West Wycombe Rural

This is an old parish that used to contain villages between Downley, Bradenham and Piddington but not West Wycombe, which was in High Wycombe parish. Several prehistoric artefacts have been found in this former parish. A Middle Bronze Age palstave was found during bypass construction between Piddington and Studley Green. A Late Bronze Age socketed axehead was found north of Piddington and an Iron Age brooch and a Roman dress fastener were found south of Piddington in a metal-detecting survey. A Neolithic flint flake was found in a garden in Downley.


A lot of Roman artefacts have been found in metal-detecting surveys in this parish. Coins, brooches, studs, rings, bracelets and so on have been found in Common Wood; near Wheeler End; Downley Common; and a Roman bird mount was found east of Piddington. A possible Roman road runs through the parish, so it is possible there was a Roman settlement around here.


The only Saxon monument may be Fastendich, which seems to be a linear cross-dyke or bank and ditch system. It would have been used to mark out territorial boundaries. The bankd and ditch at Bottom Farm may also be the Fastendich referred to in a twelfth century document.


There are documentary references to several medieval sites, such as a village of Averingdown, which may have been somewhere close to where Averingdown Farm is now. Medieval brick and tiles have been found in ploughing nearby. Another lost hamlet is Chawley (spelt Chalueleia in the twelfth century document in which it is recorded). Widdenton Park, a deer park, is also known from historic records, mainly fourteenth century in date, and the park pale has been identified in field survey. There are also historic records of the manor of Hanchendene. Fifteen medieval boundary markers were recorded on a nineteenth century map of Pimlock’s Wood, but only five now survive. Excavations in Fillington Wood uncovered a twelfth to thirteenth century building and yard surrounded by a bank and ditch, with a slightly later kitchen building, well and dovecote. Four thirteenth to fourteenth century burials were also found in the excavations.


The surviving buildings are much later in date. One of the earliest may be Huckenden Farm, which dates to the sixteenth century, though it has been altered in later centuries. Chipps Manor is also sixteenth century in date. Most other listed houses were built in the eighteenth or nineteenth century, including Sharron Cottage, which was a workhouse. Later centuries brought industry as well and a brickworks is recorded on a 1767 map of Hearnton Wood and one is known at Downley Common. There are also records of potters working in this parish. There are also lots of extraction pits in this parish, for instance at Glenbriars in Cadmore End and in West Wycombe Park.