Cholesbury-cum-St Leonards is a civil parish in the Chiltern district of the English county of Buckinghamshire. It is located in the Chiltern Hills just to the north of Chesham and forms a boundary along its length with Hertfordshire.
It comprises the hamlet of Buckland Common, and the villages of Cholesbury, Hawridge and St Leonards which were brought together as part of the local government reorganisation in April 1934. The parish has since increased in size through the annexing of additional parcels of land which previously were part of Chesham, Ashley Green and Drayton Beauchamp.
In common with many other villages close to the scarp of the Chiltern Hills, the parishes formed from the ancient manors and estates ran from the fertile Vale of Aylesbury up the step wooded slope onto the Chiltern plateau and dip slope. They are collectively known by the social geographic term of strip parishes. Over time the upland communities, which had originally been temporary outposts connected to summer agricultural activity (transhumance), became distinct, permanent settlements.
Prior to 1934, the local government arrangements covering the area of the present-day parish were distributed across a number of separate civil parishes. Cholesbury has historical associations with Drayton Beauchamp, becoming an autonomous manor and parish from the 14th century. Meanwhile, Hawridge which has historic associations with Marsworth, despite the two settlements being separated by a narrow strip of land in Hertfordshire became an autonomous unit from around the 16th century. The other two main settlements of the modern-day parish, prior to 1934, were the upland portions of two other parishes. St Leonards had been part of a civil parish with Aston Clinton (also for a time known as Aston Clinton St Leonards). The hamlet of Buckland Common had been within the parish of Buckland. Additionally, as part of a contemporary county boundary changes, a narrow strip of mainly arable fields and woodland plantation which ran adjacent to the county boundary was also transferred from Drayton Beauchamp parish, as was part of the hamlet of Heath End, a small parcel of land previously in Wingginton parish in Hertfordshire. More recently, a section of land, formally part of Chesham parish has become incorporated at the Hawridge end of the parish.
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
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