Tuesday 20 August 2019

History, Architecture and Timber Windows in Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire

Princes Risborough is a small town at the foot of the Chiltern Hills in Buckinghamshire. The location of Princes Risborough probably played a large part in its existence, with the town providing a link between the River Thames and the Icknield Way, both of which were historically important routes.

Evidence has been found of people passing through the area in prehistoric times. However, it wasn’t until the Norman Conquest when the town started to properly appear. After the Norman Conquest the manor was passed to William the Conqueror. In 1343 it was passed to Edward I who had a palace in Princes Risborough, where the Stratton Road car park is now located.

The cottages in Church Street, which now form an Indian restaurant, were built in the 15th Century, and narrowly escaped demolition in 1934.

In 1523, Henry VIII granted a Charter for a weekly market and two annual fairs. The two fairs are still held in the town to this day, in May and October.

During the 19th Century, various improvements were made to Princes Risborough including the establishment of two schools in 1836 and 1841 and the introduction of the railway in 1862.

The Lion or Welch Ale Brewery was an important employer in the town for many years, before it closed in 1927.

Since 1934, the parish of Princes Risborough has included the town, Monks Risborough and part of Horsenden. Today Alscot, Horsenden, Askett, Cadsden, Flowers Bottom, Loosley Row Lower North Dean, North Dean, Redland End, Speen, Upper North Dean, and Whiteleaf are also included in the parish.

In 1883, the population of the Risborough parish was 2,418. In comparison, the population today totals to around 8,500.

The Manor House

The current Manor House, which is Grade II* listed, dates from the 17th Century. It is believed that Queen Elizabeth I stayed at an earlier house on the same site.

The house has two storeys and an attic and is built from red bricks in a classical renaissance style. There are several timber sash windows, with thick glazing bars, and internally the house retains several period features and furnishings, including a Jacobean staircase.

In 1766 the house was sold to John Grubb before being brought by the Rothschild family in the 1880s. The Rothschild family renovated and extended the property in the late 19th Century, adding two extra wings to the property and re-modelling the west elevation.

The house was originally known as Brooke House but after the renovation was carried out, the name was changed to The Manor House.

In 1925, the Rothschild family gave the house to the National Trust who renovated it further and let it out to tenants. It is now back in private hands and is not normally open to visitors.

Monks Staithe

Located opposite The Manor House, Monks Staithe is Grade II listed building.

Originally known as the Vicarage, pioneering British pilot Amy Johnson CBE lived in the property in the 1930s and a commemorative plaque can be seen on the wall outside.

The 17th Century half-timbered period house has 20th Century leaded casement windows and is a privately-owned property.

Market House

Market House is believed to date back to the mid-17th Century and is a well-known building in Princes Risborough. The building, which is Grade II* listed, was then re-built in 1824 by John Grubb.

Market House has undergone several restoration projects since 1824, including being restored in 1867, 1994 and 2015. The 1994 refurbishment project was carried out as part of celebrations to mark the centenary of the Civic Parish and was carried out with assistance from English Heritage, Buckinghamshire County Council and Wycombe District Council.

Until 2001 the upper floor was used by the Town Council as the Council Chamber. Today the building can be hired from the council as a meeting room for local groups and organisations.

Timber Windows in Princes Risborough (HP27)

The central part of the town still retains the heritage and architecture of the town and is designated as a Conservation Area. There are also over 40 listed buildings in the town centre and over 90 listed buildings in the parish.

Along the High Street and Bell Street there are several Georgian and Victorian buildings with timber sash windows and casement windows.

The Sash Window Workshop have extensive experience working on period properties to replace and repair timber windows and doors.

Since 1994 we have worked on several properties in Princes Risborough and we can comply to conservation area and listed building requirements, where necessary.

Market House Princes Risborough
Above image by Alan Simkins, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Traditional sash windows