The Drakes’ progress
Find out about the family who shaped Old Amersham
We have so many visitors over the summer... we want to help them to understand why Old Amersham is the way it is
THE Monty Python film, Life of Brian, famously asked, ‘what have the Romans ever done for us?’
The same question could be asked of the Drake family in Amersham.
The family left its mark on the town from the mid-17th century, through the 18th and 19th centuries and into the 20th.
The family is still responsible for the annual fair in September.
The Amersham Society has produced house histories, which tell the story of the Drake/ Tyrwhitt-Drake influence on Old Amersham.
It includes the story of how the family bought up most of the houses in the town so they could control parliamentary elections and how they systematically added brick frontages to the timber-framed buildings to make them look ‘Georgian.’
There are interesting little stories: about the town blacksmith being called out to Drakes’ Alms-houses; another explaining why house numbers can still be found on the inside of some front doors; and the member of the Drake family who had a seizure and died on his wedding day – you have to go into the Drake Chapel in St Mary’s Church for that one.
The Amersham Society has devised a Heritage Quiz to encourage visitors and residents to read the information displayed in house windows and some of the information displayed under the Market Hall and elsewhere.
The Amersham Society will award book prizes for winning entries from children and adults.
Chairman of the Amersham Society Martin Pounce said: “Normally, the house histories are displayed on the days leading up to Heritage Day, but there is too much to see on that day, so we decided to display them for longer.
“We have so many visitors over the summer months who admire our wonderful town and we want to help them understand why Old Amersham is the way it is. Information in house windows allows them to pick up pieces of interesting information. If they complete the quiz, the individual pieces will fit together to reveal the fascinating story of Tyrwhitt-Drake influence on Old Amersham.”
The quiz leaflets can be obtained from Amersham Museum, Amersham Library, St Mary’s Church and Amersham Town Council Offices.
The quiz is running from August 20 to September 25.
The Amersham Museum has agreed to be the collection point for completed quiz entries.
Prizes awarded will be appropriate to the age of the entrant and will include a set of Horrible Histories for children and Julian Hunt’s, History of Amersham for adults.
Full competition rules are available on the Amersham Society website at www. amershamsociety.org.
Remembered: The Memorial of Mountague (sic) Garrard Drake