Penn & Tylers Green  
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The History of Penn & Tylers Green.

Perched high on a Chiltern Hill overlooking the valley of the River Wye, the village of Penn was the site of a Roman lookout point, but its defensive position was recognised much earlier. Archeologists have found signs of bronze and iron age activity.

In Saxon times the area was owned by King Harold and the look-out point on what is still named Beacon Hill kept a small garrison. Local men were often called to defend an island fort, Shaftsey on the Thames at Hedsor. The Tylers Green area did not hold that name - it was simply an open, rough common area that the Saxons called Hammersley, meaning hill clearing. The name Hammersley Lane remains today.

After the Norman Conquest in 1066 the de la Penne family, thought to be Norman, became lords of the manor and the family built a small wooden church at what is now known as Church Knoll. Penn Church moved to its present site in 1177 - part of that original church can still be seen today.

Throughout the Middle Ages much of the area - known as Wycombe Heath - was common land and used as a hunting chase by Londoners. In 1222 Nicholas de la Penne was hanged for murdering a neighbour and part of his estate was given to Baron Stephen de Segrave.

By the 14th century the clay deposits in the area led to Penn becoming famous as a centre for producing floor tiles, many of which can still be seen today in Windsor Castle (visible from Beaon Hill), the Tower of London and Westminster Palace. The name Tiler (later Tyler) End Green emerged. But as the community prospered, tragedy struck. The Black Death halved the population, reducing it to around 100.

However Penn was not to lose its reputation as a healthy spot. When various plagues affected London in the 15th and 16th century children were often sent to the area to enjoy the fresh air. There was also the first written record at this time of two alehouses - probably the Crown and the Red Lion, both of which thrive in the village today.

When Henry VIII was on the throne he appointed Sybil Penne as foster mother to the future Edward VI and rewarded her with land and property in the area, including Penn Church. Sybil's ghost is said to haunt Hampton Court to this day.

In the 17th century William Penn, who was to found Pennsylvania, and George Fox held big Quaker meetings at the home of William Penn's future wife, who lived in a large old house on the common. The village played host to more infamous character - the famous highwayman Jack Shrimpton was born here, while Sir Gregory Norton, one of the judges who condemned Charles 1st to death, lived near Penn Church.

The village fell on harder times in the 18th century and a poorhouse was built - its occupants having to wear a P on their sleeve to indicate they were poor, and another P to indicate they were from Penn. It was also around this time however, that mention was first made of cricket being played in the village.

As the French Revolution took hold, the policitian Edmund Burke opened a school for French emigre boys and visited by kings, dukes and ministers, as well as a stone throwing mob who tore down the wall and broke windows.

Prosperity returned in the 19th century as the chair industry grew in nearby High Wycombe and chair bodgers and horse drawn carts pulling timber from surrounding beech woods became family sights. Seven new churchs and seven new pubs appeared and the community of Tylers Green began to grow and establish itself.

At the start of the twentieth century the population of Penn and Tylers Green was 1,000. It was to increase nearly six fold in the coming 100 years. The coming of the railway to nearby Beaconsfield in 1906 made the area more accessible, and in the latter half of the century major new housing developments enabled hundreds of people, many London commuters, to enjoy the benefits Penn and Tylers Green can offer.


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