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Ken's Trail

When cousins from the States or Australia visit us in Chorleywood we go for a drive around the historic villages of Bucks. visiting many places where the ancestors lived. The tour has extended somewhat over the years so those who have been round it may not have been to all the places. It is a circular tour going anti-clockwise.


The 15th century church (restored by the Victorians) has the Bedford Chapel of 1556 attached which is considered to be the richest single storehouse of funeral monuments in any parish church in England, with Bedford family monuments from the 16th century onwards. I play the organ there for weddings and special services.

Chenies Church
Chenies Church

Photo: Mr Don Goodearl, New Hampshire.

The adjacent Manor House, built about 1530, was visited by King Henry VIII and of course Queen Elizabeth 1st slept there. We can only visit occasionally as it is only open two afternoons a week.

Chenies Manor
Chenies Manor

Photo: Mr Don Goodearl, New Hampshire.


The wide High Street has buildings going back to the 15th century but is mainly 17th and 18th. In the centre is the Town Hall of 1682. The first house has a warning for musicians!

Amersham Foundation Stone
Amersham Town Hall

Warning notice
Warning to musicians.

photo: Ms Gail Goodearl, Massachusetts.

The Victorian Methodist Chapel is rather out of place among such ancient buildings but has foundation stones laid by my great-aunts Mrs.Benjamin & Mrs.Henry Goodearl.

Amersham Chapel
Amersham Chapel


This delightful church is basically Anglo-Saxon about 1000 years old with Norman and 14th century additions. Fortunately the Victorians did little harm here. There is an exquisite wall painting of Saint Christopher from the late 13th century. I play the organ here once a month.

Little Missenden Church
Little Missenden Church


We descend to the Vale of Aylesbury from the top of the Chilterns at Pulpit Hill where there is an Iron Age fort. In June some fields there are purple with a carpet of wild orchids.

Pulpit Hill
Sheep grazing 'The Rifle Range' below Pulpit Hill.
The ditch surrounding the Fort is among the trees on top of the very steep hill.

Ellesborough Church and the Chiltern Hills
Balloons over and Ellesborough Church beneath the edge of the Chiltern Hills.


Ancestor William's mother Mary Blackwell was born here and christened in the old church which has a splendid medieval painted rood screen. There are several thatched cottages nearby.

Monks Risborough Church Rood Screen
Monks Risborough Church Rood Screen.

Photo: Mrs Julie Lee, Canberra.

Monks Risborough cottages
Cottages near the church in Monks Risborough.


Whiteleaf Cross
Whiteleaf Cross and the spire of Princes Risborough Church.

Beneath Whiteleaf Cross cut in the chalk on the hillside, recently restored to a pristine white which is visible for miles, we pass the site of the last Goodearl furniture factory.

Church Street, Princes Risborough
Church Street, off the Market Place, Princes Risborough.


We reach Bradenham where the ancestors lived from about 1778. The family cottage-probably new then is shown here, but a full description of the village is given under Photos of Bradenham.


The family were christened, married and buried at the church where William's father George - the first ancestor who could read and write - was parish clerk and sexton.

Bradenham, church, manor and village green.


The architectural historian Pevsner describes it as "a village in which (except for the Methodist Church of 1894) nothing is visually wrong" It is mostly owned by the National Trust.

West Wycombe
West Wycombe - the old London to Oxford road.

Up to the church at the top of the hill with its golden ball and the view of High Wycombe along West Wycombe Road.

West Wycombe Park
West Wycombe Church on the hill above West Wycombe Park.


Through narrow lanes to Lane End where William and the family lived from about 1834 to the 1870's. We do not know exactly where they lived, but the original and newer Methodist chapels they attended are there.

Lane End Chapel
Lane End, the newer chapel.


Passing Victoria Street chapel attended by the family from its opening in 1878 to closure in 1975 we pass the sites of the West End Road and Mendy Street factories to the wide 18th century High Street dominated by the Guildhall of 1757 and the nearby Market House of 1761.

High Wycombe Guildhall
High Wycombe Guildhall and the High Street.

The Parish Church is one of the largest in Bucks.

High Wycombe Church
High Wycombe Church.


In the graveyard of the Friends' Meeting House of 1688 we see the headstones of William Penn of Pennsylvania and his family, while the nearby Mayflower Barn is built of timbers from that vessel.

Jordans Meeting House
Jordans Meeting House.

photo: Ms Gail Goodearl, Massachusetts.

Mayflower Barn
Mayflower Barn.


We pass Milton's Cottage where John Milton lived during the 1665 plague.

Miltons Cottage
Milton's Cottage Museum.

Chalfont St.Giles
Chalfont St.Giles High Street.

Chalfont St.Giles Church
Chalfont St.Giles Church.

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Oct. 2003

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