Coleshill History Project
Coleshill is a unique hilltop Buckinghamshire village in the Chiltern Hills for which many residents have strong affection and love. Also many have a curiosity about the history of the village and those who have lived here. The late John Chenevix Trench, who lived at Windmill Farm, prepared a number of papers covering the village’s history culminating in a paper published by the Buckinghamshire Archaeological Society in 1983. This was entitled ‘The Houses of Coleshill: The Social Anatomy of a Seventeenth Century Village’
This project moves on to more recent times and initially will concentrate on the houses standing in the village in the year 1910 and the history of the people living in them from the time when they were built to current times. The date of 1910 has been chosen because the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies has an original of the property survey in that year taken for ‘Duties on Land Values Act’ It shows details of the owners and occupier of each property in the village and particularly helpfully a cross reference to a large scale map of the village.
Village Resident Education Program
When invited in March 2007 about twenty-five Village residents volunteered to join the Project. To help coordinate and guide volunteer’s research we have enlisted the help of Julian Hunt, former Heritage Manager at Bucks County Council who has written and published several books including a history of Amersham. Julian is running a series of evening classes guiding the research and illustrating how available resources can be use to trace the history of Village residents and property. A dozen or more villagers meet regularly to report progress and benefit from Julian’s guidance.
We will build a genealogical database recording the individual people and families living in the village. This will incorporate the census data every ten years from 1841 to 1901. Software will link husbands to wives and children to parents so that it will be possible to trace each generation of each family and their cross-links with other families. A general database will link houses with the people and families who lived in them. The school log book has been digitised from 1871 and an index will be available to search to 1901.
History of Coleshill Book and Web Site
The fruits of the joint labours by Julian and Village volunteers will be published in a book by Christmas 2009 and this web site will be developed concurrently to form an ongoing electronic archive which can be updated and expanded as further information becomes available.
The Coleshill Parish Council has given its unreserved support and encouragement to the project and has awarded a cash grant. In addition, the project has received a financial award from ‘Awards for All’, a part of the National Lottery.
A History of Coleshill - Launch Ceremony 7th November 2009
The History of Coleshill book is now complete and was officially launched on Saturday 7th November.
The book was launched by the Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher and the event was complemented by a local history exhibition and a book signing by the author Julian Hunt.
This new book has been compiled by volunteer members of the Coleshill History Project with the help of the well-known Buckinghamshire historian, Julian Hunt. The book extend to 160 pages, and is illustrated with over 100 maps, prints and photographs of local places, people and events. The book is hardback with an attractive dust jacket.
The book explains how the village evolved on an exposed hillside between the market towns of Amersham and Beaconsfield. It recounts the lives of famous residents such as the poet Edmund Waller, whose family leased Stock Place, and Thomas Ellwood, who held the Quaker monthly meetings at Ongar Hill Farm.
The book focuses on the Common, with its windmill, ancient duck pond, and the clay pits dug by the many potters who lived nearby. It also covers the potteries and chair factories of Winchmore Hill, where the Potters Arms and the former Plough Inn were part of the parish of Coleshill until the 1955 boundary changes.
The book also traces the history of the elegant houses occupied by gentry families with London connections. It shows that when the locals ceased to make pots and chairs, they became servants, chauffeurs and gardeners at the big houses. It brings the village story up to date with Coleshill as a thriving commuter village, retaining its Parish Church, Infant School and Village Hall.
The book is priced at £15.00, plus £3.20 for postage and packing. Copies can be ordered on line or by sending a cheque. To order, please go to the Coleshill History home page.
Dinner at Judges Lodgings, Aylesbury
Following the successful completion of the Coleshill History Project, the team members gathered for celebratory reception and dinner at the Judges Lodgings in Aylesbury. We all enjoyed an excellent evening followed by speeches from Peter Lawrence and Julian Hunt. Afterwards, we gathered for a group photograph: