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Padbury-East Claydon

(Continuing from Buckingham 1…)


From Lenborough Hill there were two choices: to go south east from The Keepers (693 315) down to the Oxlane Bridge (#1) to cross Padbury Brook there; or due south to Rowley Hill (SP 692 305), then a veer to the south east to cross it at King’s Bridge.  Both are excellent walks, but the more historically romantic is the latter. 


Reason: you can look east up the majestic drive (#2) of Hillesden House, used by Sir Alexander Denton, Charles 1’s valued supporter, to speed to the king’s aid along what was the ‘London Road’.  The house was besieged by Parliamentarian forces in 1643, and there are holes made by musket balls in the door of Hillesden Church (Perpendicular style, known as ‘the cathedral in the fields’).  Denton was not a popular man, partly because he had been sheriff of the county and in charge of collecting ‘Ship Money’ for the king.  So when he turned up in the midst of the battle he was taken to London and imprisoned in The Tower, where he died two years later.  The house was burnt to the ground.


Join what is now called ‘Cross Bucks Way’ and you find yourself, after a fairly uninteresting journey, where few of the old hedges remain, at East Claydon.  The dead end at the heart of the village used to be no such thing: a path going straight ahead past the church was the old London-Buckingham Road, passing through some of the best pasture in the world.


On the crossroads before the path were two public houses.  On the left New Farm, carrying the Verney crest above the door, was an inn and coach stop called ‘The Swan’ (#3).  The older, thatched house on the right was an off-licence, originally ‘The Phoenix’ but renamed The Verney Arms (#4), which was for less socially acceptable clients such as drovers.  It was run by the Hinton family in the 19th century, memorably by the great-grandmother of Paddy Hinton (who now lives in Winslow).  Paddy says that in London in 1845 his great-grandfather, a cattle-dealer, met and married Widow Mary Wykes. (He thinks she might have run a boarding-house near Smithfield Market.)  After the wedding in London, they settled in East Claydon and he carried on his business from The Verney Arms while Mary ran the off-licence.  Then the cattle-dealer turned to butchery: the house was nicknamed ‘The Block’ because so many animals were slaughtered there.  


And past the church is some of the best pasture in the country, and the road to Aylesbury… (#5)

Padbury-East Claydon image 1
Oxlane Bridge
Padbury-East Claydon image 2
Drive to Hillesden House
Padbury-East Claydon image 3
The Swan, East Claydon
Padbury-East Claydon image 4
The Verney Arms
Padbury-East Claydon image 5
The Road South, East Claydon