A History of Frieth

Chisbridge Farm

[ Snapshots in time ]
The Geographical Setting
The Early History
The Middle Ages
The Growth of a Community
1800 - 1860
1860 - 1900
1900 - 1973
The Name Frieth
Pillow Lace
West & Collier
[ The Colliers of West & Collier ]
West & Collier Catalogues
Notes on The Firm
Notes on Frieth
Further Notes on Frieth
Frieth as I knew it
Memories of bygone years
Frieth 45 years ago
The Posse Comitatus
[ Chisbridge Farm ]

Sections [in square brackets] are additions to the original content

[ Chisbridge Farm is a little outside the village but close enough to still be of interest. From the Marlow Road turn into the road opposite Finnamore Wood. On the right are 'Beechgrove Cottages'. Further up on the right is 'The Roost' and then when the road levels out at the top, Chisbridge Farm is on the left.

Following a query about the Farm from Shane Noone, who lived at 'The Roost' in the 1980s, I spent some time digging amongst the files and unearthed the following set of handwritten notes about the Farm. I imagine my mother's intention was to write this up as a nice piece about the property but, for some reason, that never happened. The following therefore is my tidying up of what I found which makes a fascinating story. Notes in square brackets are mine. Bill Barksfield November 2013 ]

Derivation of the name
The name is more correctly Chisbidge. The first syllable “Chis” seems to be derived from M.E. chisel meaning gravel or land from which gravel was got. The second seems to come from O.E. baec, via bech, and beche to bidge meaning a hill. The “r” was introduced some time after 1826 (erroneously, by people who didn’t understand the derivation of the name trying to “correct” earlier “mis-spelling”)

Early History
The land at Chissebech was ploughed land as early as 1199 when held be Thomas de Lega [not sure of the source of this – perhaps the Pipe Rolls? ]

[The next reference is from the 13thC via the Victoria County History of Oxfordshire http://www.british-history.ac.uk ]
“After Bishop Grosseteste had ordained the vicarage [of Lewknor] in 1241, it was the vicars who served the church. Under the terms of the ordination the vicar was bound to have a chaplain living with him who should celebrate the Lady-mass immediately after the first mass had been said in the church; and one or other of them was required to celebrate on every Sunday and on the feasts of the apostles in the chapel that had already been built at Ackhampstead. In 1293 Bishop Oliver Sutton granted permission to John de Chysebech and Geoffrey, his kinsman, both priests, to have a private chapel in their house at Chisbidge, on account of its distance from the parish church of Lewknor, but they were forbidden to administer to the parishioners.”

[The next mention seems to be 400 years later, again via the VCH this time of Buckinghamshire, which tells us that :]
“Chisbidge (Chissebech, xiv cent.; Chesbeche, xiv cent. ) Farm, near the eastern boundary of the parish, [is] built of flint and brick, [and is] of early 17th-century date with later alterations.”

[ Then we skip another couple of hundred years to the oral history collected by my mother from the Connell family: ]
Mr & Mrs Connell moved in there (just married) c1936. The Keen family ( + 14 children!) lived there before them for many years (possibly 3 generations).

[ Hand drawn sketch c1981
  My mother comments: ]

“The house is a bit of a mess architecturally and needs much re-doing and restoring sympathetically to make anything of it.

The back of the house is much older than the front. I suggest the back piece is Elizabethan and the front built on, perhaps in the 18thC.

The Roost and ‘Chisbridge’ Cottages were not there in 1848.”

Papers lent by Mrs Connell relating to a law suit between Mr Richard King tenant of Chisbridge Farm and Mr Robinson.
July 1841
Mr King paid £110 twice yearly as rent. He was offered the chance to buy the farm and woods adjoining for £10,000 This he apparently turned down and the next offer was to give him 3 years security of tenure and raise the rent by £40 or £50 per annum.

September 1841
Mr King wouldn’t sign the agreement as set out by the agents of Mr William Avery West and himself regarding the 3 year tenure for the farm as he felt he was being penalised because he had put so much into the land and wouldn’t be compensated for it. Particularly that he had planted Sainfoin and grasses and was inclined to plough them up just to leave the land as plough land as it had been 100 years before. p.s from Richard King to Mr Thrupp (agent) “Should you have occasion to write me again, please direct to Richard King, Chisbridge Farm, Nr Great Marlow as the post town for Hambleden is Henley and your letter was sent about for some time before I got it”

January1842 Letter from R. King
No Quit Rent had been paid for more than 20 years. Charge used to be 21/6d per year. The first person who ‘began the annoyance’ was Mr Edward Brangwyn but Brangwyn died and the annoyance ceased for some time but since Mr West has been in possession of the estate a Mr Thomas Fare another of Murray’s Tenants has annoyed us. Also mentioned Tythe Mapp and Symes Mapp being drawn up and going to cost 1/9d to 2/- per acre for mapping.

Letter from J.W.Richards (a friend) to R.King
...telling him the farm might be sold in two lots of about 200 and 100 acres. The bill of sale said it was:  “A Freehold Manor Farm of about 314 acres with the Manor or reported(?) Manor of Chisbridge in a Perfect ring fence 314 acres of sound and arable pasture land with a respectable and commodious farmhouse, gardem, orchard, yards, barns, stabling, dovecot and various other buildings. The whole let to Mr King a most respectable tenant and whose family have been on the farm above a Century. To be sold by Auction by Daniel Smith at the Mart (?) rear the Bank of England on Tuesday 19th Oct 1841 unless an acceptable offer be previously made.”

[ And so it was sold to Mr Robinson ]

March/April 1842 Letters from G. Robinson to R. King
...complaining of threats to plough up pastures and to carry away hay and straw made (so he said) by R. King to his son.

March 1842 Letter from King to Robinson
...saying he will resist all oppression and wants paying for his Pastures etc.

21/5/1842 Letter from R King to Col Sir W.R. Clayton Bart.
I hope you will pardon me trespassing on your time and attention but I have now [concluded ?] my business with Mr. Wash as to the taking the College Farm at Marlow Bottom. I had before intimated my request through Mr G Birkman to become your tenant for your Farm now held by Messrs Webb in case they should give it up. It is confidently reported and believed here that they will of necessity be obliged not only to give up the Farm but that the lease of it if not purchased before will be sold under an order of the Sherriff by publick Auction for the payment of the remaining part of Mrs Webb’s money and that a meeting of the Webbs and their Attorneys will take place on Wednesday next to decide that I have before stated to you that I have no intention or wish whatever to interfere or superced with the Webbs in the holding of your Farm but if matters are likely to come to such an extremity as for the Lease to be sold by publick Auction may I beg to suggest whether it may not become a question with you if you would not prefer to make choice of your own Tenant than to have one whom you may not approve of the two Farms so intimately connected that the holders of one would more advantageously hold both than two distinct person, and as I am almost certain to leave Chisbridge indeed the possession of your farm would decide that point with me. It is therefore much my wish to hold the two Farms if I could be received as your Tenant. I have already declared to you my [vote?] in your favour in case of an election and did I possess your Farm I should do all in my power to increase your Election Interest. My Father-in-law would occupy the house on the College Farm and vote for you and I should inhabit your Farm House and any other Votes the Estates were capable of making I should be most happy to do so on it being pointed out by you to my visit is a state of great anxiety to me may I request your kindness in favouring me with an early Answer.
I have the honour to be your most Obidient humble Servant, Rd King”

Notice To Let
"Chisbridge or Cheesebridge Farm, 308 acres a homestall and 3 cottages may be let in one lot or 2/3 acres with the homestall and 95 acres at the north and 3 cottages, barn and stabling (which will be converted to one). By G Robinson, Kew Bridge, Middlesex"

24/5/1842 Letter from G Robinson to King
...saying he is sorry he has relinquished the farm so easily.

4/6/1842 Letter from G Robinson to King
...saying Chisbridge is let to Samuel Stowe

9/7/1842 Letter from Robinson’s agent (or solicitor) to King
...to appoint someone to meet their representative to settle diliapidations on Chisbridge.

13/7/1842 Angry reply from King
...saying there are no dilapidations.

19/7/1842 Letter from King to Robinson
“More in sorrow than in anger” and listing all the things he had done.

22/7/1842 Letter from Robinson to King
...saying he was leaving everything to his surveyor from then onwards.

Letters to & fro on the same subject of dilapidations and counter claims from King.

4/11/1842 Letter from King to Wickens Esq, Chandos St, Cavendish Sq, London
...saying he is going to Widmere Farm.

Letter from Robinson’s agent (Sanderson)
...saying King was bound by the agreement under which “your late father took Chisbridge Farm” consequently all hay and straw must be consumed on the premises. (R. King’s father, John King, died in 1820) Sanderson estimated that King owed Robinson £475-15-6d by way of compensation for corn grown upon land that should have been left fallow.

Letters to & fro for solicitors re tenancy agreements and compensation
(King now has a solicitor working for him)

Letters to & fro

30/12/1842 Letter from J.P. Taylor to R.King
Is not Oxlade’s Farm and Moore’s End Farm the same farm? (DJB note: could this be the same as the North end of Chisbridge?) He says he is busy tracing all the facts from 1794 to the present time.

Solicitors’ letters to & fro trying to avoid a law suit and settle ‘out of court’
Robinson’s agents are picking out anything they can to charge against R.King saying he “took Filbert trees out of the garden, all the fastenings off the doors, had spoiled the papers on the rooms with an oily rag”

Many letters about the state of the land and what is should or should not have been.
R.King took over the farm from his widowed mother in 1835 – verbal agreement with ‘Captain West’s agent’

Letters to & fro in argument

Case to be tried at Buckingham on 17th July 1843
R.King won the case with costs A celebration dinner was held in Grt Marlow at the Crown Inn.

[There is then one neatly written piece which sounds to me as if it was written in response to a query about a proposed conversion of the Well House at the farm. I imagine this might have been written for the Parish Council who sometimes consulted my mother about such local history matters when considering planning issues]

Chisbridge Farm and Well House
[ Some notes about the derivation of the name and historical references as shown above in “Early History”, then: ]
“Chisbridge Farm lies on the route of the old Oxford Road from Marlow to Oxford (via Parmoor, Luxters, Stonor and Maidensgrove etc) and is said to have supplied changes of horses for this route. The preceding evidence points to the possibility of an even earlier dwelling on the same site (1293).

The Well House behind and to the right of the farm house was used as a dairy. Mr Wilfrid Keene who was born at, and later farmed, Chisbridge Farm until c1935 says that the well is 375ft deep, bricked and splays out wider at the bottom. When he was a child (he is now 86) two men were needed to winch two iron buckets, up and down, each holding 5 gallons. Later “an engine” was installed to pump up the water.

Mr & Mrs Connell moved into Chisbridge c1936 and about the same time mains water was laid on and the disused well capped for safety.

If the Well House has to be converted to a dwelling presumably the well shaft would have to be filled in, as the plan submitted shows living accommodation over the well shaft. As this deep well at Chisbridge may be very old perhaps it would be possible to get more historical evidence about it before it is finally sealed and lost for ever.

Joan Barksfield” [ c1981 ]

[ Shane Noone adds: "When I moved to The Roost in 1981, we were told the Farmhouse was owned by the CEO of Littlewoods Pools but he never lived there ... I once ventured into Chisbridge Farmhouse for a look around as old houses and architecture always fascinated me. The house was always unlocked and you could enter from the side door facing the yard. There was an extensive cellar. There were attic bedrooms. There were two staircases. The main one from the front door leading up from a very wide hallway and the rear staircase from the kitchens area. I presume a servants stairway. I recall being somewhat dissapointed by the seeming plainness of the interior, no remarkable features stood out although am sure there was a very large inglenook style fireplace in at least one ground floor room and the rear part of the house upstairs I think had exposed beam work. I always thought the rear of the house to be the extension so interesting to note your mother mentioning the opposite. There was evidence of some bricked up windows but generally the window and door distribution seemed contemporary with the front of the house always being as it is. Although the central hallway window was very large and seemed at odds with the rest of the facade so I wonder if the front face of the house was remodelled at some point .... maybe it's a good thing to still be mysterious and hold it's secrets! We were also told of the very deep well opposite the side door and on the edge of the yard. The house and barns were sold I believe in the early 1990's and developed ...

My researches led me to discover that Chisbridge Farm House was said to have been originally built in the 17th Century as a Coaching Inn. This may tie in with your notes about exchange of fresh horses for the onward journey to Oxford.

Associated names to Chisbridge I found as follows:
John Brinkhurst of The More or Moor Farm in 1608 and
George Robinson listed as an MP living mostly in London won, in a crooked bet, a farm and 300 acres at Chisbridge in 1731 but he later went bankrupt and fled his debtors and was believed to have gone abroad. His properties etc were confiscated. He was listed as being of Moore Place in Great Marlow Parish so not sure if either of these two characters ever lived or owned Chisbridge Farm. But this cannot be the same George Robinson as discussed above because they are more than 100 years apart.

The Roost is a very pretty two storey brick faced Victorian Cottage of mid to late 19th Century style with ornamental ironwork on the double bay porch with a "date" stamp of 1872. The cottage was a typical two up, two down rectangular layout extended circa 1911 with a two storey rear extension which also added a third chimney. The extension was built over the original catchment well, a rainwater tank in the ground basically of brick construction and rendered lining. Common in the Victorian era to literally collect rainwater from the guttering for boiling and usage. This led to local lore of beware the well under the floor and how somone once fell in and was drowned. Hardly as we uncovered this in the renovation works and it had a fairly small inspection opening in the dome shaped top. The Roost had lain derelict and boarded up for many years and was in a very poor state or repair indeed with no mod cons ever installed, original cloth wiring for the electrics, a mixture of lead and galvanised plumbing, open fireplaces only and original 4 pane sliding sash windows, all rotten and smashed. We lived on site for years in a mobile home while renovating the house between 1981 and 1992 by which time it was a very comfortable and beautiful home.

Beechgrove Cottages are a pair finished in red brick with similar small 4 pane sash windows. I did stumble across some dates for these around 1850-1860 so I believe they are older than The Roost." November 2013 ]

[Elizabeth Leroy writes: "Just came across this information when researching one of my ancestors, one George Robinson, a wealthy bricklayer/builder from Brentford in Middlesex (his dates are 1775-1852), who had brickworks in this area. I think he may well be the person named in the lawsuit you are discussing, as he owned Kew Bridge (the second one), having won it as the last surviving member of a tontine (or so family history has it!). He lived in Richmond in Surrey, and is buried in St Mary Ealing. If you google his name in conjunction with Kew Bridge, you will find further information about him. I certainly found something that suggested that he owned houses at one end of Kew Bridge. As the bridge was a toll bridge, he will have earned quite a lot of money through his ownership." January 2014]