Beaconsfield

"This old town is striking from the spaciousness of its streets, especially the main street, which is formed by the London and Oxford high road. This is a charming tree-lined thoroughfare containing many good examples of 18th cent. red-brick houses, many being older timber structures re-faced. Its situation on the top of a high tableland adds to its breezy character. At the S. entrance, on the London road, are the gates of Wilton Park. which extends for 3/4 m. along the side of the road." [Buckinghamshire, by E. S. Roscoe]
topup

Bibliography

The following reference sources have been used in the construction of this page, and may be referred to for further detail. Most if not all of these volumes are available in the Reference section of the County Library in Aylesbury.

"Buckinghamshire", E.S. Roscoe, London Methuen & Co Ltd, 1935.
"Buckinghamshire Returns of the Census of Religious Worship 1851", Legg E. ed., 1991, ISBN 0 901198 27 7.
"Magna Britannia: Buckinghamshire", Lysons S. and Lysons D., 1806.
"The Place-Names of Buckinghamshire", Mawer A. and Stenton F.M., 1925.
"The Victoria History of the Counties of England: Buckinghamshire", Page W. ed., 1905-1928
"War Memorials and War Graves: Marlow and area, Volume 12", Peter Quick

topup

Cemeteries

The following Monumental Inscriptions are available as publications or as part of a Society library:

* = material held in a Society library is generally available for loan to all members either via post, or by collection at a meeting

topup

Census

In 1798 the Posse Comitatus listed 246 men between the ages of 16 and 60 in Beaconsfield.

In the earliest government census of 1801, there were 1149 inhabitants in 302 families living in 240 houses recorded in Beaconsfield.

Census Year Population of Beaconsfield
1801* 1149
1811* 1461
1821* 1736
1831* 1763
1841 1732
1851 1684
1861 1662
1871 1524
1881 1635
1891 1773
1901 1570

* = No names were recorded in census documents from 1801 to 1831.
** = Census documents from 1911 to 2001 are only available in summary form. Names are witheld under the 100 year rule.

Microfilm copies of all census enumerators' notebooks for 1841 to 1891 are held at the Local Studies Libraries at Aylesbury and Milton Keynes, as well as centrally at the PRO. A table of 19th century census headcount by parish is printed in the VCH of Bucks, Vol.2, pp 96-101.

Availability of census transcripts and indexes.

  • 1851 - Full transcripts and indexes for Buckinghamshire are available on CD-ROM, hard copy and microfiche from the Buckinghamshire Family History Society.
  • 1861 - Available on CD-ROM with advanced search and mapping capabilities etc. from the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.
  • 1881
    • Available on CD-ROM from the Church of the Latter Day Saints, as part of the National 1881 Census Index.
    • Available on CD-ROM for Buckinghamshire, with advanced search and mapping capabilities etc. from Drake Software.
  • 1891 - Available on CD-ROM with advanced search and mapping capabilities etc. from the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.

Churches

You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Beaconsfield area or see them printed on a map.

topup

Church History

Details of the stained glass in the church can be found on the following web sites (the site includes many photos):

topup

Church Records

The original copies of the parish registers for St Mary with All Saints, Beaconsfield have been deposited in the Buckinghamshire Record Office in Aylesbury, and they hold the following years:

Event Dates covered
Christenings 1631 - 1937
Marriages 1631 - 1968
Banns 1754 - 1971
Burials 1631 - 1964

Copies or indexes to the parish registers are available from societies as follows:

Event
Society Library*
Dates covered
Society
Christenings
1575 - 1837
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
Marriages
1575 - 1837
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
Burials
1540 - 1837
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society

* = material held in a Society library is generally available for loan to all members either via post, or by collection at a meeting

An ecclesiastical census was carried out throughout England on 30 March 1851 to record the attendance at all places of worship. These returns are in the Buckinghamshire Record Office and have been published by the Buckinghamshire Record Society (vol 27). The returns for Beaconsfield showed the following numbers:

Church Attendance
Beaconsfield, St Mary with All Saints 250 - Morning General Congregation
70 - Morning Sunday Scholars
320 - Morning Total

100 - Afternoon General Congregation
70 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars
170 - Afternoon Total

Beaconsfield, Bethesda Independent 250 - Morning General Congregation
30 - Morning Sunday Scholars
280 - Morning Total

200 - Afternoon General Congregation
34 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars
234 - Afternoon Total

300 - Evening General Congregation

Beaconsfield, Wesleyan Methodist 84 - Morning General Congregation
70 - Morning Sunday Scholars
154 - Morning Total

136 - Afternoon General Congregation
68 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars
204 - Afternoon Total

176 - Evening General Congregation

topup

Description and Travel

You can see pictures of Beaconsfield which are provided by:

topup

Gazetteers

Ask for a calculation of the distance from Beaconsfield to another place.

Click here for a list of nearby places.

topup

Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Beaconsfield has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.

topup

History

Beaconsfield was described in 1806 in "Magna Britannia" as follows:

BEACONSFIELD, a small market town in the hundred and deanery of Burnham, is distant about 23 miles from London, on the road to Oxford through High Wycombe: the market day is Wednesday, but the market is almost wholly discontinued, the neighbouring towns of Wycombe and Uxbridge having drawn away most of the business: there is a fair on Old Candlemas day, and another on Holy Thursday. Browne Willis calculated the number of inhabitants, about 50 years ago, at 550: their number, in 1801, according to the returns made under the Population Act, was 1149.

The manor of Beaconsfield was anciently an estate of the Windsors, and afterwards became the property of Burnham-Abbey: it now belongs to Edmund Waller esq. of Farmington, in Gloucestershire, in whose family it has been for many years: their ancestor, Edmund Waller, the celebrated poet, was proprietor of this manor and that of Hall-Barns, and resided at Hall-Barns, the ancient family seat, now in the occupation of Mr. Maxwell: among the pictures at this mansion is a portrait of the poet, painted when he was 23 years of age; another, which is supposed to have been intended for him at a more advanced age; and a portrait of a lady, said to be that of Sachariffa, the favourite subject of his muse. Edmund Waller was born, as before mentioned, at Coleshill, in the parish of Amersham, and lies buried in the church-yard at Beaconsfield, where is a monument to his memory, with the following inscription: "Heus Viator, tumulatum vides Edmundum Waller, qui tanti nominis poeta, et idem avitis opibus inter primos spectabilis, musis se dedit & patriæ. Nondum octodecenarius, inter ardua regni tractantes, sedem habuit à burgo de Amersham missus. Hic vitæ cursus, nec oneri defuit senex, vixitque semper populo charus, principibus in deliciis, admiratione omnibus. Hic conditur, tumulo sub eodem, rarâ virtute & multâ prole nobilis uxor Maria ex Brussyorum familiâ, cum Edmundo Waller conjuge charissimo, quem ter & decies lætum fecit patrem 5 filiis & filiabus 8 quos mundo dedit & cælum rediit.

"Edmundi Waller hic jacet id quantum morti cessit; qui inter poetas sui temporis facile princeps, lauream quem meruit adolescens octogenarius haud abdicavit. Huic debet patria lingua, quod credas, si Gracé Latinequé intermitterent musæ loqui, amarent Angelicé. Hoc marmore Edmundo Waller, Mariæque ex secundis nuptiis conjugi, pientissimis parentibus, pientissimé parentavit Edmundus filius. Honores bené merentibus extremos dedit quos ipse fugit E.L.W.I.F.III.G. ex Testamento H.M.P. mense Julii, 1700.

"Edmundus Waller, cui hoc Marmor sacrum est, Colshill nascendi locum habuit, Cantabrigiam studendi, patrem Robertum, ex Hamdená stirpe matrem. Coepit vivere 3 Martii A.D. 1605. Prima Uxor Anna Edwardi Banks filia unica & hæres; ex primá bis pater factus, ex secundá tredecies, cui & duo lustra superstes, Obiit 21 Octob. A.D. 1687."

Gregories, in this parish, which belonged also to the Wallers, has of late years acquired much celebrity, as the seat of Edmund Burke; who, for critical taste and brilliancy of language, will for ever be ranked in the first class of English writers; whose manners were so engaging, whose conversation talents were so facinating, that his company was eagerly fought after by all who could make pretentions to kindred genius; and Gregories was the frequent resort of the most eminent literary and political characters of the age. Mr. Burke died at Gregories, (which is now the seat of his widow) in 1797, and was buried in Beaconsfield church, where a marble tablet has been put up with this short inscription to his memory :- "Near this place lies interred all that was mortal of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, who died on the 9th of July, 1797, aged 68 years." The inscription records also his only son, Richard Burke, who represented the borough of Malton in parliament, and his brother, Richard Burke, recorder of Bristol: they both died in the year 1794.

Wilton Park, in this parish, was for many years a seat of the family of Basill, now of James Dupré esq.

In the parish church are several memorials of the Wallers of Gregories; in a chapel, on the south side of the chancel, is an ancient altar-tomb for one of the Bulstrode family. The advowson of the rectory was purchased by the president and scholars of Magdelen College, in Oxford, about the year 1705.

topup
topup

Names, Geographical

Beaconsfield derives its name from the old english beacnes-feld and means 'open land marked by a beacon'.