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Ickford

Description

Ickford is a small village surrounded by pasture grazing for cattle, sheep and horses.

The River Thame is the boundary between Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, and every August since the Queen's Coronation in 1953 there has been a tug of war between Tiddington in Oxfordshire and Ickford in Buckinghamshire, over the river. One team, if not both, end up in the river! People from both villages come to watch the pull and make it a fun evening.

We have two public houses, The Royal Oak, and The Rising Sun. They are well known in the village as good meeting places and both are old country landmarks.
We have a lovely Village Hall, built by the men and women of Ickford. Lots of hard work went into this hall and it is used by many village societies.
Ickford has a lovely old church, dedicated to St Nicholas. The date of the first church here is not known but it was probably of wooden structure built in Saxon times.

The earliest part of the present church is the chancel, the centre aisle of the nave and lower part of the tower date from about 1170 to 1190. Ickford church escaped the wholesale restoration inflicted on so many medieval parish churches in the 19th century. In this case, poverty proved a blessing! Between 1902-1911, it was sensitively and carefully restored under the direction of Mr Oldrid Scott, who managed to preserve most of the genuine medieval features.
Gilbert Sheldon (1598 to 1677) was Rector of Ickford and later became Archbishop of Canterbury, from 1663 to 1677. He gave a lovely chalice and platter, which we have on show at Christ Church, Oxford, as we thought it better to let people see how lovely it is.

This is a happy and caring village with a mixture of new and old houses. We have young families and elderly folk all enjoying village life.

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

Notes

Description of Ickford from J.J. Sheahan, 1861.

Ickford, with the hamlet of Draycot, contains 1,249 acres and 415 inhabitants. Rateable value £1,950. The parish lies on the boarders of Oxfordshire, from which it is seperated by the River Thame, and its name is derived from a Saxon word signifying a watery way or passage (through the Thame). The soil varies from a rich loam or clay. The western portion of the parish is sometimes called Great Ickford, or Church Ickford, from the church being there; the northern part, Ickford Prava; and between them a portion called Middle Ickford. In the latter part is a bridge over the stream to Draycott, which is within the limits of Oxfordshire.
The village is scattered and retired, and lies 4 miles N.W. of Thame, and 14 W.S.W from Aylesbury. Ickford has been supposed the place of a treaty between King Edward and the Danes in 907. The village is very subject to floods, though during the summer months the inhabitants have a poor supply of water, and frequently for two or three months together they obliged to draw their supplies from the river Thame, half a mile distant.
The Manor House is situated in that part of the village called Little Ickford, and bears the date 1676. It is a considerable building, once handsome, with large chimneys. The stairs and balusters are large, and of oak, and two of the rooms retain the old oak wainscotting. In the garden is an old yew tree, curiously formed. The house is now in the occupation of Mr. Henry James Fuller, farmer.
On the south side of the church a handsome house, in the Gothic style, was erected in 1850. It is the property of George Guy, Esq., and the residence of the Misses Guy.
Near the banks of the river, and at a short distance from the bridge that connects this county Oxfordshire, are the remains of some Earthworks, of which nothing is known. In removing a portion or the embankments about thirty years ago, it is stated in the neighbourhood, that a fire place formed of stone was discovered, together with some bones, supposed of animals, in a calcined state.

Education

Ickford Parish (Pop. 382)

Two Daily Schools; one (commenced 1825) contains about 20 children of both sexes; the other (commenced 1831), 8 males and 4 females, whose instruction is paid for by their parents.

One Sunday School, with 16 males and 14 females; supported by the clergyman.

ABSTRACT OF EDUCATION RETURNS, 1833.

Ivinghoe

Description

Ivinghoe is a picturesque village with old houses clustered on two sides of the village Lawn. The size of the church and the existence of a Town Hall tell us that Ivinghoe was once a much bigger village. In fact, Ivinghoe used to have two or three markets per week to which the local farmers and straw plaiters came to sell their produce.

St Mary's church is a large cathedral-like building dating back to 1230 with a 15th century roof. An enormous thatch-hook is attached to the churchyard wall. This was used to drag thatch from burning houses to prevent the spread of fiire. Opposite the church is the 17th century King's Head Hotel. The imposing 18th century Old Brewery House, standing between the church and the Town Hall, serves as a Youth Hostel but was once part of the local brewery as its name denotes.

The Old Town Hall was last restored in the Queen's Jubilee Year and houses the village library. The downstairs was once an open market. Ford End watermill is a fine survivor from the days when many mills were at work in the Chilterns. It is believed to date back to at least 1795 and was still in use until 1970. The waterwheel is of the overshot type and two separate sets of stones were used, for grinding wheat for flour, and for animal foods.

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

Description

This was formerly a large market-town, but is now very small in proportion
to what it was. It has a market on Saturday and two fairs in the,
year, 6th of May, and 17th of October, for all sorts. of cattle, and sundry merchandise.

The chief manufactory here is of lace, wherein two hundred and twenty four persons are constantly employed.

Ivinghoe is situated at the side of a range of large high chalk-hills, which are covered with fine green pasture, free from all kinds of shrubs or trees. The top of the hills commands a very extensive and pleasing prospect over the different, counties of Bucks, Herts, Bedford, and Oxon. In a fine clear day may be seen distinctly, without the help of any glass, thirty-six different parish churches; the country, being quite open, and. free from any inclosures.


The town of Ivinghoe has two streets one of which goes through the place, and the other branches out in the middle, representing the letter. T. The church is a fine building, dedicated to St. Mark; and is remarkable for a fine ring of bells. It appears to have been founded by Edward IV. The parish is about fourteen miles in length and two in breadth, and is divided into four hamlets.-- About a mile from the town the counties of Bucks, Bedford, and Herts,, meet in a piece of land hot twenty yards asunder.
Ivinghoe is distant from Hemelhempstead, ten miles south-east-Berkhampstead seven, south.-Chesham ten, south.-Tring three, south-Aylcsbury ten, south-Wendover eight, south-west.-Leighton six, north-and Dunstable six, north-east. Its distance from London is thirty-four miles south-east.
The principal inns are the King's Head (excise-office), and King's Arms (post-. office). The post comes in every Sunday, Wednesday and Friday, at eleven o'clock in the morning and returns the same day at four o'clock in the afternoon: this is only a bye-post from Hemelhemrftead, Herts.

There is a stage-coach goes from Gaddesden Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at seven o'clock, to the Bell and Crown, Holborn; returns Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays: fare 7s inside, 3s. 6d. outside-There are two coaches arrive at Tring every day, namely, the Tring, and the Banbury and

Buckingham: the former sets out. from the Bell and Crown, Holborn; and the other from the Saracen's Head, Snowhill; and return every day. Thomas Cook's stage-waggon goes to London every Thursday morning at eight o'clock to the Bell Inn, Warwick-lane ; and returns on Saturday.
About a quarter of a mile from the town is a very fine wood, remarkable for its trees and high situation as it is seen at a verv great distance from Portsmouth, and from out of Derbyshire, and to 150 miles distance. The Wood and hills are the property of the duke of Bridgewater. A, quarter of a mile from the hills is one of the four old Roman roads called the Ickenild-way, which runs throughout the kingdom from Portsmouth to Tinmouth Avon. About four hundred yards from this is a surprising declivity between two hills, about three hundred yards in length and forty yards wide: on both sides of the hills is fine green pasture, as is the bottom, reported to have been one of the Roman encampments, as several old coins are found on the spot, and in the neighbouring fields, in fine preservation. --about two miles from the town is a place called Boburn, belonging to John Sear Esq of Tring Grove Here is said to be the first spring rising of the river Thames; the springs divide within ten yards of each other, one running due east, and the other west. Mr. Sear has made a fine canal for a pleasure-boat, one mile in length. This place appears to have been formerly used for a burial place, as several skeletons of human bodies have been taken up; and one in particular, about twelve months since, seven feet in length, and all the bones perfect. About three miles from the town is Astridge, the seat of his grace the duke of Bndgewater, which was a very ancient monastery. In the center of.the house in a fine square is a large bason of water, where Jonas is represented coming out of the whale's belly and round this are fine cloisters, with historical paintings but they are in a ruinous state, and are said to be of very great antiquity. Within the house is a bed and chair the work of queen Elizabeth, wrought in fine needle-work; and in the same bed the queen was taken prisoner and carried to the Tower, by her sister Mary .

About one mile from here is an ancient nunnery; the manor belonging to this nunnery is supposed to be the most extensive in this kingdom, as it is nearly forty miles in length. From Astridge to this monastery about one mile, and there is a subterraneous passage communicating from one to the other.

One mile from Ivinghoe is a hill called Wadden, where the ancients burnt sacrifices; from which may be seen six others, all dedicated TO the days of the week. At the bottom of this hill is a large ditch cut, said to have parted the kingdom of Mercia and the East Angles, when the kingdom was divided -

Other villages in the neighbourhood of Ivinghoe are Ivinghoe Aston -one mile from Ivinghoe, Edlesborough, two -Northall, two - Eaton Bray, three - Totteringhoe, four - Dagnall, four - Ringshall, three -Little Gaddesden, four - Aldbury, three - Pitstone, one - Marsworth, two - Longmarston, four - Putnam, four - Cheddington,two -Wingrove, six - Crasston, six - Mentmore, three - Ledbain, three - Wing, six - Ascot, five - Horton, three - Slapton,three - Seabrook, the seat of the Rev. Mr. Woxley, two - Stocks near Aldbury, the seat of William Hayton, Esq. Two - And Penley, the seat of Richard Harcot, Esq three.

Notes

Description of Ivinghoe from J.J. Sheahan, 1861.
This parish comprises several hamlets, and extends over an area of 5,260 acres. Population in 1861, 1,849 souls. The place is situated on the eastern verge of the county, and borders on Hertfordshire. The soil is chalk and flints. The London and North Western Railway, and the Grand Junction Canal intersect the parish. The rateable value of the parish, except Nettleden, is £6,693, viz of the town quarter £2,118; upper quarter, £1,139; and the lower quarter, £2,736. "Near the town " writes Libscomb, "passes the old Roman Road, called the Icknield Way; but the alterations which have been made in the surface of the country, in consequence of tillage, enclosures, and agricultural improvements, have nearly obliterated its track, which is now with much difficulty traced through the parish."
There is a local tradition that Ivinghoe was once an Assize-town, and that the assizes had been held in an antiquated house which stood at Brook End, and called the Court House. This house, which was demolished several years ago, is described as having had four dormer windows, with a wooden image under each, said to represent Moses, Abraham, Zacharia, Job. The historians of the county are silent on the subject of assizes in this place.
Sir Walter Scott acknowledges that he borrowed the name, or conceived the idea, of calling one of his hitorical romances by the name "Ivanhoe," from the old rhyme which states that "Tring, Wing and Ivinghoe" were lost by one of the Hampdens for striking the Black Prince. But the tradition upon which this verse was founded, has been disproved.
Ivinghoe is a small market town or rather a large village, 6 miles S. from Leighton Buzzard, 9 E.N.E. from Aylesbury, 4 N.E. from Tring, 3 from the Tring Railway Station, and 33 miles N.W. from London. The place consists of three streets, which are neither paved or lighted. The inhabitants are well supplied with good water by wells about thirty feet deep. There is a small weekly market on Saturdays for the sale of butchers meat, garden produce, and straw plait; and annual Fairs chiefly for cattle, pigs, and sheep, are held on May 6th, and October 17th. The Town Hall is a neat building, erected on the site of the old-workhouse in 1840. The lower part was intended for a market-house, but has never been used for that purpose, the vendors preferring to to exhibit their wares in the open street. The upper story contains an excellent magistrated court-room in which Petty Sessions are held on the third Saturday in every month. This room is lighted by ten Gothic windows (barge-boarded), five on each side. Adjoining is the Police Office.

Education

Ivinghoe Parish, including the Hamlets of Aston, Horton with Seabrook and Margaret-Street, (Pop. 1,648.)

One Daily School, in which 6 males and 9 females are instructed at the expense of their parents.

Three Sunday Schools; one with 49 males and 53 females, who attend the Established Church; another appertaining to Methodists, consists of 28 males and 31 females ; the other, to Baptists, of 38 males and 36 females; in all of which the children receive gratuitous instruction.

There are also Seventeen small Schools, in which 93 boys and 107 girls are taught to make straw plait, the mistresses hearing them read once a day.

ABSTRACT OF EDUCATION RETURNS, 1833.

Memories of Ivinghoe

Seabrooks

My father's family, the Seabrooks, were living in Ivinghoe in 1559 and we are the first names in the Church Register. I was born in 1893. 

Mrs Henry Mann Roberts of The Brewery House was in charge of the Land Army in our district in 1917 with Headquarters at Town Farm where the girls were lodged.
One day Mrs Roberts called a meeting in the Town Hall, Ivinghoe, and brought with her to the meeting a Mrs Alfred Watt from Canada. Mrs Watt told us all about the Women's Institutes in Canada and explained how necessary it was for country and village women to help each other and make the best of the things they grew. After the meeting, Mrs Watt asked me if I would try and get the women of Ivinghoe, Pitstone and Ivinghoe Aston to form a Women's Institute at Ivinghoe. This was done in 1917 with great enthusiasm and I became the first Secretary. Unfortunately the minute books were lost and the present first minute book was written from memory by Mrs Roberts of Ivinghoe Manor who in 1919 became President, and remained so for about seventeen years.

We made rugs and carpets from wool called thrums, gloves, childrens clothes, knitted socks, and jams and pickles. Mrs Henry Mann Roberts also started a rug making class in the Town Hall, and her workers made a carpet for Queen Mary.

Straw plaiting was quite a big thing in Ivinghoe at that time, the women and even some men plaiting the straws or 'splints' into yards of material with which to make straw hats. When a score of plait was done, it was taken down to Sair Jane's cottage (Miss Sarah Jane Cook) who used to get it all ready for the hat manufacturers who came each week from Luton to buy the work. In the early days the women used to give their babies paregoric in water so that they would sleep for a long time and not disturb the plaiters.
Many of the men worked at Roberts & Wilson's Brewery next door to the church. The brewery was bought in 1927 by Benskins of Watford and closed and pulled down. The Brewery House is now a Youth Hostel with over eight thousand hostelers staying there each year.
Other Ivinghoe men worked on farms, some of them having to walk right up to Ashridge to Lord Brownlow's lovely home. Houses were half-a-crown a week and wages from fifteen shillings a week upwards.

Our beautiful church had a set of very old hand bells and the Church Council lent them to the WI. Miss Marjorie Hartop taught us how to ring them and we had great fun ringing at Christmas parties for the WI and the Church. We had a lovely peal of bells ringing every Sunday. Now the tower is not safe so the bells can only be rung at the festivals.
Sir Bernard Miles
 often spoke of Ivinghoe in his King of the Chilterns series on TV as he once lived at Ivinghoo Aason as it was then called.
The old vicarage at Ivinghoe was once a coaching house.


Madge Dollimore (Aged 82), Ivinghoe & Pitstone


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

War


Childhood Memories of Ivinghoe & Pitstone 1939-1945
Doris & Leon Hawkins


It was September 3rd 1939.I, Doris, was nearly 7 years old, Leon was aged 10 years. Both of us attended Ivinghoe old school.

The war started, so we had an extra two weeks Summer holiday. That was because the evacuees were arriving from London and to get them settled into village homes. The Vicar, Reverend Hulbert and our Headmaster, Mr Saunders, helped sort out the children who were to live in our homes. I had two girls to share my bedroom, some stayed to the end of the war but others got homesick living without their parents. The Vicar had a few boys to live at the Vicarage, and quite a few lived at the Youth Hostel.
A master called Mr Feeland and a teacher, Miss Holmes came with them from London. Mr Feeland had a class down at the chapel, they would come up to the Lawn for playtime.

Lee said the London boys and village boys got fighting, they made camps down the bridle path. The Vicar said "you want to fight, come to the Town Hall and have a boxing match". So chairs were put around and rope to make a ring, they bad a real match, gloves on etc, but they all ended up friends and all would go to the Vicarage for film shows.
(I don't remember the girls fighting)!

We left school at 14 unless you passed an exam for the Cedars School in Leighton Buzzard. In the summer you could have 20 half days off of school to help the farmers with their harvest. I always went fruit picking. I picked plums.
Farmers were short of men, as all the young ones had to go to War and some of the older men went into the Home Guard (Dad's Army).

My Dad was out one or two nights a week as he had a day job at Vauxhalls in Luton. There they made Churchill tanks and the big army lorries. It was bombed one time but soon repaired and work carried on.
We were all issued with a gas mask and had to take it everywhere with us.

At the 'Lawn side' of our school, an air raid shelter was built, it was a square brick building, no windows. It was open each end and had no door. It was divided into five separate rooms, wooden forms to sit on. If a siren went off we all had to march to our own classroom in the shelter. I cannot remember sitting there for long in the dark.

We were very lucky in the villages, as it was the big towns where the factory's were, that bombs were dropped.
So to be safe, the Kings Royal coach was kept at Lord Rosebery's mansion at Mentmore.

Everything was on ration. You had books of coupons for petrol, clothes, sweets, tin food. Things like sugar, tea, butter, lard, cheese, meat were only allowed a few ounces a week. You had to register at one shop only and could only shop there. Sweet coupons you could use anywhere, but that was like a bar of chocolate or a bag of sweets a week.

I remember my mum taking the cream off the top of the milk for a few days then adding a pinch of salt, putting it into a screw top jar and shake it for quite a time until it formed a little lump. Also any fruit you had you made into jam.
We liked going up into the hills and picking the wild raspberries.

Everyone was expected to grow their own vegetables in their gardens, if your garden was not big enough you had an allotment. There was some allotments on the corner opposite the old school called Dog Kennel Gardens, a few around past the church known as Townsend Gardens, others were all in Ladysmith Road to the top of Wellcroft.

In 1945 nobody wanted to dig anymore, so houses were built - Maud Janes Close was a field, it was known as "Mad Janes". We used to play there, then across the field to a spring to get clean fresh watercress.

At night it was very dark., no street lights. Vehicles had very dim lights, no beam - just had to shine down in front. Houses had to have black out curtains at the windows to pull when the lights were on, you must not show a bit of light - if you did – a policeman or a guard would hit on your door. Lights could attract German planes.

One evening between 8 and 9pm, when a bad raid was on in London, I was with my mum and dad looking over the top of the Youth Hostel towards London, the sky was glowing with falling shrapnel and fires, the sky was filled with smoke and was very red.

I also remember one hot summers afternoon being along Marsworth Road to the bakers (now Masons) looking across the big field towards London, we were told there was a 'dog fight' our fighter planes vs. German fighter planes. They were diving in and out, up and down, but really us village children had no idea what it was really like.
When more London children came, some of their mothers told us how every night they would have to go to an air raid shelter or the underground stations and sleep on the floor in a sleeping bag - our evacuees would know if a German plane went over - they knew the different sound of the engines.

A few stray bombs did drop around in the field and hills. One evening there was a loud whistle, two London girls
were scared, "that's a bomb" they said, then boom a bomb had landed near the canal when the Germans were going home and had not dropped all their bombs in the city, they were emptying out before they crossed over the North Sea back to Germany.

When this happened Lee said the boys would go the next day and pick up bits of metal from the bombs - they were very proud of their trophies!

There was no such thing as being bored when we were children and we were to young to worry about the war unless your dad or brothers were in it. We would be out all day playing when not at school.

It was so safe then, no bad things to happen to you. We would take a picnic down the Bridle Path as far as the Spinney, or on our bikes up to Pitstone Hills (before the Quarry), and play in a little wood and pick the wild strawberries. It was called Statnells.

I lived in Vicarage Lane. We would play skipping, top & whip, lots of ball games, like throwing it up the wall (which was the Vicarage garden wall), hopscotch in the road. There was no traffic then. We would be out until our parents called us in for bed. No TV only a radio.

If the weather was bad, we stayed in and played dominoes, cards, board games, our parents would play with us.
During playtime in school, the Headmaster, Mr Saunders, would play either football or cricket with the big boys and Miss Tapping played the same with the smaller boys. Mr Saunders was Captain of one team, so if they let his side win they got a longer playtime, he did not like to lose - if he did it was back in school - playtime over.
Lee says he has climbed up everything and been up every big tree around the Lawn.

Boys made trolleys using old wheels, with a board across, and some rope. All the boys set off from the Kings Head and raced down the hill in Station Road. They would also have an old bike wheel with a stick and race around the village hitting it. Us girls thought the boys were all mad!

At school the cane was used on the boys and anything could be thrown at them if they deserved it. It was never used on girls. Lee had the cane a few times, once when he cut a girls hair - he had a pair of grass clippers, as the boys were going out into the school garden, but Joan sitting in front of him needed a hair cut (so Lee thought) so clip, clip clip!!! Her hair was cut!
Our Milkman was Mr Harwell from Cheddington, with his horse and cart, he had no bottles, but two or three large churns. He would come to the door with a can with a lid on, you would give him your jug and tell him how much you wanted (1 pint - 2 pints etc). It was rich and creamy. Also the baker with a horse and cart would come round. A small lorry would come with fizzy drinks, Tizer and Corona.

I lived near the Rose and Crown and would see beer barrels being delivered on a long cart and pulled by a very large cart horse. Lee used to be a delivery boy (Granville) from Elliott's shop after school and on Saturdays. He had a bike with a big basket on the front, all loaded up he would bump along the Bridle Path to Ivinghoe Aston. His first delivery was to Bernard Miles at Crabtree, he and his wife were actors in London. They would cycle to Tring Station everyday and not come home until the last midnight train. I remember him doing a show in the Town Hall (or connections with The Mermaid Theatre)

We had no rubbish collection them. We had to take it up to the Ragpit which was just at the bottom of Beacon Road on the left. I had a truck for our rubbish and took it up there then return and take another truck load for an elderly lady next door. Lee made lots of journeys on Saturday mornings to get enough money to go the Tring Regal Cinema, ,he'd earn as much as half a crown, (12.5p) you were rich! - this got you bus fare, cinema and even a bun in the local cafe!
But we did not have much rubbish as lots of it was ashes. Everyone had a fire and cooked on it as well, so it was only the odd jam jar or tin. Nothing was in packets, everything was weighed and put in paper bags.

In those days there were no swimming pools so some children went down the canal. I remember Lee and friends jumping of the bridge (showing off) then when a barge came along they would hold on to the toe rope. The bargee people would empty a bucket, the boys soon let go as they thought it was wee. It was dirty water then and it is now –I would never get in it.
We had a search light on the comer of Albury Road. One of many scanning the sky at night. At the bottom of Beacon road there was a Pill box that had three guns in it, one pointing up the Beacon Road, one towards Ivinghoe and the other up the Tring Road, these belonged to the Home Guard.

We had the Irish guards whose camp was at the Youth Hostel and the cookhouse was at the Old Mill House Yard (opposite Brookmead). They used to practice on the Lawn, they would pull their field guns across the Lawn and fire blanks out across the fields. They had a rifle range up the hills and would practice with all sorts of ammunition, also they had Brengun carriers up at the Beacon.

An aerodrome was built at Marsworth. The long runway went from Marsworth to Cheddington,ending not far from the canal and railway line. Our Air force boys were there with the 'Lancaster Bombers' and 'Wellington Bombers'.
After that the USA Air force were there with their aircraft the 'Liberator' and the 'Flying Fortress'. They all came very low over here, you would think they would hit the railway line. One did crash one morning about 5am near the canal in my Grandad's field (Ford End Farm). They used to take off every night to bomb in Germany, so this one was just returning home.

When the boys were 14 years old, they joined the Army Cadets. Lee was one. They had a proper uniform and a Canadian Ross rifle, they took everything home with them and were very proud of their equipment and enjoyed being with the Army, also having their meals in the cookhouse. When food was rationed they done very well on big 'fry-ups' - for them great enjoyment was going up into the hills with the soldiers with the Brengrun carriers and going for a week or fortnight camping near High Wycombe, where there was a very large camp. One night, when Lee was on night guard there, a Doodle bug came over, he found this very frightening.

In 1945 the war was eventually declared over, flags were put up and there were parties and free beer in the Town Hall. You had to take your own glass though and some even took jam jars!!

By the Summer of 1946 all the beaches were cleared so everyone could now take a holiday at the seaside. Unfortunately it took up to five years until sweets were taken off rationing.
We married in 1953.

Lady

Reminisces of an Ivinghoe Lady

I was born in Wellcroft in Ivinghoe, the daughter of Herbert & Ethel Bierton.
My first memory is of me being in a pushchair going down past what is now the Youth Hostel. At that time it was the home of Mr Robert's Family. The Brewery was still working, I cannot remember much. There was a chimney near the churchyard with all the sheds and Buildings.
I also remember a little piglet running around they must have bowled for the pig. There was also a band playing.


I started school when I was four (1928) I was not very good. My mother used to yank me up the road. The teacher Miss Stream used to meet us at the big school door, grab hold of me and bang the door shut. Once I was there I loved it.
I was given a tray of sand, and used to make my letters in it. Moving on from that I was given a slate board to write, Soon after I was given paper & pencil. (Before I went to school my mother taught me to write on paper with a pencil.)
We had to wear a pinafore to keep our clothes clean: I also had pigtails and often lost the ribbon in my hair.
We played in different playgrounds boys at front girls at the back.
We moved on to Miss Frost’s class where we were taught joined up writing and used a pen.
After school anyone going to Pitstone carried her books to her home and carried them back in the morning; you just did it there was no arguing back. We moved on to Miss Delamont's class, she taught drawing and painting she also carried on with English and Arithmetic and all the general subjects. We all got a good general education.
We had to behave ourselves and we had respect for our teachers. No one answered back. If you were told off it was no good going home complaining to your mother. You would get another telling off.
We eventually moved on to Mr Saunders who taught Class 5 and 5+, which was for the elite. I left school at age 14 years.

We had Playtime on the lawn. Mr Saunders took older boys for football in winter and cricket in the summer; the girls had Netball in winter and Stall ball in summer. The middle class played Rounders one afternoon a week.
Mr Saunders took the boys gardening in the garden where the Scout Hut is now.
The girls had needlework with Miss Frost; thanks to her I can still thread a needle.
I remember making a boy’s shirt Miss Frost helped me with some of it and it was entered in a competition in Aylesbury, I was not told about it till afterwards

Before I leave school days behind I remember about 1930 we had a diphtheria outbreak in the school and it was closed for 3 months.
It was very bad Joyce Halsey died and all the family were in the fever Hospital at Linslade. We all marched up to church for her funeral.
It was sad because her mother and father could not be there. Every day children were taken away to hospital.
Bill my brother and I escaped. My mother made us gargle every night with condes- fluid or some such name it was mauve and horrible. I think it saved us.
Our family moved into Station Road and was good friends with a neighbour Olive Cox. We used to watch Ivinghoe & Pitstone Football Team play in the field opposite our home.

In the evenings we played ball games in the street. There were no cars around and only about four lorries would come by going to Leighton Buzzard Marley Tile Factory.
I can remember the road being made; Mr Cox was night watchman. We used to gather round his fire and roast potatoes and eat them under a beech tree, which sadly is no longer there anymore

We went to church Sunday Morning and afternoon Sunday School and Church in the evening, My father and Bill sang in the Choir my father was in the choir for fifty years his family did a lot of work for the church.
Rev Hulbert the vicar used to have “ Kings Messengers” every week it was like a club but it was held at the vicarage. He was a good vicar he tried to organise and help people. He took my confirmation at Wendover.
I took my first communion at Ivinghoe and I was married by him in 1943.

While still at school we had concerts in the Town Hall, In one of which I played Mrs Crochet in “Christmas Carol” the proceeds were used to take us on a day trip to Clacton, a favourite place of ours
A Sunday School Party was a trip up to Whipsnade once or twice and having tea there if funds permitted. At other times a picnic was held in the vicarage gardens which stretched down the left of Vicarage Lane past Wellcroft that was good fun and we were easily pleased.

I remember Mr Lightfoot the Caretaker of the Town Hall; selling sweets after the shops closed on Saturday night. Home made Humbugs Coconut Icing boiled sweets and chocolate. Dad bought mum a bar of chocolate an old aunt and us sweets about 6d a week a big spender!

The penny man Mr Farquar of Aldbury used to come Saturday at 1pm all dressed up in Riding Scarlet. He would drive into the Kings Head and then came out to give the children a penny if you had clean hands and face.
A Hetty King and Mr Barrack would also be there they gave two penny’s also for clean hands & face if you were not so clean you got a penny. I think that they enjoyed seeing the children’s faces light up.

Mrs Williamson shop next to the Kings Head did a roaring trade, everyone went straight in there, it would be a whole 5/- trade she would do.
Everyone worked on farms and then the cement works came and roads were made up. In those days people in the village helped each other.

The last Friday of the month a Court Day was held in the Town Hall Ivinghoe. It was also a Police station. There was a Police Sergeant a Mr King a rotund man living there who moved to Linslade and became an Inspector,
The Court also moved there. A P C Goldiman came here as replacement.

There were a few milkmen in the village. I can remember Ted Simmons coming round with cans of milk. Bert, Roger and Kiffy were another lot they would carry cans on their handlebars of the bikes. Mr Harrowell had a horse and Cart with a big milk crate on the back of the cart.
At 8am and 4pm we could get milk from the Kings Head after the milk stood for a day they would skim of the cream for the hotel and sold the rest, we got a pint for a penny. If Mrs Seabrook served us we got a pint & half for a penny but if Tommy the Cowman served it was a bare pint.

The Bakers used to come around with the bread Mr Turney’s of Manor Cottage and Mr Horwood up Grooms Yard in Vicarage Lane,
Turneys used to sell flour Maize all the animal foods, I can smell it now!
At weekends Mrs Horwood would cook cakes and dinners in the oven for villagers, after Mr Horwood had gone to Ivinghoe Aston delivering bread and cakes he had made.
Mrs Dollimore living next door to us would shout on me to take her cake, her meat and Yorkshire pudding to be cooked for a penny; it always cooked perfectly and sometimes I got a penny for myself. There was Howlett’s Bakery in Pitstone and he had a small delivery Van.

Another job I used to do for Mrs Dollimore was on Monday mornings go up to Mrs Rogers Tea Room next to the Town Hall collect the washing then on Tuesday lunchtime take it back freshly washed and ironed by Mrs Dollimore and my mother.
Mrs Dollimore used to make plait she had a roller in her barn and she used to wet the straw and put it through the rollers. I used to split the straw thick or thin which ever was required. My aunt who lived with us used do plaiting and it was rolled up loosely in 4yard lengths.
She also did beautiful crochet work she made a lovely Altar Cloth for the Church, it had drawn thread work on the cloth and edged it with lace.

When the war came we used to watch the son of the owners of the Bell pub who was a pilot in the RAF he would come over the field and loop the loop for his mum and dad. Everyone turned out to watch.
I was away as a nurse quite a lot only getting home on my days off.
In 1943 the Irish Guards were stationed in the Youth Hostel Grounds and Officers were in the Hostel. There were Tanks, gun carriers, lorries and all sorts of machines.
They all lined up by the Kings Head and Jane’s shop ready for manoeuvres on the Beacon.
George Pickering son of the Owner of the Kings Head was killed that day on a Bren Gun Carrier coming down the front of The Beacon. (What was he doing on it? he was an RAF test pilot.)
After the war I moved to Scotland with my husband and had my family there.
I later returned to the village with my family.

As recalled by Mrs Gwen Craigie nee Bierton to Les Laing.

Kingsey School

Kingsey School - we have a reproduction of an old postcard showing the school but when was it taken? Are any of your ancestors here?.

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Education Provision 1833

Kingsey Parish (Pop. 222)

One small Daily School, in which about 6 children are instructed at the expense of their parents.

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Notes on Kingsey

Description of Kingsey from J.J. Sheahan, 1861.

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Leckhamstead

Description

The village of Leckhampstead is situated on the stream the Leek that rises in Whittlebury forest in Northamptonshire and is a tributary of the river Ouse which bounds the parish on the south side. In bygone years the parish was divided into two parts called Leckhampstead Magna and Leckhampstead Parva and land between was known as 'Tween Towns'.

It is possible to trace the owners of the manors or estates that comprised the village from the time of the Norman conquest. At that time Walter Giffard and the Bishop of Bayeaux were the principal landowners. In the reign of Richard I the Chastillon family held the chief manorial estate and the altar tomb in the north aisle of the church of a full length recumbent figure of a knight in armour is believed to be a member of the Chastillon family, possibly Hugh De Chastillon. By 1398 the estate had passed to the Gernons and from them to the Greenways and was then purchased by Edmund Pye, and through female descendants it was bequeathed to Martha Baroness Wentworth who before her death in 1745 nearly demolished the old mansion, but left the estate to a niece, Martha who married Lord Beauclerk. The manor is reputed to have a ghost which present-day villagers claim to have seen walking by the river. The ghost at Weatherhead farm carries a spinning wheel but both are reported to be quite harmless!

The church, dedicated in honour of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin has its first rector recorded in 1219 and contains some rich remains of the Norman period.

Leckhampstead House was built in 1837 as a rectory by the Rev. Heneage Drummond, Rector from 1835-1883, and is now a private dwelling. During his incumbency the Rev. Drummond felt very strongly that the proximity of the local public house to both the church and the rectory was inappropriate - so he bought and closed the pub. Modern Leckhampstead has neither pub or shop and is now 'dry'.
Lacemaking used to be taught in a thatched cottage where Bellandean now stands, and Leckhampstead was one time well-known for its pillow lace.

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

 

Notes

Description of Leckhamstead from Sheahan, 1861.

The area of Leckhamstead or Lekehamstead is 2,552 acres; rateable value, £2,992; population 482. The name of the parish is supposed to have been derived from Leck, or Lake; Ham, a border; and Sted, a farm or dwelling. The river Ouse bounds the parish on the south, and a branch canal from Buckingham to the Grand Junction at Cosgrove intersects it in the southern extremity from west to east. The surface is finely undulated; the scenery is enriched by about 200 acres of woodland; the village and lowlands are watered by a brook called "The Lake," that issues from Whittlebury Forest in Northamptonshire, by which the place is bounded in the north; the soil is clay and gravel, and the substratum abounds with limestone. For rating purposes the parish is divided into two parts called Leckampton Magna and Leckampton Prava, and the between these parts is known as "Tween Towns," Formerly there was a Chalybeate spring in a field called the Digging, but all trace of it has been lost. The parish was enclosed in 1630.

The village, which is small, stands about 3.5 miles N.E. of Buckingham. There is an ancient encampment on the hill to the south of the church.

After the Conquest the principal Manor belonged to the Bishop of Bayeaux and another estate here was the property of Walter Giffard. In the reign of Richard I the Chastillon family had the chief manorial estate; but before 1398 it had passed from them to the Gernons. An heiress of the Gernons carried it in marriage to the Tylneys, from whom it passed in marriage to the Greenways. In 1631 the manor of the Greenways was purchased by Edmund Pye, Esq., whose son, Edmund, resided here in the manor house in 1641, when he was created a Baronet, as of Leckhamstead; but at his decease the title became extinct. His daughter, the Hon. Catherine West, was the next owner, and she bequeathed it to her neice, Martha, Baroness Wentworth, who married Sir Henry Johnson.

This lady, who nearly demolished the old mansion which had been the seat of the Chastillions, Gernons, Tyneys, Greenways, and Pyes, died in 1745, leaving this estate to her niece Martha (a daughter of Neville, Lord Lovelace), who was married to Lord Beauclerk. This lady's great grandson, Henry William Beauclerk, Esq., is the present Lord of the Manor. The manorial estate is not the largest in the parish.
A reputed manor in this parish called Leckhamstead Prava, or Lymes End, belonged to the family Mortimer in the beginning of the 15th century, and in the 17th century the Tyrrells had it. Sir Edmund Tyrrell, Knt., was advanced to the dignity of Baronet in 1627. He built a mansion here in 1603, called the Toy, which was remaining in 1735 in a decayed state, but had degenerated to a farm house. The house and land then belonged to Sir C. Tyrrell, Bart of Thornton. The daughter of the latter married Thomas Shepherd Esq., of Lidcote, and Thornton Hall, who was created a Baronet in 1809. The Hon. Richard Cavendish of Thornton Hall is the present owner.

The family of Pollard had lands here, having purchased a portion of the estate of the Tyrrells. Heybon Fields, a subordinate manor, was the property of the Greens in the reigns of Richar II, Henry VI, and Edward IV. In Queen Mary's time it belonged to the Wentworths, and afterwards came to the Beauclerks.

The other principal landowners in the parish are John Hall, Esq., of Weston Colville, Cambridgeshire, and Sir Charles Mordaunt, Bart.

The Manor House, Occupied by a farmer, is a plain stone building, a little to the south-west of the church.

Memories

In the first decade of this century I left my home in London to pay a visit to some relatives in north Bucks in the village of Leckhampstead. This visit was
never terminated and from the age of four I spent the next fifty years in the same cottage that became my home. In the fifty years up to the 1914-18 war, our village life had changed very little, except when the Education Act provided free schooling. Till then our village school, built about 1850, had received such scholars whose parents could afford the few coppers a week required. The children walked the mile or so to school, where they were taught the three R's, and a smattering of history and geography by question and answer. By the time I arrived, the school was properly equipped by one qualified teacher and an assistant. Between forty and fifty children attended. The village green was our playground.
My great-uncle, Walter Hurst, was the eldest of five children born at Wood House, my great-grandfather being a woodman, as were generations of Hursts before him. My uncle tenanted a small holding of twenty-six acres and our house overlooked the green with the brook running by. He also carried on the wood business held by his forefathers, in which he employed one or two men, cutting down the undergrowth, keeping the ridings clear and utilising the wood for faggots, bean poles, pea-sticks, hurdles and rakes, which he sold in the surrounding villages. He took loads of oak-bark to the tanners in Northampton for use in the leather industry. Only horses were used for transport, and the load would start off early in the morning with probably a stop at Towcester and Blisworth to rest horses and men on the way.
We also had two 'carriage' horses as my uncle supplied carriages for the rectory nearby and was also the local 'carrier' to Buckingham on market days.
In addition my aunt kept the post office, so we were always involved in the life of the village, my uncle being also a churchwarden, school manager and parish councillor.
The rectory and its occupants were the centre of the village. Our rector was a son of the Bishop of Winchester, his wife the eldest daughter of a Scottish peer. Their house—the largest in the village—had its complement of servants, with a gardener and handy boy. The servant girls employed were usually from other villages. Our own girls were 'put out' to places chosen by the rector's wife, or they found their own from a little registry office in Buckingham. Some men worked at the iron foundry at Deanshanger, a few cycled to the Wolverton Railway Carriage Works but most were employed on the land in some capacity.
Busby, the greengrocer, came round with his horse and trolley from Buckingham to all the surrounding villages, and the children and mothers gathered with their cans and baskets of fruit, glad of the twopence a lb he gave them.
In January, the choir and bellringers had their supper, an enormous round of boiled salt beef and a huge roasted leg of pork; beetroots were cooked, peeled and sliced, Christmas puddings made and boiled, and on the day, there was a marathon potato-peeling.
Lent was a special time. We had week-night services when the local parsons 'exchanged pulpits', and usually a visiting missionary would give us a lantern lecture in the newly built parish room.
Spring sent us round the hedges 'vi-letting'. We went in groups, the elders hastening ahead to bag the best patches. They knew from experience where the rarer white and 'grey' (mauve) ones grew, even the more secret and treasured spots where deep pink ones were to be found.
By Good Friday, the primroses were out in Leckhampstead Wood and a number of the girls would make a special journey to gather them for decorating the church for Easter Day.
Early on Easter morning, the bellringers mustered to ring a peal. The Church, filled with spring flowers, looked strangely new and beautiful. Self-conscious youths and maidens were there to make their first communion as confirmations always took place in Lent.
Figs were an inescapable part of Palm Sunday, and the hot cross-buns brought round by the bakers on Good Friday morning. We had Easter Eggs too, but they were mostly the cardboard type, filled with some little novelty and tied with ribbon.
The next red-letter day after Easter was May Day. Garden flowers were begged from those who were willing to give, and we searched the banks and hedgerows for blue bells, cowslip and marsh marigolds—we called them 'water bubbles'. The simplest May garland was a bunch of flowers tied to the end of a long stick, with streamers of ribbon. Boys had these. Girls preferred two wooden hoops crossed between each other, or a child's small chair, with willow wands fastened over the back and arms in arches. This foundation was covered first in moss, then with tiny bunches of flowers. It was usual to make a cowslip ball to hang from the top of the middle arch and, to soar above it, such may as could be found together with blooms of Crown Imperial or 'Crown of Pearls'. The grandest doll that could be round was fastened securely in the whole garland veiled in a curtain to hide it from curious eyes while in transit. Two of the biggest girls carried the garland, the one selected to be Queen had a sash tied across from shoulder to waist after the style of the 'Garter' ribbon and she carried the money box. This was the song we sang:

'Good morning, young ladies and gentlemen,
I wish you a happy May. I have come to show you my May garland
Because it is May Day.

'A branch of may I have brought you
And at your door it stands.
It is but a sprout, but is well spread about
By the work of our Lord's hands.

'Now take the Bible in your hands,
And read the chapter through,
And when the day of judgement comes
God will remember you.

'And now I've finished my little short song
I can no longer stay.
So God bless you all, both great and small
In the merry month of May.'


It was a tradition that the girls wore white on Whit Sunday.
Children looked forward to hay-time, helping with the preparations for it, particularly in carrying tea. Leckhampstead is a large village in acreage though relatively small in population. Tea might have to be carried to Wicken Wood or up to Lillingstone Lovell. There was not so much arable land just before the first world war. Many farmers had put down to grass much that had been ploughed land, as they did again between the wars. There were no subsidies then.
During the day, the horse-drawn machine had cut the swathes, and by late afternoon, and the next day, the men and women workers walked in rows with their rakes, turning the swathes. The women wore long skirts and aprons and perhaps a sun-bonnet or a man's cap on their heads. After tea in the hayfield some of the men left to do the milking, then the bigger children took over. Later, when the hay was fit to carry, there were long rides in the empty waggons.
Towards the end of September, Harvest Festival was held. There were always masses of fruit, flowers and vegetables and of course the traditional sheaf of corn to stand in the chancel. One could always be sure of a well-packed church for Harvest Festival. The bellringers always stayed to this service—although they were inclined on ordinary occasions to shuffle out of the belfry-door as soon as they had 'rung down'.
The villagers by the late autumn had gathered in every hedgerow harvest; blackberries, sloes for wine-making, mushrooms culled from the dew-drenched fields, walnuts staining the fingers, and 'conkers'.
My aunt started making her puddings by the last week of Trinity. A night or two before Christmas we heard the handbell ringers outside the door. After playing a few tunes they were invited in and given beer or wine and cake. Then they rang again before they left.
Maids Moreton ringers called too: they were more proficient than our Leckhampstead ringers who were somewhat jerky in their performance.
We always sat up to hear the church bells ring the old year out and the new year in. This was echoed from the distance by Wicken or Maids Moreton belfries. Sometimes we could hear Buckingham bells too. We didn't practise any superstitious rituals.

Edith Victoria Cox, Lillingstones & Akeley


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

Education

Leckhampstead Parish (Pop. 499)

One Daily School, containing about 30 children of both sexes; endowed in 1806 by John Smith with certain funds, with which the trustees subsequently purchased £300 in the three and a half per cents; 15 of the above are on the foundation, the rest are paid for by their parents.

One Sunday School, consisting of about 30 males ana 20 females, supported by subscription;

Also a small School, consisting of 14 females, who are taught lace-making;

and a School of Industry (at the workhouse) for the like purpose, and for straw plait, consisting of 14 males and 4 females; the children in these Schools are taught reading, and the Church Catechism, twice a week.

ABSTRACT OF EDUCATION RETURNS, 1833.

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