Bledlow Ridge

Introduction

Bledlow Ridge Parish

Church: St Paul

Hundred: Aylesbury

Poor Law District: Wycombe

Size (acres):

Easting & Northing: 479198

Grid Ref SP790980 Click to see map

Names


Names & Places

NameTypeNote
Bledlow Ridge PARISH St Paul
Methodist NON-CONFORMIST First Mentioned: 1834

 

Records

Records

Parish  Church  Register  Start
Date  
End
Date  
Online
Search  
E-Mail
Search  
Publication  
Bledlow Ridge   St Paul   Baptisms   1868   1903   Yes,
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Yes,
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Yes,
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Bledlow Ridge   St Paul   Marriages   1868   1902   Yes,
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Yes,
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Yes,
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Bledlow Ridge   St Paul   Burials   1869   1903   Yes,
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Yes,
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Yes,
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Surnames

Surnames

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

PositionBefore 1700  18th Century  19th Century  Overall Surnames  
1 CAREY RANCE BROOKS BROOKS
2 SALE BUTLER SMITH SMITH
3 WESTON STYLE BRITNELL BRITNELL
4 STONE STEVENS KEEN KEEN
5 SMITH BROOKS MARTIN MARTIN
6 RAUNCE BRITNELL EGGLETON EGGLETON
7 RANCE SMITH NEWELL NEWELL
8 MALLERY HILL AVERY STEVENS
9 CLARKE MORRIS FEASEY BUTLER
10 BRAITHWAIT NEWELL STEVENS AVERY

 

 

Notes

At Bledlow Ridge forty years ago the dwellings were few and far between, often tucked away down a side lane, and the population was little more than four hundred. Cattle and sheep grazed serenely and safely on neat grass verges.
It was a marvellously tidy place, conservation being practised more than it was preached in those days. Although there was no organised refuse collection, no unsightly rubbish littered the countryside and leaving paper litter was a punishable offence for the reason that it might blow about and frighten horses and bring some poor creature to an untimely end. All waste material usually found its way back to the land. No milk bottle problem existed either for, armed with a milk jug, one went to the nearest farm and queued at the dairy door after the morning or evening milking.

Water was a valuable commodity. Time was when on these hills rain water was the only source of supply and was stored in large underground tanks usually miscalled 'wells'. For watering of cattle most farmers relied on ponds. The hard water which now gushes through Bledlow Ridge taps certainly has its recommendations. The quality of tank water varied to a great extent; it was assumed that the rain itself was pure, but its collection and after-care were a different matter. A time of drought was deemed the best for descending to the bottom of a tank to remove any remaining water, and an amazing assortment of debris would have collected there. The concrete lining was thoroughly wiped, all down-pipes, catch pits and guttering cleaned out and examined. Then one waited for the rain. Thunder rains were usually impregnated with dirt which had to settle before use. Rain off a galvanised tin roof was cleanest and quickly collected. Second best was rain from slates or tiles but that collected from thatching was usually discoloured and difficult to catch efficiently. For this reason families in thatched cottages drank surface water for preference. There was no drainage. Only a few cottages had sinks in the kitchen. Most cottages had sizeable gardens and usually every bit was put to practical use. Often pigs were kept, either to sell or for the household. Pig-keeping helped to keep up the cycle of conservation in the garden. No chemical other than lime was applied to the soil.
Monday morning early found the few industries of the village already working. The blacksmith at The Old Forge was clanging at his anvil, the chair bodger was at his pole lathe, the farm labourer leading his team of horses, the chimney sweep with tackle in his pony-drawn cart, schoolchildren, packets of lunch sandwiches in hand, walking the lanes to school. At his last was the shoe-maker, locally called a 'snob'.
With the population of Bledlow Ridge at now more than one thousand many of the picturesque thatched  and flint cottages have disappeared, modern homes having taken their place, and much of the pasture has been built upon. Gone too is the old windmill, but happily the Mill House, three hundred years old, still remains a sturdy structure, reminder of a former way of life. Gone too is a vast wild cherry tree of tremendous girth that stood at the corner of a lane dwarfing a cottage beneath it.

D. Rogers, Bledlow Ridge

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

Notes


Bledlow Ridge is a long stretch of roadway that winds up a steep ascent from West Wycombe over the Chiltern Hills towards Oxfordshire. It is part of the ancient parish of Bledlow and gets a mention in the Domesday Book. The name means 'Bloody Hill' and commemorates a fierce battle between the Danes and the Saxons. It goes further back into history than that. Impressions exist of hut circles and the occasional fragments of pottery and implements, which together with the nearness of the Icknield Way, indicate a Romano-British settlement of around 300 BC. From time to time, iron cannon balls, silver shoe buckles and coin of the early Stuart kings are unearthed, evidence of a battle between the Royalists and the Roundheads in the Civil War and the famous victory for the Royalists at Chinnor in 1643.

Bledlow Ridge was mostly common land in those days. On the common stood an Elizabethan farmhouse where Cromwell stabled his horse in one of the adjoining barns. As recently as the last couple of decades, a sword of the period was discovered concealed in the wide chimney of an open fireplace. Pankridge now faces onto a busy road, no longer a farm but an integral part of the village and centre of many social gatherings.

In 1917, Loxborough House at the top of Loxborough Hill, once regarded as the Manor House, was acquired by a Mr Henry O'Reilly Stevens, the maker of the famous Stevens Ink. The grounds were a popular venue for garden parties and similar festivities that raised money for village needs. By this means a Parish Institute was built.

There are houses on the Ridge that date from over 300 years ago. Among these was The Old Mansion noted for a large loft where fleeces were stored for collection by woolpack men who plied their trade between Wantage and London. Three of these nomadic people named Brooks squatted on nearby land called The Scrubbs. Several families all bearing the same name was the result, making it necessary to distinguish them by adding the name of their dwelling or occupation. Some had Bible names — Able, Isaac and even Moses. The name 'The City' mystifies newcomers. There are two explanations: refugees fleeing from the City of London sought protection there from the Great Plague of 1666 or it was a hideout for a City Guild with good reason to escape from the Bow Street Runners.

Changes took place at The Old Mansion in 1918 when Sir William and Lady Lister bought it as a country residence. A nephew of Lord Lister of antiseptics fame, Sir William was consulting oculist to King George V and surgeon oculist to His Majesty's Household. During the Second World War, Sir William developed a portable electro-magnetic device for removing foreign bodies from the eye.
Bledlow Ridge W.I. has earned a place in local history for its phenomenal jam making record during the Second World War. They produced 25 cwt. from a glut of cottage garden grown greengages the like of which had never been known before or since. Their efforts received high praise from the County.

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

Description from Sheahan, 1861. With other notes.

Bledlow Ridge is a high hill, 3.5 miles from the parish church, on the south side. It extends five or six miles in length, having detached farmhouses on side of it. The prospects from this "ridge" are extensive.

A small chapel of ease was erected in this hamlet in 1801; and was rebuilt on a larger scale in 1834. There is a Wesleyian Chapel, built in 1834, on a plot of land given by Robert, Lord Carington.

Many females in Bledlow Ridge find employment by making cotton and blonde lace by hand, on pillows.

Loxborough House, Chinnor Road, south of Bledlow Ridge. Was a hunting lodge built about 1800 for the Dashwoods of West Wycombe.

Education

Bledlow with Bledlow Ridge Parish (Pop. 1,135)

One Boarding School, in which about 4 females are educated at the expense of their parents.
 
Three Sunday Schools, consisting of 64 males and 76 females, chiefly supported by the Vicar and his friends; there are also Eight Lace Schools, containing about 75 children, many of whom are taught to read at the expense of their parents.

ABSTRACT OF EDUCATION RETURNS, 1833.

Additional information