Es­tates grew from hum­ble begin­nings

For­mer sec­re­tary of the Bea­cons­field and Dis­trict His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety, the late John Stan­bury, writes about a time when Bea­cons­field pro­duced its own coinage and other key facts from its his­tory

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NTHE early 1600’s, rapidly in­creas­ing com­merce caused a chronic short­age of small change. Due to the Civil War the small change coins were never is­sued and so traders pro­duced their own to­ken far­things and half­pen­nies.

Th­ese were a lo­cal coinage, payable through­out the lo­cal neigh­bour­hood. In Bea­cons­field, three were far­things and three were half­pen­nies.

As pros­per­ity grew sev­eral es­tates were es­tab­lished and the lead­ing three are Hall Barn, Wil­ton Park and Gre­gories later to be­come But­ler’s Court.

Anne Waller pur­chased Hall Barn which was de­scribed as the Manor of Bea­cons­field in 1624. Her son, Ed­mund, found fame as a poet. His fa­ther died when he was born be­queath­ing him £3,500 a year.

In 1631, he eloped with Anne Banks and they had a son and a daugh­ter. Anne died in 1634.

He soon over­came the loss and his af­fec­tions turned to­wards the wid­owed Count­ess of Carlisle. Hav­ing no suc­cess there he trans­ferred his at­ten­tions to Lady Dorothy Sid­ney who be­came the sub­ject of one of his best known po­ems, Sacharissa, mean­ing honey.

His ar­dour was not re­cip­ro­cated and soon he was call­ing her haughty and hard as stone!

He then pro­ceeded to woo Amoret then moved on to Phyl­lis, Is­abella, Sylvia, Flavia, Chlo­ris, Celia, Myra and Zelinda, all with­out suc­cess. Per­haps he was more in love with his po­ems than with the dam­sels for whom they were in­tended.

The Civil War now loomed and he al­lowed him­self to be iden­ti­fied with Par­lia­men­tary cause, while se­cretly fi­nanc­ing the king.

He was ar­rested in 1643 and tried for his life, his elo­quence avoided the death penalty and he es­caped with a year in the Tower and a £10,000 fine and was forced into ex­ile.

He re­turned in 1651 and farmed his es­tates and died in 1687. His tomb is in St Mary’s and All Saints Church. A do­na­tion was made by the So­ci­ety for its re­cent re­fur­bish­ment.

Anne Waller also bought Wil­ton Park in 1624, sub­se­quently it was pur­chased by Josias Du Pre for­merly Gov­er­nor of Madras.

He built a grand house and his son, James, changed the route from Seer Green to London End which passed in front of the house by con­struct­ing Potkiln Lane a com­pletely new road.

Wil­ton Park was leased to the War Of­fice in 1942 and a spe­cial pris­oner of war camp was es­tab­lished for se­nior Ger­man of­fi­cers.

Gre­gories was another es­tate pur­chased by Anne Waller in 1624. The house first men­tioned in 1604, a new house was sub­se­quently built to the south east to the north of Walk­wood, it was likened to a minia­ture ver­sion of Queen Char­lotte’s Palace in St James’ Park.

In 1768, it was pur­chased by the MP, Ed­mund Burke for £20,000. He set­tled with his wife, Jane and re­mained there for the rest of his life. He died in 1797 and is buried at St Mary’s and All Saints Church at Bea­cons­field.

The house burnt down in 1813. It was not un­til 1891, that But­ler’s Court was built on the same es­tate.

In 1906, the rail­way reached Bea­cons­field and caused the growth of prop­erty in the New Town. With the change in trans­port method the Old Town de­clined in com­mer­cial ac­tiv­ity but the town as a whole grew in pros­per­ity.

The mar­ket which was es­tab­lished by Char­ter in 1255, con­tin­ues to this day but only on Tues­days.

In 2002, a Farm­ers Mar­ket was es­tab­lished and is held on the fourth Satur­day of the month. A fur­ther char­ter was granted in 1269 to hold a fair at As­cen­sion­tide for eight days, sub­se­quently re­duced to just May 10.

John Stan­bury, pic­tured right, with Tony Cham­bers at The Bea­cons­field and Dis­trict His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety stall at Bea­cons­field Now! in 2013 and be­low, Wil­ton Park, pur­chased with new found wealth in 1624

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