ASKETT LODGE

 

At the edge of the village at the foot of Gallows Lane, on the road up to the hills in 1374, John Hornere of Ascote, Richard and Walter and Agnes his wife, leased land to John as his right. One can only guess that he guarded the trackway but there is no further evidence of this time.

In 1698 Edward Stone of Ascott was made Chief Constable for Aylesbury and there is a mention of a Stone occupying property, but there is no continuous record of the family name. It is pure conjecture, therefore, to place the Chief Constable at the foot of Gallows Lane in a home built sometime in the seventeenth century.

By this date it was acquired by the Reading family, but by the time of the enclosures of 1831 the land was owned by Henry Baldwin, Junior. In 1851 Sir Francis Moreland, baronet, lived there, with a cook, maidservant, gardener and groom, but by the end of the century he was made bankrupt and left. Perhaps he took the last stage coach to London, that passed Askett Lodge from Risborough and climbed Longdown Hill to Great Missenden and Amersham and on to London in 1898. At the same time the Royal Mail horse and cart collected the post from Princes Risborough and reached Askett at 6.15 in the evening, going on to Kimble, Worlds End, Weston Turville and reached Tring main Post Office as night fell. Here the postman slept the night, and set off the following morning on the return journey.

The Rev. Clay lived there between 1914 and 1930, with his mother and then the next occupant was Mr Phelps, a business gentleman involved as a tea merchant in London, who eventually settled at the Lodge, leasing the property on a 7 year lease for £7 a week, with a similar establishment plus Sam Rutland as his valet. He remembers being sent to the icy cold cellar to collect wine, where, if it had been raining, the spring which ran under the house rose and overflowed, to flood several inches of the cellar. All round the cellar where there were gaps Charlie Goodchild, the gardener, had to trail heavy mesh across to keep out the rats which frequented the area. Mr Phelps left at the end of his lease to live in Amersham.

At the beginning of the 1939 war, a Dr. Connolly who had been a ship's doctor, came to live there, and it was very useful for the village to have a doctor's surgery near in case of accident. The property has changed owners since then.

 

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