The name of the Parish first appears in Domesday Book  when it was recorded as Esenberge. In the following Century several spellings were used including: Eseburgh & Eselburgh. By the 15thC we find the 1st version of the modern name – Elisborough. The meaning of the Parish name is derived from the Saxon Esol-beorg which indicates the Hill where the Ass grazes.
Ellesborough is an irregularly-shaped Parish, lying on the Northern slope of the Chiltern Hills. It contains nearly 3,595 acres. The highest point is Combe Hill, which is 852-ft high, but in the Northern part of the Parish, the Land lies between 300ft & 400-ft above the Ordnance Datum. In the Hills, the Land is well-wooded, with 514¼ acres of Woods or Plantations. The Park at Chequers Court contains some fine Timber. The subsoil is Chalk & Upper Greensand, the surface variable – chalk & flint in the Uplands & Loam in the low-lying District. The occupation of the inhabitants was entirely Agricultural; the proportion of Arable Land & Permanent Pasture is nearly equal, with 1,158 acres of Arable & 1,143 of Grass. The Main Roads in the Parish are the Upper & Lower Icknield Ways. The latter forms at this part of its Course the Main Road from Wycombe to Aylesbury and passes through Terrick End. The Upper Icknield Way wanders from the Main Road, running from Little Kimble Church to Wendover, through Ellesborough Village and the Hamlet of Butler’s Cross. The Parish is well watered by various Streams running Northwards; one of these turned the Ellesborough Watermill and another passes near Chalkshire. There are Springs to the North of Ellesborough Village, feeding a good-sized Pond, used for Watercress growing. Moats still exist at Grove Farm, where there is an old Dovecote, possibly of the 16thC, Terrick House, at which there are remains of 17thC work much modernised & Nash Lee Farm; there is also a Reservoir near Beacon Hill in the Southern part of the Parish. Between Nash Lee & Terrick House the Site of a Roman Villa has been discovered, and various British Coins have been found in the Parish. The nearest Railway Station is at Little Kimble on the Aylesbury Branch of the Great Western Railway. Wendover Station on the Metropolitan Extension Railway is 2-miles away. The Parish was Inclosed by an Act of Parliament for the Inclosure of the 3-Parishes of Great & Little Kimble & Ellesborough, the Award being dated 2nd May 1805.
The Monument includes a Medieval Moated Site with an associated Fishpond and the remains of a post-Medieval Dovecote at Grove Farm. The Moated Site includes a sub-oval Island measuring approximately 70M North to South with maximum dimensions of 46M East to West. The Island is contained by a Ditch, or Moat, which measures up to 16M wide and at least 2M in depth and of which only the Base is Waterlogged. An outer Bank, measuring some 6M wide & 0.5M in height is thought to represent Upcast from the Ditch. This is visible on the North & East sides of the Moat. The South Western corner of the Moat has been largely infilled, in order to provide access between the Island & the Farmyard to the South West. It is possible, however, that access to the Interior was originally provided by a narrow Causeway which crosses the Northern Arm of the Moat. About 6M to the North of the Moat is an extension to the Moat, which was possibly used as a Fishpond. This sub-square Pond, which measures approximately 24M wide, is marked on the 1805 Inclosure Map in its present form.
The remains of a square Flint & Brick Dovecote, 6M in width, stand on the Northern half of the Island. Three of the walls of the Roofless Building still stand to a height of more than 3M, whilst the 4th Wall is in a state of near total collapse. History puts a possible 16thC date on the Dovecote, but it is more likely to be contemporary with the late 17thC Seytons Manor immediately Southwest of the Moat. The Moat is likely to mark the original Site of a Manorial Holding under the Honour of Wolverton, probably sub-Infeudated (or divided) before 1166 and of which 1-Moiety was afterwards known as Seyton’s Manor or the Manor of Grove. The present late 17thC Seyton’s Manor may well represent the successor to a House on the Island.
House. 2 centre Bays are late 16thC, refronted early-18thC and rebuilt to rear early-19thC. 18thC extensions to each end and to front, forming U-Plan. 20thC alterations. Brick, old Tile Roofs, central rebuilt Chimney of thin Brick, another Chimney to right side with narrow pilaster. 2-Storeys, 4-Bays. 20thC Oak Mullion & Transom windows with Leaded Lights. Narrow Centre Bays have gauged Brick to Ground-floor, broken 1st-Floor band course & flush pilasters of gauged Brick flanking Upper Storey. Ground-floor has cross windows, the right more altered. Another cross window to 1st-Floor right. Central 20thC door with moulded Brick Pediment. Hipped Wing to right has Front end with moulded 1st-Floor band course and similar flush pilasters of gauged Brick, the other Brickwork partly irregular & altered. 2-light Casement to Ground-floor, 3-light above. 20thC Single-Storey Brick Extension projects from front right corner. Left Wing is Gabled to Front and has irregularly bonded Brickwork, 1st-Floor band course & Flint Plinth. Gable has 3-light windows with segmental Heads, and 20thC Door to Cellar. Blocked Cellar opening with depressed Brick Arch in right return wall.
Interior: Centre Bays have Timber Faming in end walls, and central Truss with curved Brace to Tie Beam; heavy chamfered Spine Beams with wide stop- chamfered Joists.
Before the Norman Conquest, the Township of Ellesborough was held in 3 parts, by Earl Harold, Baldwin the Man of Archbishop Stigand, & Levenot the Man of King Edward. The Land held by Earl Harold was assessed at 13½ hides and was called a Manor. At the Conquest, it was given to Ralph Talgebosch or Taillebois, but before the Domesday Survey was made he had exchanged it with Ansculf de Picquigny for half of Risborough at the King’s Command, and William Fitz Ansculf was the Tenant in 1086. The latter also held the Land of Baldwin but had enfeoffed Osbert as his sub-Tenant. Ralph Paganell became possessed of all the Lands of Fitz Ansculf, which formed the Honour of Dudley or Newport. He was succeeded by his son Gervase Paganell, who paid Feudal Dues for Lands in Buckinghamshire in 1190–1. Four years later, however, his Honour was in the hands of the King, but it afterwards passed to Ralph de Someri, the son of John de Someri, who had married Hawisia Paganell. The Someris held the Honour until the death of John de Someri in 1323 when his possessions were divided between his 2 sisters Margaret & Joan, and Ellesborough was assigned to the latter, who was the Widow of Thomas Botecourt. The overlordship appears to have lapsed after the Honour was broken up, and in the 15th century, this part of Ellesborough was held in Chief under the Honour or Castle of Nottingham.
In 1086 Ralph held the Manor of Ellesborough of William Fitz Ansculf, but its Descent in the following century is lost. At the close of the 12th century, however, it was in the hands of Richard son of William, but he, during the Civil Wars of the Reign of John, Granted it to William Cauntlow. A dispute arose between his Widow Geva and William Cauntlow in 1224 about her Dower. An Agreement had previously been made between them, but in spite of this, she brought a claim for a 3rd part of the Manor, which she obtained by the Judgement of the King’s Court. William Cauntlow died in 1239 and was succeeded by another William Cauntlow, who held the Manor as Mesne Lord till his death in 1251. He had been the close friend of Henry III, but this friendship was not extended to his son & heir William, whom the King treated with great harshness. He did homage for his Lands in the same year, 1251, but only survived his father a short time. His early death, which took place in 1254, was lamented by the Chronicler Matthew Paris, by whom he was described as ‘juvenis elegans et dives.’ His heir was his son George, who was either 2 or 3 years old at the time of his father’s death. George died just after reaching his Majority, and Ellesborough passed to Milicent, the elder of his 2 sisters & coheiresses. She had married 1st Eudo la Zouche, and afterwards John de Montalt.
Ellesborough passed to her son William la Zouche, and on his death in 1352 he was succeeded by his Grandson William la Zouche of Harringworth, who afterwards gave the Manor of Ellesborough to his 2nd son Thomas to hold in Demesne for life. The latter died seised in 1404, and the Manor reverted to his nephew William la Zouche, the son of his elder brother William. The reversion, however, had already been Granted by William la Zouche to Henry, Bishop of Lincoln, and other Feoffees in 1402, and William la Zouche made a further release of his Right in the Manor of Ellesborough to John Toly & William Glen, Clerks, 2 of the original Feoffees. At his death, however, in 1416, he was said to have enfeoffed Sir William de Roos of Hamelake and others, probably another set of Trustees, of the Manor; but only Thomas, Lord Berkeley, Thomas le Warr, and Robert Isham survived at that date. William la Zouche left a son William, in whose interest the Feoffments had probably been made. In 1430 the Manor appears to have been held by Thomas Bronus, Clerk, Roger Heron, Clerk, Robert Chatheley, John Barton the younger, & Thomas Compworth, but they then conveyed it to John Cotesmore, John Cheyne, & Others. Henry Chicheley, Archbishop of Canterbury, also released his right in the Manor to the new Feoffees. These numerous enfeoffments seem to cover a Transfer of the Manor between 1416 & 1430 from the Zouche Family to John Cheyne, who held it in 1432. Shortly afterwards, however, Cheyne enfeoffed Thomas Frowyk, Henry Frowyk, & William Walton, who held the Court of the Manor in 1442. Cheyne and his Feoffees next released the Manor to John Hampden of Kimble and Edward Brudenell on condition that they enfeoffed John Brekenok on his payment of a sum of money to Cheyne. Brekenok failed to pay at the appointed date, and Cheyne tried to recover the Manor from Hampden & Brudenell, who refused to relinquish it. Brekenok probably paid after a time and held the Manor till 1458, when he and his wife Quit-claimed it to John Heton, Edward Brudenell and Others for £200. Who was in actual Seisin at this time is very doubtful, but the Manor shortly afterwards must have passed to the Poles, since in 1479 Geoffrey Pole died Seised. His son Richard, who married Margaret daughter of the Duke of Clarence, inherited it. Their son Henry Pole, Lord Montagu, a Minor at his father’s death, had Livery of his Lands in 1513, but afterwards was attainted and executed, and his possessions reverted to the Crown in 1539–40. Henry VIII sold the Manor of Ellesborough to Sir John Baldwin, Lord Chief Justice of Common Pleas, for £623 18s 5½d.
From him, it descended to one of his 2 grandsons and heirs, Thomas Pakington, the son of Ann Baldwin & Robert Pakington. It was held by the Pakingtons, his descendants until it was bought in 1770 by Sir John Russell, who held the Manor of Chequers in Ellesborough. The Pakingtons claimed the Paramount Lordship in Ellesborough in the 18th century, but this claim was abandoned when a Farm in the Parish was bought of the Pakingtons by the Russell Family. The Manor of Ellesborough is now held by the Trustees of Mr Frankland-Russell-Astley, who has inherited the Estates of the Russells.
In the 13th century, the Manor of Ellesborough was held for a time by a younger branch of the Cauntlows. The 1st William Cauntlow or his son and heir, William, apparently sub-infeudated Nicholas the 2nd son, who was Seised in 1254. William, the son of Nicholas, succeeded him but Granted the Manor to his mother Eustachia & William de Ros her 2nd husband for life. He, however, was re-enfeoffed jointly with his wife Eva for their lives by Eustachia and her husband and held the Manor at his death in 1308. It then reverted to his mother and William de Ros for life. William Cauntlow’s heir was his son another William, but the latter died childless so that Nicholas his brother obtained the Manor on its reversion to the Cauntlows. Nicholas settled the Manor of Ellesborough on his wife Joan for life, with remainder to Nicholas his grandson and son of William Cauntlow and the heirs of his body. If these failed the further remainder was Granted to William brother of Nicholas with the same restrictions. Nicholas the grandson died without heirs of his body, and William obtained Seisin of the Manor. He died in 1376, his father William Cauntlow being his heir. The latter seems to have had no other children besides the 2 sons who had predeceased him, so that on his death the Manor reverted to the Zouches, as the Representatives of the elder branch of the Cauntlow Family.
William Cauntlow held the View of Frankpledge for his Moiety of the Parish of Ellesborough, but in 1254 the origin of his Right to do so was unknown. Probably, however, Richard son of William who had granted his father the Manor of Ellesborough had also held the View, and Cauntlow continued to do so without any definite Grant. The View was probably held by the Zouches and in the 15th century, the Feoffees of Sir John Cheyne held it, the Right afterwards coming to the Pakingtons in the 17th century. In the Reign of James I, Edward Brudenell obtained a Grant of a Court Leet and View of all his Tenants in Stoke Mandeville, Ellesborough, & Little Kimble, to be held twice a year, but probably the Ellesborough Tenants belonged to his Manor of Stoke Mandeville.
Appsley alias Apsley is 1st mentioned in a Charter of Roger de Hampton, Granting 5s Rent to the Abbey of Missenden, which William de la Merse paid him for land in ‘Aspeleia.‘ It presumably belonged to the Honour of Dudley, since in 1486–7 it was held of Geoffrey Pole, who then held the Manor of Ellesborough.
In 1247 William de Appesley brought an Action against the Abbot of Missenden concerning a Free Tenement and Rent in Ellesborough.
Another William de Appesley was the Plaintiff in a Fine for Lands and Rents in Ellesborough in 1316, but the Manor of Appesley is not definitely mentioned until 1486–7, on the death of Thomas Temple. His heir was his son William, a Minor. During the reign of Henry VIII, Francis Temple obtained possession of the Manor probably in succession to William. He was Seised in 1537 and made various Settlements for the use of himself and his wife Elizabeth and the heirs of their bodies. After his death, Elizabeth brought several Actions against Lessees of the Manor & Lands to recover Possession. It seems to have passed to one John Temple by 1575, and from him to Thomas Temple before 1584–5, since in that year Thomas, together with his wife Cecily, sold Appesley Manor to William Sheppard of Great Rollright, Oxon. It passed on his death in 1625 to his son William, whose descendants held the Estate until 1733, when William Sheppard sold it to William Ledwell. His son William Bridges Ledwell again sold the Manor of Appesley in 1792 to Sir Scrope Bernard, afterwards Sir Scrope Bernard Morland, Bart. At the beginning of the 19th century it had again been sold to James Humphreys, but it 1844 it was obtained by Mr Edward W Blanchard. In 1894 Lieut-Colonel Horwood of Walton Warren, Aylesbury purchased Appesley Manor Farm and was the recent Owner.
The reputed Manor of Mordaunts in the Parish of Ellesborough was held as a sub-Manor under the Cauntlows, and so belonged to the Honour of Dudley. In 1274–5 Lawrence de Brok died Seised of 6 Marks Rent, which he held of Nicholas Cauntlow.
His son and heir was Hugh de Brok, who held the same Rent in 1284–6. Hugh died before 1300 when his Widow Isabel Granted away certain Lands & Rents in Ellesborough for the term of her life. Another Lawrence de Brok, her son, held Tenements in Ellesborough, the Rents & Services from which he Granted to John de Bykton for 14-yrs, and in 1309 made a Settlement of 100s Rent in Ellesborough on himself & his wife Ellen.
His Lands descended to his granddaughter Helen, who married Edmund Mordaunt. The latter died Seised of Rents in Ellesborough in 1374, which were held of William Cauntlow; he was succeeded by his heir Robert, then a Minor. The Mordaunts presumably held this Rent in Ellesborough uninterruptedly during the 15thC, and in 1504 or 1505 Sir John Mordaunt held land in Ellesborough. He was raised to the Peerage as Baron Mordaunt of Turvey and was succeeded by his son and grandson in turn. In 1560 their possessions in Ellesborough were described as the Manor of Ellesborough, and this name was again used when Lewis the 3rd Lord Mordaunt sold it to William Hawtrey in 1571. It afterwards became known as the Manor of Mordaunts, and from the time that it passed to the Hawtreys was held with the Manor of Chequers (qv). The 1st Laurence de Brok held his Rent from Nicholas Cauntlow by the Service of a clove gillyflower (pink) paid annually, but in 1374 Edward Mordaunt held it by Military Service.
William Fitz Ansculf sub-infeudated the 1½-Hides of Land in Ellesborough that Baldwin had held before the Norman Conquest. They were Held at the time of the Domesday Survey by Osbert, who also Held the Manor of Great Hampden. This Land probably came into the possession of the Hampdens, the successors and possibly the Descendants of Osbert. In 1200 de Hinton paid 1-Mark to the King for a Judgement as to ½-Knight’s Fee in ‘Esseburg,’ which was apparently given in his favour against Michael Malherbe and his wife Mabel. Twenty-one years afterwards Robert de Pinkeny paid 1-Mark for a similar Suit as to 11 Virgates of Land against Roger de Hampton and his wife Mabel. Roger held Land in Ellesborough in 1240-1, but he had died before 1247, in which year his Widow claimed Land there as her Right. Whether this Roger was any relation to the main branch of the Hampden Family does not appear. He had Granted certain Land to the 1st William Cauntlow in 1228, and it seems possible that all the Land belonging to the Honour of Dudley became united under the Cauntlows.
The 3rd part of the Township was given after the Conquest to Maigno the Breton and was held by his descendants as ½ a Knight’s Fee belonging to their Barony of Wolverton (Bucks). It passed to his descendant Hamo son of Meinfelin who, in 1166, owed the Service of 15-Knights to the King. Hamo was succeeded by his son, known as Hamo son of Hamo, and the latter confirmed a Grant of Land in Ellesborough made to Missenden Abbey. On his death, his son William obtained his possessions but taking part with the Barons against King John he forfeited them for a time. He made his peace in 1216, paying a Fine to the King, and held the Barony of Wolverton till his death c.1248. In that year his brother & heir Alan son of Hamo did Homage to the King for his Lands, but in the same year the new Lord of Wolverton died and was succeeded by his son John son of Alan. John was the Overlord of this part of Ellesborough in 1254 and presumably held it till his death in 1271/2. It was amongst the Knights’ Fees assigned on Dower to his Widow Isabella, who married as her 2nd husband Ralph de Ardena. John, son of Alan’s heir at the time of his death was his son Richard a boy 5-yrs-old, but he seems to have died before he came of age and the Barony of Wolverton passed to his brother John. The Family at this time appear to have taken the surname of Wolverton. This John was a Knight in 1318 & died before 1342. He was succeeded by his son John de Wolverton & grandson Ralph de Wolverton. The latter, however, died while still a Minor, and the Barony was divided between his 2 sisters Margaret & Elizabeth. The former was betrothed at the time of her brother’s death to John le Hunte, and the Overlordship of Ellesborough was assigned to her. Her daughter & heiress Joan succeeded her and married John Longville, Inheritance by Courtesy after her death for his life, and then it passed to her son & heir George Longville. His descendants held her Moiety of the Honour of Wolverton until the 17thC, and in 1636 Sir Henry Longville held the Overlordship of ½-Knight’s Fee in Ellesborough among his other possessions belonging to the Manor of Wolverton.
In 1254 John son of Alan paid 3s a year to be Quit of Suit to the Shire & Hundred Courts and 2s for the Right to hold the View of Frankpledge for his Tenants at Ellesborough. No further mention of this View is made, but probably the Lords of the Barony of Wolverton held a View for all the Tenants of their Barony.
The Land held under the Honour of Wolverton was probably sub-Infeudated before 1166 and 1-Moiety of it was afterwards known as Seyton’s Manor or the Manor of Grove. William Brito held certain Land in Ellesborough shortly after that date, and may perhaps be identified with William son of Alan who was then one of the Knights of Hamo son of Meinfelin. William Brito Granted Land to Missenden Abbey in the time of Hamo son of Hamo. He seems to have been succeeded by Alan Brito, possibly his son, who died during the Reign of Richard I. A Lawsuit was held as to his Lands in Ellesborough between his nephew Simon de Maidwell, apparently his heir & William de Medmenham, who called to Warranty his wife Matilda, who in her turn called to Warranty Henry de Pinkeny; the last-named had, it was alleged, given the Land to Matilda’s father. The result of the Suit is not given, but Simon de Maidwell was one of the Parties to various Fines concerning Land in Ellesborough at the time, the last being in 1202. He also obtained a Grant of Free Warren in his Lands there from Henry III. He was succeeded by Alan de Maidwell, probably his son, who was the defendant in a Suit as to Land in Ellesborough, and about that time held a ¼-Knight’s Fee of the Barony of Wolverton. He is mentioned for the last time in 1241. Possibly he left a son Simon since in 1261 or 1262 Alice daughter of Simon de Maidwell recovered various Charters of Lands in Ellesborough, which had been kept by the Executor of her father’s Will. She was a Minor in the Wardship of Richard de Seyton of Maidwell, Northamptonshire.
He married his Ward, & her Land, which she held as the heiress of William Brito, passed to the Seyton Family. She died before 1284–6 and was succeeded by her son John de Seyton. He was at that time a Minor, and his Land was in the Wardship of Anthony de Bek. He was holding it himself in 1302 but had been succeeded before 1312 by Nicholas de Seyton. Nicholas died in or just before 1316, and his Manor passed to his son John de Seyton, who held it till his death. His son and heir John de Seyton did homage for his Manors to his Overlord in 1361/2. John made 2 Grants of the Manor of Grove to Feoffees, who were presumably Trustees for his Lands while he went to the Holy Land. He died at Jerusalem in 1396 and was succeeded by his son & heir John. The latter held the Manor till his death, which took place about 1436–7. His son Thomas de Seyton assigned it at that date in Dower to his father’s Widow Joan, but in 1446 he Granted the Manor of Grove to John Kempe, Cardinal & Archbishop of York, John Stopyngton, Thomas Kempe, and others. These Grantees in 1459 conveyed the Manor to Sir Ralph Verney & Robert Whittyngham and others, to the use of Ralph Verney his heirs & assigns. The Verneys held the Manor for about a 100-yrs, John Verney being Seised of the Manor in 1530 & Edmund Verney in 1553. It changed hands shortly afterwards and passed to Robert Hewster of Chalford, Oxon, who in 1564 conveyed it to Nicholas Eggleton. In 1579 the latter complained that his son & heir William had entered into the Manor and detained certain Deeds concerning it, but by 1596 Nicholas had recovered Seisin. In 1631 Christopher Eggleton was Lord of the Manor, and in that year settled it on his son Christopher on the marriage of the latter with Margaret daughter of Thomas Style. They were in Seisin in 1654 and were succeeded by Thomas Eggleton, whose daughter & heiress Amy married Sir Lyon Pilkington, Bart. The latter was Seised together with his wife in 1694, but they shortly afterwards, or possibly at that date, sold the Manor of Grove. Presumably, it passed into the hands of Alexander Horton ‘of the Grove‘ who died in 1715–16. William Horton shortly afterwards Held the Manor, but in 1735 he sold it to John Bristowe. Richard Bristowe Held it in 1768, but he or his heir sold it in 1798 to Sir John Russell, and from that time it has followed the Descent of the Manor of the Lords of Wolverton or from the de Maidwells & Seytons as Mesne Lords. The name of Chequers was probably derived from the name of the 1st Tenants. Helyas de Scaccario, or of the Exchequer, appears amongst the Witnesses to 2-Charters, one of which is dated 1187, to the Abbey of Missenden. Henry de Scaccario was the Plaintiff in several Lawsuits at the beginning of the 13thC and held a ¼-Knight’s Fee in Ellesborough of the Barony of Wolverton.
Henry de Scaccario had a son Ralph, whose daughter & co-heiress Catherine married William Hawtrey. In 1286 lands in Ellesborough were conveyed by William Hawtrey, Jr, to William Hawtrey, Sr & Katharine his wife. In 1383 William Hawtrey & in 1422 Richard Hawtrey, both appear in Charters referring to the Manor of Grove. In 1350 & 1439 the heir of Henry de Scaccario held a ¼-Knight’s Fee of the Barony of Wolverton, and as late as 1544 Thomas Hawtrey died seised of the Manor of Chequers, with Land & Tenements in Ellesborough. His heir was William his grandson, son of Thomas Hawtrey & Sibilla daughter & co-heiress of Richard Hampden of Kimble. The son of William Hawtrey died leaving 4 daughters, of whom the eldest, Mary, married Sir Francis Wolley. She probably inherited the Manor of Chequers, since a Settlement of the Manor was made in 1594 by William Hawtrey & Sir John Wolley. Mary died without children, and the Manor passed to her next sister Bridget, the wife of Sir Henry Croke. His son Sir Robert Croke was certified as a Delinquent during the Commonwealth, but he was said to have had no real Property in Ellesborough. In 1660, however, he was Seised of the Manor of Chequers, and on his death in 1680 the Manor passed to his daughters. Susan, the eldest, had married Samuel Wall, MD, but neither she nor the 3rd sister Isabella had children and Mary the 2nd sister obtained the whole Estate of Chequers. She married John Thurban, Serjeant-at-Law, and the Manor Descended to their daughter Johanna, who married 1st Colonel John Rivett. Her 3 sons, of whom the eldest, John Rivett, was a party to a Common Recovery in 1759, all died leaving no children and the Manor passed to their sister Mary Johanna, the wife of Colonel Charles Russell. Their son Sir John Russell, Bart, was Seised of the Manor in 1765. He died in 1783 and was succeeded by his 2 sons John & George in turn, but both died without direct heirs. On the death in 1804 of Sir George Russell, who had enlarged the Estates of his Family in the Parish of Ellesborough by various Purchases, Chequers passed under the Will of his father to his aunt, Mary Russell, with remainder to the Rev John Russell Greenhill.
The latter was a descendant of Elizabeth, the sister of Colonel Charles Russell. The Estate, however, was given up by them to Robert Greenhill, the son of John Russell Greenhill, who held it in 1813. He took the name of Russell in addition to Greenhill and was created a Baronet in 1831. On his death in 1837 Chequers passed to Sir Robert Frankland, Bart., a distant Kinsman of the Russells. He assumed the name of Russell, by Sign Manual, and on his death in 1849 left 5 daughters as his heiresses. Chequers came to the youngest, Rosalind, the wife of Colonel Astley, and she took the additional names of Frankland-Russell in 1872. On her death in 1900 she was succeeded by her son Bertrand Frankland-Russell Astley, who was Lord of the Manor till his death in 1904. Chequers was now in the hands of the Trustees of his son Henry Frankland-Russell-Astley, a Minor.
Chequers Court is situated in a small Valley in a position South-South-East of the Parish Church. The many small Hills by which it is surrounded and the Slopes & Spurs of the Chilterns forming the Park are thickly wooded with Beech Trees, interspersed with Larch, Holly, & Box. The present House dates from the end of the 15thC but is on the Site of an earlier Building of which no traces remain. The 15thC House appears to have consisted of a Central Block with 2 projecting Wings, the 4th side of the Court being probably formed by a Wall. In 1565 the Huse was much altered by Sir William Hawtrey, but the present North & East Fronts are apparently a part of the earlier Work, though re-decorated.
This House of Peace & Ancient Memories was given to England as a thank-offering for her deliverance in the Great War of 1914–1918 as a place of Rest & Recreation for her Prime Ministers forever.
The West Wing was completely rebuilt by Sir George Russell towards the end of the 18thC, and the South Front was at the same time much altered, while both Fronts were Stuccoed & Gothicisd in the approved manner of that date. small Wing with a Clock Tower was added, a little later, at the Southwest. Considerable alterations were made during the 19thC, and a good deal of Oak Panelling is said to have been cleared out. In more recent years, however, the House has been restored to something approaching its original Form. The Gables which had been Battlemented have been restored & the Stucco almost completely cleared off. Mullioned windows have also been inserted in place of some of the 18thC Sashes & the Court has been covered in to form a Hall.
The Library is a large Gallery occupying the greater part of the West Wing, and though altered in the 18thC retains its Mullioned windows. Over the Bay window appear the Croke Arms. Over the Drawing-Room Bay, a part of the 16thC work, appear the Hawtrey Arms and the initials AH & WH, with the date 1565. The House contains many Pictures of great interest & a large collection of Cromwellian relics, including some of the Protector’s Clothes, his Sword, Jack-boots, etc, and several Contemporary Portraits.
Ellesborough Golf Club
The Club was founded in 1906 & a 9-Hole Course, designed by Willie Park Jr twice a Winner of the Open Championship, was formally opened on 13th October 1906 by the drive of the 7th Earl of Buckinghamshire, the Club’s 1st President. This took place on what is now the 7th hole which at that time was the par 3, 1st adjacent to the original Clubhouse, a delightful Charles II Farmhouse. The original 9-Holes, leased from the Chequers Estate, were redesigned in 1924 by the well-known Course Architect H S Colt to more or less the current design including the addition of Bunkers, none having been included in the original Design. In 1930 52 acres of Land were purchased on the North side of the Wendover to Princes Risborough Road enabling a further 9-Holes to be added. These were opened in 1933 to the design of James Braid, 5 times Open Winner. Ellesborough Golf Club Ltd was incorporated at that time to be the Freehold Owners of the Land. Interestingly it wasn’t until 1960 that the Land on which the original 9-Holes stand was purchased from the Chequers Estate. The Course, located on the Chiltern Escarpment, is dominated by Coombe Hill on which stands the Monument erected after the Boer War to Honour the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. The Monument is the highest point for many miles around and the local adage to ‘putt towards the Monument’ is invariably sound advice. Eventually, the original Clubhouse became too small to accommodate increasing Membership so it was sold as a Private House, which it still is, after the present Clubhouse was opened in 1965.
Because of the Club’s Historic Association with Chequers, Honorary Membership is enjoyed by the Prime Minister of the day and Courtesy of the Course extended to any of his Guests staying at Chequers. A recent Visitor is former US President Bill Clinton. In earlier days both Clement Atlee & Harold Wilson regularly played the Course and both became Members after their Premiership ended.