The Manor Court

Nominated by: Colin Veysey

It is a well known fact that 400 years ago on April 23rd 1616, a certain world famous playwright died. A much less well known fact is that one of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, who could well have known Shakespeare, has a strong connection with Buckinghamshire and Great Missenden. 

Robert Chaloner, Rector of Amersham and Canon of Windsor received his degree on the day of Shakespeare’s birth and outlived the bard by 5 years. Robert was a man of compassion and faith, planning to set up schools for the poor in Yorkshire and Amersham, and some of the considerable wealth he accrued in his lifetime was to be used to provide the schoolhouse (that can still be found in Amersham) and pay the schoolmasters. Knowing that this might not go entirely as planned he appointed two friends, who happened to be one third of the clerks of chancery at the time, to ensure that his wishes were enacted. The revenue from land in Wavendon, farmed by the Day family, was to pay the teachers, and, as he thought, they didn’t pay up. There was then a court hearing to decide the matter. This was called the ‘Missenden Inquisition’, and took place in the Manor Court which is the barn standing behind the George Inn in Great Missenden. The date was Thurs 16 Sept, 1624. The outcome was a decision against the Day family, and Dr Chaloner’s school was set up shortly afterwards.

Credit for the survival of this information should go to local resident Chris Shepherd for alerting us to this piece of local history, and to F.R. Treadgold BA (a teacher and acting head of Dr Chaloners in 1965 & 1972) whose book “Chaloner’s” (1624-1974) documents this significant piece of local history. (There are 3 copies of this book in the Amersham Library, but they are currently wrongly entered on the system as F.R. Treadfold).

A further Bucks link is that the book records that in 1840 three of the eleven trustees of Chaloners were from the Tyrwhitt-Drake family, and we still have a Tyrwhitt-Drake family in the local area – and Barney has been a great supporter and contributor to HP16 The Source – our thanks to him!

The Manor Court was nominated by Colin Veysey – Editor, Director and Designer of HP16 The Source, community Newspaper: www.hp16.org.uk