth of many scrub oak trees, and the disappearance of the gorse and raspberry canes which used to grow in profusion.

Ley Hill is proud of its community spirit, and a quarterly Newsletter is published and distributed by the Village Hall Committee. A good variety of activities take place during the year, which cater for all sections of the residents. One of these events happens at Christmastime, and is much looked forward to, especially by the children. People assemble outside the Village Hall around a glowing brazier, and sing carols. Afterwards, mince pies and coffee are served in the Hall. Another traditional annual event is a Meet of the Old Berkeley Foxhunt on the Common.

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


Miss Emma Harding of Savecroft Farm, Bellingdon, near Chesham, writes of her grandparents Daniel and Emma Harding who told her of their childhood in the country. Daniel Harding was bom in 1847. His grandfather was a farm bailiff at Ashley Green and was born in the latter part of the eighteenth century.

Daniel and Emma were married in July 1871. They walked to the church in Chesham for the wedding. Weddings were performed free to encourage couples to get married because so many people were living together.

When Emma Harding was a girl still at school, she got a job at a silk factory. She regretted it but her mother made her leave school to keep her promise to go to work. She had to get up in the dark and walk through unlit lanes to work.

Later she took a job nearer home, joining other girls and women in plaiting straw. These straws were first split with a little wooden implement and then plaited. The plaits were then taken to Luton to be made into straw boaters for men. This was a flourishing cottage industry around Chesham. A highly skilled worker could make sixty yards of 'three score' a day, but as the best price was a shilling a score or less she could hardly earn a pound in a seven day week.

Both plaiters and lacemakers did without a fire because they had to keep the work clean, so they filled an earthenware pot with hot wood ashes and warmed their hands with it and sometimes they would put it under their skirts to warm their legs. These pots were called 'chaddy pots'. When the warm weather came they took the plaiting out of doors.

The corn was cut and tied by hand and there was one lady who cut and tied two sheaves of corn when she was a hundred and two years of age. A lot of the straw was taken to London to sell as there were many stables in London in those days.
The women and children picked up stones from the fields and these were placed in heaps by the roadside ready for road mending.

Once a week the huge brick oven was heated with furze, cut from the common, and faggots and when the oven was white hot all the cinders were removed.
A long wet mop cleaned the oven and then loaves of bread were gently laid in rows at the back of the oven using a wooden shovel called a 'peal'. Then at the mouth of the oven meat pies and cakes were placed. These lasted the family all the week.

Emma Harding (died Dec. 1973), D. Mills Bellingdon & Asheridge

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


Bellingdon is a small village about a mile out of Chesham on a ridge of the Chiltern Hills, 600 feet above sea level.
Before the Second World War this was a close-knit community with most of the villagers employed in farming and brick-making. The squire was Mr William Lowndes who lived at The Bury in Chesham.

The children walked to the next village at Asheridge to attend school. There were no buses and they walked through the fields and looked for the first honeysuckle leaves in the spring and they knew where the birds' nests were.
Their parents grew all the vegetables in their gardens and they had cherry, apple and plum trees as well. They were able to find wild raspberries and crab apples in the woods.

The church is still the centre of the village activities. It is a small wooden building about 100 years old.
There used to be two public houses, The Bull and The Golden perch. The latter one was demolished years ago.
About 50 houses have been built since the war, reducing the farmland. Small farms have been taken over by larger farms. Far fewer men are needed on the farms and they now work in the factories in Chesham or commute 'up the line' to London by car or train.
The Village Hall was built 38 years ago on ground given by Miss Marian Thompson, the first W.I. President. The Hall is well used by the various village societies.

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


Chesham Parish,
including the Hamlets of Ashley Green, Billington, Chartridge, (with Hunbridge and Ashbridge) and the Chapelry of Lattimers, (with Waterside and Botley) (Pop. 5,388)

Five Daily Schools,

One a Lancasterian School for boys, built in 1827, and capable of containing 150, but from great poverty in the place, the average attendance does not exceed 50; this School is supported by subscription, aided by weekly payments of two-pence from each child; it has a small lending Library, published by the Kildare-Street Society.

Another at Ley Hill, (commenced 1822), supported by the Countess of Burlington, contains 30 children of both sexes.

Another, 12 females

Another, 50 males and 10 females.

And the other (commenced 1819) 26 children, (chiefly females;)

In the last three Schools the children are instructed at the expense of their parents.

Three Day and Boarding Schools,

One with 30 males.

The other two with 50 females, whose education is paid for by
their parents.

Six Sunday Schools

Two of which are of the Established Church;
One with 30 males and 60 females,
The other with 48 males and 56 females;

Two appertaining to Independent Dissenters,
consisting of 95 males and 90 females ;

Two to the Baptist denomination (commenced since 1818),. 126 males and 200 females;

The first Sunday School is supported by the Countess of Burlington, all the others by voluntary contributions.

In addition to the above there are several small Schools kept by women, wherein young children are taught to plait straw.



Additional information