The Pudding Stone
The block of pebble conglomerate, commonly known as a 'Pudding Stone', which has recently been restored to proper prominence at the roundabout in Horns Lane, is one of several in the Chilterns thought to have been way-markers for prehistoric man. For many years only its tip was visible, at the foot of a post in Back Lane, and it was a very happy decision to use it to mark the new road and signal a growing awareness of our heritage.
The Black Princes's Manor
Edward, the Black Prince, became the owner of the manor in 1343, which was located on the site formerly known as Court Close, later The Mount and now the Stratton Road car park. The Mount, near the church and manor house, bears traces of banks and entrenchment, enclosed by a moat, and is believed to have been a Saxon Encampment and later, the site of a manor of the Black Prince and is denoted by a Plaque. Records show that, even before his day, there was a Royal Stud here. The Prince visited his manor, to view stallions with such resounding names as Grisel Tankarvill and Morel de Salesbirs. There is a familiar ring to his instruction in 1362 to gather' all the wood blown down in the recent storm'. Excavations in 1955 at The Mount revealed both evidence of a substantial manor and a penny of Edward 1, minted in 1280 and representing a day's wages for the stud-keepers page. The site continued to be occupied until the 17th, or 18th centuries but the only trace that can be seen today is the high bank that separates the churchyard from Stratton Road though the name Court Close has been retained for a nearby cul-de-sac.
The New Manor House
Built in the 17th century and situated next to the church is the Manor House. This handsome house of mellowed brickwork was given to the National Trust by the widow and family of the Hon. Charles Rothschild in 1925. Here can be seen 18th century panelling, and a magnificent Jacobean oak staircase. The viewing of two rooms of this property is by prior appointment only with the tenant. Tradition says that Queen Elizabeth 1 stayed at a manor called Brooke House which has long since disappeared. The present Manor House, dating from early to mid-17th century, probably stands on the same site and is built around a magnificent Jacobean staircase and balustrade. In 1766 the manor was sold to John Grubb, of Horsenden, whose grand-nephew, another John, restored and enlarged the Market House in 1824. The Manor House was eventually bought by the Rothschilds family and presented by them to the National Trust in 1925.
St Mary's Church
The 19th Century opened with a disaster, when the church tower collapsed, destroying the roof and peal of bells which had been hung in 1552. A new spire, built in 1908 for the Church, pointed the way to the 20th century and the town has continued to flourish with it. Monks and Princes Risborough became one civil parish in 1934 and were physically united by 1965, with the completion of the Wellington and Place Farm Estates. Monks Risborough has the,' distinction of being the oldest documented Parish in the country, its boundaries being defined in a Charter of 903 AD which was itself a replacement of an earlier charter destroyed by fire. Known then as East Risborough it owes its present name to the monks of Christ Church, Canterbury. A relic of their day is the interesting Dovecote in St Dunstan's Recreation Ground. Mill lane still has its water-mill house, but a windmill mentioned in the 14th century was moved to Radnage in 1650.
The Market House
The well known 17th or 18th C Market House, originally timber - framed but altered and its upper storey rebuilt by John Grubb in 1824, is the focal point of the town and the upper floor was used by the Town Council as the Council Chamber until mid 2001, when due to accessibility problems it was forced to move to alternative premises. Other properties, old cottages or houses built at various times during the last four centuries, mix happily together to create a blend of interesting and pleasant architecture.
Monks Staithe / Amy Johnson's Cottage
Near the churchyard is another 17th century half-timbered house, which was once the Vicarage and is now, known as Monks Staithe. This was once occupied by the Aviator, Amy Johnson.
The Literary Institute
The Literary Institute, in the High Street, was leased at a peppercorn rent to the town in 1891 by the first Baron Rothschild for use as a public reading room. Today, the upstairs room can be hired for meetings etc. and the downstairs room, housing a billiards table, is used as a snooker club.
The St Dunstan's Dovecot
The dovecot in St Dunstans Park is typical of the 18th Century dovecots used by local to keep pigeons as a food source for both meat and eggs.
A B-17 crashed near the town on November 13, 1943. The only thing that prevented the plane from landing directly on the town, was the self sacrifice of the man at the controls, 26 year-old Lt. Clyde "Sparky" Cosper, who managed to pull the plane up high enough to clear the rooftops. The plane crashed in a field well clear of the town, the full bomb load exploding on impact and the plane was blown to pieces.
"Miriam", the B17's nose name, had taken off earlier with its crew of 10 and was waiting for the other planes in the flight to join it. The mission was to bomb German U-boat berths at Bremen. The weather was bad, the take-off was dicey and the climb for altitude was worse. The plane flew into a thunder storm and the downdraft threw it into an abrupt dive. Sparky ordered the crew to bale out and nine men came down bruised, but alive, Lt. Cosper staying at the controls to fly the stricken aircraft away from the town. The crash was just one more to the U.S. Army Air Corps - and it was dully recorded by a mere few lines in the squadron logbook back at the base at Thurleigh, Bedfordshire.
The plaque to Sparky's bravery and sacrifice is outside the library, the crash site has now been built over.
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