Haddenham

Description

Church End Green is the focal point of the village. It was the Saxons who built a church by the side of the green, so maybe we owe this lovely "scene to Hadda the Saxon thane. It is thought the name of the village came from 'Hadda's Hame' becoming Haddenham. The church as we know it today was built about 1215, at least it was begun then, the Lady Chapel being the oldest part. In 1295 Edward I granted Haddenham a Charter to hold a weekly market and annual fair. The weekly market has long since gone but we still celebrate our Haddenham Feast with an open-air service and a fair in late September every year. Once it was the high spot of the year when a day's holiday was given to all the farm workers (the only holiday other than Christmas Day) and sons and daughters from miles around came home for the fun.

The house names round the green tell some of their history; the Malt House where once there was a brewery; Eight Bells and the Anchorage which were both inns. Haddenham had a great many at one time. At the back of the pond is the entrance to Church End Farm which goes back in history nearly as long as the church and has a fine tithe barn. When the Norman Archbishop Landfranc held the church this was the seat of power for his agent.

Churchway is the main road through the village. Flint Street which leads away from the Church was once the main thoroughfare of the village. Its old houses are all picturesque and stand close to one another. In times past it was Duck Street, emphasising once the main trade of the village.

The Green Dragon is one of the most thriving pubs in the village. It's had an interesting past, as the manorial courts used to be held there. The Green Dragon was the emblem of the Earls of Pembroke who had authority here for a while after the Reformation. Someway further down on the other side is the Beehive, a village store (reputed to have a ghost). There has been a shop here for hundreds of years. It used to sell all kinds of things including items of clothing for the village families, but now it is a specialist grocer.

The old high walls in Haddenham are rather special. Modern ones are of breeze-block and rendered, but they copy the old, some still remaining, and they used to line every street. They were made of a kind of clay called witchert that is peculiar to this area. A stone base of about 18 inches was covered by the clay held in place until set by wooden shutters. Cottages used to be built like this too and the Baptist and Methodist Churches in Haddenham are built of witchert. The tops of the walls were thatched to keep the wet from going down into the clay. From this sprang the old saying 'Silly Haddenham who thatched the ponds to keep the ducks dry'. Not really so silly as the wide eaves over the pond sheltered the little ducks who do indeed drown if their early feathers are not protected from the rain.

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 Haddenham from J. J. Sheahan, 1861. This parish is bounded on the north by Cuddington, and on the west by the river Thame. Its area is 3,150 acres; population 1703; rateable value £5,693. The land is nearly all arable; the soil is light earth, or clayey loam, intermixed with small rubble stones, and in some places it is sandy. It is very fertile. The surface is flat with one or two trifling elevations. In the quarries are found large beds of oyster shells, and other of the like genus. A spring, called Dadbrook, near the road to Cuddington, and another called Steward's Well, on the Manor Farm, are slightly chalybeate. The parish was enclosed in 1832.

The village is situated 5.5 miles N.W. from Princes Risborough, 3 miles N.E. from Thame, and 7 S.W. from Aylesbury, which is the nearest Railway Station. It is very large, (about a mile in length) much scattered, and most irregularly built, and has a singular appearance. That portion of it in the immediate vicinity of the church, now called Church Square, has on each side of it some very respectable houses, and many of the fences of the gardens are built of a kind of marl dug here near the surface and called Wichert (or White-earth), which is very hard and durable, and quite impervious to moisture. The place is remarkable for the non-conformity of the houses, and the numerous narrow, crooked, and zig-zag passages with which it abounds.** Many of the females are engaged in the manufacture of pillow lace.

The present landowners at present are the Baroness Wenman, of Thame Park, the Dean and Chapter of Rochester, the Rev. Henery Sprigg, Miss Cross, John Francklin, Esq., James Rose, Esq., Messrs. T. and W. Rose, Edward Clarke, and Charles Bailey Hamilton Esq.

** On the 16th April 1701, a great fire at Haddenham burnt and totally destroyed 30 houses, with numerous barns, stables, and outhouses - the loss of property amounting to between £3,000 and £4,000. and on the 5th of April 1760 (Easter-eve), another most disastrous fire broke out in the premises in Church Square, now occupied by John Clarke, Esq,. when about 60 houses were consumed, at a loss estimated at from £4,000 to £5,000. The Vicarage House of that period fell prey to the flames, and all the parish registers, except one dated 1603 (which was in the church), were destroyed. The last mentioned fire is said to have originated through the carelessness of a servant girl throwing burning wood ashes and embers into an outhouse. It is perhaps remarkable that there is no fire engine in the village at the present time.

Education

Haddenham Parish (Pop. 1,484)

Two Daily Schools, containing 46 males, who are instructed at the expense of their parents.

Two Sunday Schools, one attached to Baptists, consists of 136 males and 137 females, having a lending Library: the other to Wesleyan Methodists (commenced 1827), and consists of 39 males and 54 females, both conducted by gratuitous teachers.

There are also several small Schools where lace-making is taught.

ABSTRACT OF EDUCATION RETURNS, 1833.