Chalfont St Giles

A great deal of prehistoric material has been found in Chalfont St Giles, and particularly Jordans, much of it dating to the Mesolithic and Neolithic. A Palaeolithic handaxe was found somewhere in the parish but was not well provenanced. Mesolithic and Neolithic flint flakes and a Mesolithic mace were found in the gardens of Further Pegs and Kisdons in Jordans, and further Neolithic flakes in nearby Down Field. In Further Pegs a total of 1077 flint flakes, seven flint cores, 27 flint scrapers and other Mesolithic flints such as burins, fabricators and notched flakes were found. In nearby Wilton Cottage, two Neolithic scrapers and four flakes of the same date also came up in the garden. Several flint flakes and a pick rough-out came from the garden of Stone Dean. A fragment of a Neolithic polished flint axe was found in Stivers Wood but much more was found in Crutches Wood after tree felling became necessary after gales. These included a Mesolithic tranchet axe-head, a Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age plano-convex knife, 52 flint flakes and 144 flint blades, cores and scrapers.


St Giles' church. Oxfordshire County Council Photographic ArchiveDating to slightly later in prehistory are two burnt mounds on the side of the River Chess. These were thought to be Roman ovens when they were first discovered in the early twentieth century but are now thought to date to the Bronze Age. Burnt mounds are piles of burnt and crazed flints that have been heated up in a fire and then dropped into water to heat it. Archaeologists variously suggest that burnt mounds are the remains of cooking or possibly some kind of sauna. A few Roman finds in the area, such as pottery, roof tile and tesserae from a mosaic suggest some kind of Roman building in the area and a Roman road is thought to pass through the parish.


There are no Saxon remains in the parish but the medieval period is represented primarily by St Giles’ church. It was built in the twelfth century and has had many additions over the years. There are medieval murals inside the church, as well. Some rebuilding work in the church uncovered an earlier wall, probably dating to the eleventh century that was from a building of unknown function pre-dating the church.


Milton's Cottage. Oxfordshire County Council Photographic ArchiveSeveral mills are known from medieval documents. The Chalfont Mill is probably on the site of its Domesday predecessor. The field name of Windmill Field correlates with thirteenth to nineteenth century records of a windmill there. A mound in Pollard’s Wood is also probably a windmill mound, but may be later than the medieval period.


There are records of two manors in Chalfont St Giles, one being the Vache, which is recorded in Domesday and there are records up to the sixteenth century. The present house dates to the latter century. Grove Place Manor is known from fourteenth to nineteenth century records. There may have been a moat recording the position of the manor house, but it is thought that this is now destroyed. The only secular building left that is thought to date to the medieval period is Stonewell’s Farm, which is a fifteenth or sixteenth century timber-framed hall-house, which means it was originally one big hall and was later subdivided inside and had other rooms built on as extensions.


Jordans Meeting House. Oxfordshire County Council Photographic ArchiveJordans cemeteryMany of the listed buildings in Chalfont St Giles date to the sixteenth century. These include Bowstridge Farm, the outbuilding at the Old Rectory, Lych Gate Cottage, Dean Farmhouse and barn, the Vache and Austen’s Farmhouse. The sixteenth century buildings, and some of the early seventeenth century ones, tend to be timber-framed, like Milton’s Cottage, which was lent to John Milton in the middle of the seventeenth century and derives its name from him. Later buildings were built in brick, such as the nineteenth century Reading Room, the Ivy pub and Sandford. The listed buildings in Chalfont St Giles include the twentieth century house, Further Pegs, in Jordans, which was built in the Arts and Crafts style in the 1920s as was much of the rest of the village. The village was designed by Quakers to be near Jordans Meeting House, which was built in the late seventeenth century. The eminent Quaker William Penn is buried in the cemetery. Nearby Old Jordans and the Mayflower Barn are supposed to incorporate parts of the Mayflower ship that took the pilgrim fathers to America.


Mayflower BarnThere are a few registered parks and gardens in Chalfont St Giles as well. Parkland at the Vache is recorded in sixteenth and seventeenth century maps when it was used as a deer park. Later, it was turned into landscape gardens in the eighteenth century, when the Cook monument was built in the grounds.