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Hambleden

There seems to have been a great deal of prehistoric activity in Hambleden parish, though most of the evidence is in the form of stray finds rather than excavated sites. Palaeolithic flint flakes have been found in Hambleden stream and at Skirmett. Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic flints have been found in Thames Field, next to the river. Palaeolithic and Neolithic flints were also found on Toot Hill. Two Mesolithic tranchet axeheads and a sharpening flake were found on Burrow Farm, along with two Neolithic axes and a hammerstone. Two Mesolithic tranchet axeheads and a Neolithic axe and hammerstone were found at Greenlands. A scatter of 27 Mesolithic flint blades and flakes and a micro-burin were found in Hambleden valley. Three Mesolithic flint cores, one flake and a tranchet axe were found at Pond Close and Farlongs. A Mesolithic flint core and a tranchet axehead were found in Yewden sand-pit.

 

Reconstruction of Yewden Roman villaMany Neolithic artefacts have been found around the parish, scrapers on the edge of Harrow Field; scrapers and flakes in a burrow at Broadcroft and at Burfords; a blade and a core found in Chalk Pit Wood; two scrapers at Dummer; two axes, three scrapers and five flakes at Godfrey’s; a polished flint axehead and five cores on the hill above Bath Pond in Yewden; twelve flint flakes and a polished axe fragment at Noe Grove; 13 flint flakes, one possible a knife, were found on Watery Lane in Skirmett; and nine blades and scrapers and 19 flakes were found in West Field, Poynett. A quartzite macehead of unknown date was found at Colstrope Farm. There are also several Neolithic to Bronze Age ring-ditches known from aerial photographs. Two are north-east of Hambleden Place and the other is at Hambleden stud farm. Two enclosures seen on an aerial photograph near Howe Farm may be prehistoric, but they could also be later in date.

 

Aerial photograph of site of Mill End Roman villaYewden Roman villa was excavated in 1912. The villa complex was made up of one central house and several outbuildings surrounded by a boundary wall. 14 kilns, possible for pottery, possibly malting ovens, were also found, suggesting it had quite an industrial character. There may have been a temple building associated with the settlement as well. 97 infant burials were also found. Adults had to be buried outside a settlement when they died, but the rule did not apply to infants. A trackway leading away from the villa goes south-east of Hambleden Rise, where there may be another temple. Roman enclosures south of Hambleden and north of Yewden may be fields. There may be another villa at Mill End, as seen on aerial photographs, and quite a few Roman coins have been found around the parish. Roman building material and tile was found at Flint Hall Farm and some Roman pottery was found in the Thames at Culham Court. There is a mention of Stone barrow in an Anglo-Saxon charter, but unfortunately cannot be located today. 

 

There were several manors in Hambleden parish. Hambleden was itself a manor and there are records of a fishery and weir from the eleventh to the fourteenth century. The manor house was built in 1604 and has newer extensions. The village is also recorded in Domesday. Yewden manor is recorded in thirteenth to fifteenth century records, though the house is sixteenth to seventeenth century. Greenlands Manor is recorded from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century. The medieval manor house was destroyed after the Civil War. The current Greenlands is a nineteenth century country house, though some sixteenth century ponds survive in the grounds. Parmoor and Skirmett were separate manors, too. Sheepwashes Place in Skirmett is recorded as the manor house in the seventeenth century. Kenricks is a rectory built in the eighteenth century but it incorporates some sixteenth century manor house remains. There are records of a chapel here in the medieval period.

 

St Mary's church, HambledenThere are historical records of the hamlet of Colstrop from the fifteenth century though the farmhouse is eighteenth century. Howe Farm is also recorded as a farmstead from the thirteenth century, though again the farmhouse dates to the eighteenth century. A river lock is mentioned in a fourteenth century document near Hambleden watermill, which is recorded from Domesday. The current mill building dates back to the eighteenth century but is now flats. Poynatt’s Farm in Skirmett was fourteenth to fifteenth century but the house burnt down and was replaced in the seventeenth century. The oldest surviving building in the parish is St Mary’s, which dates to the twelfth century and was restored in the Victorian period. There are eighteenth century tombs to the Kenrick and Lane families in the churchyard. Other medieval remains include woodland earthworks in Adam’s Wood in Frieth and many thirteenth century brooches found by a metal-detectorist at Parmoor Cottages.

 

Hambleden MillThe listed buildings in Hambleden parish are a mixture of dates, from The Old Crown House, which is fifteenth and sixteenth century, to The Flat Roofed House, which is twentieth century. Burrow Farm is also fifteenth century and there is a fifteenth century barn on the farm too. Parmoor House is eighteenth century and has only recently stopped being St Katharine’s Convent and is now a conference centre. It was used by King Zog of Albania during part of his time in exile in the Second World War. There is a nineteenth century Congregational Chapel and cemetery on Pheasant Hill. Ramblers and The Old School are now two houses but were a school and chapel-of-ease in the nineteenth century. St John the Evangelist church was also built in the nineteenth century.