The Parish of Halton lies on the Northern Slopes of the Chiltern Hills, and comprises 1,455¾ acres. It is Well wooded, particularly on the higher and Southern parts, about 57% of the total area being Woodland. The highest point, about 800ft. above the Ordnance Datum, is in Halton Wood, but in the Northern part of the Parish the land lies for the most part between 300ft & 400ft above the Ordnance Datum.
The Wendover Branch of the Grand Junction Canal crosses the Parish near the Village of Halton, but there are no natural Streams of any size in the Parish. The most important road passing through the Parish is the Upper Icknield Way. The Village lies on a Crossroad running between the Upper & Lower Icknield Ways, joining the latter near Weston Turville Village. The nearest Station is at Wendover, 2 miles distant, on the Metropolitan Extension Railway. The people were mainly occupied in Agriculture, There were Gas-Works on the Grand Junction Canal. The principal Building in the Parish was the great modern house of Mr Alfred de Rothschild.
Halton House, a country house in the style of a French Chateau, which is currently used as the Main Officers’ Mess for RAF Halton. It was originally built for Alfred de Rothschild in 1880. The RAF demolished its domed Winter Garden to build an accommodation block.
The Manor of Halton seems to have been in the possession of the Monastery of Christchurch, Canterbury, in the latter part of the 10th century. A tradition names Queen Edith as the 1st Donor of the Manor in 959, but there seems to be no documentary evidence of such a Grant. Possibly it came into the hands of the Monastery at the same time as Monks Risborough, which certainly belonged to Christchurch before 995. There are charters concerning land in Halton of Archbishop Æthelnoth about 1033, and Archbishop Eadsige between 1045 & 1052. Both were dated from Monks Risborough and related to the Gift of Land at Halton by one Tobriges, who gave it after his death to Christchurch. In the time of Edward the Confessor the Manor came into the possession of Earl Leofwine, who probably had no Right to it, for the Family of Godwine were accused of despoiling the Church of its Lands. Archbishop Lanfranc apparently held the Manor after the Norman Conquest, but there was no distinction made at that time between the Lands of the Archbishop and the Lands of the Monastery. The Restitution of Halton was probably obtained before 1074, and as the King gave it without demanding any price, the claim of the Monastery must have been strong.
In the division of the Lands between the Archbishop and the Monks under Lanfranc, Halton went to the Monastery, and the Prior held the Manor in Chief of the King in Frankalmoign until the Dissolution, when it was worth £21 14s 4½d a year. In 1541 Henry VIII Granted it to the newly-formed Chapter of Canterbury in Frankalmoign, but 4 years later they were forced to make an exchange of Lands with the King, and it was sold to Henry Bradshawe to hold as 1/40th of a Knight’s Fee for 800 Marks. He probably belonged to the Family of Bradshawe of Wendover. There is a Brass in Wendover Church to William Bradshawe, who died in 1537, giving a list of his 9 children and 23 grandchildren, and it is possible that Henry Bradshawe was his eldest son. Henry was a member of the Inner Temple, and served as Reader, Treasurer, & Governor of the Society.
The Medieval Inns of Court, which included Lincoln’s Inn & Gray’s Inn as well as the Inner Temple & Middle Temple, were organised on the same basis as the Colleges at Oxford & Cambridge Universities, offering Accommodation to Practitioners of the Law and their Students and Facilities for Education & Dining. The term ‘Inns of Court‘ seems to have been adopted on account of the Hospitality offered to those Associated with the Law Courts. By the end of the 16th century, the Inns had largely developed into their present form, governed by an elected Treasurer & Council of Benchers, administered by a salaried Sub-Treasurer and his Staff. They called qualified practitioners to the Bar, as Barristers with a Monopoly to plead in the Central Law Courts. The Inns of Court, which taught English Common Law, developed the 3 Levels of Membership still in use today: Masters of the Bench (or Benchers), elected from amongst the eminent Members of the Profession; Barristers, qualified to Practise on Call to the Bar; and Bar Students. The Inns also appoint Honorary Benchers, Academic Benchers & Royal Benchers.
The 16th century was an age of expansion for the Inner Temple and new buildings were constructed to accommodate its growing Membership, although not all the Students joining at this time intended to pursue a Legal Career. The Great Fire of London of 1666 destroyed many of the Inner Temple buildings and a series of subsequent Fires and 20th century War damage were responsible for further losses. The Hall, Treasury Office, Benchers’ Rooms & Library were all reconstructed after WW2. However, the best preserved Chambers Buildings in the Inner Temple, which date from the 17th century, can be found in the fine Terrace at the East end of the Site, known as King’s Bench Walk after the King’s Bench Office which was based there until the 19th century.
Another important Inn, Serjeants’ Inn, was dissolved in 1877 and its Assets were, controversially, distributed amongst the existing members. The Membership of the Inn had consisted of a small class of Senior Barristers called Serjeants-at-Law, who were selected from the Members of the other 4 Inns and had exclusive Rights of Audience in certain Courts. Their pre-eminence was affected by the new Rank of Queen’s Counsel, which was Granted to Barristers who were not Serjeants. The Serjeant’s privileges were withdrawn by the Government in the 19th century, no more Serjeants were appointed, and they eventually died out. The area known as Serjeants’ Inn, one of 2 Sites formerly occupied by the Serjeants, the other being in Chancery Lane, was purchased by the Inner Temple in 2002.
Henry Bradshawe became Solicitor-General in 1540, Attorney-General 5 years later, and in 1552 Chief Baron of the Exchequer. Very little is known about him beyond the outlines of his career. He was Chief Baron till the end of the Reign of Edward VI, and Witnessed that King’s Will in favour of Lady Jane Grey. He died a few weeks after the accession of Mary in 1553, and so escaped removal from his Office or further disgrace. According to his Will the Manor passed to his Widow Joan during the Minority of his heir, and she was in Seisin in 1562. His heir was his son Benedict, who was a Minor at the time of his father’s death. He only survived him a few months, and the reversion of the Manor passed to his 2 sisters, Christiane the wife of Thomas Winchcombe, and Bridget the wife of Henry White. Christiane died in 1557, and her husband came into possession of her Moiety of the Manor and held it till his death in 1574 when her son Benedict Winchcombe succeeded him. Benedict Winchcombe had, however, Quit-claimed the Manor in his father’s lifetime to his aunt Bridget, Benedict Bradshawe’s other co-heiress, and her 2nd husband Thomas son of Richard Fermor, a Merchant of the Staple of Calais, who settled at Easton Neston (Northants).
Thomas, though a younger son, inherited the Estate of his uncle at Summertown & Tusmore, Oxon, besides holding the greater part of the Bradshawe Estates. He represented the Borough of Wycombe in 1562–3, but does not seem to have been a Member in later Parliaments. He died before his wife, and at her death the Manor of Halton passed to their son and heir Richard, a child of 3. After attaining his Majority, he settled the Manor in 1598 upon Sir Francis Wolley and his wife Mary, with contingent remainder to Lady Elizabeth Egerton, the mother of Sir Francis. On the death of Sir Francis in 1601 Halton reverted to Sir Richard Fermor, who was holding it in 1641. Henry Fermor, presumably the son and heir of Sir Richard, was a Papist and had to compound in 1647 for £556 for his Reversionary Estate in Halton. A Settlement was made of the Manor in 1656 between Henry Fermor and a younger Richard, presumably his son and heir, and in 1671 Henry Fermor bought from Lord Hawley and other Trustees for the Sale of Rents belonging to the Crown the Fee-Farm Rent of 40s 7½d due from the Manor of Halton. Richard Fermor succeeded Henry before 1678, in which year he leased the Manor for 99 years, probably in Mortgage, to Sir Thomas Crewe, Edmund Verney, Ralph Sheldon, Basil Drake, & Ambrose Holbech, for whom presumably the last-named acted, as his name appears in a Settlement of the Manor made in 1684, and he Presented to the Rectory, which was leased at the same time.
Halton passed to Henry Fermor before 1684, and to his son James before 1719. In the next year James Fermor sold the Manor with its appurtenances and a Watermill to Francis Dashwood, afterwards Sir Francis Dashwood, Bart, whose descendants held it for more than a 100 years, and his grandson, Sir John Dashwood King, lived at Halton Manor House, but after his death it was unoccupied for some time. The Manor was sold either by his Executors or by his son George Dashwood in 1851 to Baron Lionel de Rothschild, and Mr Alfred de Rothschild was the recent Lord of the Manor.
The Prior & Convent of Christchurch obtained a Grant of Free Warren in their Demesne Lands in Halton from King Edward II in 1316, and the Grant was afterwards confirmed by Edward III & Henry VI. In the latter Charter, reference is made to a Charter of Henry II, Granting Warren in the Lands of the Church of Holy Trinity, Canterbury, in Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire, so that the Monks of Christchurch had presumably exercised the privilege long before the Grant of Edward II. The Prior also claimed to hold the view of Frankpledge in Halton, and to have Waifs and the Chattels of Felons & Fugitives, and was Quit of Suit to the Shire & Hundred Courts for himself and his men. When his Privileges were challenged by Edward I, he quoted a Charter of William the Conqueror to Archbishop Anselm with a long list of Ancient Privileges. He also claimed to have his own Gallows, Tumbril, & Pillory, but it was said that neither Tumbril or Pillory existed at Halton. No privileges are mentioned in the Grant to Henry Bradshawe nor in documents relating to the Fermors’. In 1786, however, George Dashwood claimed certain general privileges in the Manor, and presumably, both the Fermors & Dashwoods held the view of Frankpledge.
A piece of Land in Halton appears to have been Parcel of the Honour of Gloucester in the 14th & 15th centuries. Presumably, it had formed part of the Lands of Walter Giffard, Earl of Buckingham, many of which descended to the Earls of Gloucester, and from them to the Earls of Stafford, who were the Overlords of a Knight’s Fee, or part of a Fee, in Halton in the 14th century. In 1386 John Hampden was the Tenant of this Land, and may presumably be identified with the John Hampden who inherited Upton Manor in Great Kimble in 1377. His heir is mentioned in 1460, but this Land in Halton is not again referred to.