Fascinating facts about historic wills and disputes in Aylesbury Vale village to be discussed at free public talk

New research on Chetwode is published in the latest volume of the Bucks Record Society
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Winslow historian David Noy is giving a talk in Chetwode next weekend to launch this year’s Buckinghamshire Record Society volume.

Chetwode Wills & Disputes 1538-1857 is edited by Dr Noy and Maids Moreton resident and author Lyn Robinson.

The parish of Chetwode has become the focus of intensive archaeological investigation as it is on the route of the HS2 high-speed rail line.

The talk takes place in Chetwode's historic parish churchThe talk takes place in Chetwode's historic parish church
The talk takes place in Chetwode's historic parish church

Documentary research has also been carried out, and the new volume contains some of its results, including transcriptions of 108 wills and the legal disputes associated with some of them over a period of more than three centuries.

Some of the wills were written by local people and show how they spoke and what they cared about. Others deal with the concerns of gentry families who had substantial wealth to bequeath.

Find out why Mary Risley is the only member of her family with a monument on the church wall.

Why did Sir John Chetwode leave the pianoforte in his house at Chetwode to Miss Eliza Burford?

How did Jane Austen nearly acquire a link with Chetwode, and how did a London miser who was too dirty to eat in his landlord’s parlour come to make a will which affected Chetwode?

Most of the property in Chetwode belonged to two families - the Risleys and the Chetwodes. The Risleys took over the former Priory and lived in a house on the site. The Chetwodes were lords of the manor from the Middle Ages but not many of them resided in the Manor House.

The other inhabitants of Chetwode who made wills were mostly tenant farmers and their widows. Absentee landlords also included the family of a future Prime Minister, and a man whose disputed will was reported in the national press.

The talk takes place on Sunday November 6 at the Church of St Mary and St Nicholas, Chetwode MK18 4LB, starting at 3pm.

Entry is free, and refreshments will be available after the talk. Donations to the church will be gratefully received. Please note, the church has no toilet facilities.

The talk is part of the Bucks History Festival, organised by Bucks Archives, when organisations across the county will be bringing Bucks’ past to life during November with tours, talks, and theatre.

Clive Harriss, cabinet member for culture and leisure, said: “You don’t need to consider yourself a history buff to enjoy the creativity and entertainment that the Buckinghamshire History Festival events offer this November.

“You can be entertained by short stories inspired by Buckinghamshire and its history while listening to the Unbound Theatre Company performing Buckinghamshire Tales at Queens Park Arts Centre, or get inspired by the Search of Artists’ Gardens, which identifies artists who have lived in the county and created a garden.”

There’s also a rare opportunity to hear some surprising stories on a tour of the Bucks Archives, with a chance to get top tips from their conservator on preserving old photos and documents, and discover how to research the history of houses – an increasingly popular pastime.

To find out more and book for events, visit histfestbucks.co.uk

New events are being added regularly. Follow Buckinghamshire Archives on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date.