Place:Chesham, Buckinghamshire, England

Watchers
NameChesham
Alt namesCestrehamsource: Domesday Book (1985) p 42
TypeTown, Civil parish
Coordinates51.717°N 0.633°W
Located inBuckinghamshire, England
See alsoChesham (urban district), Buckinghamshire, Englandurban district of which Chesham was the principal part 1894-1974
Chiltern, Buckinghamshire, Englanddistrict council into which Chesham was absorbed in 1974
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog
the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Chesham (pronounced Chessam by local inhabitants) is a market town in the Chiltern Hills of Buckinghamshire, England. It is located 11 miles south-east of the county town of Aylesbury and about 3 miles north of Amersham. Chesham is also a civil parish and designated as a town council within the Chiltern District. Geographically, it is situated in the Chess Valley and surrounded by farmland, as well as being bordered on one side by Amersham and Chesham Bois. The earliest records of Chesham as a settlement are from the second half of the 10th century although there is archaeological evidence of people in the area from around 8000 BC.

The town is known for its four Bs, usually quoted as: boots, beer, brushes and Baptists. Chesham's prosperity grew significantly during the 18th and 19th centuries with the development of manufacturing industry. In the face of fierce competition from both home and abroad, all these traditional industries rapidly declined, mostly during the first half of the 20th century. The ready availability of skilled labour encouraged new industries to the town both before and after the end of the Second World War. Today employment in the town is provided mainly by small business engaged in light industry, technology and professional services.

From the early part of the 20th century onwards there has been a considerable expansion of the residential section of the town with new housing developments and civic infrastructure. Chesham is connected to the London by the Underground and road networks. The town centre has been progressively redeveloped since the 1960s and was pedestrianised in the 1990s. The population of the town has increased to slightly over 20,000 but further growth has been restricted because the area forms part of the Metropolitan Green Belt.

Contents

Local government

the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Chesham formed part of Amersham Poor Law Union from 1835 and Amersham Rural Sanitary District from 1875. From 1884 the town was administered by the Chesham Local Government District, which was succeeded in 1894 by Chesham Urban District under the Local Government Act 1894.

When the Local Government Act 1972 came into effect on 1 April 1974 the urban district was abolished in favour of the Chiltern District and the civil parish was given town council status. At town council level, Chesham is divided into 9 electoral wards and 19 councillors.

History

For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Chesham. which includes a long discourse on the history of Chesham through the ages.

Research Tips

Maps

  • An outline map of the current civil parishes of Buckinghamshire (post 1974 and omitting Milton Keynes unitary authority) is provided by the Boundaries Commission.
  • Another map which gives no source, appears to have been drawn to show the county in the late 19th century and labels the parishes directly. However, the map does not show towns and villages (unless they are parishes using the same name) and some parishes have been found to be missing from this map.
  • A map provided by the Open University (a British university based in Milton Keynes) gives the locations of the old civil parishes and the new communities that make up Milton Keynes. It can be expanded to read the labels.

Registration Offices

Birth, marriage and death certificates can now be ordered online from Buckinghamshire County Council. The full postal address is Buckinghamshire Register Office, County Hall, Walton Street, Aylesbury, HP20 1YU.

The Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies (County Hall, Walton Street, Aylesbury, HP20 1UU) holds

  • Church of England and Nonconformist churches including registers of baptism, marriage and burial.
  • Around 35,000 wills proved by the Archdeaconry of Buckingham.
  • County and District Councils (lists of councillors, minutes of meetings, etc).
  • Quarter and Petty Session courts.
  • Landed estates of families including the Aubrey-Fletchers, Hampdens, Carringtons and Fremantles.
  • Historic maps including OS, tithe and inclosure maps
  • A wide range of local history books, some for loan.
  • Pamphlets and articles of local history interest.
  • Local newspapers
  • Computers for access to family history resources like Ancestry and FreeBMD.
  • Published material is listed in the Library Catalogue.
  • Catalogues to some of our manuscript material is available through Access to Archives, part of The National Archives (TNA). Their database contains catalogues describing archives held locally in England and Wales and dating from the eighth century to the present day.

In Buckinghamshire, as with other counties in England and Wales, the location of offices where Births, Marriages and Deaths were registered has altered with other changes in local government. A list of the location of Registration Offices since civil registration began in 1837 has been prepared by GENUKI (Genealogy: United Kingdom and Ireland). The table also gives details of when each Registration Office was in existence. In the case of Buckinghamshire, the same registration offices were used for the censuses since 1851.

Nineteenth Century Local Administration

English Jurisdictions is a webpage provided by FamilySearch which analyses every ecclesiastical parish in England at the year 1851. It provides, with the aid of outline maps, the date at which parish records and bishops transcripts begin, non-conformist denominations with a chapel within the parish, the names of the jurisdictions in charge: county, civil registration district, probate court, diocese, rural deanery, poor law union, hundred, church province; and links to FamilySearch historical records, FamilySearch Catalog and the FamilySearch Wiki. Two limitations: only England, and at the year 1851.

During the 19th century two bodies, the Poor Law Union and the Sanitary District, had responsibility for governmental functions at a level immediately above that covered by the civil parish. In 1894 these were replace by Rural and Urban Districts. These were elected bodies, responsible for setting local property assessments and taxes as well as for carrying out their specified duties. Thses districts continued in operation until 1974. Urban districts for larger municipalities were called "Municipal Boroughs" and had additional powers and obligations.

Poor Law Unions, established nationally in 1834, combined parishes together for the purpose of providing relief for the needy who had no family support. This led to the building of '"union poorhouses" or "workhouses" funded by all the parishes in the union. The geographical boundaries established for the individual Poor Law Unions were employed again when Registration Districts were formed three years later. In 1875 Sanitary Districts were formed to provide services such as clean water supply, sewage systems, street cleaning, and the clearance of slum housing. These also tended to follow the same geographical boundaries, although there were local alterations caused by changes in population distribution.

Online Historical References

  • GENUKI for Buckinghamshire provides a lot of material on the county history from a variety of aspects. The maps of the hundreds are reproduced from 19th century publications and show the topology as well as the locations of the various parishes. There is also a schematic map covering the whole county. GENUKI does not contain much information about the 20th century and beyond.
  • Local History Online provides a list of local historical organizations. Each of these societies and organizations has its own website.
  • The FamilySearch Wiki on Buckinghamshire explains the jurisdictions relating to civil affairs, parishes and probate (wills and testaments) for each parish in the county and also outlines when these jurisdictions were in existence. The data does not cover the post-1974 period.


This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Chesham. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.