Church: All Saints

Hundred: Burnham

Poor Law District: Amersham

Size (acres): 1850

Easting & Northing: 494195

Grid Ref SU940950 Click to see map


Names & Places

Coleshill PARISH All Saints
Branford Barns NAMES name for Brentford in 1766
Honger Hill NAMES name for Ongar Hill
Winshmore Hill NAMES name for Winchmore Hill in 1674
Brentford PLACE within the parish
Ongar Hill PLACE within the parish
Stock Place PLACE within the parish
Winchmore Hill 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 184
1811 429
1821 492
1831 497
1841 547
1851 558
1861 531
1871 533
1881 501
1891 516
1901 535
1911 570
1921 560
1931 635
1941 N/A
1951 1293
1961 680
1971 676
1981 581
1991 560

There was no census in 1941.



Parish  Church  Register  Start
Coleshill   All Saints   Baptisms   1861   1901   Yes,
click here
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Not available



School Records Project

Place   School Type   Name   Start Year   End Year   Indexed   Document Type
    Coleshill     Mixed     Coleshill     1866     1888        
    Coleshill     Mixed     Coleshill     1888     1899        
    Coleshill     Mixed     Coleshill     1899     1918        
    Coleshill - Not available     Mixed     Coleshill     1918     1943        
    Coleshill - Not available     Mixed     Coleshill     1943     1955        
    Coleshill     Mixed     Coleshill     1850     1890        




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

PositionBefore 1700  18th Century  19th Century  Overall Surnames  


Coleshill is a lovely village which is set back from the main road between Beaconsfield and Amersham leaving us free from through traffic.

In 1669 Thomas Ellwood, the Quaker leader, wrote these directions to his friend:

'Two miles from Beaconsfield, upon the road
To Amersham, just where the way grows broad,
A little spot there is called Larkin's Green,
Where on the bank some fruit trees may be seen;
In midst of which, on the sinister hand,
A little cottage covertly doth stand.
"Soho!" the people out and then enquire
For Hunger Hill; it lies a little higher.
But if the people should from home be gone,
Ride up the bank some twenty paces on,
And at the orchard end, thou may'st perceive
Two gates together hung. The nearest leave,
The furthest take, and straight the hill ascend,
The path leads to the house where dwells thy friend.'

Larkin's Green is still there to-day, by the Magpies Pub. Ellwood's timber framed house at Hunger Hill, where the Quaker Monthly Meetings were held, was just in Hertfordshire, conveniently out of reach of the Buckinghamshire magistrates who persecuted the Friends. It was replaced by Ongar Hill farm in 1873. Going up Magpie Lane, Bowers Farm lies back on the right, a lovely red brick and timber framed house with the oldest oven in Coleshill, panelled walls, and a cased staircase so that the servants could reach their bedrooms without disturbing the family. Bowers was probably built by George Coleshill in 1614, on the site of the medieval manor of Stockbury.

Passing Old Rafters, The Wattles, and Lawyers Cottage, all old names, you reach the little fork in the road, and the Common. In 1300 it was called Coleshill Green, and later, Donkey Common, as horses and donkeys grazed there. On the other side of the road stands the windmill, which the new owners are restoring to its former full-sailed glory. This is the start of the village centre. The blacksmith's Forge, Fleur-de-Lys pub, and two more cottages formed a row, now converted into Forge House. The Slade family worked this forge for over a century, and in the last generation, seven out of nine sons were blacksmiths. Their family cricket team played the rest of the village, in the middle of the road before we had a cricket meadow!

One of the features of the village is the pond, which aised to be called the 'Clenemer' and was then part of the Common. Once a year the gypsies would camp there and hold a fair, watering their horses in the pond. Waggons would be driven through in dry weather to stop the wheels from splitting. One cold winter, Mr Slade made a bet that the pond was solid ice, and drove a team of two horses, (shod with ice studs), and a loaded coal waggon across to prove it. He won his bet!

On round the village is Stock Place, once the manor house, and home of the poet Edmund Waller. He wrote a flattering ode to his relation, Oliver Cromwell, and later another to Charles II at the Restoration. The King complained that his ode was inferior to Cromwell's. Waller replied 'May it please your Majesty, we poets are never so successful in fact as in fiction'. Some of his poetry was said to have been written under an oak tree which gives its name 'Waller's Oak' to a nearby house, and still stands to-day.

The road forks again at Hill Meadow, a group of houses built by the Council, and a little further along is The Rosary (a farm in the 17th century), and the imposing late Georgian facade of Coleshill House, which conceals an earlier 18th century building. Sir Bernard Docker lived here, but now it has been converted to comfortable flats, which command a view to Windsor Castle and the Post Office Tower in London. The original grounds now form the gardens of the houses in Chase Close. Round the corner lies the cricket meadow. The Club is enthusiastically run, with a flourishing club house, and the far side of the pitch is used by an archery club.

More old cottages complete the semi circle back to the main road where the water tower stands, perhaps our best known landmark, which can be seen from miles around. Its small reservoir provides all the water for our village, so that old wells and storage tanks have fallen into disuse.

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


Village life in Coleshill has changed considerably since we were children about fifty years ago. It is a very beautiful village and over the past twenty years has attracted the financially better-off. Consequently all the cottages which in our childhood were rented to people with families, some of them quite large,-have been bought up and enlarged and on the whole are occupied by elderly and retired people. Most of the young couples from the village are unable to afford to buy any property here—there being now very few to rent—so they have to move away to live, and this means that we have far fewer children living here.

As a village we are lucky in having our own school, church and Baptist chapel and quite a large hall, and fifty years ago our lives revolved mainly around these.

We had seasons for all our different games—of course, there was very little traffic about and so it was safe for children then to play on the roads.
In the spring we had our season for skipping to the rhythm of 'Salt, mustard, vinegar, pepper' and 'All in together, girls'.

We played with hoops—bowling them along the road with a piece of stick—some of us couldn't afford a proper hoop and one wealthier family in the village gave us old car tyres which we used. .Marbles was another game. We bowled them along the ground into a 'dossy-hole' made by screwing our heel round into the soft ground.
We derived great pleasure in picking bunches of wild flowers which grew everywhere; heather and harebells from the common, bluebells, primroses, cowslips, kingcups, milk-maids, fox-gloves, violets and celandines from the hedgerows. We also gathered many a basketful of dandelion heads for our grandmother to make into wine and we picked baskets of blackberries in the autumn and collected wood each week to store for winter.

We were lucky in having our own village blacksmith and wheel wright who used to allow a few of us at a time to go in and watch him at work, as did the village shoe mender.

There were two small shops in Coleshill which sold groceries and dozens of other odds and ends. We looked forward eagerly to our 'Saturday penny', which often we would spend a farthing at a time.

We used to visit the meadows in early spring to see the first lambs and in the early summer watch the sheep being sheared by hand and 'dipped'. At haytime and harvest we went into the fields to take the men's tea—usually sandwiches and a bottle of cold tea, always referred to as 'wittles' by my grandmother. A highlight on the farms in mid-winter was the visit of the threshing machine which travelled round the villages to thresh the grain from the sheaves of corn which had been stored in ricks since harvest.

Our local farmer brought the milk round in large churns by horse and cart—carried it to the doorstep in a large can with a half pint measure hanging on a ledge inside and served it into a jug. We could also fetch a quart jug of 'separated' (skimmed) milk for a penny for milk puddings.

More tradespeople came to the village then, such as grocers, butchers and bakers. On Good Friday our baker from Amersham would deliver warm cross-buns before we were up and leave them on the ledge above the door. The muffin-man came weekly through the winter carrying his tray of muffins on his head and ringing a hand bell. A traveller we called 'the London man' came down every Friday from London via Beaconsfield station with a huge case in which he carried an assortment of underclothes, socks and haberdashery for sale.

We never went on holiday but looked forward eagerly to our Chapel Sunday School outing—to Bricket Wood and Hampton Court and eventually to the seaside.
When anyone was seriously ill straw was spread on the road outside their home to lessen the noise of traffic—mostly horses and carts. There wasn't much hospital accommodation then. When anyone in the village died, the knell would be tolled by the church sexton—three 'strokes' for a man, two for a woman and one for a child. We all knew each other so well that if anyone was ill, and we heard the knell, we would realise straightaway who had died. This custom was dropped during the war.

Louie Edwards, Violet Darwill, Penn Street

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


I was born in Winchmore Hill in 1903 and always lived there. As a child, I recall, after walking home from Penn Street school, I would be met at the door by my mother with a piece of bread and jam in one hand and a milk can in the other, and off I would go again walking to Woodrow to get a pennyworth of skimmed milk.

The annual chapel outing was usually to Burnham Beeches, Mr Hatch from Fagnall Farm was Superintendent of the chapel and his horses and carts transported the villagers. The carts may have been the dung carts the day before, but the men stayed until they were scrubbed clean for the outing.

My grandfather lived at the Lord Nelson public house and made chair legs for the other chair factories in the village. A cul de sac of houses called Nelsons Close now stands on the site of The Lord Nelson. In those days Winchmore Hill had three shops and two chapels, but neither of the latter had a licence to perform marriages. It was said Winchmore Hill people were looked down upon because they had to go to Penn Street to be married.'

Article written by members of the Buckinghamshire Federation of Women's Institutes for the publication "Buckinghamshire Within Living Memory" (1993) and reproduced here with their permission