Tuesday, 18 October 2011


Stone Parish has four elements - Stone itself, a hamlet called Sedrup, Hartwell (which was not included in the parish until 1935 but was a separate parish) and Bishopstone, a mile and a half down the road towards Stoke Mandeville and a separate community though always included in Stone for Church Register purposes.

Bishopstone was included in a book, 'The Rich Mrs. Robinson', published in 1984, which was written by a local lady, Winifred Beechey, about life before WW1 in the village. The sketch above is of the road from Bishopstone to Stone which she and her sister walked and ran every school dinnertime - and back again for afternoon school...

and the road looks like this today. Not much has changed apart from the road being paved, repaved, patched and blobbed from time to time - but still a long way to walk for small children.

This is now called 'The Old Schoolhouse', I can't imagine why! It was for boys only who also worked on the piece of land to help pay the master for their tuition. It was set up before the Education Act which allowed public schools to be built post 1871.

Here it is today, well, last Monday when I began this blog... the pantiled roof is an extension. The lane on the right hand side of the building leads down to Parson's Piece (of land). I don't know which way the engraving faces so it could be the other way round. I believe this building and others at the same distance from the road along here were built on 'spare' land in 24 hours but I might have got hold of the wrong end of the stick. Something to do with the Enclosures in the late 18th century, here at any rate.

Further on, out of sight of the end of the road in the first photo, is this fairly recent entrance to the village with just a few notices to take note of. The Bishopstone Action Group nagged to get these pinchpoints to try and stop the excessive speed along this lane, which has no pavements. It's a rat run for cars, vans, coaches, plenty of post vans on their way back and forth to the Sorting Office, school buses, etc. The thatched cottage on the right is one of 16 listed buildings in this small hamlet.

The one remaining pub, The Harrow, has a history. In 1830 there were riots in different (Southern) counties against machinery being employed to take the place of local men. In Wycombe it was centered on the paper mills but in in this part of Bucks it was against farm machinery. In Stone, a group of labourers cajoled others to join them, one man gaining a gun from a house, shot and powder from a local shop - that shop, now a house, is still there. Others armed themselves with sticks and hammers. The mob moved on to Bishopstone and entered The Harrow to see if they could induce others to join them. Machinery was broken up before the gang moved on.Eventually constables rounded up about 40 men who were taken to Aylesbury Gaol. The men, with labourers from other disturbances, were brought before the Petty Sessions and sent for trial. There are full accounts of the proceedings in the newspapers and although most of the Stone men were not transported but bound over for the rest of their lives, three men were sent to Van Dieman's Land. One remained there and made more of himself than staying in England would have afforded him, one returned and is listed as a pauper in various censuses and the last man has disappeared from history. The book which contains this information - and what happened to all the other Bucks men involved in the Swing Riots - is 'Buckinghamshire Machine Breakers, The Story of the 1830 riots' by Jill Chambers.

Plater's Cottage is another of the listed buildings in Bishopstone, most of which are thatched. This was a shop at one stage in its history; many years ago before the time of digital cameras I was taken to the back of the property where there's still a board giving information about the shop's owner. Perhaps it was also a beerhouse, I can't remember.

The War Memorial for the village, just past the Harrow,was dedicated in June 1920; it's always kept tidy and a commemoration service is held there in November separate from the service in Stone. The hedge at the back has been cut quite recently and spoils the look of the setting, a green hedge made such a difference. Daffodils bloom here in the spring.

A commemorative plaque was given to all communities mentioned in Domesday and this is the one for Stone, kept in a back room in the village hall when I took this SLR photo.

Bishopstone displays their plaque on the right of the porch for all to see - if they look, that is. When William 1 invaded he gave this village to his half-brother Bishop Odo of Bayeux who may have been the person who commissioned the Bayeux tapestry (which as you will know is not a tapestry but an embroidery).

There was once a school for the village children on this site. Lord Carrington gave the land in 1876 for a building to hold 50 children. Two of the school log books which my friend, Chris, and I transcribed several years ago make fascinating reading - for teachers, that is. One teacher taught all the children and what the children learned is laid out. Knitting, sewing, learning the alphabet, using counters for number work; the illnesses the children suffered - measles, whooping cough, chilblains, congestion of the lungs and ringworm together with numerous other problems - such as a 6 week absence with bronchitis... The school functioned with decreasing numbers of children until December 1945 when it finally closed, the remaining children being transferrred to Stone.

It was a one-room school and so far we haven't found any photos of it, just a floor plan giving measurements; the only photo which doesn't really show the building is of the children in their 'glad rags' having their photo taken, much like these days.

There aren't any 'other religions' in the Parish, just C of E and Methodists. This is the Methodist chapel in Bishopstone which had rendered walls and no brick wall when I first saw it. The outside wall was 'cleaned' and the internal structure made into a modern home. In 2002 it was on the market for £450,000.

Coronation Villas has a plaque with the date 1902 just in the bend of the downpipe. The postcard which showed this view was posted in 1909. I took a photo in 2002 and the one below was taken on Monday - what's changed in just over 100 years?

The large house below was advertised for sale in 1994, long before Chris and I knew what function it had served for a few years from 1888. It had been decided a British Dairy Institute would be established in Aylesbury and that was just the beginning of the rows and wrangles. Various pieces of land were suggested and declined and eventually the building chosen was a long way from Aylesbury - heavens, it was a couple of miles! It was intended that students would be instructed in' butter making and three kinds of soft cheese'; a library would be started and with donations of utensils from W. Jordan and Sons, still going strong though they have no record of any gift. Female students were boarded in the house and male students lodged in Stone Village - as can be seen in the Censuses. Within a few years the whole business was moved to Reading where is has become The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers. Another small, unknown part of history in the Parish. Chris and I had trouble determining where the building was until the newspaper reports named it as Alwyn Lawn.
The Country Life advert is of the front of the house but my photo is all you can see of the building across the fields. Nothing is left, I understand, of the Dairy Institute buildings. It's not really on sloping ground - that's me standing on the verge being buffeted by the air disturbance of vehicles...

The chunky stones are from local quarries but flints come from the Chiltern Hills and are used here to make the initials and date (1862) stand out. I have no idea who W W is, can't find anything in the Census.

Lastly, you'll be pleased to know, the drawing below is from a tome written by John Lee showing the school he built at the crossroads from Stone to Bishopstone. Actually the schools were never completed, the only portion of this grand project being my photo of the house, below.

It's always seemed to me that the chimney stack is a sweet from the Liquorice Allsorts packets... along the far side of this building is a couple of rows of bricks with initials of the donors of money to build Mr Lee's school - again, before the Education Act. One of the bricks has C.B. on it and, as Charles Babbage was a friend of John Lee, I wonder if that might not be 'his' brick?


Kath said...

How interesting Silve. I especially enjoyed the last 2 houses as I passed them often and was very fond of the tall chimneys.
We often wondered about that wall, I'd love to know who WW was too.
Loved the old photos, plans and drawings- great post!

Bernard said...

As Kath says, a very interesting read.
You ought to be writing books of the area with all your background knowledge.

Bernard said...

I too, was interested in "W. W. 1862".
An architect called William White, pops up in some of books on Bucks. He was involved in the 'Victorianization' of some of the churches in the area.
Upper Winchendon, Hawridge and Horsenden, to name just three.
I also found this on the web -
He was quite active around 1856.
Just an idea.

Sylve said...

I thought you'd be interested, Kath, travelling that road as you used to do.

I'll do some checking on your WW, Bernard, a link might turn up. It doesn't ring a bell, though. I wonder if he was a mate of John Lee?It is a 'dinky' church, though, but then, sneeze and you've missed Hawridge...