Online Encyclopedia

AMERSHAM

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V01, Page 849 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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AMERSHAM, a market town in the Wycombe parliamentary division of Buckinghamshire, England, 24 M. W.N.W.-of London by the Metropolitan railway. Pop. (1901) 2674. It is pleasantly situated in the narrow valley of the Misbourne stream, which is flanked by the well-wooded slopes of the Chiltern Hills. The church of St Mary is almost entirely Perpendicular, and has a beautiful south porch, brasses of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries and numerous monuments, several of which, in a chantry, commemorate members of the family of Drake, lords of the manor. The town hall was built by Sir William Drake in 1642. At Coleshill, near Amersham, Edmund Waller the poet was born in 1606; he sat in parliament for the former borough of Amersham. The town has flour mills and breweries, and some straw-plaiting and lace-making are carried on in the vicinity. The district is one of the most beautiful near London; the village of Chenies, overlooking the valley of the Chess, is especially picturesque. Amersham (Elmodesham, Agmondesham, fagmondesham, Aumundesham, Homersham) at the time of the Domesday Survey was divided into no less than six holdings. The manor, or chief of them, was held by Geoffrey de Mandeville.. At the time of Edward the Confessor it was held by Queen Edith. The manor afterwards descended to the families of Fitz Piers, Bohun and Strafford, and was granted by Henry VIII. to Sir John Russell, ancestor of the earls of Bedford. In 1638 Francis;, earl of Bedford, conveyed it to William Drake, by whose descendants it is still held. The north chapel in the church of St Michael, Chenies, has been the burial-place of the Russell family since its erection in 1556, and contains a number of fine memorials, notably that of Anne, countess of Bedford (d. 1558), who founded the chapel. Amersham was formerly a parliamentary borough by prescription, and returned two members in 1300, 1306, 1307 and 1309. In 1623 this privilege was restored, and was only annulled by the Reform Bill of 1832.. The annual fair, in September, is held under a charter secured by Geoffrey Fitz Peter, earl of Essex, in 1200, that on Whit Monday under a charter of 1614, secured by Edward, earl of Bedford, which transferred the Friday market, also granted under the earlier charter, to Tuesday.
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