On Tuesday, 26 August a smaller than usual group of members went on a trip to the Chilterns. As usual we had an excellent City and Village Guide, whom we picked up in Beaconsfield. She kept us informed all day about places we would visit.
We made our way to the Hit and Run pub at Penn, by the village cricket ground - hence the name! We had coffee here and would return for lunch. We started on our drive noticing red kites flying overhead. There had been a release programme in the area after the Victorians had caused their demise through shooting them. We passed many locations used in film and TV work including Midsomer Murders. Property here gets up to £5m for houses that would be quarter of the value in Suffolk. There were lots of posters protesting about the High Speed trains which are due to cut through the Chilterns. We visited St John, Little Missenden, a 13th century church with wall paintings. This was a Saxon original with Norman alterations with interesting arches and windows. It had survived Tudor and Victorian changes,
We passed Chequers, the Prime Minister's country retreat and the guide told us it was given to the nation for the use of the Government leader. We were told of the bodgers who lived and worked in the beech woods around High Wycombe, which was the centre for furniture making - Ercol was one of the firms. In the pub there was a chair displayed by the wall showing how it was put together. We then travelled to the Hughenden Valley where Benjamin Disraeli lived. We saw his grave in the churchyard. He is buried between two women - his wife and a lady who gave him a sum of money for the house if she could be buried next to him. Inside the church is the only memorial from a monarch to a commoner. Queen Victoria so admired Disraeli that she had this put up in his memory.
After lunch we travelled to Jordans Meeting House, built in 1688 after the Declaration of Indulgence passed by James II gave freedom to Friends to build their own meeting house. It was built in six weeks using simple brick for the floor, which is still there. The original walls and 80% of glass are also still there despite a fire in 2005. Outside were simple graves in the Quaker fashion including that of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, USA. Nearby was the Mayflower Barn, said to have been built from timbers of the Mayflower which took the Pilgrim Fathers to America. A very interesting and informative day was enjoyed by all.