Amersham in 1833
AMERSHAM or AGMONDESHAM, is a borough town in Buckinghamshire, about twenty-six miles W.N.W. of London, on the road to Aylesbury and Buckingham, from which last it is distant thirty-three miles. It is in a valley between woody hills, near the river Coln, and consists of one main street, long and wide, not lighted but well paved, and crossed by a smaller one.
The church stands near the point of intersection, and is a spacious building of brick covered with stucco : it consists of a nave with small aisles, transepts, chancel, monument room for the Drake family, in which are some handsome monuments, and a tower at the west-end. It is dedicated to St. Mary ; and the living, a rectory in the gift of the Drake family, is accounted one of the best in England.
The town-hall (the lower part of which is used for the market) is a brick building, near the centre of the town, raised upon pillars and surmounted by a lantern and clock : it was built by a Sir William Drake, who died in 1682. With these exceptions the town contains scarcely any building worthy of notice.The manufactures are chiefly of black lace, cotton, straw-plait, and wooden chairs.
The market is on Tuesday, there are two fairs, one on Whit-Monday, and another on the 19th September. The population of the borough and parish in 1831 was 2,816, without reckoning (as it seems) the hamlet of Coleshill, which, though partly in this parish, is in the county of Hertfordshire.Besides the parish church, there are two places of worship ; one for Baptists, and one for Quakers.
The grammar-school was founded by Dr. Robert Chaloner, rector of Amersham, and Canon of Windsor, who endowed it with £25 per annum. Dr. Chaloner died in 1621. A writing school was endowed by Lord Newhaven (who died in 1728) ; and a Sunday-school, previously established by subscription, by the late William Drake, Jun., Esq.
An almshouse for six poor widows was endowed by a Sir William Drake, Bart., who died in 1669.Amersham was a parliamentary borough by prescription ; but its right to send members was disused for four hundred years, till, in 1623, it was restored on petition. Edmund Waller, the poet, and Algernon Sidney were members for this borough. It was disfranchised by the late Reform Bill.
Many of the inhabitants suffered as Lollards in the reign of Henry V, or as Protestants in that of Mary I.