Hill Farm Chalfont St Giles.

Not to be confused with Hill Farm in Chalfont St Peter, Hill Farm has a very interesting history that can be traced back hundreds of years. The earliest references to some of its lands are in deeds and manorial records from the 14th century. It's heyday was in the 16th century. Even in 1880 its lands were still quite extensive and in particular included all of the fields that lay between the line of Hill Farm and Dodds Lanes on one side and the lands of Town Farm and the Mill on the other side. By this time Hill Farm House was only occupied by farm labouring families.

The site of Hill Farm House appears to be one of great antiquity. Its situation at a high point in the countryside with a pond, its relation to the ancient parish boundaries, and the references to nearby lands in ancient deeds and Manorial Rolls, all suggest it was a long standing habitation site. It certainly existed prior to 1300 and possibly goes back into the Anglo-Saxon period.

The earliest documentary references are to lands held by the Eddred family, but by the 14th century, and through the 15th and 16th centuries, a Russell family built up a considerable landholding centred on Hill Farm. This included Hill Farm itself, and what are now known as Bottrells Farm and Upper Bottom House Farm, as well as land in Hughenden and Beaconsfield. In spite of much searching no evidence has been found to link these Russells to those who became the Dukes of Bedford.

The Russell's lands were at their maximum in the late 16th century but after this time had become split through inheritance to various sons. By the time of the Civil War a William Russell was the owner of Hill Farm only. During the Commonwealth period he was a member of the Bucks County Committee which effectively governed the County. His son, Francis, took over after William died and was also the local Justice and Registrar. Their influence ceased at the Restoration when the local gentry resumed control of the County. Francis and his heirs ran into financial problems and sold all their property in 1698. It was bought by a Daniel Wharley who was a relative of Isaac Pennington and a friend of Thomas Elwood. In 1715 Wharley sold Hill Farm, and all of the other considerable lands he owned in Chalfont St Giles, which included The Grove and Misbourne House and Farm, to the Duke of Portland of Bulstrode. It remained part of the Bulstrode estate until 1777 when the third Duke sold Hill Farm to Sir Hugh Palliser of the Vache.

George Palliser, Sir Hugh's heir, sold it in 1828 to William Morton, a silk dealer of Amersham. He leased it, together with Town Farm which he had also bought, to James and Henry Gurney. James Gurney eventually acquired the freehold in about 1873 from William Morton's son, John Garrett Morten, a lawyer living in the City of London. And so it became part of the lands which eventually became the Stratton chase estate. Its subsequent history is given in the "History of Stratton Chase".

The part of the estate, which was Hill Farm reverted essentially to its original size of 146 acres and as one landholding. It was sold on 5th September 1922 to Tom Pollard after whose death in 1941 Hill Farm House was separated from its lands.

The farm house was then acquired as a private residence which it has remained since; whilst the lands were bought, and are still owned, by Bucks County Council in conjunction with the LCC and Amersham District Council as "green belt".

Although the site is probably of medieval origin there has been no archeological investigation. In the field immediately to the west of the house there are many "humps and bumps" which may be significant.

REFERENCES. Unless otherwise specified, all references given above refer to catalogue references at the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies at Aylesbury. (County Record Office)

This print is a section of the Chalfont History website.

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John Dodd ©2012   www.chalfonthistory.co.uk