River Chess Chenies

River Chess
The Chess flows eastwards
TQ 01579 98408

Posh village with posh school, mill, manor etc in posh countryside

Post to the west Latimer
Post to the east Chenies

Bedford Close
2 Old Well Cottage. This is a 17th timber-framed building
Chenies School.   A school was held in the Rectory kitchen of the vicar, Lord Wriothesley Russell. 1831 to 1846. In 1845 The Duke of Bedford arranged for an Infant School to be built at what is now 49 Chenies and the following year some of the present school was built to educate the estate children. In 1887 the school was taken over by a School Board and in 1957 it was extended taking in many children of the staff at Latimer House.

Chenies Bottom
Mill leat. Parallel to the Chess is a broad channel built to provide a head of water to the Mill.
Dodds Mill. A mill at Chenies is recorded as a fulling mill in 1324 and was the property of Missenden Abbey.  It also appears to have been a corn mill. There was a John Dodd here in 1741 after whom the Chenies mill is presumably named and it was a paper mill in the early 19th. It is noted as being on an island site on the Chess and there is an associated mill leat. It appears to have ceased work in around 1914. There are a number of mill stones set in garden paving etc. around the house. The modernised house is also said to have has a working water wheel generating electricity

Chenies Hill
Mill Farm. The farm was built in 1847, as a dairy farm and it remained as such into the 1980s. It was worked by the Fitch family who bought it when the Chenies Manor Estate was sold by the Duke of Bedford in 1954. Barns and outhouses now converted to housing.

Chenies House
The Village is built on a high ridge. Up to the 16th it was called Isenhamsted but the name gradually changed to that of the first lords of the manor, the Cheyne family.
The Lodge. 1857 estate building.
St. Michael.  The first church known to have been built here was at the end of the 12th by Alexander de Isenhampstead.   This church was probably built of wood two pieces of carved stone survive, John Earl of Bedford’s, will. By the late 18th the chancel roof was derelict and the chancel boarded off. In 1836 St Michael’s was restored and reopened under vicar, Lord Wriothesley.  In this period the flint facing was reworked and a porch battlements turret and flagstaff were added.  In 1886-7 the hammer beam roof was installed and changes made to allow the installation of an organ. A belfry chamber was installed in 1933.  
The Bedford chapel. Built in 1556 by Anne Countess of Bedford in accordance with the instructions in her late husband. It has a sequence of tombs described as the richest collection of funerary monuments in any parish church in England. The earliest are tomb chests with effigies of the early earls of Bedford and their wives. Later are tomb chests with effigies, many by prominent sculptors. There is also a 14th tomb with effigies of Cheyne family members.
Parish Pump. This is on the village green and has a 19th pump shelter with a tented roof on 4 corner posts
Manor House. This is a 15th house with parts dated to 1530 and altered in the 19th. It was the manor house of the Cheyne family. It was rebuilt about 1530 by the first Earl of Bedford. It is in brick with distinctive picaresque Tudor chimney stacks. Inside some original glass is said to remain including arms of the Russell family, plus some old tiles and three fireplaces of Totternhoe stone.
Armoury. This is a 19th building attached to the Manor House. In 1835-6 the vicar Lord Wriothesley also persuaded the Duke, his father to allow use of the armoury wing of the Manor House as parish rooms and it remains as such.   
Ruined walls.  There are some walls west and north of the churchyard which were part of a house ruinous by 1750 and demolished by 1800
The Nursery. Brick building of 1530 apparently built to serve as Russell children's nursery.
Manor Garden. There are extensive compartmented gardens including a Tudor sunken garden. Physic Garden, White Garden colour co-ordinated borders, topiary, a Victorian kitchen garden with orchard, and two mazes, one yew the other in turf. Away from the house is a parterre with two fountains with an avenue of stone urns and conical yews leading to the ancient oak tree - once said to be the oldest in Europe - under which Queen Elizabeth I is said to have sat
Well House. 19th octagonal well house with 15th well shaft and horse driven pumping machinery. There is a 19th lead lined water storage tank in the ceiling.

Latimer Road
1 Keeper's Cottage. Built around 1850 for the Bedford estate in red brick
Placehouse Copse.  This is an area of ancient woodland. It was probably once coppiced and then planted with beech which was probably felled during Second World War. There has been some planting since with conifers.  It was part of the Chenies Estate sold off in the 1950s to persons unknown
Swimming bath. This was here in the 1920s west of the cottages.
Chenies Place. This is now in two units, one of which is a wing known as Woodside. Before the 1880s the house was owned by the Bedford Estate and had been a girls' boarding school. In 1893 Adeline, Dowager Duchess of Bedford moved here, and commissioned Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll to design the garden. In 1896 C E Kempe remodelled the house. In 1946 the property was leased by Air Commodore C E Benson from Metropolitan Railway Country Estates. The main entrance us through a replica of the original wooden Lutyens gateway. The house is an irregular, red-brick building. On the south front us a colonnaded garden room.  There is a formal south garden, with red-brick walls and a cedar plus a dividing yew hedge. At the west side is a terrace with a wall covered by climbing roses and steps lead to a lawn with a box hedge. Lutyens designed an axial path from the house to the Chess mill race and eventually the mill. There are lawns with trees and shrubs introduced by Air Commodore Benson. A brick footbridge with seating designed by Lutyens in 1893 crosses the mill race on an axis with the main path. Downstream is another footbridge by Lutyens. There are the remains of a substantial river garden which has gone but there is an informal water garden fed by the mill race, with a shallow, serpentine water course and an island.  There are also the remains of a kitchen garden.
The Court House. This was originally the stables of Chenies Place
Sewage works in woodland on the east side of the road. Some buildings remain.
18 -19 This is a 17th timber-framed house altered in the 19th
20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 Brick estate cottages built 1849, in the model village style.
28 – 29 this is a 17th timber-framed house
33 this is a 17th timber-framed house
49 original school building. It carries a Bedford crown and the date 1845
The Bedford Arms Hotel. This was built as a house in 1842 and was converted to a restaurant in the 1930’s and ungraded in 1957
Greathouse Farm

Benefice of Chenies, Little Chalfont, Latimer and Flaunden. Web site
British Listed Buildings. Web site
Buckinghamshire County Council. Web site.
Chenies School. Web site
Chiltern Council. Web site.
Domesday Reloaded.  Web site
English Heritage. Web site
London Transport. Country Walks
Mausolea and Monuments Trust. Web site
Mee. Hertfordshire
Parks and Gardens UK. Web site
Whitelaw. Hidden Hertfordshire


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