Chalfont St Peter

Coordinates: 51°36′25″N 0°33′18″W / 51.607°N 0.555°W / 51.607; -0.555

Chalfont St Peter is a village and civil parish in Chiltern district in south-east Buckinghamshire, England. It is in a group of villages called The Chalfonts which also includes Chalfont St Giles and Little Chalfont. The villages lie between High Wycombe and Rickmansworth. Chalfont St Peter is one of the largest villages in the UK with nearly 13,000 residents. The urban population for Chalfont St Peter and Gerrards Cross is 19,622, the two villages being considered a single area by the Office for National Statistics.

Gerrards Cross was once a hamlet in the parish of Chalfont St Peter, but it is now a village and civil parish in its own right.

Gerrards Cross and Chalfont St Peter have a reputation for being upmarket and exclusive, with house prices being considerably higher than average.

Many celebrities reside there due to the close proximity to central London (15 miles), Pinewood and Elstree film studios, private schools, the countryside, Heathrow Airport and the motorway network (M25, M40, M1 and M4).

History
Early history

At the time of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 949 there was no distinction made between the three separate villages: the whole area was known as Ceadeles funtan, which is Anglo-Saxon meaning Caedele's Spring. The villages were however separated by 1237 when in manorial rolls Chalfont St Peter was referred to as Chalfund Sancti Petri. The suffix St Peter is taken from the dedication of the church in the village. Chalfont St Peter was described in 1806 in Magna Britannia as follows:

Modern history

Today, Chalfont St Peter is one of the largest villages in the United Kingdom partly due to the proximity to Gerrards Cross railway station which lies between London Marylebone and Birmingham Snow Hill on the Chiltern Main Line. Modern buildings and urbanisation now dominate the village centre and very little historic architecture remains. The first major development of the village were rows of Georgian shops (some of which still remain). Much larger developments came in the late 1920s and these shops that run up the main street towards Gold Hill common now comprise most of the village centre. Modernisation and urbanisation continued up until the 1960s when most of the Georgian shops were demolished in favour of a concrete development of flats, offices and shops fronts surrounding a central car park.

Popularity
The population boom

Since the building of Gerrards Cross railway station in the late 19th century, the population of Chalfont St Peter has risen dramatically. From 1801 to 1901, the populations of the village only saw a 700 person rise – giving a population of 1700. But from 1901 to the present, it has become one of the largest villages in the United Kingdom, with nearly 13,000 inhabitants.

Tourist attractions

Chalfont St Peter is often described as the Gateway to the Chiltern Hills. It is not a major tourist centre but has many places to stay the most notable being The Greyhound, (former local court house where hangings took place) which is situated at the foot of the village on the banks of the River Misbourne. While there are no tourist attractions within the village, it is well-placed for easy access to London (which only takes 30 minutes) and easy access to all of the tourist attractions within the Chiltern Hills. Nearby there are several manor houses of note, as well as many museums, cottages and parks. Milton's Cottage in Chalfont St Giles, Colne Valley Regional Park, Bekonscot Model Village, Chenies Manor House, Chiltern Open Air Museum, Odds Farm Park, Cliveden, Dorney Court, Harrow Museum & Heritage Centre, Royal Windsor Racecourse and Hughenden Manor are the nearest attractions to the village itself.

Education
  • Robertswood Combined and Nursery School
  • Chalfont St Peter Infant School
  • Chalfont St. Peter Church of England School
  • St. Joseph's Combined Catholic School
  • Chalfonts Community College
  • Gayhurst School – Private Boys
  • Holy Cross Convent – Private Girls (Closed summer 2006)
  • Maltman's Green School — Private Girls

The headquarters of Bradt Travel Guides founded by Hilary Bradt in 1974 is also located in Chalfont.

Churches
  • Chalfont St Peter Parish Church
  • Gold Hill Baptist Church
  • The Gospel Hall, Chalfont St. Peter
Hamlets

Hamlets in Chaflont St Peter include:

  • Austenwood
  • Chalfont Common
  • Gravel Hill
  • Layters Green
Transport

Many bus routes run through the main town and the more suburban areas. These bus routes include connections with Slough, Amersham, Berkhamsted and Uxbridge. It is also close to Gerrards Cross railway station which has links to Marylebone and High Wycombe and Birmingham.

Other institutions
  • National Society for Epilepsy
Notable residents
  • Comedy Dave – a member of the Chris Moyles Show team on BBC Radio 1
  • Sarah Harding - singer with the pop group Girls Aloud
  • John Laurie (1897–1980) - Scottish actor, best known for his role as Private James Frazer, in the BBC sitcom Dad's Army
  • Patrick O'Brian (1914–2000) - author of the Aubrey-Maturin series of novels was born here
  • Dame Margaret Rutherford (1892-1972) - English actress, best known for her role as Miss Marple in several films loosely based on Agatha Christie's novels
  • Len Worley, amateur footballer

Building Activity

  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings added a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via OpenBuildings.com