"Choulsbury, Cholesbury, Choulesbury; anciently Chelwoldesbury; which is entirely omitted in St. John Priest's Agricultural Survey of this County; is bounded, on the North, by Drayton; on the East, by Tring, in Herts; on the South, by Hawridge and Chesham; and on the West, by Buckland; and is computed to contain about one hundred acres. The soil consists of gravelly clay, intermixed with flints, small pebbles, and öolite, which are found near the surface. At the distance of two or three perches eastward from the churchyard, is a copious spring or resevoir, called the Holy-well; by some, the Berry, or Bury-pond, which is never known to fail, even in the greatest drought, when throughout the whole parish and its vicinity the high lands of this portion of the Chilterns are commonly deficient in the supply of water." [The History and Antiquities of the County of Buckingham, by George Lipscomb, 1847]


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 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 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: Amersham, Chesham and area, Volume 10", Peter Quick.



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



In 1798 the Posse Comitatus listed 24 men between the ages of 16 and 60 in Cholesbury.

In the earliest government census of 1801, there were 122 inhabitants in 25 families living in 22 houses recorded in Cholesbury.

Census Year Population of Cholesbury
1801* 122
1811* 114
1821* 132
1831* 127
1841 124
1851 113
1861 105
1871 109
1881 99
1891 95
1901 107

* = 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.


Church History

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


Church Records

The original copies of the parish registers for St Laurence, Cholesbury have been deposited in the Buckinghamshire Record Office in Aylesbury, and they hold the following years:

Event Dates covered
Christenings 1583 - 1887
Marriages 1583 - 1838
Burials 1583 - 1812

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

Society Library*
Dates covered
Society Publications
Dates covered
1576 - 1812
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
1576 - 1838
Buckinghamshire Family History 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 Cholesbury showed the following numbers:

Church Attendance
Cholesbury, St Laurence 31 - Morning General Congregation
46 - Morning Sunday Scholars
77 - Morning Total

56 - Afternoon General Congregation
46 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars
102 - Afternoon Total


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Cholesbury which are provided by:




Historical Geography

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



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

CHOLESBURY or CHOULESBURY, in the hundred of Cotslow and deanery of Muresley, lies about five miles east of Wendover, on the borders of Hertfordshire. This manor, anciently called Chelwoldsbury, belonged in early times to the Beauchamps, and afterwards to the Perots. In 1364, King Edward III. granted this manor, which had been held for life by John de Cobham, to Thomas Cheyne, his shield-bearer, whose descendants in the reign of Henry VIII. sold it to Lord Chief Justice Baldwin: in 1748 it was purchased of the Seares, in whose family it had then been for a considerable time, by Robert Darell esq. father of Edward Darell esq. the present proprietor.

The church, which was formerly a chapel to Drayton-Beauchamp, stands within a circular moat, which incloses an area of about twelve acres. Within this area is a pond, called the Bury pond. To the north of Cholesbury a large dyke runs from east to west, over Wiggington Common, through the parish of Tring to Drayton-Beauchamp. The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with the tithes of the parish, which are of very small value: the patronage is vested in the trustees of Joseph Neale esq. who in 1705 founded an evening lecture for preaching, catechising, and expounding the Catechism at Cholesbury and Wiggington, endowing it with an estate at Cublington, let since the inclosure at 90 l. per annum. By the founder's rules the lecturer is to preach at Cholesbury on Christmas-day and the 5th of November, and to preach and catechise the children every Sunday afternoon during the winter season; on the second and fourth Sunday in every month, from Easter to Michaelmas, to preach, catechise, and expound the Catechism at Wiggington; and on the other Sundays during that period, to perform the same duties at Cholesbury. The curate of Cholesbury may be (and hitherto has been) appointed by the trustees to the lectureship, but he is removeable from the lectureship by the trustees for misbehaviour, or neglecting the rules and orders of the founder. There are nine trustees, which number is to be filled up from time to time when reduced to six.



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SP932071 (Lat/Lon: 51.754847, -0.651175), Cholesbury which are provided by:


Names, Geographical

The name Cholesbury means 'Ceolweald's burh,' and refers to a plateau-camp, locally known as 'the Bury'.