Bledlow

(including Bledlow Ridge)

"Bledlow is the most western of the villages which stand on the northern spur of the Chilterns, and one of the most attractive. It is charmingly placed just above the low-lying meadows which stretch across the Thame Valley to Haddenham. A large, straggling village shaded by elms; behind it rises Wain Hill, some of it all woodland, the rest bare down." [Buckinghamshire, by E. S. Roscoe]

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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.

"Bledlow Charity Book", Barbara & Peter Quick, 8 Volumes
"Bledlow Charity School Book - 1826 to 1831", Barbara & Peter Quick
"Buckinghamshire", E.S. Roscoe, London Methuen & Co Ltd, 1935.
"Buckinghamshire Contributions for Ireland 1642", Wilson J., 1983.
"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.
"Royal Commission on Historical Monuments - An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Buckinghamshire", H.M.S.O, 1912/3.
"The History and Antiquities of the County of Buckingham", Lipscomb G., 1847
"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: Aylesbury Hundred part three - Risboroughs, Missendens and their environs, Volume 9", Peter Quick

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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

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Census

In 1642 there were 95 people named in the tax returns for contributions for Ireland. Between them they were assessed at £18.14.2 of which sum Mr William Moore contributed £2.

In 1798 the Posse Comitatus listed 121 men between the ages of 16 and 60 in Bledlow and 71 in Bledlow Ridge.

In the earliest government census of 1801, there were 566 inhabitants in 113 families living in 110 houses recorded in Bledlow, and in Bledlow Ridge there were 351 inhabitants in 59 families living in 57 houses.

Census Year Population of
Bledlow with Bledlow Ridge
1801* 917
1811* 931
1821* 1050
1831* 1135
1841 1205
1851 1202
1861 1189
1871 1170
1881 1070
1891 978
1901 854

* = 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.
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Church History

Holy Trinity, Bledlow

Holy Trinity Church at Bledlow is situated in the centre of the village, and is built of flint with dressings of limestone and a little clunch.

The Nave is probably part of an original 12th century church on the site, which from appearances probably once had transepts and a central tower. The aisles were added circa 1200 and later in the century were widened and lengthened, the Chancel being rebuilt on a larger scale and is now wider than the nave, and the West Tower was added. During the 14th century the South Porch was built and windows were inserted in various parts of the church. In 1909 the whole building was restored.

Of especial interest are the nave arcades, which are fine examples of early 13th century work, also the 14th century windows are noteworthy. There are some interesting remains of medieval mural paintings in the North Aisle, particularly that of St. Christopher.

The church has a clearstory which has on each side three wide windows of three trefoiled lights under square heads; the inner stonework being possibly of the 13th century, the lintels and outer stonework are modern; on the north side of the clearstory, at the east end, is an outline of a pointed opening, probably connected with the former rude-loft.

There are five bells, four by Richard Keene, 1683. The font is of the 'Aylesbury' type, a round bowl, fluted sides, with a band of interlacing and foliated ornament at the top, moulded rim, and a plain round stem with a square scalloped base carved with foliage, late 12th century. There are some fragments of 14th century glasswork in some of the windows. In the North Aisle, north of the east window is a canopied 15th century Niche with gabled and crocketed head, partly damaged, and is probably a copy of piscina on the south side. There are five piscinae, the first is 13th century and is in the chancel, with trefoiled chamfered head, jambs carried down to the floor, stone shelf, ledges for higher shelf. The second, also 13th century, is at the east end of the South Aisle, with pointed head, and square basin. In the ledge of the north east window in the North Aisle there are two basins with drains. On the ledge of the second north window in the North Aisle there is a separate slab with a basin. There are three Recesses, the first two are 14th century and are in the south wall of the South Aisle at the east end, and are for tombs, each of two moulded orders with pointed segmental arches. The third, date uncertain, is in the south wall east of the south door and is small, square and roughly made. There is a 16th century Stoup in the north east corner of the south porch, being a plain round bowl.

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

St Paul, Bledlow Ridge

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

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Church Records

The original copies of the parish registers for Holy Trinity, Bledlow have been deposited in the Buckinghamshire Record Office in Aylesbury, and they hold the following years:

Event Dates covered
Christenings 1592 - 1949
Marriages 1592 - 1959
Burials 1592 - 1843

The original copies of the parish registers for St. Paul, Bledlow Ridge have been deposited in the Buckinghamshire Record Office, and they hold the following years:

Event Dates covered
Christenings 1868 - 1979
Burials 1869 - 1903

Online transcripts of Parish Registers : the following transcripts are available online

Bledlow and Bledlow Ridge parish registers (1500-1900) are available on May Lanchbury's web site - click here

Society Transcripts of Parish Registers

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

Event
Society Library*
Dates covered
Society
Christenings
1590 - 1707
1813 - 1959
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
Burials
1590 - 1839
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
Marriages
1590 - 1837
1837 - 1959
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

The Bledlow Charity Accounts 1720 to 1854, and the Bledlow Charity School Account 1826 to 1831 have been transcribed by Barbara & Peter Quick. Copies of the transcripts are available from the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.

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 Bledlow showed the following numbers:

Church Attendance
Bledlow, Holy Trinity 198 - Afternoon General Congregation
51- Afternoon Sunday Scholars
249 - Afternoon Total
Bledlow, Independent Church End 40 - Morning General Congregation

86 - Evening General Congregation

Bledlow Ridge, Chapel [St. Paul] 49 - Morning General Congregation
45 - Morning Sunday Scholars
94 - Morning Total
Bledlow Ridge, Wesleyan Methodist 64 - Afternoon General Congregation

128 - Evening General Congregation

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Description and Travel

You can see pictures of Bledlow which are provided by:

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Gazetteers

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

Click here for a list of nearby places.

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Historical Geography

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

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History

In 1927 "The Victoria History of the Counties of England: Buckinghamshire" states as follows:

Bledlow parish lies on the western boundary of Buckinghamshire. It is nearly separated from the other parishes in the Three Hundreds of Aylesbury by a piece of Desborough Hundred, which lies between the parishes of Bledlow and Horsenden. The southern end of the parish lies on the Chiltern Hills, and is called Bledlow Ridge, being between 600 ft. and 800 ft. above the Ordnance datum. The lower Icknield Way runs parallel to the line of the high ground from north-east to south-west, along the north and west sides of the parish, and the village and church stand back from it about half a mile on the lower slopes of the hills. Close to the east end of the church is a steep wooded coombe called the Lyde, in which several springs break out from the chalk and form a small pool. The nearness of the church to the steep banks of the coombe has suggested a local rhyme -

They that live and do abide
Shall see the church fall in the Lyde,

but fortunately this disaster does not seem very imminent. The brook running from the pool is called the Lyde Brook, and is used for two paper-mills, Bledlow Mill and North Mill. The western boundary of the parish is formed by Cuttle Brook, which runs south to the River Thame.

The higher slopes of the hills are in parts well wooded, and in one of the open spaces, on the north slope of Wain Hill, is the Bledlow Cross, cut in the turf, and visible for miles as a landmark.

The village is picturesque, its small houses, surrounded by gardens, lying for the most part along the side of the hill, but there are outlying houses in the lower ground on the side roads which join the Icknield Way.

The subsoil on the hills is chalk, and in the northern part of the parish Upper Greensand and Gault. The surface soil is partly chalk loam, and partly stiff clay. The inhabitants are mainly engaged in arable farming, the parish containing 2694 1/4 acres of arable land, and 963 acres of parmanent grass. There are several poultry farms, and in the Lyde there are watercress beds. The paper-mills of Mr. A. H. James provide occupation for part of the population. Both the Upper and Lower Icknield Ways pass across the parish, and the Wycombe branch of the Great Western Railway runs through it, with a station one mile to the north of Bledlow village. There are six hamlets in the parish. Of these Bledlow Ridge has been formed into a separate ecclesiastical parish since 1868. The other hamlets are Pitch Green, Rout's Green, Forty Green, Skittle Green, Holly Green. The whole civil parish contains 4168 1/2 acres. [© copyright of the editors of The Victoria Histories of the Counties of England]

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

Bledlow, in the hundred of Aylesbury and deanery of Wendover, lies on the borders of Oxfordshire, about six miles south-east of Thame. The manor of this place, which belonged formerly to the alien priory of Okeborne, was given by King Henry VI to John, Duke of Bedford, and, after his death, to the provost and fellows of Eton College, under whom it has been for some time held on lease, by the family of Badcock. The Rev. Benjamin Anderson, and Thomas Spiers esq. give a deputation for an estate, called the manor of Bledlow, late Corhams.

In the parish church, which is of the earliest Gothic architecture, are memorials of the family of Crosse, who had a seat here, and held the rectorial manor under the provost and fellows of Eton College, to whom the rectory, which had belonged before to the abbey of Grestein, in Normandy, was appropriated in 1444. The vicarage is in the patronage of Lord Carrington, who has lately purchased the lease of the rectorial manor, (to which a part impropriation is annexed,) and the advowson, of Mr. Whitbread. The latter bought this estate of the Haytons, who inherited by female descent from the family of Crosse.

Bledlow church stands near the edge of a rock, under which, in a deep glen overgrown with trees, and exhibiting some pituresque scenery, little to be expected from the character of the neighbouring country, issue some transparent springs, which form there a pond called the Lyde. They are said to wear away the rock, which has occasioned the following local proverb:

"They who live and do abide
Shall see Bledlow Chuch fall into the Lyde."

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Names, Geographical

The name of Bledlow is believed to be composed of two elements. Firstly an old english name of "Bledda" and secondly "hlaw" meaning a hill or barrow. Bledlow would thus translate to mean "Bledda's hill or barrow", and hence that the village must take its name from the hill above it or possibly the tumulus by Bledlow Cross.