Samuel Lewis's 1831 description of Amersham.


Samuel Lewis's 1831 "Topographical Dictionary of England" describes the town of Amersham as:

AMERSHAM, or AGMONDESHAM, a borough, market town, and parish, in the hundred of BURNHAM, county of BUCKINGHAM, 33 miles (S.E. by S.) from Buckingham, and 25¾ (W.N.W.) from London, containing 2612 inhabitants. In the reign of Henry V several of the inhabitants were burnt at the stake for professing the tenets of the Lollards; and in that of Mary, this was again the scene of religious persecution, many individuals having suffered a similar fate for their adhesion to the principles of the Reformation. The town is situated in a pleasant valley near the river Colne, surrounded by wood-crowned hills, and consists principally of one street, not lighted, but well paved: there is a plentiful supply of water. Cotton and black lace is manufactured here; many females are employed in platting straw, and wooden chairs are made for exportation. The market is on Tuesday: fairs are held on Whit Monday and the 19th of September. A constable and other officers are appointed at the court leet of the lord of the manor. The town hall, standing in the centre of the town, is a handsome brick edifice, resting on piazzas, erected by Sir William Drake: the lower part is appropriated to the use of the market; the upper part, which is surmounted by a lantern turret, is used for transacting the public business, and holding parliamentary elections. The town, which is a borough by prescription, sent burgesses to parliament from the 28th of Edward I until the 2nd of Edward II but made no return until the 21st of James I, since which time it has continued to send two members to parliament. The right of election is vested in the inhabitant householders paying scot and lot: the constable is the returning officer. The poet Waller, and the celebrated Algernon Sydney, represented this borough.

The living is a rectory, in the archdeaconry of Buckingham, and diocese of Lincoln, rated in the king's books at £48. 16. 1½., and in the patronage of Thomas Tyrwhitt Drake, Esq. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a spacious edifice of brick, coated with stucco; the chancel and an adjoining mausoleum contain several interesting monuments. There are two places of worship for Particular Baptists, and one for the Society of Friends. The free grammar school was founded, in the reign of Elizabeth, by Dr. Robert Chaloner, canon of Windsor, who endowed it with £25 per annum; he also founded three scholarships at Christ Church College, Oxford, for boys of Amersham and Goldsborough, or Knaresborough, in Yorkshire. A Sunday school, originally supported by subscription, was endowed by William Drake, jun., Esq.; and an almshouse for six aged widows was endowed, in 1669, by Sir William Drake, Bart.