From Wikishire
Revision as of 20:27, 14 February 2024 by RB (Talk | contribs) (Railway)

(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search
St Andrew's Church, Chinnor, Oxfordshire 1.jpg
St. Andrew's parish church
Grid reference: SP7500
Location: 51°42’7"N, 0°54’40"W
Population: 5,857  (parish, 2001)
Post town: Chinnor
Postcode: OX39
Dialling code: 01844
Local Government
Council: South Oxfordshire
Website: Chinnor Parish Council

Chinnor is a village in the southeast of Oxfordshire, close to the border with Buckinghamshire, and four miles southeast of Thame. The village is a 'Spring line settlement'[1] on the Icknield Way below the Chiltern escarpment.

In the 21st century, Chinnor has become primarily a commuter village for Thame, High Wycombe, Aylesbury and London, and in former times supported a number of furniture-making artisans.

Chinnor's name may be from the Old English Ceonan ora, meaning 'Ceona's slope', after an otherwise unknown chieftain or landowner.[1] In subsequent centuries it was variously spelt Chennore and then Chynor.


The Icknield Way is a pre-Roman road. The site of an Iron Age settlement from perhaps the 4th century BC has been excavated on the Chiltern ridge in the southern part of the parish.[1] Traces of Romano-British occupation have been found both on the same high ground and below on Icknield Way.[1]

A twin barrow on Icknield Way has been found to contain the weapons of a Saxon warrior that have been dated to the 6th century.[1]


There are records of Chinnor existing in the reign of King Edward the Confessor, when the manor was held by a Saxon royal servant called Lewin.[1]

The Domesday Book of 1086 records Lewin as still holding Chinnor, but soon after it was in the hands of a member of the Norman de Vernon family.[1] However, in 1194 Walter de Vernon refused to help Prince John in France and all his lands were confiscated.[1]

In 1203 Chinnor and the neighbouring manor of Sydenham were granted to Saer de Quincy, who in 1207 was created 1st Earl of Winchester.[1] However, in 1215 the Earl took part in the Baronial revolt against King John and his lands were confiscated.[1] In 1216 all of the Earl's lands were supposed to have been restored to him, but Chinnor was granted to Walter de Vernon's grandson Hugh de la Mere in exchange for two palfrey horses and a term of service at Wallingford Castle.[1] However, after the first Earl died in 1219 his son Roger de Quincy, 2nd Earl of Winchester successfully sued for possession of Chinnor and Sydenham.[1]

The 2nd Earl died in 1265 without a male heir and the manor was divided, each part passing through many hands down to the modern age.

In 1739, Lt Gen. James Dormer, a member of the Kit-Cat Club, sold Chinnor to a William Huggins.[1] In 1761 Huggins left Chinnor to his daughter Jane and son-in-law Rev. James Musgrave, grandson of Sir Richard Musgrave, 2nd Baronet, of Hayton Castle[1] and Chinnor remained in the family of the Musgrave Baronets until the death of Sir William Augustus Musgrave, 10th Baronet in 1875, when it passed to his brother-in-law Aubrey Wenman Wykeham, who took the name Wykeham-Musgrave.[1] By then very little of the original lands remained with the manor.[1]


St. Andrew's parish church

The earliest record of the Church of England parish church of Saint Andrew[2] is from 1160.[1] The nave was rebuilt in the 13th century,[1] when the present arcades of four and a half bays for first the north aisles and then the south aisle were built.[3] Building of the present tower began towards the end of the 13th century.[1] Early in the 14th century St. Andrew's was remodelled.[1] The chancel was entirely rebuilt,[3] the tower was made higher and the porch was built.[1] The aisles were widened, given new windows, and extended westwards to flank either side of the tower.[1][3] A rood screen was installed between the chancel and nave.[1] The chancel and high altar were dedicated in 1326, which may therefore have been the year that the remodelling was completed.[1] The high-pitched 13th century nave roof was replaced, probably later in the 14th century, with a Perpendicular Gothic clerestory and low-pitched roof.[1]

The architect Richard Pace built St Andrew's Rectory in 1813.[4]

St. Andrew's was restored in 1863-66: the nave roof was restored to a high pitch and the chancel was raised above the nave.[1] The 14th century font was replaced with a new one of Caen stone.[1] The 14th century rood screen was reduced in height.[1] The chancel, nave and aisles were entirely refurnished.[1] However, in 1930 the original font was retrieved and reinstalled.[1]


In the 18th century Chinnor had a small number of Anabaptists.[1] In 1732 a private house in Chinnor was licenced for Anabaptist worship, and in 1759 and 1768 six people from Chinnor worshipped at an Anabaptist meeting house in Princes Risborough.[1]

The Congregationalist John Cennick (1718–1755) preached in Chinnor[1] but Chinnor Congregational Church[5] was not built until 1805.[1][6]

The Methodist George Whitefield (1714–1770) preached in Chinnor and in 1753 two private houses were licenced for Methodist worship.[1] In 1759 Chinnor's Church of England rector reported that a third of the parish was Methodist.[1] By 1768 the Methodists had opened a small school in Chinnor.[1] In 1778 he reported that they were increasing but by 1784 the reported proportion had fallen to a quarter of the population.[1] By 1854 Chinnor had a Primitive Methodist chapel.[1] It was replaced by a new chapel built in 1873[6] which is now Chinnor Methodist Church.

Social and economic history

By the early part of the 13th century there was a windmill on the Chiltern escarpment at Wainhill, about a mile east of Chinnor.[1] Chinnor had a watermill, but by 1279 it had been transferred to the neighbouring manor of Henton.[1] In 1336 the Ferrers manor at Chinnor (see above) had a windmill.[1] In 1789 a post mill was built on the west side of the village, off Whites Field. It was dismantled in 1965 and is currently being rebuilt by the Chinnor Windmill Restoration Society. It is unusual in having 3 crosstrees and 6 quarterbars.[7]

At the end of the 16th century Sir George Fermor inclosed some of the woods in the parish.[1] Attempts to enclose Chinnor's common lands were ruled illegal and reversed in 1761 and 1817.[1] Parliament passed an inclosure act for Chinnor in 1847 but the enclosure award to allocate the land was not implemented until 1854.[1]

On 18 June 1643 during the Civil War a Royalist force of 1,800 men led by Prince Rupert arrived from Oxford, overcame the Parliamentarian garrisons at Postcombe and Chinnor and took 120 men prisoner. A pursuing Parliamentarian force intercepted them seven miles away near Chalgrove, but in the resulting Battle of Chalgrove Field the Royalists fought off their pursuers and returned with their prisoners to Oxford.

In the latter part of the 18th century a petition signed by the Rector and 13 tenant farmers complained that Chinnor had such a "multitude" of alehouses that they were "a check to industry and good order".[1] The petition claimed that the Chequers was a house of illfame and called for its licence not to be renewed.[1]

The 1851 Census recorded 268 lace-makers in Chinnor, including labourers' wives and 86 children.[1] Chinnor still has a lace group.[8]

Former cement works, now demolished

Chinnor Cement and Lime Co. was founded in 1908 and became a public company in 1936.[1] It established a quarry in the Chiltern escarpment south of the village and a cement works. By 1975 it employed 160 men and was undergoing expansion to double its capacity.[1] It closed in 1989, its works have been demolished and in 2010–11 the site was redeveloped as a housing estate.[9]


Main article: Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway

The Watlington and Princes Risborough Railway between Princes Risborough (Buckinghamshire) and Watlington was built through the parish and opened in 1872. Chinnor railway station was opened to serve the village. The railway was independent until the Great Western Railway took it over in 1883. Sidings to serve Chinnor cement works were added in 1927. British Railways closed the railway through Chinnor to passengers in 1957 and to freight in 1961. The section between Princes Risborough and Chinnor remained open to serve Chinnor cement works until 1989.

Since 1994 Chinnor railway station has been the terminus of a heritage railway, the Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway. Steam and diesel trains are run on some weekends and bank holidays.


The Summer Chinnor Beer festival takes place annually. The beer festival raises money for the youth of Chinnor.[10]

The village has its own Brass band, Silver Band, that has been in existence for about 150 years (established c1850), and plays a wide range of music from traditional brass Band and classical pieces to modern rock and pop.

Sport and leisure

  • Cricket: Chinnor Cricket Club
  • Football: Chinnor FC


Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Chinnor)