Saunderton Parish

Santesdone, Santesdune (11thC); Santerdon (13thC); Sauntdresdone (14thC).

Lodge Hill Looking NE

The Monument includes a small, well preserved Bronze Age Bowl Barrow situated near the Summit of Lodge Hill, a prominent Knoll rising from the Valley floor between Bledlow Ridge and Hemley Hill.  The circular Mound has a diameter of c.14M and stands to a height of 0.8M.  There is no evidence for an encircling quarry Ditch, and it is thought that the Mound was created by gathering turf and soil from the surrounding Hillside. The Barrow forms part of an extensive group of similar Monuments extending along the Valley to the South West as far as Bradenham, and including 2 Bell Barrows located on the northern side of Lodge Hill, some 500m to the North West. This alignment is thought to reflect the route of a Prehistoric Trackway traversing the Valley Floor to the West of Lodge Hill and leading towards Wain Hill on the northern edge of the Chiltern Escarpment.  It is probably no coincidence that later Settlements flank this Route, including an Iron Age Settlement on the Southern slopes of Lodge Hill and a Roman Villa some 700M further to the South.

Saunderton is a long, narrow Parish, miles from end to end and with its greatest width of less than a Mile in the Centre.  Its area covers nearly 1,725 acres, including 1,111 acres of Arable Land and 178 of Permanent Pasture.  There are no Woods or Plantations. The slope of the land varies between 348ft above the Ordnance Datum on the Road near the Church and 687ft at Lodge Hill on the Western Boundary.  The soil is light and shallow, the subsoil rubble and Chalk.  There is a Chalk-pit to the South-east of Lodge Hill. The chief crops were wheat, barley, peas, beans and oats. Both the Watlington and Wycombe Branches of the joint line of the Great Western and Great Central Railways cross the North of the Parish, and the latter Branch traverses 2 of its Eastern sections and has a Station in the extreme South-east.  Between them runs the Lower Icknield Way; the Upper Icknield Way lies 1½ miles further South.  Close to the Station is the Wycombe Union Workhouse. The small Village of Saunderton lies miles to the North-West of the Station and halfway between them is a small Hamlet called Saunderton Lee, which includes the Grange.  The reason for the decline of a once flourishing Community is lost.  There were originally 2 Churches in Saunderton, with the ascriptions to St Mary and St Nicholas respectively, but the latter appears to have been allowed to fall into decay from the middle of the 15th century (see Advowson), and its site is not ascertainable.  It is supposed, from the human remains which have been dug up there, to have stood to the Westward of the present Church at a place called Great Saunderton.  After its decline, the remaining Church of St Mary was henceforward known as St Mary & St Nicholas.

Saunderton Rectory etched by Laurence Davies 19thC Artist

The Rectory, formerly a Farmhouse, about ½ a mile to the South-east of the Church, is an 18th-century building with a 17th-century Wing and a Stable and Barn of the latter date.  Some fragments of 14th & 15th-century window Tracery from the Church are now in the Garden.

The Old Rectory Today

The Rectory, ½ mile South East of the Church, is an 18th-century building, with a late 17th-century South Wing of 2-Storeys, formerly a Farmhouse.  The Wing is of 2-Storeys, built of red bricks with some blue headers; the roof is tiled and half-hipped at the South end; South of the Centre is a square Chimney Stack.
Interior:—Two rooms have wide Fireplaces, partly blocked, and there are some original doors with L-shaped hinges. A Stable and Barn South East of the House are also of late 17th-century date.  The Stable is of brick, with an open joist ceiling; the Barn is Timber-framed and weather-boarded, on a brick plinth. In the Garden are some fragments of 14th & 15th-century window tracery, which came from the Church.  Condition—Good.

There is no Manor-House. The last mention of one that could be found at the end of the 18th century was in a Will dated 1610.


Frogmore Farm, Oddley Lane, about a ¼ of a mile West of the Church, is an interesting example of a mid-15th-century House, which, though altered about 1600 and subsequently added to, retains much of the original massive Timber construction, including the Roof to the Hall.
House, now 3 Tenements, at Frogmore Farm, a ¼ mile West of the Church, is of 2-Storeys, Timber-framed, with infilling of brick, partly in herringbone-pattern, and some wattle and daub, probably original. The overhanging Upper Storey has been partly under-built with brick; the corner-posts, wall-posts and other Timbers are unusually large. The Roofs are tiled.  The House was built probably in the middle of the 15th century, and much altered c.1600. The plan is L-shaped, the Hall Wing extending towards the South and the Solar Wing towards the West.  The Hall Wing is in 3-Bays of irregular length; an Upper Floor, a Partition and a Fireplace were inserted in it c.1600. The Solar Wing is in 3-Bays, and is now divided into 4 rooms; a Passage was added on the Southside c.1600; there appears to be no trace of a Kitchen Wing, but later additions make this uncertain. The East and West Elevations of the Solar Wing are Gabled, and the Gables have heavy Tie-beams, Collar-beams and Studs; on the East the Upper Storey projects and is carried on beams. The Hall Wing is Gabled at the South end.

Interior:—Remains of the open Timber Roof of the Hall are visible; one Truss, now in a room on the 1st-Floor, has a cambered and moulded Tie-beam, with curved bracketing, and is carried on wall-posts with small moulded capitals; the Collar-beam and Purlins have curved Wind-braces; the intermediate is a single chamfered Beam with bracketed Wall-posts. Several rooms have Fireplaces with rough deep openings, some of them partly filled in.
The Outbuildings which surround the Farmyard East of the House are of uncertain date.  Condition—Poor.

The Old Farmhouse
House: Late 15thC, altered c.1600 and later. Timber-frame with brick infill, the Front Gable with repointed herringbone and patterned infill.  Tiled roofs, the Right side of Cross Wing with old tiles.  A chimney of thin brick to the left of Front Gable.  Irregular T-plan with 2-bay Hall to left and 3-Bay Cross Wing to Right.  2-Storeys.  Barred wooden casements, mostly 20thC. Hall has 4-light Casement to Ground Floor Left with 2-light Casement in Gabled eaves-line Dormer above.  Right Bay has single Light to the left and 2 paired Casements to 1st- Floor.  20thC Door to right with 20thC tiled lean-to Porch. Cross Wing has weatherboarded Gable, Upper Storey Jettied on Beam ends, and 3-light Casements.  Lean-to along the left side of Cross Wing in Rear angle with Hall.  20thC Single-Storey extensions to the far end of Cross Wing and to the left of Hall, the latter with Flat Roof.
Interior: Hall has fine central Truss with Moulded Tie-beam on Curved Braces and Arch-braced Collar above. Right Bay of the Hall is sub-divided by a Truss with chamfered Tie-beam on Curved Braces, the left part of the Bay probably once a Smoke Bay; now with a Chimney inserted c.1600.  Arched Wind-braces in Roof.  The Floor also inserted c.1600, the main Left Bay with large stop-chamfered Spine Beam. Cross Wing has original 15thC Floors with heavy plain Joists, the Front Bay a Parlour with large Chamfered Cross-Beam. The room above has subsidiary central Truss with Arch-braced Collar and Arched Wind-braces.

Frogmore Farm – Cottages
Two houses. 17thC, altered late 19th-20thC. Walls much rebuilt in brick, roughcast and whitewashed.  Old Tile Roof rebuilt central Chimney.  3-Bay Range with slightly projecting Cross Wing to Right, the Front Bay of Cross wings rebuilt 1897.  2-Storeys and Attic.  Various 3-light Wooden Casements, Gabled 19th-20thC Porch to Right in the angle between Wings, 20thC lean-to Porch at left end. Attic window in left Gable. Interior retains some Timber Framing in walls, main Trusses, and slender Wind-braces.

To the North-east of the Church is Saunderton Mill, which was both a Steam and Watermill.  The Bledlow Paper-Mill stands in the North of the Parish.

Near Slough Glebe Farm, in the South, are 2 Tumuli, which were opened in 1858, but nothing was discovered, and at Lodge Hill, about 1½ miles Northwest, are 2 more and a line of entrenchment. Near the Church is an almost effaced Mount & Bailey Castle which has one Bailey on the South-east, since converted into a Moated Site, and vestiges of another at the North-west of the Mount. On the borders of Horsenden Parish is a Homestead Moat in Roundabout Wood.   Saunderton was inclosed in 1806.

The Roman Villa at Saunderton lies just South-west of Princes Risborough, only 1½ miles (c. km) south-east of the ancient Icknield Way Trade Route, on a hillside in the shadow of the Chiltern Hills, just above the point where natural Springs erupt from the Hillside.  Excavations shortly before the advent of the Second World War proved the earliest occupation of the site during the early-2nd century when a single building of several rooms was built, featuring a channelled hypocaust and a Corn-drying Oven, this original dwelling was replaced in the late-3rd century by 3 large Rooms.  The Corn-drier Furnace was of the “Double-T” design, 1st used in the 2nd century, but was filled-in by the beginning of the 3rd.  Although a single building of the so-called “Corridor-Villa” type was unearthed by the excavations of 1938, aerial photographs taken after WWII appeared to show 2 wings of a Courtyard-style House on the Site, along with a rectangular Enclosure a few 100ft to the North.  Other substantial Romano-British buildings have been uncovered a little way to the West at Wainhill.

The following place-names have been found in this Parish: Chawley Farm (17thC); Budnam and Great Wyldy (18thC).

Manors – The term Manor, already used in Saxon times, might include one or more Hamlets.
In 1086 the Bishop of Bayeux held a Manor in Saunderton assessed at 5 hides, which was later known as Saunderton or Saunderton St Mary.  Before 1235 it appertained to the Honour of Leicester, and so passed to the Duchy of Lancaster, the last reference to this Overlordship that has been found occurring in 1650.  In 1086 the Bishop of Bayeux had sub-infeudated his land in Saunderton to Roger, who was also his Tenant in Weston Turville, to which Manor Saunderton become Appurtenant.  This intermediary Lordship is last mentioned in 1361.

Robert son of Osbert de Saunderton was holding in Saunderton in the middle of the 12th century.  Before 1215 Osbert de Saunderton was Tenant of the Manor of Saunderton St Mary and was still alive in 1247William de Saunderton, probably his son, was Holding before 1289 and was incapacitated by age for the Office of Coroner for the County in 1308.  Alexander de Saunderton had succeeded before 1329.  Another Alexander de Saunderton was holding in 1346 and was returned to Parliament for the County in that year.  By Licence 2 years later he made a settlement of this Manor on his sons William, John and Alexander in Tail-male.  It remained in his Family until 1452, when William Saunderton and his wife Agnes conveyed it to John Brecknock, Edmund Brudenell and others.  They demised it in 1459 to John Stocker and others, who transferred it in 1462 to William Tybert and John Wild.  They Granted this Manor before 1474 to Sir John Leynham alias Plomer and his wife Margaret.  He died in 1479, and Margaret sold the Manor to Sir John Donne.  He bequeathed it to his wife Elizabeth for life, with reversion to their son Edward,  who had succeeded in 1506.  He was Knighted in 1513, and on his death in 1551  Sir Thomas Jones, who had married Elizabeth only daughter and heir of Sir Edward Donne, held the manor for his life.  He died in 1559, leaving 2 co-heirs, Anne wife of John Cotton and Frances wife of Ralph Lee.  By mutual agreement, Saunderton Manor passed to the Lees.

Lord Dormer Azure 10 billets or and a chief or with a demi-lion sable therein

Frances died in 1572 and her husband in 1578.  Their son and heir Edward Donne Lee conveyed this Manor in 1593 to Sir Robert Dormer, afterwards 1st Lord Dormer.  Robert Dormer, 3rd son of Lord Dormer, was in possession in 1625, and the Manor has descended in his Family, his grandson Charles succeeding his cousin Rowland as Lord Dormer in 1712.  Rowland 13th Lord Dormer was the recent owner.  The profits of the Courts Leet and Baron of the Manor of Saunderton St Mary were 13s 4d. in 1650, and the ‘certainty money‘ formerly paid to the Steward for the use of the Lord was 2s 6d.

In 1086 a 2nd Manor assessed at 5 hides in Saunderton, afterwards distinguished as that of Saunderton St Nicholas, was held by Miles Crispin.  It belonged to the Honour of Wallingford,  and later to the Honour of Ewelme. The last mention in this connexion that has been found occurs in 1673.

Osbert was Tenant under Miles Crispin in Saunderton in 1086.  Before 1215 Roger de Sanford was holding Saunderton St Nicholas, and continued to do so until his death about 1235, when it was divided among his heirs.  They appear to have been Emma wife of William Beauchamp, Joan wife of Henry Dayrell and Maud wife of John, ‘medicus,’ who were Plaintiffs in a Suit in 1236.  That part assigned to Emma and her husband William Beauchamp was sometimes called Saunderton Manor and afterwards Cheynes Manor and descended with Drayton Beauchamp (qv), of which William Beauchamp was Lord, for over 200 years.  It was granted with Drayton Beauchamp to Thomas Cheyne in 1364 and descended in his Family, Sir John Cheyne being mentioned as Lord in 1445.  Before 1459 it had passed to John Breckneck, and from this date descended with Saunderton St Mary (qv), being last mentioned by name in 1723.  The Crown seems to have retained Rights in the Manor, which was Leased in 1601 and 1602, the Grants evidently proving ineffective.  It seems to have renounced these Rights in 1603 to Sir Robert Dormer.

The 2nd share in the Manor of Saunderton St Nicholas was presumably held by Henry and Joan Dayrell in 1236. He was Sheriff of Middlesex in 1246 and died soon afterwards.  His son Henry was Holding in 1302 and in 1308 obtained a Licence to alienate to John de Foxley, his wife Constance, and to John’s heirs. A Grant of Free Warren in this Estate was made to John de Foxley in 1317.  He died about 1323, when his lands were taken into the King’s hands but restored to Constance in 1325 for her life. Thomas son and heir of John de Foxley was holding in 1346.  His lands in Saunderton presumably escheated to the Crown and were included in the Grant of land to the value of 100 Marks made from the Honour of Wallingford to Sir John de la Hay in 1377,  and inspected and confirmed in the following year.  He was Holding in Saunderton in 1379, and the Estate remained in his Family for over 100 years, for early in the 16th century it had descended to Joan wife of Thomas Botery and daughter and heir of Edward de la Hay.  Before 1515 Thomas and Joan Botery brought a Suit in Chancery against Sir Ralph Verney for the recovery of Deeds relative to their lands in Saunderton, but no later mention of them has been found.

The 3rd share resulting from the division of the Manor of Saunderton St Nicholas in 1235 came to be known as Bromes, Bromys or Browns Manor.  Maud wife of John, ‘medicus,’ in 1236 was presumably 3rd co-heir of Roger de Sanford.  She is called Maud Mire in 1247–8Ralph Brown, probably her son by a former marriage, was Holding before 1300.   John Brown, mentioned in 1356,  who married Maud widow of Alexander de Saunderton (see Hedgerley), sold this Manor in 1374–5 to Robert Braybrook and others.  One of these, William Borstall, released his Right in it to Sir Gerard Braybrook the elder in 1389.  It probably remained in the Braybrook Family until the death of Sir Gerard Braybrook without heirs Male in 1432, and by 1459 was in the possession of John Brecknock and others.  It thus came under the same Ownership as Saunderton St Mary and follows the same Descent. It is last mentioned as a distinct Manor in 1749.

In 1086 there were 3 Mills in Saunderton, one on the Manor of Saunderton St Mary, the other 2 on that of Saunderton St Nicholas.

Thame Abbey held lands in Saunderton, afterwards called Saunderton Grange, Granted to it in Free Alms late in the 12th century by Robert de Saunderton for 2 silver Marks and a horse-load (summa) of Oats and for 40d paid to his wife.  At the Dissolution, this Estate was in the Tenure of Thomas Winter.  It was Granted in 1542 to the Dean and Canons of Christ Church, Oxford, a Grant which was confirmed in 1546.  They have since retained it, their Lessee in 1806 being Richard Brigginshaw.  Mrs Schobell, who purchased the Lease from John Brigginshaw in 1830,  was holding it in 1862 for £2 4s 4½d yearly and the price (regulated by the Oxford Market) of 1 quarter 5 bushels of wheat, 1 Peck of Malt and 2 Capons, amounting in all from £25 to £30.


FOT1234719In March 1913 when suspected suffragettes burned Saunderton Station to the ground. Placards reading “Votes for Women” and “Burning to get the Vote” were left on the platform.  There was also a notable protest in Aylesbury in 1912 in which a suffragette, Miss Elizabeth Annie Bell, threw a stone at a window at the Prison in Bierton Road. As a result, she was the only Suffragette to be tried in Buckinghamshire, appearing in Court in Aylesbury where she was sentenced to 2 months in Prison.  The Suffrage Movement was led in High Wycombe by Dame Frances Dove, a former Councillor who was Headmistress of Wycombe Abbey School.  She was willing to stand up for her Rights and during her Campaign, she almost became the 1st Female Mayor of the Town of High Wycombe in 1908.


“What is now the Northbound Line was opened in 1862 as a single line Branch from Maidenhead via High Wycombe, then Princes Risborough and Thame to Oxford.  Soon after 1900, the section from High Wycombe to Princes Risborough was doubled to form part of the GWR‘s new shortcut to Birmingham. The climb to Saunderton Summit was steeper going South, so to ease the ascending Gradient to Mainline Standards the Summit was lowered, which necessitated the Tunnel.”

Wycombe Union Workhouse, Saunderton, Buckinghamshire

Bradenham held the prettiest Garland Day for miles around on May Day. The Garland of fresh flowers was always made by Mrs Brown, the wife of the Keeper of the Woods, who only earned £1 a week to keep a Wife and Family of 7 children.  On Garland Day, all the children wore their most colourful clothes and after the May Revels went out singing, 1st to the Manor House and then to the Workhouse at Saunderton.  We also danced around a Maypole at the Fete held in the Manor Grounds every Summer.

Mount & Bailey Castle, near the Church, now almost obliterated, the Mount being scarcely visible. There are slight traces of a Bailey North-West of the Mount; a stronger Bailey on the South-East has been converted into a Moated Site.  Condition—Much denuded and altered.

Homestead Moat, in Roundabout Wood, mile North of the Church.

Tumuli, 2, near Slough Farm, 2 miles South South East of the Church, opened in 1858 without result.
Tumuli, 2, and a Line of Entrenchment, at Lodge Hill, 1 mile South South West of the Church.

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