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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 is of them building the staircase. He always said the original cottage was Tudor or Elizabethan and that the big beam that goes right across the kitchen came from then and that the other beams had something to do with ships’ timbers, and/or the Armada. Not sure what he meant.

He enlarged the windows, and there was little of the original left outside, except the brickwork, and of course at the time it was very up to date, now it is clearly 1930s.The army requistioned it for a time during the war, I don’t think they used the air raid shelter for anything but storage. But my father carried on his business in the sheds and yard at the top of the drive, commuting from Amersham every day. The building to the left of the air-raid shelter was the barn at the end of the stables at Chartridge House.

My grandfather started the Bucks Game Farm sometime in the early 1900s I think and after he died in 1928 my uncle, John de Fraine, carried it on until the outbreak of war when he went in the RAF. He used to ride with the drag hunt and I remember them following the drag scent down the side of the field opposite,  along the hedge beside Chartridge Lane.

He kept his horse in one stable but used the barn and stable to brood the pheasant eggs in an incubator and then  rear the pheasant chicks.  I remember when I was small seeing the tiny young poults before they were old enough to be taken out to live in the woods. When there were too many to rear we used to have pheasant eggs for breakfast sometimes.  They were prettier and smaller than hen’s eggs and we could have more than one each.

Old Cottage For Sale in 1979. It was demolished and the land redeveloped.

Not all the chicks were kept  on the farm and  once the poults were  old enough to fend outside most were sold to estates that did not rear their own birds. After the war my father used the barn for battery hens for a time, when they first came in.

Another memory is of seeing an old fashioned  threshing machine at work in the yard outside the stables. It was a great wooden contraption with enormous belts driving the machinery, the corn sheaves were thrown in one end and the grain came out into sacks at the back, where they were tied up and  lifted on to a trailer to go to the corn merchant.

The noise and dust was indescribable. After the war some of the local farmers rented the land and my father had a corn drier fitted into the big shed in his yard, and dried  the grain. He was fascinated by steam engines and there was usually one or two up in the yard.

There was a celebration of George V’s Jubilee  in 1935 in the field on the right at the end of the lane beside the Reading Room and I can remember walking back clutching my mug, which I still have. There were virtually no houses and we walked between  high hedges. Nor were there many houses then from the end of Berkley Avenue to Old Cottage  We once had to walk back from Readings, the shop at the far end of the Avenue,  in a thunderstorm with nowhere to take shelter from the rain.


View Map of Chartridge

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 installed it was...

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A Paper Chase

  While searching the digital newspapers, looking for information about John de Fraine, several entries for a certain G.H. de Fraine kept popping up in the Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle. As he was probably a distant relative I thought that I would...

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Schooldays

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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Bluestocking

  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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de Fraines of Chartridge

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...

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Summer Holiday 1930s

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 which are...

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Wartime Memories

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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