The Rosary is a relatively modern name for an old farmstead and brickworks, which belonged to Stephen Salter in the early 18th century. His grandaughter, Mary Salter, married William Smith at Penn in 1730. The couple had four children baptised at Amersham between 1735-1745. William Smith had died by 1788, when his widow returned to Coleshill and greatly enlarged and improved her grandfather's house. She insured the premises with the Sun Fire Office in 1788: 

Mary Smith of Coleshill in Herts widow £
On her now dwelling house and washhouse and offices adjoining situate as aforesaid 220
Household goods therein only 220
Wearing apparel therein only 93
Musical instruments therein 37
Stable, cowhouse, pigstye and woodhouse
adjoining each other near 30
All brick, brick panelled and tiled
 Total 600

Mary Smith was buried at Amersham 22 July 1799. Her daughter Mary sold the house to Thomas Bowden in 1808. It was at about this time that the house became known as Coleshill Cottage.

Thomas Bowden had married Martha Trone of Amersham in 1791. Their son Joseph Henry was born in London in 1796. Thomas Bowden died at Coleshill in 1839, aged 74, and was buried at Amersham. His wife died the same year aged 80. Their son Rev. Henry Joseph Bowden lived briefly at Coleshill Cottage, but advertised the house in August of that year:

To be let, a very delightful country residence, at Coleshill, near Amersham, Bucks, comprising the elegant and well-arranged cottage ornee, with 22 acres of rich meadow land, now in the occupation of the Rev. H. Bowden, who is removing to a living at a distance. Detached is a small and compact homestead, with barns, cowhouses etc. The house is situate in one of the sweetest and healthiest spots imaginable, with a south aspect.2

The Rev. Bowden did find a suitable tenant for Coleshill Cottage in the form of Captain John Francis Lascelles, R.N. He was succeeded by Henry Grey Bennett. By 1877, when the lease of the house was advertised, the name of the house had changed again to Coleshill Villa:

Coleshill Villa, Coleshill, Amersham, Bucks. The lease for 18 ¼ years of this Villa, with garden, pleasure grounds and greenhouse, facing south east, with extensive and beautiful views; double coach-house, harness room and three stall stable, with rooms and loft over, situate in a brick-paved yard. Also 22 acres (or only 7 if preferred) of excellent pasture dairy land…. There are also two cottages, with gardens, which have been nearly rebuilt and fitted with every convenience3

The new tenant, George Percy Mead, was the first occupant to call the house the Rosary. The house remained in the ownership of the Bowden family and was subsequently occupied by Edmund Alderson Fawcett and later by his unmarried daughters, Annie, Mary, Ellen, Margaret and Jane Fawcett. Charles Pusey recalled:

An old gentleman lived there; he had five or six daughters. He kept them all at home so he could protect them. They were dear old ladies and they lived in the village until they died.

Donald Wintersgill recalls:

Someone called Mrs Fawcett paid for a wrought iron gate into the churchyard; the gate had initials in the pattern of the wrought iron. I do not know what the initials stood for. My grandmother thought that gift of a gate was a case of a rich person showing off.




   Present Day

When the owner of the Rosary, Martha Anne Bowden, of Clevedon, Somerset, put the Rosary on the market in 1918, it comprised an entrance hall, drawing room, dining room, five bedrooms and three maids' bedrooms. There was a large conservatory and a 7ft deep veranda ran the length of the south front. The house was leased to the Fawcett sisters at £111 per year. There were 23 acres of land with a range of farm buildings let to Charles Pusey of Windmill Farm. The property included Rosary Cottage, let to Miss Bartlett at £18 per year and Church View Cottages (now known as Moorwood), one let to Emma Appleby at 3s per week, and the other Mrs Shrimpton at 2s 6d. The Rosary was bought by the tenants' brother, Edmund Alderson Sandford Fawcett, of Roughwood Barns, Chalfont St Giles, for £5,554 9s 0d.

When E.A.S. Fawcett died in 1938, the Rosary was sold to Dudley Docker of neighbouring Coleshill House, despite the fact that Fawcett's sister Jane was still living there. The last of the sisters, Jane Harrison Fawcett, died at the Rosary on 7 July 1950. Her initials are on the gate to the churchyard.