Great Missenden is a village in the Misbourne Valley in the Chiltern Hills in Buckinghamshire, England, situated between the towns of Amersham and Wendover. The civil parish also contains the nearby villages of Prestwood, Ballinger and South Heath. The narrow High Street is bypassed by the main A413 London-to-Aylesbury road. The source of the River Misbourne is to be found just north of the village, although this upper reach runs only in winter. The perennial head of the river is in Little Missenden.
Great Missenden lay on a major route between the Midlands and London. Several coaching inns provided rest and refreshment for travellers and their horses. The first railway line in the area was, however, routed alongside the Grand Union Canal to the east. Once the coaches stopped running Great Missenden declined in importance and prosperity, becoming an agricultural village. However, following the arrival in 1892 of the Great Central Railway, whose tracks paralleled those of the London Underground Metropolitan from Amersham to Marylebone, Great Missenden became a commuter village for London. Great Missenden railway station is now on the Chiltern Railways line and offers services running into London Marylebone.
The medieval parish church of St. Peter and St. Paul overlooks the village. Its position away from the village suggests an earlier settlement around the church which spread to the present High Street in the early Middle Ages. In the twelfth century Great Missenden was granted a charter allowing it to hold an annual Fair in August. Missenden Abbey, founded in 1133 as an Augustinian monastery, was ruined following the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and the remains were incorporated into a Georgian mansion which is now a conference centre.
The village was the home to the late Roald Dahl, the internationally famous children's author. Gipsy House was his home from 1954 until his death in 1990, and many local scenes and characters are reflected in his work.
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