The small village of Ibstone straddles a ridge of the Chiltern Hills approximately ten miles west of High Wycombe. Some village points afford magnificent views of the Hambleden Valley below. The origins of Ibstone go back before the Norman Conquest and the village was included in the Domesday Survey of 1086 at which time it was called Hibestanes.

Merton College, Oxford, has been associated with the village from 1270 until very recently when John Paul Getty Junior purchased their common land holdings. In 1284 there were 26 tenant farmers. Their holdings ranged in size from very small to 25 acres with over half being of 10 acres or more. Ibstone remained a farming community until mains water and electricity came into the village in 1935. In 1852 the first of the present school buildings was erected. At that date the village population was 310 with some 50 children at school. There were five farms, two pubs, a grocer, post office, a wheelwright and a blacksmith. The village was a thriving self-supporting community.

There has been a church for over 1,000 years. The present building dates from about 1200 and has many interesting features including one of the oldest wooden pulpits in England. Like many villages, Ibstone has a windmill - Copstone Mill which was originally built in 1274. The present building dates from the 18th century and is an unusual 12-sided smock mill. This mill has featured in many films and T.V. productions but will principally be remembered as the family home in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

John Wesley recorded that he preached at Ibstone on two separate occasions in 1767 and 1769. It was not until 1862 that a Methodist Chapel was established which continued to be used as a religious meeting place for approximately 100 years. Local legend has it that an attempt was made to build another church on a new site in Grays Lane, but the Devil objected to a church being built on his property so that the rising structure repeatedly fell giving that particular spot its present name of Hell Corner.

A village custom is carol singing. A group of singers led by the headmaster visit every house in the village on the two evenings before Christmas and receive hospitality from many homes.

The village has held a firework display and bonfire on the Common on November 5th since the early 1970s. Soup and sausages help to keep out the cold. One of the major events in Ibstone's calendar is the village show and fete which is organised by the local Horticultural Society and is held on the Common on the second Saturday in August. This is a very popular event which attracts many people from South Bucks. Any profit is donated to local charities.

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 of Ibstone from J.J. Sheahan, 1861.

The parish of Ibstone, or Ipstone, is situated partly in this county and partly in Oxfordshire, the boundary line passing through a room in the manor house. The Church stands in Oxfordshire. Area, 1,112 acres; population, 325. The village is distant 7 miles N.W. from Great Marlow, and 9 miles S. of High Wycombe. The greater part of it about a mile from the parish church, and near the church of Turville; whilst the major portion of the houses of Turville are nearly two miles distant from the church of that parish.
Ibstone House, a modern building. with 32 acres of ground surrounding it, was purchased in 1860 by Sir Thomas Harte Franks, Knt. Sir Thomas, who is second son of the late W.Franks, Esq., of Carrig, Co. Cork was born in 1808. He entered the army in 1825; became Colonel in 1854, and Major-General in 1858. He commanded the Sutlej and Punjaub campaigns, and at the Battle of Goojerat. In 1858 he was made K.C.B. for his eminent services during the Indian mutinies.
The Rectory is ecclesiatically united to Fingest. The Church, St Nicholas, is a small ancient building. In the church-yard is an old stone coffin, and an ancient yew tree. The Rectory House, built in 1857, is a handsome Gothic residence of flint and red brick, situated on a commanding eminence. The school was erected in 1851, and is a neat building attended by about 50 children - ten of whom participate in Allnutt's school, clothing, and apprenticing charity. One of Allnutt's Almhouses at Goring (Oxon), is for a poor man of Ibstone parish.


Ipstone Parish (Pop. 313)

One Daily School, endowed many years since by Henry Allnutt, Esquire, for educating 3 boys.

Two Sunday Schools (commenced 1819) with 21 males and 36 females, supported by voluntary contributions.



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