Grove and Groves families in Chalfont.

There are three families with these names associated with Chalfont St Giles but spread over wide range of time. Contrary to popular opinion there is no evidence that these families were related.

The Groves of Grove Place Manor in the 13th to 15th centuries.

The Groves who owned Harwood Downs Farm in the 19th century related to the extensive Groves family of Penn.

"Archibald Grove" of Pollards Park and Harewood Down Golf Club in the 20th century.

Grove is a common name throughout the country, both as a family name and as a place name, deriving as it does from an old English word meaning worked woodland. (Gelling and Cole 2003.). As a place name we have for example Highfield Grove which is part of Hodgemoor Woods, or Grove Farm near Ashley Green. We also have larger places such as Grove Parish near Wing. The way that the name became adopted as a family name can be seen when we look at early documents in Chalfont St Giles. In 1294 we have the first mention of Grove as a name when John de Wolverton granted a 17 year lease of Chalfont Bury Manor to "Adam de la Grave". We do not know where he came from but he was "of the grove". This same construction is used for him and his son John de la Grave in the Inquisition Post Mortem of 1311 held after Adam died. By 1352 the name had evolved to John de Grove with an o rather than an a. John's son Walter is at first Walter de Grove and then Walter atte Grove (1373). Then in subsequent generations the "atte" is dropped so that the last generation of this family with Chalfont St Giles connections is plain Roger Grove in 1502.

Adam de la Grave acquired some land in 1308 in Chalfont St Giles which he held of the King and this formed the core of what became known as Grove Manor. It appears probable that the family gave the name to the manor not vice versa. The history of Grove, or Grove Place, Manor is given separately.

In the nearby parish of Penn there is an extensive family with the name Grove but they are yeoman farmers and whilst their family roots have been traced to the early 16th century no link has been found to the earlier Chalfont St Giles Groves. (See Jenkins, J G. 1935.) They spread widely and amongst their members is a John Grove of Penn who bought Harewood Downs Farm in October 1835.(See May,G 1988.) This farm was never previously owned by a Grove. It remained in possession of John Grove's descendants until 1892 when it was purchased by T N Allen of the Vache. It then remained part of the Vache estate for only a short time until being sold in 1902 as one part of the auction of the estate at that time.

There is uncertainty of the events following that auction and that led up to the formation of the "Harewood Downs Golf Club" in 1907. "Archibald Grove" was deeply involved in the formation of the club as well as building Pollards Park. He was a journalist and MP who was born in 1854 in Cheltenham with ancestors from Yorkshire. He claimed he was related to both the early Grove family of Grove Manor and also to John Grove of Penn but there is no evidence to support this assertion.

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

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John Dodd ©2012