History of the Amersham Area

134 High St (Little Shardeloes)









Little Shardeloes is thought to be Tudor in origin.  It was purchased in 1652 by William Drake for £240 and used later as the family Dower House (the house available for use by the widow of the owner of Shardeloes or by other members of his family) after it was altered in the 18th century. The high brick wall is believed to have been built in 1688, when it is thought that the timber-framed house was rebuilt in brick as were many English timber-framed houses following the Great Fire of London in 1666.

In 1729, Henry De Chair lived in Little Shardeloes as a tenant of the Drakes.  See at the bottom of this page a trancrsipt of his will.

In the 1960s it was sold by the Drake family and divided into three dwellings.  Mr Darvill, a carpenter working on the conversion, has told us that when the upstairs floorboards were lifted for treatment, a trap door was found near the fireplace.  Was this a “priest hole”?

The house is listed grade II as are the garden wall and entrance gate piers and the ice house in the grounds (see photo in gallery below).

Below is an article about the “harvest treat” in 1893.

Little Shardeloes 1893

Behind the house is The Dower Cottage.  This was possibly the coach house referred to above.




Click on any of the photographs below to enlarge it and to see the description.  Then click on forward or back arrows at the foot of each photograph.  To close the pictures, just click on one.

The Will of Henry De Chair

This is extracted from the will of Henry De Chair of “Agmondesham,  alias Amersham, Gentleman,” dated  19 August 1729 transcribed by Julian Hunt.  Henry De Chair was the tenant of the Drakes at Little Shardeloes and insured  it for £500 in 1725 (over £100,000 in today’s money).

Having committed his soul “into the hands of Almighty God my most merciful Creator assuredly trusting through the merits and passion of Jesus Christ my most Gracious Lord and Redeemer to enjoy everlasting life” and asking to be interred in St Peter’s Church in Berkhamsted  (a relation of his wife had been the Rector there until 1722), he then listed the legacies from “the worldly estate wherewith God hath blessed me”:

He appointed Rector Benjamin Robertshaw and Mark Thurston, one of the “Masters of the High Court of Chancery”, as his executors to sell his land at Haresfield, in Gloucestershire for the benefit of his children.  The two executors were to be paid £25 each.

It was signed and sealed in front of three witnesses  (William Ingalton, Richard Bowden and Joseph Child) on “the Nineteenth day of August in the third year of the reign of our Sovereign, Lord George the Second by the Grace of God of Great Britain France and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, Anno Domini 1729”.