The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 56 Harrow. Jordans. Chalfont St Giles. Stoke Poges

From London to Jordans and Chalfont St Giles

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B. FROM LONDON TO JORDANS AND CHALFONT ST. GILES. RAILWAY from Marylebone or Paddington, 21+ miles in 40-50 minutes (4/5, 2/8), whence it is a walk of 4 miles via Jordans to Chalfont St. Giles. From Gerrard's Cross a motor omnibus runs via (25 minutes) Chalfont St. Giles to Amersham, but does not pass Jordans. The London & North Eastern Railway line from Marylebone and the Great Western Railway line from Paddington unite at (10 miles) Northolt Junction, the former passing Wembley Hill, Sudbury, and South Harrow, the latter passing Westbourne Park, Park Royal, for the football ground of the Queen's Park Rangers, Brentham, and Greenford. Beyond (12 miles) Ruislip and Ickenham we cross the Grand Junction Canal and the river Colne and enter Buckinghamshire. 14+ miles Denham. Harefield Church, 1+ miles to the north, contains a fine monument to a Countess of Derby (died 1636) and her three countess daughters. 17+ miles Gerrard's Cross (Chalfont Park Hotel, pension �6 6/), with a modern villa-colony. 21 miles. Seer Green (few trains) is the nearest station to Jordans and Chalfont St. Giles. 21+ miles. Beaconsfleld (White Hart, Room 6/, Luncheon 3/; Saracen's Head), a sleepy little town (2500 inhabitants), lies on the Oxford road + miles to the south of the station, around which a villa-colony has sprung up. Edmund Burke (died 1797), who lived at Gregories, a house which formerly stood to the north west of Beaconsfield, is buried in the parish church (tablet and a modern monument in the south aisle). An obelisk in the churchyard marks the tomb of Edmund Waller (1606-87), the poet, who lived at Hall Barn, a large estate on the Slough road, just outside the town (the present house was built in 1712). Beaconsfield gave the title of earl to Benjamin Disraeli (1804-81), who lived and is buried at Hughenden, 8 miles to the west. The railway goes on via (7+ miles) High Wycombe to (13+ miles) Princes Risborough traversing a district intimately associated with John Hampden (1594-1643). About 3+ miles north east of the latter station (and 2 miles south east of Little Kimble station) is Chequers (no admission), a historic Tudor mansion presented to the nation in 1917 by Lord Lee of Fareham for the use of the Prime Minister. From the 12th century, when Helyas de Scaccario (from whose title the name 'Chequers' is derived) became the first tenant, until 1912, when it was purchased by Sir Arthur Lee, the estate was never sold, but passed from hand to hand by marriage or inheritance. In 1566-67 Lady Mary Grey (sister of Lady Jane) was confined here by order of Queen Elizabeth. The marriage of a grandson of Oliver Cromwell to an heiress of the estate brought to Chequers the famous collection of Cromwell portraits and relics which still remains, together with works by Rembrandt, Rubens, and Gainsborough, a valuable library, and a fine collection of autographs. TO JORDANS AND CHALFONT ST. GILES. We follow the main road to the east from Beaconsfield, passing the gates of Wilton Park, and take the first turning to the left, a pleasant by-road flanked by beech-woods. This crosses the railway and descends to (2 miles) the inconspicuous old Quaker meetinghouse of Jordans, which was built in 1688 (admission daily; service on Sunday at 11 a. m.). In the burial-ground in front lie William Penn (1644-1718), founder of Pennsylvania, his two wives, and five of his children; also Thomas Ellwood, Milton's friend (died 1713), and Isaac Penington (died 1679). Farther on we reach the unpretending Old Jordans Hostel, which occupies the farm in which the Quakers used to meet before the meeting house was built. That the timbers of the 'Mayflower' were used in building the barn is an attractive but scarcely authenticated theory. The road goes on to (2 miles) Chalfont St. Giles, a pleasant village, at the beginning of which, on the right, is the old cottage where Milton lived in 1665-66, whilst the plague was raging in London. 'Paradise Regained' was begun here. The cottage now contains a few relics of the poet (admission 6d.). The church contains some interesting monuments. From Chalfont St Giles pleasant by-roads and footpaths lead north to Chalfont Station (3+ miles), Chenies (4 miles) or Chorley Wood Station (3+ miles); a footpath, beginning by the churchyard, leads to the east to Rickmansworth (5 miles); while the highroad leads south via Chalfont St. Peter to Gerrard's Cross (3+ miles).