Beacon Hill, with Chequers in the backgroundLate Bronze Age razor found at Ellesborough WarrenA lot of prehistoric artefacts have been found in Ellesborough. Mesolithic flint blades, flakes and cores have been found at Nashlee Farm and cores and a tranchet axe near the Rising Sun in fieldwalking surveys. The most common period represented by fieldwalking finds is the Neolithic. Neolithic flint flakes, blades, cores and scrapers have been found around Chalkshire Farm, Nashlee Farm, Terrick House, and Dunsmore Old Farm. Other Neolithic items have been found individually by walkers. Some have been found in excavation, such as at Ellesborough golf club, where a Neolithic burial was found, as well as pottery sherds, animal remains and flints. The Bronze Age is represented by finds of flints at mostly the same locations as the Neolithic, but also a possible barrow on Beacon Hill that was excavated in the nineteenth century and a hoard of Late Bronze Age metalwork found near the Velvet Lawn and a razor was found on a cattle track at Ellesborough Warren. The cross-dyke on Coombe Hill is possibly Bronze or Iron Age as well. Iron Age pits, pottery sherds and animal bone were found in the excavations at Ellesborough golf club and Iron Age pottery has been found at several locations, including near the Rising Sun and Terrick House. A possible Iron Age or Roman enclosure is known from aerial photographs of Low Scrubs.


Quite a number of Roman artefacts have also been found in Ellesborough parish. These include a Roman amphora sherd at Chalkshire Farm, a jug sherd at the parish hall, Roman coins at Coach Hedgerow, Hengrove Wood and on a footpath near Hampden Bottom. A Roman toga pin and other metalwork was found in a metal-detecting survey at The Springs. Roman tile, painted wall plaster, pottery and coins were found at Beacon Hill, suggesting the site of a building here. The fieldwalking at Nashlee Farm also turned up lots of Roman pottery and two fragments of a rotary quern, indicating the site of another probable building. A possible villa was excavated in the nineteenth century in King’s Field, Terrick. Roman pottery, tile, animal bones, coins and a spear were found in the excavations. Part of a Roman tessellated floor, in this case pieces of marble set in cement, was found during the Second World War near Maple Wood, and this ties in with a cropmark of an enclosure seen on aerial photographs.


Saxon bone comb and cowrie shell found in a burial at Ellesborough golf clubQuite a bit of Saxon pottery has been found alongside the items noted above, particularly at Chalkshire Farm and Nashlee Farm. Saxon metalwork has also been found in metal-detecting surveys near the church. A Saxon burial was found during construction of Ellesborough golf club, and it was accompanied by pottery, a bone comb and a cowrie shell that may have been an exotic pendant.


Rather than medieval artefacts, there are actually lots of medieval remains visible as earthworks in Ellesborough. These include a possible windmill mound north of the church; medieval moats at Apsley Manor Farm, Seyton Manor House, Terrick House, North Lee and at Nash Lee (where it may have been reused as a watercress bed); a motte and bailey castle (actually with two baileys) at Cymbeline’s Mount; three fishponds at Grove Farm, Terrick; a hollow-way and a pillow mound, probably used as a rabbit warren, on Beacon Hill; and a moat and pond at Terrick House. The site of the moats probably represent the sites of the medieval manor houses. Artefacts have also been found, such as the hoard of twelfth century coins found in 1777 somewhere in the parish and now in the Ashmolean Museum; the metalwork found by metal-detectorists near the church; and pottery has been found wherever there has been fieldwalking surveys, as mentioned above. The pottery found in Close Orchard at Nashlee Farm may possibly represent the site of a medieval hamlet that has since disappeared.


Chequers CourtThe church of St Peter and St Paul is the oldest building in the parish, dating to the fourteenth and fifteenth century. Chequers was originally built in the fourteenth century but was rebuilt in 1565 and has been altered since then. The name derives from early inhabitants of the manor, the De Scaccarios, who also gave their name to the Exchequer. It was held by the Hawtrey family until the eighteenth century but by the early twentieth century Sir Arthur Lee lived here. He gifted the house to the nation for use by the prime minister as a country retreat in 1917.


Coombe Hill Boer War memorialMost of the other buildings in the parish are not so old. Seyton Manor House may be around the same date, being sixteenth century. There is also a sixteenth century dovecote in the grounds. Other houses date to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, such as Little Acre Cottage or Chalkshire Farm. Almshouses were built in the eighteenth century over the road from the church and are known as Lady Dodd Cottages. In this later period industry even touched Ellesborough. Ellesborough mill, for instance, was very active and making paper in the eighteenth century. Unfortunately it was gutted by fire in the early twentieth century and demolished. A house called Brick Kiln Cottage suggests the location of a brickworks in the parish, too. Beacon Hill is so called because of the use of the hill as a beacon, useful for when the country was threatened with invasion by France during the Napoleonic era. Later this site was used in the Second World War as a gun emplacement to protect Chequers. Coombe Hill also holds a twentieth century monument, a war memorial put up in 1904 after the Boer War.