History of the Amersham Area

56-60 High St (The Worthies)

The Worthies is a Tudor building, altered in the 17th century when the fine chimneys were added.  It has gabled dormers and a carriage arch and is a listed building, grade II*.  The building was the White Hart coaching Inn until the early 1700s when it became a private house.  In the 19th century it was used as the premises of a the Hailey family’s plumbing and glazing business and by 1881 it was occupied by the local builder, George Darlington.

Lead pump head made by the Hailey family in 1801, now in the Museum

(Combining plumbing and glazing work was not unusual as plumbing work was mainly for leaded windows, guttering and roofing before internal plumbing became widespread.)  It is now three private houses.

In No.56 are wall paintings from the 1550s of six of the Nine Worthies, favourite subjects of paintings in the Middle Ages:  3 from ancient world, Alexander the Great, Hector of Troy, Julius Caesar; 3 from Old testament: Joshua, King David, Judas Maccabeus; 3 early Christians, Emperor Charlemagne, King Arthur, Godfrey de Bouillon the Crusader.  (See a few of them below.) The Pageant of the Nine Worthies was mentioned by William Shakespeare in Love’s Labour’s Lost, which was first performed in 1595.

 

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