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de Fraines of Chartridge

Thomas Turner de Fraine was a son of the de Fraine family of Aylesbury, where his father published the Bucks Herald. He was unusual in his family in wanting to be a farmer and his father sent him to learn about farming to John Tompkins who lived at Ivinghoe and Horsenden, Buckinghamshire then at Aveley Hall in Essex.

There Thomas Turner met Rosa Ellen whom he married in 1890 in a double wedding with her brother Edwin and Susan Gillett. Thomas and Nellie (as she was known) set up home at Chartridge House and Thomas began farming.

His land extended from Westdean  Lane down to the top of Chartridge Hill and included the two woods above Pednor Lane.  He farmed a mixture of arable, cattle and sheep, but his great love was breeding and showing shire horses. It’s not known when he also moved into breeding pheasants but he set up the Bucks Games Farm sometime in the early 1900s and used the woods for setting out the young birds, who were guarded from predators by gamekeepers who slept in the wooden bird house.  The field between the woods and Pednor Lane held the shooting buts.

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He seems to have employed a large labour force from the village. When Nellie died in 1922 aged only 56, her obituary notes several local names in J. Dwight, J. Chilton, A, Cox,  E. Cox, W. Cox,  J. Rance, C. Roberts, A. Paxton, Mr and Mrs Higgs, Mrs Talmer and Mrs Musey, as giving wreaths from the employees.

Nellie is noted as taking an interest in the Women’s Institute, which was just beginning,  and aiding the Nursing Association. Thomas belonged to the Chesham Conservative Association and it was coming home from there in his pony and trap that he caught the chill that killed him in 1928. Much of the farm land was disposed of when he died leaving the woods and the fields nearest Chartridge House.

Thomas and Nellie had four children. The two daughters Henrietta (known as Queen) and Dorothy (Dot) had married and left home before their mother died. His eldest son Leigh had had his inheritance.  He had been  apprenticed as an agricultural engineer to Messrs Boughtons at Chalfont. He had joined the  Royal Flying Corps  in 1918 but was invalided out and his father helped him set  up a workshop in part of the farm yard (now the Warren business site) behind  the old farm cottage (Old Cottage), and he began his steam haulage and agricultural engineering business, which continued until his death in 1978.

John was left the farm and he continued running the Game Farm until 1939 when he joined the RAF, then the rearing of pheasants ceased, and much of the land was let. After the war John started to farm in Sussex and did not return to Chartridge.

Leigh  joined the Chartridge Parish Council in 1950, after being a Special Constable in Chesham all through the war.  He  was Chairman  for a total of seventeen years, and was also Chairman of the committee of the Chartridge Horticultural Show and Sports day which Thomas had started.  He was also elected to the Amersham Rural District Council where he served for fourteen years, latterly as Chairman. and as a JP. He had interests in the Chiltern Traction Engine Club and his outstanding work  for the National Playing Fields Association  locally received an award from the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace.

He was married twice, first to Molly Tompkins the daughter of Osborne and Susan who had married the same day as his parents. They divorced and he married Muriel Ashwell. After the war  when the army left  Old Cottage and the family returned, Muriel was an indefatigable worker for the Chartridge Show and for the Women’s Institute, holding several offices including president,  before she left Chartridge in 1979.


de Fraines of Buckinghamshire

From Woburn to Chesham via Aylesbury.Farmers, printers, publishers and hairdressers. I take no credit for the bulk of the early de Fraine research. Several de Fraines will have in their possession a paper tree which was drawn up pre-internet by Phyllis de Fraine from...

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Servant of this house

  Herbert George de Fraine, son of George Turner, spent 55 years at the Bank of England and his recollections of life with the bank were published after his death at the age of 88, by his daughter in "Servant of This House" in 1960. From its earliest beginnings...

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G T de Fraine’s summer holiday

  Herbert George de Fraine also wrote about his family life in Aylesbury where his father was the publisher and printer of the local paper 'The Bucks Herald'. They lived a fairly affluent life. Herbert says that when his father had their bathroom...

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The de Fraine, Tompkins and Gillett families often sent both their sons and daughters away from home for a few years of education, and I have several times spotted familiar surnames on lists of pupils, which when I have tracked them through other census returns and through birth registrations have turned out to be related to the name I was originally looking for.

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  Towards the end of the nineteenth century, both my grandmothers went to the local school and when they were old enough were sent away to board for a short time at a young ladies boarding school where they learnt the three Rs, needlework, music and possibly...

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Old Cottage, Chartridge Lane

  Old Cottage, as far as we know, was a two up two down cottage with a cellar, next to a large double doored barn, in the 1920s. My father took the barn down and extended the house into that area. He and Ted Wells did most of the work themselves. My first memory...

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Summer Holiday 1930s

  What happened to the railway carriages in which Herbert and his family travelled to Ramsgate in the 1880s? As the new carriages became fitted up with upholstered seats and lavatories the old ones were sold off for sheds and chicken house. (Some of...

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Wartime Memories

. I remember it was a lovely sunny Sunday morning the day war broke out.. We listened to Mr Chamberlain’s speech on the wireless in the kitchen, the only wireless we had, and my parents were very serious and shooshed us when we, my two younger sisters and I started to speak, not really understanding what it was all about. My father took us across to the air raid shelter he had made in an old underground farm slurry tank and said that we would have to go into this dark, damp and smelly room if there was an air raid.

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Newspaper Proprietor

George de Fraine was born in Aylesbury in 1808, the son of Luke who was a hairdresser and later a gardener and seedsman. He married Elizabeth Turner, the daughter of John Turner, in 1829. Their son, George Turner de Fraine became the proprietor of The Bucks Herald from 1872. The first issue under his regime being published on October 5th, 1872. His eldest son, Thomas Turner, wanted to be a farmer so the business then went to two other sons, George Lee and Alfred Charles.

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George Turner de Fraine’s second marriage

  George's first wife, Henrietta née Lee, had died on the 5th May 1905 and George remarried in Bournemouth on the 15th May 1906. His second wife was a widow, Mary Brunton née Mayne. Mary was born in Aylesbury and married there in 1869. She was in Aylesbury for...

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