Farms 1900 to 1947

Three farmers mentioned in “Fingest Unforgotten – Fingest Farms:1700s and 1800s” were still farming in Fingest at the start of the 20th Century, i.e. William Nash of Fingest Manor Farm, Thomas Prince of Fingest Farm and Edmund Deane12. Thomas Collier, Albert Prince, Norman Gold, Bill Tapping, Dennis Montefiore and Joe and Grace Robinson were also farming in the village during the first half of the 20th Century.

William Nash died in 1902 and Fingest (Manor) Farm was purchased and   farmed by Thomas Collier, about this time its name changed to Manor Farm1. Thomas Collier died in 1938 and the farm was acquired   by Major Norman P. Gold. During WW II Major Gold was Officer Commanding the local Home Guard13 and Manor Farm served as their headquarters (see “Fingest Unforgotten – Home Guard”). In 1952 Norman Gold built a pair of semi-detached cottages in Chequers Lane, Manor Farm Cottages, for his farm workers1,2.

Thomas and Annie Prince outside Fingest Farm circa 1905


Thomas Prince and his wife Annie married in 1894. Thomas became a tenant farmer at Fingest Farm, acreage 63 acres, on the Parmoor Estate.  They moved into the new farmhouse, built at a cost of £250, the same year2,3. A stockyard already existed enclosed on two sides by barns, stables and a milking parlour and on the third side by Ivy Cottage (see Fingest Unforgotten – Fingest Farms: 1700s and 1800s). According to their Grade II listing the barns, stables and milking parlour are of the 16th and 17th Century. There is a date of 1784 carved into one of the uprights in the barn. Thomas made a rick yard between the barn and the farmhouse, bounded on the south side by a new granary. In the 1930s the rick yard was moved away from the barn to a small paddock to the south of the farmhouse.

Above: Fingest Farm mid-1930s, the rick yard has been moved to the south of the farmhouse. The pigsties are attached to the end of the barn. A garage, for Albert Prince’s Armstrong Siddeley taxi, is next to the pigsties and granary.
Above: Fingest Farm 1920. The rick yard is between the barn and the farmhouse





Thomas farmed livestock (milking cows, pigs, poultry), cereals (wheat, oats, barley) and vegetables (potatoes, livestock feed eg. mangold)4. Produce from the farm was sold locally and in Marlow and Henley. One activity on the farm was stone picking which he sold by the load4. Thomas was fatally injured in 1937 whilst milking at Fingest Farm. His son Albert took over the farm helped by his Uncle Amos who had retired from his carrier and omnibus business. Amos was an expert rick thatcher and in his younger days thatched ricks for local farmers5.

Bucks Free Press Account:





Extracts from Thomas Prince’s Farm Accounts

                                                                                                             £      s     d

1910   Nov  5             Sold 4 pigs to Mr Bond at 20s each         4       0    0

            Oct 15             Paid for stone picking                                           7    6

            Oct 29             Paid for stone picking                                           2    6

1911   Feb 9              Took for stones                                             8.   15     0

            Mar 4              Sold 1 ton 9 cwt 3qrs of hay to

                                    Breakspere at £4 per ton                             5    19     0

In addition to the buildings mentioned above there was a corrugated iron cart shed, calving shed, machine shed, three pigsties, bull shed, two-bay cattle shelter and stabling for four horses. There was also a timber garage built by Albert to house his taxi (see “Finest Unforgotten – Carriers: Goods and People). In 1946 the farm was let on a yearly Michaelmas tenancy at a rental of £82 with a Tithe Redemption Annuity of £16 14s 11d and Land Tax of £1 6s 6d per annum6. Albert purchased Fingest Farm in 1946 when the Parmoor Estate was sold. He married Jessie Harman the same year.

Albert Prince with pony working the capstan which drove the machinery inside the barn circa 1907










The cowshed, the milking parlour is the last door on the left

Albert and Amos Prince at the mangold heap
Amos Prince stoking up








Albert and Jessie carting
oats in six acres
Rick Building
















William “Bill” Tapping was a small-holder farming in the 1930s7. He and his wife lived in Chequers Lane in a property, Glebe Farm, attached to the barn. The house is now called Glebe Barn and the attached barn has been converted into three residential properties8. During WW II Bill Tapping was a sergeant in the local Home Guard9. In the early 1950s he was the chairman of Wycombe District Council and then chairman of its planning committee1.

Mousells Barn Small-holding consisted of 37 acres of land and a partly weather-boarded barn with yard. During the first half of the 20 Century it was farmed by a number of farmers; Ken Tapping brother to Bill Tapping of Glebe Farm1 and Thomas Collier who kept pigs in the barn. The Michaelmas tenancy was £40 per annum with a Tithe Redemption Annuity of £17 17s. 0d. and Land Tax of £1 1s. 6d. At the time of the sale of the Parmoor Estate in 1946 it was let to a Mr. Fryer of Marlow6.

Fingest Egg/Chicken Farm

In 1931 Dennis Montefiore of The Old Rectory operated Fingest Egg Farm7. It was situated in the field next to The Old Rectory opposite Fingest Farm (see map below). In 1936 he built Tingehurst and moved there with his family. In recent years Tingehurst has been altered and extensively added to. It is now known as Fingest Manor10.

Map showing Fingest Farm (yellow), Mousells Barn Smallholding (pink) and Fingest Chicken Farm (green) in the 1930s










Map showing fields farmed at
Murrage Farm Smallholding.

In 1936/37 Joe and Grace Robinson from North End became tenants at Murrage Farm Smallholding1,11 (owner Mr. Gray). Their son, Leslie, took over the running of the smallholding in 1945 following his demobilization from the army. He married Evelyn in 1949. They kept a herd of milking cattle and chickens selling the eggs to the Egg Marketing Board. Sadly, a fire in 1952 destroyed the old thatched barn and the two adjoining cowsheds. The barn housed the milking parlour with a new milking machine, equipment and stock feed all of which was destroyed.

William Cook was listed as farming at Hill Farm, Cadmore End in the 1930s7, which at that time was in Fingest Parish but outside the village. The present Fingest ecclesiastical parish was established in 1976 and does not include Hill Farm.

  1. Personal Communication
  2. Fingest Unforgotten, Map and Location References, 3a and 3b
  3. Henley-on-Thames Archaeological & Historical Group, Report No. 17/1984
  4. Thomas Prince’s Farm Accounts 1910 to 1919
  5. David and Mary Hussey’s Farm Accounts and Diary 1869 to 1882
  6. The Parmoor Estate, Sale Catalogue 1946
  7. Kelly’s Directory of Buckinghamshire, 1931
  8. Fingest Unforgotten, Map and Location Reference, 10
  9. Fingest Unforgotten, Home Guard
  10. Fingest Unforgotten, Map and Location Reference, 1
  11. Fingest Unforgotten, Map and Location Reference, 28
  12. Kelly’s Directory of Buckinghamshire, 1911
  13. Tom Wintringham, Picture Post 16th December, 1944, The HOME GUARD’S last parade

(Hulton Press ltd., London)

Fingest Farms: 1900 to 1947 V-1

Legends and Customs

Church gate tied ready for the happy couple - were they wearing gloves?
Church gate tied ready for the happy couple – were they wearing gloves?

An Old Wedding Custom

There is an old custom that after a wedding at St. Bartholomews Church, Fingest it is unlucky for the bride to walk through the churchyard gate1,2,3. Superstition has it that if she does so she will have an unhappy marriage. During the wedding ceremony the gates are tied together with a length of white rope or white ribbon. The groom then lifts his bride over the gates and out of the churchyard cheered on by their watching family and friends.

The Church Bell

Prior to the 17th Century St. Bartholomews had a ring of three or four bells. The belfry now only has one bell, cast in 1830 by J. Hobbs ironfounder of Lane End, Bucks. Legend has it that the missing bells were lost to a neighbouring clergyman at Hambleden as a result of a bet lost by a curate at Fingest. However, it is more likely that some or all of the original ring of bells were taken to Hambleden and put in the tower at the church. The money received from their sale being used to pay off a debt owed by Fingest church1,2,3.

Church Charities

Board situated on the wall of the nave to the right of the south door remembering the Thomas Picket and Mary Mole charities.
Board situated on the wall of the nave to the right of the south door remembering the Thomas Picket and Mary Mole charities.

There are three church charities that are held in perpetuity1. These charities are administered by Lane End, Bucks Parish Council.

Thomas Picket: In 1690 Thomas Picket gave a cottage and two acres of land at Cadmore End. The rent to be distributed annually to the poor on St. Thomas’s day. The cottage was let for £5.5s. yearly and the rent on the land was £2.15s.

Mary Mole: In 1732 a widow of Fingest, Mrs. Mary Mole, gave £3 a year for ever out of the Estate called ‘Vining’ to be distributed to the widows and poor people of the parish of Fingest.

Revd. Francis Edmonds: The Rector in 1713 left £15 a year to assist in educating and clothing six deserving boys and girls of Fingest.

Village Pound and Stocks

During the 18th and early 19th Centuries there were a village pound and a set of stocks in Fingest1. At a Court Leet and View of Frankplegde held on the 25th October, 1780 the Jury reported on the condition of the village pound and the stocks.

The Pound in Chequers Lane
The Pound in Chequers Lane

The village pound still exists and is situated in Chequers Lane next to the entrance to the Manor. It was recorded in a court book of the Manor of Fingest that the Jury “present the common pound is in good repair”1.

It was also reported in the court book that the Jury at that same meeting held in 1780 “present the stocks in good repair”1. The stocks no longer exist and were last recorded at a court held on 30th April, 1832. It is not known where they were situated in the village.

The Bishop’s Tunnel

There is a local tale that there is a tunnel leading from the old manor house (bishop’s palace) and the village church. A local resident recalls how his father was one of a group of men that dug a trench across the field, the old cricket pitch, between the old manor house and the church. No tunnel was found. Was there a tunnel and was the trench deep enough to find the tunnel if it existed4?

The Romans

Although the Romans were resident at the Mill End villa and Yewden Manor complex in Hambleden5, there is no evidence to suggest they were living in Fingest. However, in 1937 during work, in the field to the north of the church, to create a garden for the newly built house Tingehurst (now known as Fingest Manor), an urn was discovered a few feet below the surface1,4. This was described as a Roman cremation burial of the 3rd Century6,7. The urn contained the bones of a small human being together within its centre a small black pot and pieces of charcoal and iron. The iron fragments were identified as hob-nails from the cremation sandals.

  1. Church Guide, The Parish Church of Saint Bartholomew Fingest, Bucks, (1932 Twelfth Impression 1965)
  2. Robert House and Bob Mead, The Bucks Free Press Nov. 29, 1972, Did a Wager by the  Rector Rob Fingest of its Bells?
  3. News Feature, The Bucks Free Press 1994, Ivy recalls past life in rural community.
  4. Personal Communication.
  5. J. E. Eyers, Romans in the Hambleden Valley: Yewden Roman Villa, ISBN 9781904898122.
  6. John Holborow, Hambleden Valley Group Magazine February 1992, Fingest.
  7. E.C.Rouse, The Antiquaries Journal 1948.





Fingest Farms: 1700s and 1800s

The Husseys were farming in the Hambleden Valley in the early 1700s1. In 1753 great-great-great-great-grandfather John Hussey (1719-1794), a yeoman farmer of Little Common Farm, Cadmore End, married Mary Deane of Hambleden. He and his wife raised nine children. Their third son, John (1757-1835), farmed at Pound Farm, Cadmore End. In the late 1700s some of the family were buying land to farm in the Hambleden Valley. One of the sons, great-great-great-grandfather William (1761-1835), married Sarah Deane of Hambleden. They lived and farmed in Skirmett where William owned property and land.  A sister, Grace (1766-), married William Keene a farmer of Rockwell End.

Extracts from the Title Deeds of Parmoor Estate2,3

“9) Purchased by William Hussey 1793 a messuage* called Sheepwashers Place, 5a of land called Voke Hatch, 4a of land abutting on the highway from Skirmett to Hambleden, land of 1 acre called Church Piece, 3a of woodland in a field called Stoney Croft, also 2 gardens.

10) Messuage* called Harsham with garden, orchard of 2a, 8a of land called Coombe Mead, 2 closes** of lane called Well Croft and Well Piece, 10a called Coomb Ground – purchased by William Hussey in 1803.”

*   A messuage is a dwelling-house with outbuildings and land.

** A close is a small enclosed field.

In 1873 H. Cripps Q.C. and his son bought Parmoor and subsequently added the above and other Hussey properties to the Parmoor estate.

In the 1800s the Fingest ecclesiastical parish covered a much larger area than the present parish. It included Cadmore End, Cadmore End Common, Bolter End up to the boundary of Wheeler End Common and Fining Wood out as far as Moor Common. In Fingest village properties on the south side of Fingest Lane, ie. the 20th Century Fingest Farm, Ivy Cottage and The Chequers Inn, were and are in Hambleden parish. Fingest House and the houses along to Murridge were in Ibstone parish, now they are in the Turville parish.

Fingest Ecclesiastical Parish mid 1800s and the present Parish boundaries.
Note: A farm in Chequers Lane was then known as Fingest Farm (see below).

One of William Hussey’s great-nephews, Thomas Hussey (1811-1876), lived and farmed at Stud Farm, Skirmett1,4,5. In the 1800s he owned and farmed 95 acres (tithe £21.8s.3d) and rented a further 15 acres (tithe £4.10s.10d) in Skirmett and Fingest5. The land that he owned and farmed in Fingest later became a part of the 20th Century Fingest Farm on the Parmoor Estate10.

Extracts from the Title Deeds of Parmoor Estate2,3

 “14) Parcel of 1 a called Church Plot, meadow of 2 r 15 p part of Pococks, (land formally part of Flint Hall Farm) – purchased by Thomas Hussey in 1842.”

By 18455 he had added more land to his farm at Fingest: 997 Hither Hill, 989 Ten Acres and 990 woodland. Thomas died in 1876 and his wife Emma four years later. They were buried in St. Bartholomew’s churchyard Fingest. Thomas Hussey’s properties and land in Skirmett were purchased in the 1870s by H. Cripps of Parmoor. After Thomas’s death Fingest Farm was owned by G. Riggs of Henley-on-Thames. Part of the farm, ie. the farmyard, the stockyard, Ivy Cottage and Hither Barn Field, was acquired from G.Riggs’s heirs in June 1894 by C. A. Cripps of Parmoor3.

Thomas Hussey’s farmland at Fingest in 18455

Extract from Tithe Map of Fingest 1838

Thomas Hussey  (owner/farmer)

 1012  Cottage* and Garden
1013  Garden
1014  Yard and farm buildings
1015  Stock yard
1000  Further Barn Field
1001  Middle Barn Field
1002  Hither Barn Field
1004  Midddle Grubbing
1005  Lower Grubbing
*Ivy Cottage
Thomas and Emma Hussey’s headstones, in Fingest churchyard. Thomas’s stone is
in the foreground

Ivy Cottage. Three 17th Century timber framed colour washed brick and flint cottages




We know of five farmers operating in Fingest during the 1800s; William Nash, Thomas Hussey, David Hussey, Thomas Prince and his wife Sarah Frances and their youngest son Thomas Prince1,4,6.

William Nash’s headstone

William Nash (1823-1902) was farming in Fingest from the middle of the 1800s into the beginning of the 20th Century4. His farm of 280 acres3 in Chequers Lane was then known as Fingest Farm.  In the 1890s to early 1900s it was called Fingest Manor Farm9 and eventually Manor Farm. William died in 1902 and was buried in Fingest churchyard as were other members of his family.

David Hussey

One of William Hussey’s sons, great-great-grandfather David Hussey (1802-1883)1 was farming in Ibstone when in 1850 he moved to live and farm in Fingest3. He and his family lived at The Parsonages, also known as Parsonage Farm and The Old Rectory4. David farmed a mixed farm of 50 acres4 at Gravesend in Chequers Lane; livestock (cattle, pigs, chickens, ducks and bees), cereals (wheat and barley, some of the wheat being taken to Copstone windmill to be ground into flour) and vegetables such as turnips. The produce and livestock was sold locally, in the surrounding villages and at Marlow and Henley markets as shown by the extracts from his farm accounts for 1869-18827.

Extracts from David Hussey’s farm accounts for goods sold: 1871 turnips, 1879 butter, 1881 eggs and livestock7



































Entries from Mary Hussey’s diary


 Oct 14                        Amos took 3B wheat to Mill.

 Nov  8                        Amos fetched Flower home.

 Oct 27                        W Walter went an paid the tithe.                £ –  s

                                                                                                                   1 – 13


 April 26                   W Walter to Ibstone to pay the tithe           1- 12 – 5”

David Hussey’s daughter, Sarah Frances, married Thomas Prince in 18571. The couple lived with Sarah’s parents and farmed in Fingest1,4. Sadly, Thomas died aged 33 years, when their children were still very young. Sarah continued farming with help, as they grew older, from her sons. The boys, William Walter, Amos and Thomas, also sold their labour to local farmers. William worked a garden and sold the produce, e.g. cucumbers, at Marlow and Henley markets7.

Sometime after Sarah’s parents died she moved to Church Cottage in Chequers Lane with two of her sons, Amos and John. She later gave up farming and continued trading as the local carrier1,4 with Amos’s help, later Amos took over the business (see “Fingest Unfogotten –  Carriers: Goods and People”).


Milk sold January 1879 by Sarah Prince to Mr Young8


Sarah Frances Hussey









Cucumbers sold by William Walter August 18718




Thomas and Sarah’s youngest son Thomas was married in 1894 at St. Bartholomew’s, Fingest and with his wife, Annie, became a tenant farmer of the Parmoor Estate at Fingest Farm (see “Fingest Unfogotten – Fingest Farms: 1900 – 1947”).

Parmoor Estate worker’s and tenant’s summer party at Parmoor circa 1898.



1   Family Archives

2   Buckinghamshire Records Office, Parmoor Estate Title Deeds

3   Henley-on -Thames Archaeological & Historical Group, Report No. 17/1984

4   Census Returns

5   Hambleden Tithe Awards and Lists 1838 and 1845

6   Fingest Parish Registers, St. Bartholomew’s

7   David and Mary Hussey’s Farm Accounts and Diary 1869-1882

8   Sarah Hussey’s Farm Accounts 1879-1882

9   Documents relating to the purchase of Fingest Manor Farm and Hanger Wood by Thomas

Collier of Frieth, September 1910

10 Fingest Unforgotten, Fingest Farms: 1900 to 1947


Fingest Farms: 1700 and 1800s V-1




World War 1 Soldiers

Soldiers World War I V-1 97-2003 panel1During the First World War, 1914-1918, a number of men from Fingest joined the army. Sadly, two of them were killed in action, both aged 19 years, Raymond Victor Druce and Maurice Joseph Goody. Their memorial is in the form of an engraved brass plate on the north wall of the nave in St. Bartholomew’s Church, Fingest. A poppy wreath is laid below the memorial before Eucharist on Remembrance Sundays. This is followed by two minutes’ silence and then the Royal British Legion exhortation, the fourth verse of Laurence Binyon’s poem “For the Fallen”, is read.

A young Raymond Druce at Rabbit Skin Row with Peter the dog.
A young Raymond Druce at Rabbit Skin Row with Peter the dog

Raymond Druce was born at Harecramp, Chequers Lane, Fingest and moved to Rabbit Skin Row, Fingest when a young boy. Private Druce was killed on the 2nd September, 1918 while in action in France. He is buried at the Terlincthum British Cemetery, Wimille, Pas de Calais, France1.

Maurice Goody was born in Lane End, Buckinghamshire. The family had moved to Fingest by the time that he enlisted. He served with the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment), 3/4th Battalion in France and Flanders. Maurice Goody’s battalion, the 3/4th The Queen’s, moved up into the trenches in Polygon Wood on the night of the 2nd-3rd October, 1917 during the battle of Broodseinde. Polygon Wood is approximately two miles East of Ypres. An assault was made on the German defensive positions early on the morning of the 4th October. Private Goody (service number T/202303)   was reported missing presumed killed in action on that day. It is most likely that he was one of the sixty-four officers and other ranks killed during the action. Maurice is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium (Panel 14-17 and 162-162A. The following inscription is carved on each of the memorial panels1.


Two Fingest brothers, Thomas “Tack” and Albert Victor “Vic” Prince, served in the army2. In 1916 they were posted first to France and then to Belgium. The following is an extract from the Fingest Parish Magazine for April 19163.


“Thomas and Albert Victor Prince have gone to the front.

May they be kept safe in the performance of their duties.

Thomas and Albert Prince were born at Ivy Cottage, Fingest and were living there with their parents and younger sisters at the time that they joined the army. Gunner Vic Prince (service number 291405) served with the 128th (Oxfordshire) Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery. The Battery was equipped with Ordnance BL 60-pounder 5inch heavy field guns.

Albert “Vic” (left) and Thomas “Tack” Prince with their two youngest sisters, Daisy and Alice (centre top and bottom) and cousins May and Miriam Prince (Front left and right).
Albert “Vic” (left) and Thomas “Tack” Prince with their two youngest sisters, Daisy and Alice (centre top and bottom) and cousins May and Miriam Prince (Front left and right)

The 128th HB was posted to France in March 1916. The Battery was then moved up to the front in Belgium. They took up various firing positions, in support of attacks on German defensive positions, from July 1916, in areas South East and West of Ypres. The battery moved to the North of Ypres and in 1917 were engaged in the battle of Passchendaele. At the end of 1917 they left the front to join a training school. In early 1918 the 128th was back in action and continued to support the infantry until the end of hostilities. Vic Prince survived the war and stayed with the 128 HB Royal Garrison Artillery until demobilized in May 19191.

We have no information on Thomas Prince’s military service at present. The following names are also mentioned in the Parish Magazine for April 1916. However, it is not known if any of the men were from Fingest or from other parts of the parish. Ernest West (the Fingest organist), Stanley Johnson and Francis Pocock (taking part in the defence of Verdun), Philip Plumridge (en route for India), Ernest Parker and Thomas Perks (ship was torpedoed on way to Egypt, a second accident has put him in hospital with a fractured clavicle).

The Vicar, the Rev. J. S. Davis, received the following letter from Captain Green, Recruiting Organizer for Bucks4.

“Dear Sir,

            I was very glad to get your letter of March 7th and have much pleasure in sending you some more Window Cards under separate cover. I congratulate you and your parish on the response that has been made to the call for men. If every parish had sent proportionately the same number of men that I understand yours has sent there would be no need for any measure of conscription.          Yours very truly,

Central Recruiting Office,                                                              W. H. Green,

                             Aylesbury.                                                                            Capt.

           Lieut.-Colonel Fawkes writes “That your village has done well”


  1. Personal Communications.
  2. Family Archives and Personal Communications.
  3. Fingest with Ibstone Parish Magazine April 1916, Our Soldiers.
  4. Fingest with Ibstone Parish Magazine April 1916, War Notes.

Church Fetes

1952 prog
Programme for the 1952 fete

In the early 1950s the church tower was in need of repair. To raise funds for the fabric fund, a fete was held on Saturday 19th July, 1952. It was opened by Paul Temple. The fete offered the usual attractions including pony rides, a children’s fancy dress parade and in those days of rationing bowling for pig. There was also dancing in the evening.

Churches in the Church of England are required under the Churches Measure 1955 to undergo an inspection of the state of repair of the building every five years, the Quinquennial Inspection. The inspection is carried out by an approved architect. The subsequent inspection report may require that major works be carried out, e.g. repairs to the tower, retiling the roof. The Churchwardens and Parochial Church Council are responsible for raising the money to pay for the week to week running costs of the church and also any repairs to the fabric of the building. Consequently, fund raising efforts are required when the repair costs are expensive, especially to an ancient Grade 1

Ticket and poster  for the 1966 fete

listed building such as Fingest Church. At Fingest, fetes were held as part of these fund raising efforts1. Such events were held in 1952, 1966, 1989 and 1991 on the cricket pitch field behind the church. The cricket pitch field was known as “The Lawn” in the 1800s2.

The Quinquennial Inspection report for 1965 showed that the structure of the fabric of the church required extensive restoration work to be carried out. Various fund raising efforts were made and a fete was organized the following year for Whit Monday May 30th, 1966. The opening ceremony was performed by comedian Tony Hancock. The usual attractions included bowling for a pig, as there was at the 1952 event, and guess the weight of a calf. An auction took place during the afternoon with items donated by show business personalities; Kathy Kirby, Frank Ifield, Peter Cook, Harry Secombe, Terry Scott, Norman Wisdom, Cliff Richard, Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers and Lord Boothby. So many people attended the fete that, although there was the usual parking at Fingest Farm, cars were parked on all the roads leading into Fingest causing many traffic jams. A total of £950-£1,000 was raised towards the St. Bartholomew’s Church Restoration Fund.

Programme for the 1989 fete








BBC Newsreader Philip Hayton opening 1989 fete

In 1989 the church’s funds needed a boost and fund raising included a village fete. The event held on the 8th July, 1989 was opened by BBC newsreader Philip Hayton. In addition to the events that took place on the cricket field there was entertainment in the church. During the afternoon there was music with organ clarinet and violin, a display of locally grown flowers and a demonstration of ecclesiastical embroidery.

Another fete was held on the 29th June, 1991 in order to raise money for St. Bartholomew’s Church. The afternoon began with an opening ceremony performed by author and playwright John Mortimer QC. All the usual attractions were offered, the main prize in the raffle being a flight in a Tiger Moth.





A fete was held to celebrate the 2000 Millennium: a joint affair with Skirmett. It was held in Copper Beech Field and was opened by musician and singer Joe Brown. Attractions included a produce stall, ponies, sporting competitions, fancy dress, a dog show, and a vintage car display. In the evening a barn dance with music provided by “The Local Yokels” took place in a large marquee set up in the field.

Ticket and poster for the 2000 barn dance








Setting up the stall and the marquee for the Millennium 2000 fete


  1. Family Archives and Personal Communications.
  2. Tithe Map of Fingest 1838.

Home Guard

Remains of the butts, part of the old Home Guard rifle range
Remains of the butts, part of the
old Home Guard rifle range

During the Second World War, 1939-1945, Fingest had its own “Dad’s Army”, the Fingest Section of E Company, 4th Bucks Home Guard1, formed 1st May, 1940. The Home Guard had started life as the L.D.V., the Local Defence Volunteers. Its Commanding Officer was Major N. Gold of Manor Farm, Chequers Lane, Fingest. Manor Farm was the company H.Q. and was also where the Fingest Section paraded and met for training. Target practice was carried out on a rifle range situated in a field North of the farm opposite Gravesend (named after Bishop Gravesend 1260s-1276). The range was looked after by Private M. Heath, a forester and saw-mill worker. Remains of the rifle butts can still be seen from Chequers Lane.

Major E. L. Elliot, a local doctor from Stokenchurch, was the section’s Medical Officer. The Section Sergeant was a local smallholder Bill Tapping of Glebe Farm, Chequers Lane. Other members of the section included Ray Sherwood (furniture maker), Walt Purcell (wood machinist and saw mill worker), Len Wise (electrical works inspector), Reg and Percy Harris, Lionel Gammon, H. Skates (market gardener) and James Druce.

Fingest Section of the Home Guard on parade at Manor Farm
Fingest Section of the Home Guard
on parade at Manor Farm

Exercises took place in the village, with some of the local residents acting as casualties, and in the surrounding woods and fields. During some exercises a vehicle with corrugated iron sheets fixed to its sides would be driven down Chequers Lane. Members of the Home Guard would jump up from behind the churchyard wall and hurl missiles at the “armoured car”.

The Fingest section of the Home Guard featured in an article in the Picture Post magazine of 16th December, 19442. The article was published on the occasion of the standing down of the Home Guard when a march past and salute, taken by King George VI, took place in Hyde Park, London. Several thousand men took part in the parade, representatives from every Home Guard Company in the country. In addition to photographs of the parade in London, there were photographs of the Fingest Section outside the Chequers Inn and in Chequers Lane. They show them being mustered, by their senior N.C.O. Sergeant Bill Tapping, for the stand-down and march-off. Photographs of some of the Fingest personnel were also included in the article. The Bucks Home Guard, E Company stood down on the 3rd December, 1944.


Carriers: Goods and People

Sarah Frances Hussey
Sarah Frances Hussey

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries great-grandmother Sarah Frances Prince together with one of her sons, great-uncle Amos, traded as the local carrier running a regular service from Henley to Skirmett, Fingest and Turville1. The Prince’s horse and wagon left from outside the Bull Inn in Bell Street, Henley on Thursdays at 3pm, as shown in the list of carriers advertised in The Henley Guide of 18962.  Amos drove the wagons fetching goods and coal from Henley as well as carrying loads from other towns such as Marlow and Maidenhead. He also transported people and their goods from and to Henley, High Wycombe, West Wycombe and Marlow railway stations (see the entries in great-great- grandmother’s diary)1.

1880  April 22 To Fingest /2 ton cole and wood today

                   24 More cole an wood came

           July 10  Mrs Stevens had her goods sent from London to

                        Henley Amos fetched them 13 lots

Amos took wheat up to Copstone windmill to be ground into flour 1.

1879    Oct  13            Fetched Flower home the 13

                   14 Amos took 3B Weat to Mill

                   17 Fetched Flower home

            Nov  6  The B Weat Ground Brought home

1879    Oct13  Fetched Flower from home the 13

                  14  Amos took 3B Weat to Mill

                  17  Fetched Flower home

            Nov 6   The B Weat Ground Brought home

Carriers ad

Amos Prince
Amos Prince

Following his mother’s death Amos continued with the carrier business . In the early 1920s, in addition to his carrier trade, Amos had also established a motor bus operation running between Stokenchurch, West Wycombe and High Wycombe. He also ran between Lane End, Stokenchurch, Fingest and Henley1. The first buses were ex World War 1 army lorries with benches fitted in the back to seat the passengers.

Charlie Holland of Lane End, a brother to one of Amos’s sisters- in-law, also ran bus services in the Lane End and Fingest area. One of Amos’s nephews held a public service vehicle license and at times most likely drove for Amos Prince and Charlie Holland. Both Amos Prince’s and Charlie Holland’s bus businesses were eventually sold to the Thames Valley Traction Co. Ltd.

Albert Prince in his Armstrong Siddeley                   saloon at Turville Heath
Albert Prince in his Armstrong Siddeley saloon at Turville Heath

Albert Prince, a nephew of Amos Prince, ran a car hire service from his home at Fingest Farm. This was in addition to his farming activities. According to his journey records he operated the car hire business from 1930 to 19421. His pick-up area covered the Fingest, Ibstone, Turville Heath, North End and Skirmett.

The redundant Dormy Shed prior to being dismantled
The redundant Dormy Shed prior to being dismantled

As mentioned, the local bus services were taken over by the Thames Valley Traction Co. Ltd1. They operated a route, service number 37, from High Wycombe railway station via Lane End to Fingest . In order to provide an early morning workers’ service from Fingest the bus was garaged overnight at Fingest in what was known as a Dormy Shed. A number of crews manned the service, all living locally in order to arrive at the Dormy Shed to begin the morning shift at 6am. In 1951, 15-year old Rosie Rosier (nee Hobbs) started work at Harrison’s and Sons, High Wycombe, checking stamps for the Post Office. She walked with a friend from Skirmett to catch the first bus leaving Fingest at 6.15am. Children living in Turville Valley and Northend would cycle to Fingest to catch the bus to secondary school in High Wycombe, leaving their bicycles at Ivy Cottage or Fingest Farm. The Dormy Shed was dismantled in 1977. It was purchased by a farmer from Reading and re-erected for use as a barn.

In the 1980s the Royal Mail provided a service to Henley known as the Henley-on-Thames to Frieth Royal Mail Postbus. The tickets were postage stamps franked by the driver. This provided a minibus service for the residents of the Hambleden Valley, while at the same time the driver collected mail from post boxes on the way. In later years some limited bus services have been run by supermarkets and Buckinghamshire County Council has provided some subsidised services to Marlow and Henley-on-Thames.

  1. Family Archives and Personal Communications.
  2. The Henley-on-Thames Guide 1896.


Originally there were twelve graveboards in St. Bartholomew’s, Fingest churchyard, dating from 1817 to 1889. Their approximate positions are shown in the plan of the churchyard1,2.

Fingest Churchyard in the 1920s
Fingest Churchyard in the 1920s

Graveboards, sometimes known as leaping boards or bedhead graveboards owing to their appearance, were made of wood as a cheaper alternative to stone or in areas where timber was easier to source locally than stone. They were commonly found in country churchyards particularly in south-east England. Many have perished, their use ceasing when headstones became cheaper toward the end of the 19th Century

Plan of St. Bartholomew’s Churchyard Fingest showing approximate position of graveboards.
Plan of St. Bartholomew’s Churchyard Fingest showing approximate position of graveboards.

Graveboards had ornamental ends and an inscription that was either painted in black lettering on a white background on one side of the board or carved along the top of the board. Those in Fingest churchyard were painted with black lettering. The boards were placed length ways from head to foot above the grave. None of the original graveboards exists today. Three boards survived until recently but due to their poor condition were replaced during 2004/5, ie. Nos. 5, 6 and 10. Each of the three replacement graveboards carries a small plaque with its original inscription and states that the board is a replacement. The inscriptions for all of the original twelve graveboards are shown below.

  1. In Memory of Elizabeth Wells who departed this life July 6th, 1869, aged 61 years.

2. Sacred to the memory of Ruth Hussey, Spinster, daughter of William and    Martha Hussey, who died May 26th, 1835, aged 31 years.

3. Sacred to the memory of George Edmond Piercey son of George and Sophia Piercy  who departed this life September 29th, 1850, aged 33 years.

4. To the Memory of Mrs. Sophia Piercey, wife of Mr. George Webb Piercey,    South Weald, Essex who died May 7th, 1827, aged 40 years.

5. In Memory of Mary Hussey who died January 18th, 1817, aged 84 years.

6. In Memory of William Neighbour for 42 years Minister’s Churchwarden of this Parish who departed this life Novr. 25th, 1875, aged 72 years.

7. In Memory of Richard Robinson who departed this life, Dec 2nd, 1889, aged 68 years.

8. In Memory of John Garner Robinson son of Richard and Sarah Robinson who departed this life, April 3rd, 1876, aged 28 years.

9. In Memory of Sarah wife of Richard Robinson who departed this life Septr. 13th, 1872, aged 58 years.

10. In Memory of Thomas Robinson who departed this life June 6th, 1851, aged 86 years.

11. In Memory of Elizabeth Robinson widow of Thomas Robinson who departed this life July 28th, 1874, aged 92 years.

12. In Memory of Martha Holland died Aug. –, —-, aged 67 years.


  1. Family Archives and Personal Communication.

2. Survey of Headstones, Monuments and Graveboards, 1983 (Church Records).

Fingest Bourn

Map showing course of the Fingest Bourn
Map showing course of the Fingest Bourn

The Fingest Bourn, a tributary of the brook that runs down the Hambleden Valley to the Thames at Mill End, is the rarest of the tributaries of the Brook.It rises from springs north of the church and now usually runs in the highway drains of Chequers Lane, but very occasionally these are overtopped and the flow of water appears in the carriageways and in the lowest part of the churchyard, where it can form a large pond. These days the level is kept in check by a large gully leading to a culvert under Fingest Lane at the side of the Chequers Inn carpark. The flow then emerges in the Copper Beech field flowing down the valley through Hespers joining the brook the Skirmett side of Keepers Cottage (now called Fingest Hill Cottage).

The Bourn flowing through the Copper Beech field
The Bourn flowing through the Copper Beech field

It is only in recent years that the Hamble Brook has been known as such. The name seems to have come from an Ordnance Survey map produced in the 1960s1, 2.

The Bourn in Hespers
The Bourn in Hespers

Grandfather William Prince said that his father Thomas told him that he would see it flow twice in his lifetime. However, William witnessed it three times during his lifetime. The first was during his father’s final illness. William recalled how his father was carried to his grave in May 1846 in St. Bartholomew’s churchyard over planks3. It rose again in 1928 and nine years later in 1937. In recent years the springs rose in 2001, 2005 and 2014.

Thunder storms May 1924
Thunder storms May 1924

bourn image 6






bourn image 5The Hamble Brook and its tributaries are chalk streams that are fed by groundwater rising up through springs from the chalk aquifer below, and the level of the water table mainly depends on the amount of rain falling during the winter months. In most years the water table is insufficiently high enough to generate the springs. The Fingest Bourne may therefore be correctly classified as a ‘winterbourne’. But even the Hamble Brook (south of Skirmett) has dried up several times in living memory and its tributaries are often dry, so maybe all these streams are more correctly described as winterbournes2,4.

The Churchyard Pond
The Churchyard Pond

However, particularly heavy summer rainstorms have resulted in flooding in the roads over the years (see photos above right)3. An entry for 5th August 1879 in great-great-grandmother Mary Hussey’s diary reads as follows3,


“There was a very heavy tempest all night on Saturday it have washed the road all down.”
  1. Joan Barksfield, Hambleden Valley Group Magazine July, 1997, The Brook.
  2. Jeanne Keene, Hambleden Valley Group Magazine April, 1996, The Brook.
  3. Family Archives and Personal Communication.
  4. Jim Tilbury, Hambleden Valley Group Magazine February 1993, The Brook in Full Spate.


The Ghosts of Fingest

Fingest, as with any worthy village has its ghost. In fact it may have three. The better known is that of Bishop Henry Burghersh1. In the 14th century the Bishops of Lincoln maintained a manor house (bishops’ palace?) at Fingest, situated behind the church. In 1326 the then bishop, one Henry Burghersh1,2,3,4,5, was made Chancellor of England by Edward III. Bishop Burghersh was a very unpleasant person being described as “neither good for church nor state, sovereign nor subjects; but was covetous, ambitious, rebellious and injurious”6. The small out of the way manor house was somewhere Henry could go unnoticed, entertain his friends and indulge in hunting, eating, drinking and having a great time. To further his aims in 1330, he enclosed some 300 acres of common lands to create a private deer park. The wronged villagers having lost their grazing land felt that there was nothing they could do as he was Chancellor of England, a powerful position, and it remained so until his death.

Bishop Burghersh died in 1340, but his wrongdoing in taking the common land from the villagers so affected him that he could not rest in his grave. A friend of the Bishop staying at the manor was walking in the park at night when the Bishop’s ghost appeared dressed in green as a forester with horn, bow and arrows. The ghost begged the man to right the wrong so that he could rest. The friend travelled to Lincoln where he persuaded the Canons to return the common land to the villagers. Does his ghost rest?

Ghost fact or fiction, is this the Green Man7,9? The Green Man has been around at least since the 5th Century and is celebrated in various ways around the world.  It is usually seen as a face either surrounded by or covered in leaves in the form of a sculpture or a carving. Pagan in origin although the carvings are found in many churches. Its mythology is widespread taking many forms, eg. rebirth, fertility as in the new growth each spring, related to nature etc. Many festivals take place in celebration of what the Green Man represents to different people. Although the Bishop’s ghost is said to appear in a green tunic it seems unlikely that it is the Green Man.

Some wonder if his is the only one – some folk say that they have seen the ghost of a woman and a priest-like figure dressed in white robes8 in Chequers Lane.

  1. E.F.S., The Bucks Free Press 1934, The Spook of Fingest.
  2. Jean Archer, Hidden Buckinghamshire 62-63, (Countryside Books 1989 ISBN 1 85306 045 3).
  3. John Holborrow, Stony Ground 170-175, (Minerva Press 1999 ISBN 0 75410 602 0).
  4. The Parish Church of Saint Bartholomew Fingest, Bucks, (1932 Twelfth Impression 1965).
  5. 5. Thomas Delafield (curate at Fingest 1726-), Manuscripts Vol.2, an Essay toward the account of Fingest in the County of Bucks (Bodleian Library, Oxford).
  6. Thomas Fuller (1608-1661), The Church History of Britain.
  7. ITV Documentary (1990s).
  8. Personal communication
  9. Mysterious Britain and Ireland: Mysteries, Legends and the Paranormal, The Green Man of  Fingest