An his­toric home hid­den from view

DON­ALD STAN­LEY takes a look a Buck­ing­hamshire’s her­itage with the life and times of Amer­sham’s Woodrow High House

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NOSTALGIA -

ONE of Buck­ing­hamshire’s great man­sions, Woodrow High House, is sit­u­ated out of gen­eral sight near Amer­sham.

Orig­i­nally named Wood­side House it was built in the 17th cen­tury since when it has un­der­gone many changes both in ap­pear­ance and own­er­ship.

Amongst its ear­li­est oc­cu­pants were Oliver Cromwell’s wife and three daugh­ters for whom, be­ing in a strongly Par­lia­men­tary area, it pro­vided a safe home dur­ing the English Civil War.

As wife of the Lord Pro­tec­tor she was known as the Lady Pro­tec­toress but kept a low pro­file dur­ing the Pro­tec­torate which may have saved her life fol­low­ing the Restora­tion and des­e­cra­tion of her hus­band’s re­mains.

In more re­cent times, one of the cus­to­di­ans was wo­ken by a lady whom he as­sumed had ar­rived late. She did not ap­pear at break­fast next morn­ing but from a por­trait in the hall he recog­nised her as ‘The Green Lady’.

She is be­lieved to have been Lady He­lena Stan­hope who com­mit­ted sui­cide af­ter her fi­ancé, Sir Peter Bo­s­tock whom she was shel­ter­ing af­ter the Duke of Mon­mouth had been de­feated in the Bat­tle of Sedge­moor, was caught and ex­e­cuted 260 years pre­vi­ously. Orig­i­nally the por­traits of Lady He­lena and Sir Peter had been hung side by side but dur­ing build­ing works that of Sir Peter was re­moved to the cel­lar. The fol­low­ing morn­ing Lady He­lena’s por­trait was found face down above where his had been stored; there­after the two were re­hung side by side.

In the mid-1700s the Tyr­whitt Drake fam­ily lived in Woodrow High House whilst Shard­e­loes was be­ing built high above the Mis­bourne Val­ley for Sir Wil­liam Drake who, like his fa­ther be­fore him and later mem­bers of his fam­ily, sat in Par­lia­ment for Amer­sham. Sir Wil­liam also built Amer­sham’s mar­ket-hall.

In 1945 the man­sion was ac­quired by the Wor­ship­ful Com­pany of Gold­smiths, one of the twelve great Liv­ery Com­pa­nies of the City of London, which do­nated it to the Fed­er­a­tion of London Youth Clubs, usu­ally ab­bre­vi­ated to ‘London Youth, as a res­i­den­tial train­ing cen­tre.

The clubs orig­i­nated in the 1880s when they were founded by Vic­to­rian phi­lan­thropists to wean boys and girls away from life on city streets and in­tro­duce them, ac­cord­ing to the Phy­cho­log­i­cal Sci­en­tist Dr Terry Powler, to the val­ues and mores of the up­per classes, es­pe­cially those of pub­lic schools and the univer­si­ties. Their aim was to con­sign class to obliv­ion

His­toric: Woodrow High House which was once home to Sir Wil­liam Drake who also built Amer­sham’s Mar­ket Hall

rather than mix them.

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